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January 9, 2018

Skagen Falster hands-on review

by John_A

Research Center:
Skagen Falster

Under the Fossil Group, Skagen has produced a number of gorgeous hybrid smartwatches such as the Signatur T-bar and the Signatur Hybrid. The Danish brand has struck gold again with its first touchscreen smartwatch: The sleek Skagen Falster. In the brief time we’ve spent with the watch, we’re happy to say it’s one of the best designed Android Wear smartwatches to date. In our Skagen Falster hands-on review, we take a look at what makes the unisex watch so appealing.

Elegant and minimal

The Falster doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. The design feels utilitarian, and it looks quite simple. It’s in that simplicity where the Falster shines, and the lugs are a big part of what make this watch look and feel great on the wrist.

The lugs look like bars sticking out of the circular case, and it’s a style we haven’t really seen before with a smartwatch. Attached to these lugs are either a rose gold or silver mesh strap, or a black or brown leather band. We opted for leather, but the mesh straps look stylish and elegant. The leather is easy to strap on, and it feels lightweight. The mesh strap requires a little more effort, and it did painfully clip our wrist hair. It may just take some time getting used to it.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Whichever strap you choose, this is a watch that works well at a party, a night out, or simply as an everyday watch. It sits well on the wrist, with no awkward gaps. There’s a fast-release mechanism below the metal lugs, so you can swap bands for different styles at a moment’s notice.

There’s only one button on the 42mm circular metal case, and pushing it to open Google Assistant or your app drawer is quite nice — it’s a very springy button. The case has a sizable bezel surrounding the display; it doesn’t stick out as the pictures may suggest, and the bezel often blends in with the rich, inky black OLED screen.

A focus on OLED

The OLED screen turns off individual pixels to show off the color black. That allows for rich blacks that look great, but it also is energy-efficient. It’s why the Falster’s lineup of watch faces all make use of an OLED black background, with a minimal amount of information on the screen. It’s hard to tell where the screen ends, and where the bezel starts.

Skagen’s Falster packs a brilliantly minimal design that has us yearning to put it on our wrist.

The watch faces are attractive and easily capture a classic Skagen style. You can customize the information the “dials” show, such as a battery indicator, or quickly see how many steps you’ve taken so far.

The case comes in three different styles, depending on the type of strap you choose. It’s completely black for the leather variants, but it’s a mix of rose gold and black when you opt for the rose gold mesh strap. It’s silver and black when paired with the silver mesh strap.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Like most Android Wear smartwatches, the Falster is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. The watch zipped through menus and apps with ease, and we didn’t see any issues with performance. The Falster connects to your Android or iPhone via Bluetooth, and you can see and respond to notifications, access the Google Assistant to ask about the weather or add a calendar event, download music to the watch and stream it to Bluetooth earbuds, and install apps directly to the watch via the Wear Play Store. The watch’s capabilities are limited on iOS.

Skagen doesn’t have a micro-app like many fashion brands do to further distinguish the watch, but it may add one in a future update.

We opted for leather, but the mesh straps look stylish and elegant.

The watch charges via a magnetic puck that attaches to the back, and the company estimated a full day of battery life. We think it will last a little less considering the screen is set to “always-on” mode by default, but turning it off and swapping to an ambient mode — where the screen dims into a monochrome mode when it’s not used — could stretch battery life.

Skagen’s watch may not have its own micro-app, but the Falster does have a quirky animated man called “Dan,” who shows up in the user interface when you do certain things like put the watch on the charger: Dan pulls a cable and plugs it into the watch. It’s a fun way to add a little more personality.

Price and availability

The Skagen Falster will be available on January 25 on Skagen’s website as well as its retail stores. The black and brown leather versions are priced at $275, and the mesh leather strap models will set you back $295.

Skagen Falster Compared To

Apple Watch Series 3

Michael Kors Access Grayson

Motorola Moto 360 (2015)

LG Watch Sport

Martian Alpha T10

Huawei Fit

Nixon Mission

Apple Watch Series 2

Asus ZenWatch 2

Martian Passport MP100WSB

Garmin fenix 2

LG G Watch R

Martian Notifier Watch

Phosphor Touch Time

Magellan Echo

The Falster reminds us of the Movado Connect, which to us felt like a watch more than a smartwatch. There’s no denying the Falster looks like a smartwatch — it’s still a little thick, and no matter how black the screen can get, it still is a digital screen. Regardless, it’s a brilliantly minimal design that has us yearning to wear it again.

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