Skagen Falster 3 X by KYGO smartwatch review

Introduction

Skagen is really a Danish life style brand that has been making watches for 30 years. Though the brand finds it self under the Fossil Group of watch brands – it brings a unique style. Skagen’s watches are regarded as minimal, yet trendy and functional. This is precisely how I’d describe the Skagen Falster 3 smartwatch.

The latest edition of the watch is together with premium audio lifestyle brand X by KYGO. Unique to this edition is the matte black wrist strap watching body. The wrist strap carries the KYGO “X” and you get some good exclusive watch faces. The Falster’s over all design is more refined with the 3rd generation, however it does share the same key traits with the first iteration: a round, flat watch body with floating lug ends.

Skagen Falster 3 specs and features:

  • Case: 42mm metal watchcase with matte black finish; 11mm thick
  • Display: 1.3″ round OLED screen; 416×416 px; 328 ppi
  • Battery: 310 mAh; magnetic pin fast-charger
  • Weight: 41g (without straps)
  • Strap size: 22mm; interchangeable quick-release pin
  • OS: Google Wear OS 2.17
  • Chipset: Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • Memory: 8GB ROM; 1GB RAM
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth v4.2 + LE; Wi-FI 802.11n; NFC
  • Misc: 3 ATM water resistance as much as 30 meters; Google Pay, Google Fit,
  • Compatibility: Android or iOS (with limited features)

Aside from the solid design and looks of the Falster 3, there’s little else that sets it apart from other Wear OS watches. It’s worth noting that there is not any shortage of features – the Falster 3 has fitness tracking, heart-rate monitoring, standalone GPS, NFC for Google Pay, rapid charging, a built-in speaker, and a microphone. There’s a plethora of sensors including altimeter, ambient light, and gyroscope. There is no cellular-enabled variant of the Falster 3.

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The Skagen Falster 3 has a retail price of $295, that is on the high end for a Wear OS smartwatch, so let us find out what the Falster 3 offers and when this trendy package will probably be worth it.

Design and display

The Falster 3’s Danish styling is minimal and attractive. The watchcase is round and flat – measuring at 42mm in diameter and 11mm of thickness. The lug ends (where the wristband attaches) floats outward, gives the Falster its unique look. The watch case is made of metal and regarding the X KYGO Edition of the Falster 3, it’s matte black every thing.

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The 1.3-inch OLED screen includes a thin bezel around it, and the fit of the glass around the case is tight, but there’s still a small groove that will sometimes get gunked up with food or debris. On the left side is a slot for the loudspeaker, and the right side has a total of three buttons. The microphone can also be on the proper side, and a noise-reducing mic at the top of the case.

The middle button doubles as a rotating crown, and can be utilized for scrolling through the app menu or looking through recent notifications. The other two buttons could be customized for shortcuts.

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The back of the case is also black, save for the charging interface and the heart rate sensor. The charging interface consists of two contact rings that allow the magnetic charger work in just about any orientation. This charger has received issues in previous versions of the Falster, but I haven’t experienced any in the time I’ve used the Falster 3.

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The X KYGO variant of the watch has a silicone strap that features the KYGO “X” on the wearer’s side of the band, and a white strap loop (also with branding) accents the all-black look of the watch.

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The glass and watch human body are both built sturdily. Its stainless-steel body and matte finish are strong and durable. I was installing a fresh dishwasher and was underneath the sink wearing it and I realized I forgot to remove it before I jammed my hand past some pipes. I was sure that I scraped it up, however it turned out there is not a scratch on it. Watches go through plenty of rough use and predicated on my time with this watch, I have the impression it’s built to last like a real watch.

Features, controls, and Wear OS

Wear OS isn’t at exactly the same level as other wearable platforms from Samsung, Apple, or Fitbit. There’s still a level of polish missing from Wear OS but who knows how long it will likely be before Google revamps the interface. A significant update is not only expected, it’s long overdue. Google does seem to be focusing on it, so hopefully we’ll see it by the end with this year.

With nevertheless, there are a handful of things that do let the Falster stand out among other Wear OS alternatives. Although Skagen isn’t the sole watchmaker to complete it, the rotating crown does add another layer of precise navigation through the duration of Wear OS. Of course, you still need to tap on the screen to select.

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The other worthy feature could be the Battery Modes that are included in the UI. This makes it simple to customize exactly what battery-consuming features are enabled or disabled and never having to dig through menus. The “Daily” mode turns on most features and is intended to recharge every night. Then there’s “Extended Mode” which claims its “intended for charging every few days”.

There’s a “Time only” mode that’s supposed to last a week. It’s a super low-power mode which will only show the time for a brief moment when you press the side key.

A customizable mode lets you select exactly which features are on/off. You can also set a time (probably overnight) you want the Watch’s Bluetooth to be switched off.

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Strangely, none of the included battery profiles range from the tilt-to-wake option enabled by default. Perhaps this is how Skagen intends the ability of the Falster – you can still raise the watch to see notifications the moment the watch buzzes however it won’t awaken the watch until you touch the screen or press a button otherwise.

There are three buttons on the Falster 3. The top, center, and lower button. The upper and lower buttons could be programmed to do something as app shortcuts. The top one defaults to the watch face styles shortcut, and the lower one defaults to Google Fit. The middle button will always behave as Home/App drawer while press-holding this button will call Google Assistant. The rotating crown enables you to scroll through lists or notifications and it is worth mentioning that rotating the crown won’t wake the watch.

I’d suggest Skagen to add a long-press choice to the customizable buttons to help you add two more app shortcuts. They might as well do double duty since they do not do whatever else.

One issue I kept experiencing was that I would get the watch to own no connection after wearing it for some hours. You need to make sure that Wear OS is whitelisted in your phone’s battery-saving settings. However, there are other times when the watch is updated with music get a handle on and notifications, but still shows as is if it absolutely was disconnected. This happens mostly after removing the watch out for the night and putting it on each morning.

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As I write this very text, my attempts to go in to the Settings to reboot the watch have rendered both touchscreen and rotating crown unresponsive for at least 10 seconds. Rebooting the watch had no effect on the half-disconnected Bluetooth, so I tried to reboot the host smartphone once I disabled battery optimizations to the Wear OS app on Android.

In the finish, it appears that it is a long-time problem of Wear OS since the last major update in 2018. A combination of restarting the watch and ensuring the Wear OS app is open on my OnePlus 8 Pro generally seems to fix the bug for a bit. This occasionally happens after I just take the watch off for the night.

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A platform that’s been around this long has no excuse being this buggy. This has nothing in connection with Skagen, this really is more regarding the inner workings of Google and how it controls Wear OS updates across all brands. The added battery saving features and watch face customization from Skagen is fantastic, but it is a shame the OS it runs on still is like it should be a Beta product.

I’m reminded with this every time I set up a Wear OS device. The setup process can be glitchy, slow, with lots of stuttering – which does not create a great first impression to any consumer.

Fitness, performance, and battery life

The Skagen Falster 3 has a continuous heart-rate monitor and integrated GPS for logging runs, bike rides, or in any manner that you want to work through using Google Fit. Fit on Wear OS has improved a great deal over the years however it still has some catching up to do compared to other fitness-oriented platforms, or Apple and Samsung’s Health platforms.

I do a large amount of yoga and I like having the ability to track my heart rate with the Falster 3. The heart rate monitor works consistently, and its reading doesn’t jump around around I’ve seen with other Wear OS watches. I’ve also tracked biking and walking sessions with the Falster 3 using Google Fit.

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The band that the watch comes with isn’t ideal for fitness. I do not love the included wriststrap, but I really do love that I can easily swap it for the best 22mm fitness band. The watch it self doesn’t extrude that it will be intended for fitness. Just take into account that it does not have a raised bezel, so the glass could be more prone to damage in more extreme sports.

The watch is quick and snappy generally, but there is certainly room to optimize the OS. This is despite the watch running the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset. The 1GB of RAM keeps the OS responsive and the 8GB of onboard storage is a welcome addition. However, with Google Music now being eliminated to in the course of time be replaced by YouTube Music, there is no longer a music platform for Wear OS that officially enables you to save music for offline listening.

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The Falster 3 has a 310 mAh battery, and it shares the same capacity with other Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches. Sadly, battery life on the Falster 3 just isn’t strong. The Battery Modes do ensure it is really easy to increase your battery life by flipping off features you don’t use.

If I workout for approximately an hour, it normally depletes about 30-35% of battery, which is a huge chunk of the day, gone. Keep at heart that whether you work-out or maybe not, you can expect – with certainty – that you will have to charge the Falster 3 every single day.

The great news is that the magnetic charger on this watch is quick. Two pins on the rear make contact with two metallic rings around the charger, so you can slap the charger onto the rear without having to line it up. I found the charger to work efficiently and it recharged the Faslter 3 quickly.

From a depleted battery, I was able to recharge the Falster 3 to 42% in two an hour, and 94% after 1 hour – reaching a complete charge just a couple of minutes later.

Verdict, pros and cons

The Falster 3 is one of the most useful performing Wear OS smartwatches available today. That said, other platforms like Samsung Tizen and Apple’s watchOS are far in front of Google’s Wear OS, and we wish that would change. Wear OS has a large amount of potential, but Google isn’t harnessing it.

The Falster 3 is a minimalist smartwatch if I’ve ever seen one. Its design is minimal and elegant, and I prefer the matte-black-everything theme. Software is as expected from Wear OS: unpolished. Battery life leaves too much to be desired, as well. The crown is really a nice touch, but its implementation had not been 100% planned.

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Fossil is on Gen 5 of its smartwatches, and the Fossil Group’s family of brands has enough success to help keep selling trendy watches that run on the Wear OS platform. The Skagen Falster is a nice-looking watch that will handle the casual workout occasionally, but if you should be after a more fitness-focused experience, you might want to look elsewhere – and you will find cheaper options.

Pros:

  • Stylish and elegant design
  • Battery Modes are a useful way to get a handle on what uses battery
  • Charges quickly
  • Supports interchangeable bands
  • Rotating crown

Cons:

  • Wear OS
  • Rotating crown fails in all situations
  • Battery life could be better
  • A little pricey



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