The Skagen Watch Review: Danish Design for your wrist

We help you to make a guided decision for the Skagen Falster 2. The reviews for this Skagen watch are in! The elegant design and its improvement make it forget the previous installment. The Falster 2 features GPS, NFC, a heart rate monitor, and the latest Wear OS by Google. The question is whether that is enough to convince you to buy this beautiful design. That is what we’ll help you figure out in this Skagen watch review!

We go over the many features that are perfect or lack in performance with this smartwatch by Skagen. As usual, we provide you with alternatives as well, whether that be in style, performance, or quality.

If you have any particular question, don’t hesitate to use the index below to go to the part for you immediately! For the rest of you, let’s get this review on the road.

#Outclass everyone with these features

The Skagen brand started with a Danish immigrant couple in New York in 1989. The Danish-inspired design became a success and by the mid-90s the company turned out a $30,000,000.- sales volume. In 2012 the company is bought by FOSSIL yet maintains its unique style. Skagen has received several awards for both its design and overall comfort of the watches. Their move into smartwatch world came with their hybrid smartwatches, which was quickly followed by the Skagen Falster in early 2018.

The Falster 2 features are abundant. Here are the best features:

  1. The Skagen Falster 2 has an inbuilt GPS rather than the semi-GPS many smartwatches still use. This means you don’t need a smartphone in order to track your activities, whether it is running, or biking.
  2. If you want to pay wireless this smartwatch will serve you well, since it features NFC. If you want to know if your bank participates? Click here to check it out!
  3. User-friendly call forwarding and standard reply messages are what stands out on the Skagen watch with its microphone. This enables Google voice commands as well!
  4. The minimalistic design and user interface make for an accessible watch for all sorts of users, both experienced and beginners.
  5. Pair your smartwatch with your phone and you’ll be able to control the music you’re playing, i.e. with Spotify.

#Room for improvements

Of course, we can’t solely sing praises where there are improvements to be made. These might not be dealbreakers for you, we include them nonetheless:

  1. On top of the list must be the battery life. Yes, it is great Skagen crams the Falster 2 with loads of cool features. It does drain you watch within a day with above average/heavy usage.
  2. Users have reported delays when interacting with the smartwatch. This means the screen could go to standby before you get where you want to go. Users report this nuisance has not been resolved with the latest update May 2019.
  3. It runs Wear OS. Yes, Google is a great company and for some reason, Wear OS just doesn’t take off.
  4. While a beautiful design feature users report the magnetic band is quite strong. It can attract smaller objects or even be drawn to larger things like a screwdriver or oven rack.
  5. The functionality of activity tracking appears to be not that great. Counting steps is reported to be oftentimes lacking in the accuracy of counting.

#Time to check it all

The Skagen Falster 2 is boasting the minimalist design the brand is known for. You can see this immediately when you lay your eyes on the watch. The attention to detail is beautiful with the magnetic steel-mesh trap that closes the band gently around your wrist.

OS & Battery life

The watch itself runs iOS 9 and Android 4.4 and up which makes it accessible to almost all users nowadays. No worries therefore whether your phone is compatible or not. There are however still problems with lag, which means you have to wait with before your apps open. This is rather unacceptable for a smartwatch in this price range.

Already mentioned is the battery life. We have some more space to talk about it here. It is a pity battery life is so short. Comparable smartwatches like the Withings Steel HR feature battery life up to 25 days, using hybrid technology. Older models like the Garmin Vivoactive 3 give you more battery life while listening to music that you can store on your watch.

Heart rate and fitness tracking

The heart rate monitor utilizes Google Fit and will be tracked across workouts. This platform is very accessible and easy to use, as are most services by Google. There are however some problems with fitness tracking itself.

Users report steps not counted correctly, or a delay in monitoring their activities. The most recent update to Wear OS was in February 2019. This appears not to have solved the lag in the software. It is also suggested this has to do with the Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset that Skagen uses. Wear OS just does not work well with this chipset from 2016.

NFC & GPS

You can leave your smartphone and cards at home with this one! One of the big complaints concerning the original Falster was the lack of GPS and NFC. Both these problems have been remedied. The GPS enables you to use the Skagen Falster 2 as a standalone activity tracker. Of course, this will cut into your battery time, so be sure to your smartwatch fully charged when leaving the house. If you this, it will track the distance and time

NFC provides the option of contactless payments. Since Skagen operates with Wear OS you’ll be using Google Pay, meaning you get access to a wide variety of banks. Want to know if your bank is amongst the participants in Google Pay? Be sure to check out the list here! This list keeps expanding, so even if your bank is not on the list, you’ll be able to access it in the future.

Waterproof

This watch will withstand splashes of water, meaning you can wear it in the rain. It is advised not to take it for a swim. The Falster 2 is safe up to 3ATM. This means it just splashproof and you might want to dry it very quickly after it gets wet.

#Checking out the competition

Skagen is not the only brand which focuses on delivering great looking smartwatches to market. In this comparison, our focus is on the level of design compared to the quality of the smartwatch. We feel we have to since the Falster 2 seems to have little improved with the Wear OS update in early 2019.

1. Withings Steel HR

Yes, we know. This watch again. We just can’t get enough of it. Designwise we actually like it better than the Falster 2. Although we love Danish Design, there is just something wonderful about the minimal clockface of the Withings Steel HR. Its battery life is far superior to the Falster 2 lasting up to 6 days.

>> We reviewed the Withings for you. As interested in it as we are? Click here!

When it comes to health and tracking the Withings also outclasses the Falster 2. The philosophy of the company is to focus on your health. The accompanying apps and software are easy to use, the Withings is waterproof. If you don’t mind these features that much and want a more minimal design however, this will not deter you from buying the Falster 2.

2. Garmin Vivoactive 3

If the most important factor is design than the Vivoactive 3 will not be for you. As a casual sports watch it looks good, yet it looks clunky and standard in comparison to the Skagen Falster 2. The reason we include it here is to show you what else is possible when buying a smartwatch. The Vivoactive 3 is convenient. It helps even while you’re lifting weights

Want to know more about this fitness smartwatch? Check out our review here!

Users report is comfortable to wear, even in bed and with a 7-day battery life it easily comes up on top when compared with the Falster 2. The Vivoactive 3 gives you a good insight into training habits and workouts and is obviously more focused on letting you perform than having a beautiful design. This is where the Falster 2 outclasses the Vivoactive. So, if you’re looking to be more sporty with your watch, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 will be a great option for you.

3. Apple Watch

Have you connected to the Apple cosmos already? Then your choice will be obvious! Apple produces stylish designs with great working user interfaces. Although battery life on the Apple Watch will last around 18 hours, it does provide you with much-needed space for music.

We needn’t mention the seamless integration into other Apple products. It does come at a price though. Once bought you’ll probably never go back anyways. If you don’t want to spend top-dollar you can always buy an earlier version of the Apple Watch. This watch is your choice if want to spend money or if you are already connected to the Apple cosmos.

#Should I buy the Skagen Falster 2?

Do you want to own a beautifully Danish-inspired smartwatch? The Skagen Falster 2 will be your choice!

The Falster 2 provides you with easy options to pay contactless through NFC and features an inbuilt GPS which makes this smartwatch also very interesting for the casual users of smart technology. We must note, of course, also the slow responsiveness of the watch at times due to an older chipset. The integration with Google Fit helps a great deal with keeping track of your activities and provide sufficient data.

However, if you’re looking for both design and a stronger focus on health we must recommend the Withings Steel HR, which incidentally will cost you around $100.- less than the Falster 2. This will also give you extra battery time, yet you’ll lack the option to pay with your watch.

If your focus is more on sports we would recommend the Garmin Vivoactive 3. While slowly becoming an older model it does feature a lot of extra stuff to track your activities. You’ll get a swim-proof smartwatch with GPS and an option to play music for less than $200.-

Do you have other Apple products? Then we recommend you buy the Apple Watch. Go for the 3 series and you pay less than the Falster 2. Even better, you still have the full integration and benefits of the other Apple products.

To sum it up, the Skagen Falster 2 is great to look at. There are however some flaws that we feel impact our recommendation to you. The chipset is rather old, which makes it unnecessary slow in this day and age. The battery life of the Falster is not that amazing. Google Fit is decent enough software. We feel Skagen could have done a better job with this second installment. It is a very good sign to see the improvements on this one, yet it does not seem enough. This is especially the case since competitors are able to produce better models for lower prices. This means we would only recommend the Skagen Falster 2 if you’re really a fan of the brand. If not, wait for its successor. Most likely that version will improve even more since Skagen shows it listens to its customers.

The Featured image is made by: Schwarzwert Naturfotografie and used under CC license

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