Skagen Falster 3 hands-on: Bigger, smarter, and way more comfortable
I've reviewed both iterations of Skagen's Wear OS-powered Falster series, and while they're both attractive, capable timepieces, they've also been let down by sluggish hardware and unfinished software.
The Falster 3, available today for $295, tries to overcome all of those issues by leveraging Fossil's powerful and battery-efficient Gen 5 platform. It has a larger 42mm face, a better-calibrated crown for scrolling, more pronounced lugs and — my favorite addition — a super comfortable silicone-mesh strap.
I had the opportunity to go hands on with smartwatch at CES 2020 and came away impressed by the whole package, from the addition of a speaker, which improves Google Assistant interaction, to improved waterproofing (30 meters) and significantly speedier performance thanks to a Snapdragon 3100 SoC, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage.
I've been extremely critical of Wear OS over the past year, but after using a couple of watches in the Gen 5 family — I'm currently wearing the Michael Kors Bradshaw 2 — I'm impressed with the strides Fossil has made given the platform's limitations. The company developed an Extended Battery Mode that arrived after the release of the first Gen 5 watches, but the Falster 3, given its later arrival, benefits from all of them. The idea is to give users options, such as disabling all notifications and wireless functions, to extend battery life from hours to days.
There's also NFC on board, for Google Pay, and an always-on heart rate monitor for 24/7 tracking, which Skagen leverages in the pre-installed Cardiogram app.
The company's also teamed up with popular DJ Kygo to release a black-and-white X by Kygo version of the Falster 3. His version also has an exclusive pre-installed watch face, if you're into that sort of thing.
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Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central.