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Lifewire / Emily Ramirez
Solid build quality
Beautiful and versatile styling
Standard 20mm straps
Onboard NFC, GPS, and heart rate monitor
Fully featured Wear OS
Waterproof up to 3ATM
Runs on older hardware
Average battery life
If you want a seriously stylish, fully-featured smartwatch, the Skagen Falster 2 is a great choice as long as you don’t mind slower hardware.
While smartwatches have been capturing the hearts of more than a few techies, a lot of people have been wary about the geeky look that many smartwatches have. To please the pickiest of fashion-forward tech lovers, Skagen released the Falster 2, a fully-featured Wear OS smartwatch that has the classic aesthetic of Skagen’s traditional watches.
It has all the functionality you could ever ask in a premium smartwatch, such as swim tracking, remote pay, heart rate monitoring, and more. Unfortunately, not everything about this watch is breathtaking. It runs on older hardware, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 Wear processor, which hampers its performance speed. If you can tolerate a bit of lag, however, it’s a joy to wear.
The Skagen Falster 2 is easily one of the most beautiful smartwatches on the market. We reviewed the rose gold mesh strap version, which blended seamlessly with any outfit in our wardrobe, from poolside to black tie. The watch is 40mm wide with 20mm standard straps, so should you want to switch the straps, you have a lot of customization options. The 1.2-inch OLED display is sharp, with bright colors and good visibility. On the bezel, there is a center crown for scrolling through apps and two extra crowns that can be preset to any app.
The Falster 2 is a well-built smartwatch that could last a long time, software and hardware limitations aside.
This gives users the opportunity to use Google Pay with the tap of a crown, for instance. The watch is incredibly light, and its slim profile makes it easy to forget you’re wearing it. When we slept with it on, we had no problems with comfort.
For those who lead a more active lifestyle, the Falster 2 has 3ATM water resistance and passed a 10,000 stroke swim test. We put it through daily wear, leaving it with keys, and using it as we drove cars, carried luggage, and biked. There were no scratches despite regular use. The Falster 2 is a well-built smartwatch that could last a long time, software and hardware limitations aside.
When you power on the Falster 2, it will prompt you to add it via the Wear OS app on your phone. You follow the directions on the app and you’ll be ready to go in five minutes. For those who use iPhones, don’t worry; Wear OS works on iOS as well. You can download apps from the Wear OS app or directly on the watch through the Play Store app, and it comes with a solid set of pre-installed apps. Some of our favorites are Google Keep, Spotify, and Foursquare.
For those who use iPhones, don’t worry; Wear OS works on iOS as well.
Unfortunately, the Falster 2 is only truly beautiful on the outside. It has NFC, GPS, and heart rate monitoring, but that means little if the OS lags. When we were using the smartwatch, we would regularly see momentary slumps in performance, where apps would take a couple seconds to load. While there could be many factors behind the lag, it’s likely that the Falster 2’s outdated Qualcomm 2100 chipset is the main culprit.
When we were using the smartwatch, we would regularly see momentary slumps in performance, where apps would take a couple seconds to load.
There wasn’t enough lag to completely turn us off, as it was fast enough most of the time, but this may be a dealbreaker for those that like to live on the bleeding edge of tech. Other users have reported harsher lag than we experienced (apps would take five seconds or more to load for them according to some reports), but Skagen has been working with Google to cut down on the wait time. The NFC works, and the GPS and heart rate monitors are as accurate as any other high-end smartwatch. Because the Falster 2 is swim-proof, it also does a solid job of tracking pool laps.
Like the lag, we did not seem to experience the issues that other users have been having. A lot of users have groaned about the Falster 2’s battery life, clocking it at just under a day of usage on a full charge, but we were able to get two days out of the Falster 2. On days with heavier usage, the Falster 2 usually lasted about 30 hours before we had to recharge, with constant notifications, location, and NFC enabled.
There is an option to keep the screen always on, which understandably drains the battery much faster. With the always-on screen enabled, we confidently wore it to bed without worrying it would die overnight. When we had to charge, it took a little over an hour to get back to a full charge.
The Skagen Falster 2 comes with a heart rate monitor, NFC, GPS, music storage and playback, and voice command. It runs on Android Wear OS, so you can use Google Pay, Google Voice, Google Fit, and many other apps supported by the Wear OS market.
Out of the box, the Falster 2 comes with beautiful watch faces, but you can customize them through the app store if you need something more personal. One of the watch’s most interesting features is that it’s waterproof, allowing it to track swimming activity. We’re not so sure the paint finish would hold up in a pool’s harsh chemicals, but it’s great to know the internals would be unharmed. And should the straps get ruined by chlorine, you can change them for any other standard 20mm watch strap on the market.
One of the watch’s most interesting features is that it’s waterproof, allowing it to track swimming activity.
The OS will notify you of alerts from any of your preferred apps, and you can send auto-replies, pick up calls, control music players, and more. The Falster 2 does not have its own mobile connection, however, so you will have to use its internal storage if you wish to stream music during a phone-less run. Features-wise, the watch’s greatest shortcoming is its responsiveness. It regularly lags, taking a second or more to switch applications during normal use. Those craving snappy software will be sorely disappointed.
The Skagen Falster 2 retails for $295 and comes in a variety of finishes. Responsiveness aside, it’s a very well-crafted watch that looks as expensive as it is. There are better value smartwatches for those that prize functionality, but the Falster 2 is about as expensive as its other fashion smartwatch counterparts.
Michael Kors Sofie Heart Rate Wristwatch: This beautiful smartwatch from Michael Kors also runs on Wear OS, provides snappy feedback, and will make your wrist feel stunning. It’s a little more expensive than the Falster 2, and it’s a lot chunkier on those with smaller wrists, but we think it’s a great alternative smartwatch.
Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch: Skagen is owned by Fossil, so it should come as no surprise that the Gen 5 smartwatch looks almost exactly like the Falster 2. It retails for $295, like the Falster 2, but it comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor that outshines the Falster 2’s 2100 processor. The Gen 5 offers everything you could ever ask for in a smartwatch, from swim tracking to remote payment, and it comes wrapped up in a gorgeous metallic package.
Apple Watch Series 4: If you own an iPhone, then the Apple Watch Series 4 is undeniably the best smartwatch you can get in the same price range. It comes with the robust App Store, packs in the most features of any smartwatch, and looks beautiful. Granted, it very much looks like a smartwatch, but it’s easy to customize the straps with the ubiquitous first-party and third-party straps. The Series 4 also introduces an FDA-approved ECG, a bigger and clearer screen, 18 hours of battery life, and a louder speaker. It will set you back by $399 or more, but it’s the clear choice for those who need maximum health or productivity assistance.
A beautiful smartwatch with plenty of features, but it’s starting to show its age.
The Skagen Falster 2 is a very beautiful, capable smartwatch. With all the essential features, from NFC to waterproofing and a voice assistant, the Falster 2 makes it easy to stay connected at the pool and at the executive meeting. It’s lamentable that it runs on an aging Snapdragon 2100 Wear processor, but for those willing to give up a little speed for fashion, the Falster 2 is a great choice.