The Skagen Falster Gen 6 is part of Fossil’s recently launched line of smartwatches. With Falster Gen 6, the watch gets faster performance thanks to the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ platform. There are also shorter charging times, higher power consumption and updated health sensors, including the addition of SpO2 monitoring.
Out-of-the-box features include standalone GPS support, NFC for payments, built-in speaker and microphone for calls, and anything you’d expect from a modern fitness smartwatch, such as heart rate monitoring, workout and sleep tracking, and continuous heart rate monitoring .
Like the Falster 3, this smartwatch maintains a sleek and minimalist design, with a case measuring just 42mm and a 20mm strap that you can replace yourself. There are five finished products to choose from, each with a woven metal or leather strap.
The new Skagen Falster, along with other Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches, will ship with Wear OS 2.3 out of the box and will be eligible to receive the Wear OS 3 update sometime in the second half of the year.
Unbox, design and build
The Skagen Falster Gen 6 comes with an adjustable wrist strap. The included fast charger can charge the Falster Gen 6’s battery to 80% in half an hour.
The Falster Gen 6 looks a lot like the Falster 3. The difference is that the body is slightly thicker, but the case is basically the same: a round design, a thin bezel, and a minimalist yet sleek look. The case is made of stainless steel or nylon, depending on the finish. Likewise, the Falster Gen 6 can swim at 3 ATM.
The three-button setup includes a rotary home button that can be used to scroll through menus and lists on the watch. The other two buttons are programmable to open an app or start a workout.
The spin button is a nice feature. It scrolls smoothly and is a great way to read notifications without blocking them with your fingers. Unlike previous iterations, scrolling applies to all menus and apps. For example, in Google Maps, turning the home button zooms in and out.
The display is a 1.28-inch AMOLED panel with a resolution of 326ppi and a circular resolution of 416×416 pixels. Animations are smooth and the screen is very bright. When set to automatic brightness, there are three levels of adjustment or one of five levels in manual brightness adjustment.
This watch is a stylish piece of jewelry, and I wouldn’t say the same about most smartwatches. That’s the approach Skagen takes, and you’ll see this when we dig into the watch’s software.
Wear OS and Fitness
The Falster ships with Wear OS 2.3 out of the box, and Fossil confirmed that the Wear OS 3 update is expected to come to its 6th-gen lineup. Providing a rough estimate for H2 2022, Fossil explained that it’s currently working to keep the user experience on Wear OS 3 consistent with the current Wear OS version. The model I reviewed was running pre-retail firmware, which I only attribute to Google Pay not working yet. Otherwise, the firmware is stable.
Fossil’s approach to Wear OS with Gen 6 hasn’t changed much from Gen 5. The best way to describe it: Stock Wear OS with some added health features and fashion-forward watch faces.
Many aspects have been customized for Fossil, such as custom charging animations, custom watch faces with Skagen branding, Fossil’s Wellness app and Saved Faces app. The highlight of the watch software is the customization of the dial and its color scheme.
With nearly two dozen Skagen watch faces, you can customize the color scheme of these watch faces as deeply as you want. Some watch faces have fully customizable colors, allowing you to swipe across the color spectrum and then adjust the intensity of the color.
Fossil watches are set up differently by default than other brands. First, enable the always-on feature, and disable the elevated wake-up feature. This makes it feel more like a traditional watch, as the time is always visible, but the screen doesn’t wake up or change when the watch is moved. Touching or pressing a button on the watch will still wake it.
Raise your wrist for a short while to show you an alert when a notification arrives. Always-on might not be the best way to extend battery life, but Fossil has a philosophy on battery life for its watches, which we’ll cover in the battery section.
Saved Faces is a feature that allows you to save and recall watch faces and their color settings to match your outfit.
Fossil’s fitness methods are all done through the Wellness app on the watch. The smartphone doesn’t have a “health” companion app, it’s designed to sync with a Google Fit account. The Wellness app tracks basic activities (like steps), exercise, sleep, and SpO2 (blood oxygen), and syncs most of it to Google Fit. As of this writing, SpO2 readings can only be called up on the watch itself. Workout and sleep data is synced to Google Fit.
Fitness can be as simple or as complex as you want, which is the demographic of fashion brand smartwatches. The Wellness app tile allows you to quickly start an indoor or outdoor workout. The only difference is that the outdoor workout option will enable GPS tracking, which the Falster Gen 6 can do independently.
If the Wellness app is too simple, just use the Google Fit app that comes pre-installed on the watch. There are more fitness modes for activity tracking.
The metal mesh belt is nice on the Falster Gen 6, but it’s not a comfortable belt for workouts. We would swap out the straps for something more breathable/flexible and better for tracking activities.
Depending on your activity, sometimes the left wrist can trigger the Google Assistant by accidentally long-pressing the home button. Think about it when doing push-ups or warming up your wrists. This happens a lot when I practice yoga, but it’s not uncommon in smartwatches with protruding buttons.
Performance and battery life
Fossil’s 6th generation watches are all designed to last a day or more. The watch is designed to always have the screen on and all fitness and tracking features enabled, which in turn consumes more battery life. To get the best out of your Falster Gen 6’s battery life, you need to incorporate the charging of this watch into your daily routine. That means you’ll still need to carry a charger for weekend trips.
Fossil representatives offer the ideal solution: a battery that lasts all day, with enough headroom to track your sleep until the next morning. Then, when you’re ready for your day, remove the watch and place it on the charger. That’s where fast charging speeds come in.
Falster Gen 6 now charges faster. Fossil promises the watch can be charged to 80 percent in half an hour.
In my experience, battery life is always less than 36 hours. That’s with all the features and all settings out of the box, including the always-on display – that’s how the watch is used.
Battery life with all features turned on
Conclusion and Verdict
All you need to know about the Skagen Falster Gen 6 is that it is a fashion piece first and foremost and everything it does is secondary. That means when comparing it to other smartwatches, it’s not just the specs on paper, but how they look and feel when you’re wearing them.
Consumers who are conscious and familiar with a brand owned by the Fossil Group will not pay attention to how well it does things, or how long it can charge, or how fast it can do it, but will pay attention to this and buy it. Just like they do with bags, belts, or watches—intuitively. The questions they ask are “How does this look to me?” or “How does this make me feel?”.
For $295, you’ll get a sleek and beautiful smartwatch that does everything a modern smartwatch can do, including fitness, sleep tracking, and SpO2 tracking. It also doesn’t require a secondary smartphone app, making the software experience easy.
The Skagen Falster Gen 6 isn’t about any technological innovations or impressive hardware, it’s more about the look and emotion that wearing this watch evokes.
- Durable and stylish design
- Bright and colorful screen
- fast charging
- Highly customizable watch face
- no technological innovation
- mediocre battery life