I was prepared to love the Skagen Falster smartwatch.
When I first saw the watch at CES – the tech industry trade show in Las Vegas last month – it blew me away. The watch was easily the best-looking wearable I saw there, and certainly the best-looking smartwatch I’ve seen in months.
The Falster watch features activity tracking, customisable watch faces, and voice commands powered by Google Assistant. Skagen has made hybrid watches in the past, but the Falster is the brand’s first true smartwatch. It starts at $US275 and is available now.
I tested out the Falster watch over the course of a few weeks. While I quickly fell in love with its gorgeous design, I found one surprising shortcoming.
Skagen is a Danish-inspired watch brand owned by Fossil Group, which also makes Michael Kors- and Kate Spade-branded watches.
Skagen has set itself apart from other brands by making chic, minimalist watches. Their watches are mostly rendered in neutral leathers and gold, rose gold, and silver metallics with mother of pearl and marble faces.
In short, Skagen’s watches are historically stunning, and the Falster is no different. It comes in black, silver, and rose gold, with either steel or leather bands.
Just look at that gorgeous mesh band! This is the silver version, which costs $US295.
The Falster runs Android Wear 2.0, Google’s smartwatch operating system. For iPhone users, it’s OK but not perfect — it can show you texts, appointments, and emails, but it’s not quite is seamless as an Apple Watch would be.
The Falster watch holds its battery life pretty well — in fact, Skagen says you can get up to 24 hours on a single charge. I never did quite that well, but I easily got a full day’s worth of wear before needing to charge it up.
It was comfortable to wear for workouts, too. But here’s where I discovered the Falster’s fatal flaw: It doesn’t have a heart-rate tracker built in. No heart-rate tracker on a smartwatch in 2018 seemed like a major oversight to me.
Without heart-rate monitoring, the activity-tracking feature became instantly less useful. There was also one day where I wasn’t feeling very well, and would have liked that information. If I’m paying $US300 for a smartwatch, a heart-rate tracker doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for.
So if you’re in the market for a true, well-rounded smartwatch, you may be disappointed by the Falster. These days, for $US300, you’d expect your smartwatch to be able to do fitness-tracker things; there’s no reason to spend that much money just to alert you to your texts. That said, if all you’re looking is for a simple, beautiful watch that can do some smart things, you can’t go wrong with Skagen — so long as you’re willing to shell out the money.
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