Skagen Falster review: A smartwatch that is truly beautiful
Google’s Wear OS (earlier known as Android Wear) smartwatches don’t always look pretty. But a slick design is exactly what Danish watchmaker Skagen has managed with its newest smartwatch, Falster.
The Falster doesn’t have shiny or gaudy elements; the sophistication comes from its understated look. The 42mm black dial has a metallic finish around the frame and a slightly glossy finish on the bezel around the screen. This can be paired with a black leather strap (if you prefer the darker personality of that combination), with a brown one (the combination looks youthful), as well as rose-gold and steel-coloured metal mesh bands. Moreover, this is an IP67-rated watch, which means you shouldn’t be worried about getting caught in sudden rain. The Falster measures 12mm in thickness, which means this smartwatch doesn’t look as bulky around the wrist as some of its rivals do.
The round display does well in terms of brightness and colour reproduction. It is quite clear in bright sunlight, and the few reflections don’t necessarily cause an impediment. Had the display been a tad crisper, it may have ticked all the boxes. With the ambient light sensor now placed beneath the screen—which means there was no need to chop off a part of the lower screen—the Falster doesn’t have the “flat tyre” look that many smartwatch screens tend to have.
The spine on the right of the screen has the crown, essentially the only button on the watch. And that is exactly what it is—a button, not a rotating dial like the Apple Watch. So you need to use the touchscreen to scroll through the menus and apps. While there are no issues with responsiveness, the key press response feels a tad restrained and there isn’t the reassuring click sound you would want to hear.
A smartwatch doesn’t need to be tuned for multitasking and games; instead, it should permit slick interface changes while retaining strong battery life. The Falster does well as far as performance is concerned, and we never really noticed any lag while running apps meant for the watch or navigating the interface. There was an occasional stutter at times, but that was duly ironed out once apps such as Google Fit and Google Calendar got the required updates.
Google’s Wear OS smartwatch platform can be quite handy for productivity tasks too. For instance, you can use voice commands to set reminders or look at your schedule. Popular productivity apps such as Todoist, Wunderlist, Microsoft Outlook and Evernote, to name a few, are also available for the smartwatch.
At present, the Wear OS update rolled out by Google (the Falster is running Wear OS 1.0) doesn’t look very different from the Android Wear iterations before it. The interface is largely the same, though that should change with future updates. You can customize the look by changing the watch-face with different colour combinations, or even download more from the Play Store on the Falster.
Battery life, however, is a sore point. If you are pushing most of the smartphone notifications to the Falster with Bluetooth connected, the battery will barely last a regular day at work. That isn’t necessarily a fault of the Falster, the Wear OS needs further battery optimizations from Google.
There is no doubt that Skagen has nailed the styling—the minimalism as well as the clean lines set the Falster apart from otherwise fairly boring Wear OS watches. Yes, this lacks a heart-rate sensor for fitness tracking, for instance, but that will matter laregly only to devoted fitness enthusiasts. This no-frills and uncomplicated smartwatch looks good on the wrist, though, admittedly, we need to see how the Wear OS develops over the next few updates to understand the improvements in the long run.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100
Google Wear OS
Works with Android and iOS