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Skagen Falster 2 Smartwatch Review
The smart wearable market in India witnessed strong growth in the second half of the year 2018. As per IDC's quarterly wearables device tracker, smartwatches and wearables which support third-party apps recorded two successive quarters of double-digit growth in India. The data suggests that the overall India wearables market saw a 17 percent year-over-year (YoY) growth in the quarter as vendors shipped a total of 897,000 units. Xiaomi sits at No. 1 spot with 41 percent market share due to its most recent launch- Mi Band 3. Goqii, Titan, and Samsung grabbed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th spot respectively in the top five wearable companies in India. Fossil Group takes 5th spot in the top 5 wearable companies in the Indian market.
Rs. 19,995- Rs. 21,995
The company has recently unveiled its new smartwatches under Fossil, Skagen, Diesel and Michael Kors branding. Today we are going to focus on Skagen Falster 2, a gorgeous smartwatch running on latest WearOS from Danish brand. I had a chance to review the first gen. Falster smartwatch in May 2018.
The new generation Falster smartwatch brings some noticeable upgrades at the same starting price of R. 19,995. Let's find out what has improved in the last year and should you really spend a sum of Rs. 20,000 on this smart wearable or settle down with affordable smart fitness trackers in the following review. But before that, let's talk about the Danish brand Skagen.
Skagen- Brand known for its minimally designed products
SKAGEN, a division of Fossil Groups was founded in the year 1989. The company's products are inspired by a Danish coastal town from which the brand borrowed its name and minimalist design language. In addition to smartwatches, Skagen also offers standard watches, jewelry, and leather goods. I got a chance to experience Skagen products back in the year 2016 when Fossil introduced the company's first set of smartwatches in India along with Skagen and Michael Kors.
What is Skagen Falster 2?
I have reviewed a variety of smartwatches and fitness trackers in the last few years but I always come back to Falster series of smartwatches for their simple and elegant design. Running on latest WearOS, Skagen Falster 2 is a straightforward smart with a very minimal and functional design. Like the previous Falster smartwatch, the latest model is also very light and looks amazing on the wrist. You can pair this watch with formals in office in everyday routine, especially the steel-mesh variant which blends very well in a professional environment. The Black strap variant also looks very elegant (feels slightly chunkier though) and can be worn easily in an office space and outside.
Magnetic Steel Mash strap gives Falster 2 a premium touch
This time around I got a chance to test the Falster series smartwatch with the latest magnetic steel-mesh strap. Combined with the silver and black dial, the Falster 2 comes across as a gorgeous time-piece strapped on your wrist. The magnetic steel-mesh strap offers easy fastening and a secure fit but it has one drawback. The rapid hand movement can loosen the grip and you have to manually tighten the strap a couple of times during everyday use.
The company also offers Falster 2 with leather straps if you don't prefer steel-mesh straps. And as the Falster 2 comes with universal fittings for straps, you can easily swap the steel mesh with a Black strap or vice-versa, or with other straps of your choice.
Vibrant OLED display
If you have used or owned the first gen. Falster smartwatch, you will love the new wearable. The new smartwatch comes with a vibrant 1.19-inch OLED screen that offers deep blacks and vivid colors. The design team has reduced the surrounding bezels which make the dial look slightly bigger than the first generation Falster smartwatch. And while the dial is still smaller than the rival smartwatches, it displays information adequately. The display is fairly touch responsive and offers a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels. The icons and texts look crisp on the AMOLED panel.
Buttons and Controls
The company has also added two new buttons on the dial. The primary crown button is now accompanied by two additional buttons placed on either side. To recall, the primary crown button performed all the functions in the first gen. Falster smartwatch. However, it is now used to trigger the main menu (App drawer) and to scroll up/down in the vertical flow to access particular functions like settings, weather, stop watch, etc. You can customize the other two buttons to launch apps of your choice or can trigger shortcuts to access particular functions of WearOS.
It is fairly easy to operate the Falster 2. Long press on the display to switch between the watch faces. Swipe down to bring the quick settings panel that allows you to tweak display brightness and access important functions such as Wi-Fi, Power saver, Airplane mode, etc. Swipe from the bottom of the screen to access your notifications. Swipe left or right to clear notifications or tap on a particular notification to read the entire message. You can also use the main crown button to perform all such operations.
How smart is Falster 2?
The first gen. Falster lacked some useful smart features like heart rate sensor and built-in GPS. The new generation Falster smartwatch addresses these issues without spiking the price-point. Additionally, the company has also added NFC to facilitate smart payments. The list of sensors on Falster 2 includes Heart Rate, NFC, GPS, Altimeter, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Ambient Light and a Microphone.
The built-in GPS is a great add-on as it offers location-based accuracy. This allows for location tracking without pulling the data from your phone. Moreover, it also improves the accuracy of data recorded by the watch of the distance covered by you.
As the smartwatch is backed by Google Assistant, you can also ask questions and give commands directly and get the required answers. Powered by Google Fit, Skagen Falster 2 comes with all the fitness-related features that you would expect from a smartwatch these days. It can track your steps, monitor your heart-rate in the background (consumes a lot of battery), offers guided breathing, and has a range of workout regimes such as walking, running, biking, aerobics, badminton, baseball, basketball and a lot more. The Falster 2 is also water-proof up to 30 meters so you can wear it during a swimming session. The watch sensors work well and offer effective readings for the above-mentioned workout regimes.
Hardware and Software Performance
Coming onto the hardware and software performance, the smartwatch feels slightly sluggish in opening apps and loading data on the display. The response time is delayed by a two-three second which makes the software user experience slightly dull. The company has used the Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset which is a pretty old CPU and thus makes the overall user experience slightly sluggish. As far as software is concerned, the Falster 2 runs on the latest version of Google WearOS 2.6 which is pretty feature-rich and intuitive.
Durability and Compatibility
You can wear the Falster 2 even while swimming without worrying about any water damage as the smartwatch comes with a 3ATM (30 meters) water resistance rating. The company claims that the Falster 2 has passed a 10,000-stroke swim test. I wore it while taking showers and the watch did not show any signs of water damage.
As far as compatibility is concerned, Skagen Falster 2 is powered by Google WearOS and works with phones running Android 4.4+ (excluding Go edition) and even with Apple devices running iOS 9.3+.
Battery life: Wish it could last more
The only drawback I found on this elegant smartwatch is the below average battery life. Powered by a 300 mAh battery unit, the watch could only last for one day when connected with a smartphone over Bluetooth with GPS enabled and heart-rate monitor enabled in the background to run a check on your health every 20 minutes. You have the option to enable the power saving mode that restricts the smartwatch features but could help you extend the battery life to an hour or two. Falster 2 recharges in a short time period with the help of magnetic charger attached to the bundled USB cable.
Skagen Falster 2 is an almost perfect blend of fashion and technology. It is one of the best-looking smartwatch in town with one of the worst battery life. The simple and elegant design is undoubtedly the highlight feature of the smartwatch. The display is also really good and the smartwatch has all the fitness-related features that you would want to use in the everyday routine. Having said that, if all that matters is the design and Google WearOS, Falster 2 is a good pick. However, the newer chipset and longer battery life would have made Falster 2 my favorite pick in the sub 25k smartwatch category in India. You can also check the recently launched Huawei Watch GT which is priced lower and comes with a good set of fitness-centric features.