(Pocket-lint) - The Skagen Falster 2 is one of the many fashion-branded Wear OS smartwatches that sit under the Fossil group's umbrella, along with options from the likes of Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Emporio Armani and Diesel.
The Falster 2 is one of the best-looking smartwatches out there, with Skagen sticking to its roots and delivering true Danish style. Is it the fashion smartwatch to buy - or does the dated hardware set it back that little bit too far?
- 40mm Stainless Steel case, 11mm thick
- Interchangeable 20mm straps
In true Scandi fashion, the Skagen Falster 2 has a lovely minimal design, which makes for a great-looking and unassuming smartwatch that blends in seamlessly with most outfits. It's lightweight and comfortable to wear too.
At 11mm thick, the stainless steel casing doesn't sit too high above the wrist, while the heart-rate monitor on the underside of the casing sits almost flush, also ensuring comfort.
We had the Falster 2 with the black Stainless Steel Mesh strap, though the 20mm-wide straps are easily interchangeable, with a spring-pin system on board for quick and simple changing.
The mesh strap offers a luxurious feel and it certainly offers a great fit thanks to flexible adjustment, though we did find ourselves concerned about scratching occuring when the mesh rubbed against other devices like our MacBook. It's also not a great strap for working out - one of the silicone options would be better.
On the right of the 40mm casing, there are three buttons: the central button is a rotating dial for accessing and scrolling through the Wear OS menu; the other two buttons can be customised to your preference - we setup the top to configure Agenda and the bottom to activate Google Pay.
Full, bright display
- 1.19-inch touchscreen AMOLED display
- Circular 320 x 320 resolution
The Skagen Falster 2 has a 1.19-inch AMOLED display that pumps out good vibrancy, punchy colours and good detail thanks to the 320 x 320 resolution. There are other Wear OS watches with a sharper resolution - the Michael Kors Access Runway being one - but the Skagen Falster 2's screen does a more than good enough job and it's responsive in use too.
There's quite a large bezel around the display but on the black model we had, which is noticeable most of the time. It is something to consider if you opt for the rose gold or gold models though, even though we love these.
Like the Michael Kors option, this Skagen number comes with its own exclusive Skagen watch faces. Like the watch's design these too are minimalist and to the point. Thanks to the Wear OS software, these watch faces are easy to change - simply tap on the main watch face and swipe - and there are plenty of customisation options available too, allowing you to make the Falster 2 your own kind of minimal.
As with other Wear OS watches, swiping down from the top of the screen offers quick access to settings, swiping up from the bottom offers access to notifications, while a left-to-right swipe takes you to Google Fit and right-to-left takes you to Google Assistant.
- Optical heart-rate monitor
- Water resistant (3ATM)
- Built-in GPS
- Wear OS
The Skagen Falster 2 has plenty of features under its hood, just like Fossil's other branded Wear OS watches.
Like the Michael Kors Access Runway, the Falster 2 has a heart-rate monitor, built-in GPS tracking, and waterproofing up to 3ATM. All activity tracking links to Google Fit, which iOS users can now use on iPhone too.
Activity tracking is good and heart-rate monitoring is typically on par with the Apple Watch Series 4 - which is a result considering Apple's latest smartwatch option is £150 more expensive than the Skagen.
Naturally, as the Flaster 2 runs on Google's Wear OS, you get all the smartwatch features you'd expect from a Google-run smartwatch, including smartphone notifications that you can customise in the Wear OS app, Google Pay and Google Assistant, all of which work well.
Performance and battery
- Qualcomm Wear 2100
- 1-2 day battery
- iOS and Android compatible
Under the hood of the Skagen Falster 2 is the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset and this is where this lovely minimal smartwatch starts to lose marks. That chipset is now several years old, having been replaced by the more advanced and more powerful Snapdragon Wear 3100.
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While the Wear 2100 is still a perfectly capable chipset, the Falster 2 does experience some lag - more than we would expect. It's not a huge issue, though, and unless you have used a more recent smartwatch recently, you may not notice too much. But actions just take a little longer to get done than we would like in an ideal world.
The Falster 2's battery life also isn't brilliant. Skagen promises 24 hours, depending on usage, but we only managed to make the Falster 2 last till around 10pm after coming off the magnetic charging disc at 7am - and 15 hours doesn't cut the mustard.
By comparison, our Apple Watch Series 4 still had 40 per cent when we wore it alongside the Falster 2 (while the same notifications were coming through). There is a battery saver option, and you can make certain decisions to prolong the battery life - such as turning off the Always On display and avoiding using GPS - but on the whole, using it as we prefer, we'd like to see it last a fair few hours longer.
Like other Wear OS smartwatches, the Skagen Falster 2 is compatible with both Apple's iOS and Google's Android. You'll need an iPhone 5 or later (running iOS 9 or later too) or an Android device running 4.4 or later. The experience is better with an Android device, as you would expect, but you still get a good experience with an iPhone - it's just not as seamless as the Apple Watch, which is hardly unexpected.
The Skagen Falster 2 is a lovely smartwatch for those after a simple, minimalist design that oozes Scandinavian appeal. It offers a good and easy-to-use software experience thanks to Google's Wear OS platform, plus it's feature rich thanks to the heart-rate monitor, built-in GPS and NFC for Google Pay.
The dated chipset and so-so battery life lets this otherwise sophisticated smartwatch down. But if you're after a fuss-free design and you can handle a little bit of lag and every-night charging then the Skagen Falster 2 is lovely to wear.
Apple Watch Series 4
If you're an Apple user, the Apple Watch Series 4 offers the best experience in terms of seamless interaction between iPhone and smartwatch. It's pricier than the Falster 2 and it's not as pretty in its design, but it offers great activity tracking and an excellent software experience.
Michael Kors Access Runway
The Michael Kors Access Runway delivers the same software experience as the Skagen Flaster 2, but in a slightly meatier body with a little more about it. It won't suit those who want the simplicity of Skagen's option, but it's a great smartwatch with plenty of features and it looks great on the wrist.