Skagen Falster 2 hands-on review

The most beautiful smartwatch? Skagen wins again with the Falster 2

Skagen’s delightful Falster 2 puts an end to the misconception that smartwatches have to be big, ugly pieces of tech.
Skagen’s delightful Falster 2 puts an end to the misconception that smartwatches have to be big, ugly pieces of tech.
Skagen’s delightful Falster 2 puts an end to the misconception that smartwatches have to be big, ugly pieces of tech.

Highs

  • Beautiful minimalist design
  • Metal loop strap is classy
  • Perfectly-sized screen
  • NFC and GPS built-in

Lows

  • Snapdragon 2100 is dated
  • Battery life concerns

This year we’re being spoiled for choice when it comes to visually-interesting smartwatches, and if it’s subtlety and minimalism you’re after, let your gaze settle on the Skagen Falster 2. The first Skagen touchscreen smartwatch was only released at the beginning of the year, so it’s a surprise to see the sequel so soon.  Not much has changed visually, and the reason for the update is to add more technology to make the watch more versatile.

More buttons

The design is not devoid of change though. There are two buttons flanking the crown, providing quick access to different functions, and the crown is now interactive — which means you can twist it to scroll through Google’s Wear OS. It’s a big improvement over the previously touchscreen-only interaction with the operating system. It feels delicate, and even though we’re talking about a small button on your wrist, turning it with your thumb is comfortable.

The 1.2-inch screen sounds small, but as we’ve seen on models like the Tag Heuer Modular Connected 41, it’s a great size for a smartwatch. The screen is also excellent, appearing to sit almost on the surface of the glass. There’s almost no bezel, the bar-like horns are simple, and there are no major design flourishes.

Another alteration is the addition of a mesh-style bracelet with a magnetic clasp. It’s very Skagen in its minimalism. No buckles spoiling the basic design here. Although the bracelet looks beautiful on, it’s a pain to get it there on your own due to the short upper section and over-eager magnet making it hard to wrangle solo.

If it’s subtlety and minimalism you’re after, let your gaze settle on the Skagen Falster 2.

If the Diesel smartwatch is beast, then the Falster 2 is beauty. It’s unbelievably delicate on the wrist, to the point where we question whether it’s too delicate. It’s reminiscent of the original Huawei Watch, which also embraced minimalism, but took on some character with the larger case. Skagen has slimmed down the case considerably, making the Falster 2 edge closer to the style of a dress watch. It’s almost the opposite of the Diesel On Full Guard 2.5, and looks positively ordinary next to the Casio Pro Trek Smart.

Many will see this as a positive, but there are others who look at the Falster 2 and want something a little more, well, interesting. We’re overjoyed at this alteration in the world of smartwatches. It’s a big step forward, as we’re getting more varied designs that appeal to many different types of watch fan. For the Falster 2, we also like that in addition to the mesh band and stainless steel case model, there’s a blacked-out version with a black leather strap. Stealth or style, your choice.

New tech

How about the new technology? The Falster 2 has GPS, NFC, greater water resistance, and a heart rate sensor. Add the new version of Wear OS (which will arrive as an update at a later time) and you’ve got a desirable package. The battery is a concern, as it’s the same capacity as the first Falster, which delivered woeful standby battery life and often lasted less than a day.

Skagen Falster 2 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Falster 2 also shares the same Snapdragon 2100 processor, which also raises concerns about the new watch not providing improved battery life. Qualcomm’s expected to release a new wearable processor in September, and we wish Skagen would have delayed the Falster 2’s release to make use of the chip. That being said, we haven’t tried out the Falster 2’s GPS or heart rate sensor yet, or experimented with the battery life yet.

If you look at the Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 and couldn’t imagine wearing anything so in-your-face, you’ll probably have hearts in your eyes as you stare at the Skagen Falster 2. It goes on sale starting September 12, and will cost from $275 depending on the strap. This is good timing for shrewd potential buyers, as we get to see what Qualcomm will show off at its event on September 10, before making any final buying decision. The good news for Skagen is the Falster 2’s appeal is not the technology, but the delightful design.

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