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Wearable market in India is expected to gain significantly in the next five years. As per reports, the year 2018 alone is projected to see around 4 million wearable units' shipments, which is a good 33.3 % increase as compared to the last year's figures. After Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, etc. new brands are also eyeing big profits from the growing segment.
The most recent brand to enter Indian wearable landscape is Skagen, a Danish brand that operates under Fossil and is known for its clean and minimally designed timepieces. I got a chance to check out Skagen's watches in October 2016, when Fossil entered Indian wearable segment along with brands like Michael Kors.
After almost two years, Skagen has finally introduced two smartwatches under its 'Faslter' series for Indian consumers. Priced between Rs.19,995 to Rs. 21,995, Skagen smartwatches are available across select departmental stores like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle International and other leading watch retail outlets in India.
I used Skagen Falster smartwatch for over a week to find out what it has to offer in terms of features and performance. Here's what I have to say about this beautifully designed Wear OS backed smartwatch.
Design: Clean and Minimal design
The best thing about Skagen Falster series smartwatches is their simplistic and clean design, which most of the smartwatch makers fail to deliver. The smartwatches in Falster series are aesthetically very balanced and look uncluttered. The company sent the Black leather variant that looks quite sophisticated and streamlined. It is one of the most appealing smartwatch I have tested in a while. Falster smartwatch looks and feels even better than some of the recent launches in the segment like Huawei Smartwatch 2, Samsung Gear S2, etc.
The smartwatch features a simple and visually balanced full-round touchscreen dial, which when combined with Black or Brown leather straps can be easily worn in office and social gatherings. The dial is made up of stainless steel but feels quite lightweight on wrist. There's just one physical button, placed at 3 o'clock position, which can be pressed once to open the main menu and a long press triggers the Google Assistant. It would have been great to operate the watch's settings menu with this hardware button, but it's just not possible on Falster.
Choose between Black and Brown Leather Straps
The straps are made up of good quality leather and feel quite soft. But then, the wear and tear signs are clearly visible in just a week's usage.
Overall, Falster 42mm smartwatch is one of the most strikingly appealing smartwatch in the market today. Skagen follows Danish design principles and it clearly shows in the look and feel of Falster series smartwatches. The Falster smartwatch is well suited for almost every kind of occasion. Last but not the least; the smartwatch is also IP67 certified, which means you can also take a dip in pool on a hot Sunday afternoon without worrying much about the electronic timepiece.
Display: Vibrant and Touch Responsive
Skagen Falster sports a circular AMOLED display, which is surrounded by thick bezels. Resultant, the display size looks a bit cramped as compared to other smartwatches but it still offers a good real-estate to comfortably use the touch screen. One solid reason for good real-estate despite thick bezels is the placement of ambient sensor and display drivers at the back side. Hence, Skagen Falster's screen is not marred by the ‘Shelf' or as other calls it the Flat Tyre effect.
The screen itself is vibrant and crisp. The dial is quite touch responsive. The high pixel density of the touchscreen dial enables crystal clear text and icons. The motion sensors work accurately and you just need to tilt the wrist to check time, date and other important information.
Wear OS 1.0 and Interface
Running on Wear OS, previously called as Google Wear, Skagen Falster maintains an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface. Just like the minimal hardware design, the watch also has a cleaner and approachable interface. Everything works on left/right and up/down swipes. You can press the crown button and swipe to navigate between important settings.
The pre-loaded dials are informative without adding unnecessary clutter. You can also download unlimited extra watch faces as per your liking. You can try B-Sidz, Electron and the premium version of Calendar Watch face which are informative and looks really cool on the Falster's circular dial face.
Features and compatibility
Powered by Wear OS, Skagen Falster is injected with the regular dose of smartness. The smartwatch can wirelessly connect to your smartphone and show incoming calls, texts, and emails on your wrist. It can track your steps, your calories intake and also monitor your sleep pattern. Equipped with Google Fit app, you also get a long list of workouts and sports activities that the smartwatch can monitor. The list includes aerobic, badminton, baseball, basketball, biking, etc. However, you have to keep your phone with you for outdoor activities, as Skagen hasn't included a built-in GPS in Falster smartwatches. More so, you will also not see a dedicated heart rate sensor and speakers on this Smartwatch.
Nevertheless, you can control music on your device through third-party apps from Google Play. You can also check alarms, reminders, agenda of the day, your contacts and even open Gppgle Play Store on the watch itself. The smartwatch also supports voice commands powered by the Google Assistant. There's no Vo2 max measurement tool, but then, only a handful of smartwatches come with such serious tracking features.
As far as compatibility is concerned, Skagen Falster is compatible with iOS 9.0+/Phone 5+ and Android devices running Android 4.4 and above.
Battery and Hardware Performance
While I can make peace with the lack of heart rate sensor and speakers, I would still want my smartwatches' battery to last at least a week on a single charge, irrespective of the fact that I connect it with my phone or not. Sadly, Skagen Falster fails to last that long. The 300 mAh battery can survive for max three days if you do not pair it with you phone. The smartwatch can only last a day (even less) when connected with a phone and also takes a considerable time to reach 100 % battery mark.
As far as other performance parameters are concerned, I did not face any issues with Falster as the Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor mated with 512MB of RAM took care of everything very well.
By now, you must have figured it out that the first touchscreen smartwatch series from Skagen is all about design and ease of use. The two products in the Falster series are strikingly appealing and come out as the best options for consumers who prefer looks over features. The company has successfully blended the simple and minimal hardware design with modern software. The smartwatch also features a vibrant AMOLED display and comes with an easy-to-use interface.
What comes as a disappointment is the lack of some important features like heart rate sensor, built-in GPS and speakers. And as far as battery backup is concerned, let's just agree that the day is still very far for this world to see a smartwatch that puts a smile on our faces with its battery performance.
Overall, Skagen Falster is not for hardcore sports enthusiasts. It's an aesthetically designed smartwatch for young urban generation, who wants to sport a smart timepiece in office meetings, parties and during weekend physical activities.