Smartwatches are still not as popular as their manufacturers would want them to be, especially smartwatches for Android. There could be a lot of reasons for that, from their price tags, to the fact people don't find them too useful. In some cases, people don't like the design of a particular smartwatch, its OS.
Well, smartwatches are much more appealing these days, as they look a lot better than they used to. Software that runs on them has also improved drastically. Smartwatches nowadays can look just as well as your regular premium watches, and the Skagen Falster 3 is the sheer proof of that. If you're into watches in general, chances are you've heard of Skagen. The company has been manufacturing watches for a long time, and they've been in the smartwatch business for a while now as well.
The Skagen Falster 3 is the company's pride and joy, at the moment, and it is a great watch. This smartwatch has been on my wrist for a while now, and I'm ready to share my thoughts with you. If you've been planning on getting a smartwatch in the near future, this one sure is worth considering. Read on if you're interested.
Industrial design + stainless steel = a great-looking & well-built smartwatch
The Skagen Falster 3 is made out of stainless steel. I initially thought it's aluminum, but it's not, and that's a good thing. I've reviewed the Gunmetal Gauge Mesh variant of the watch, which also comes with a stainless steel strap. That is a mesh strap, and if you like smartwatch bands made out of metal, you'll love this one. More on that later, though. The watch sports that industrial design, which I appreciate a lot, though that's a matter of preference.
This variant of the watch is gray-colored, or as Skagen calls it 'Gunmetal' color. It's essentially a dark-gray watch, and that color looks really nice. The watch has a circular display with some bezels around it, but that's not something that'll bother you too much. There are three buttons on the side, as you can see. Those three buttons are a bit smaller than I thought, as is the watch itself. That's not a bad thing, though, as I have not accidentally pressed any of them during the review period.
The rotating crown is really well-optimized.
I thought that I'll do that quite often, considering the positioning of the main button, but that did not happen. If that button ended up being larger, I'm sure I would have pressed it, a number of times. Speaking of which, that button also doubles as a rotating crown. You can navigate WearOS by rotating it up and down, and it feels great. It is a bit small for my fingers, but it's still really grippy and a joy to use. Every watch should have a rotating crown or rotating bezel, period.
The buttons above and below it are customizable, and that's a great thing. Different people prefer different things, so you can tweak those the way you want. All three buttons are clicky, though I'd prefer a bit more travel, to be quite honest. The Falster 3 is 11mm thick, by the way. This watch is not heavy, not at all. The band itself does add some heft to it, but not too much. Speaking of which, let's talk about that band, shall we.
Skagen did a nice job with this mesh strap
The mesh strap that comes with this variant of the watch is… well, it's nice. It does add some heft to the watch, if that's what you prefer, and it's quite comfortable to wear. It looks really nice in person, and it comes with a quick-release mechanism, so you can take it off with ease, without any tools. Speaking of which, this is a 22mm watch band, and you can replace it with any other watch back you want.
The connecting points on the Skagen Falster 3 are compatible with pretty much any watch band out there. This watch band comes with a clasp that can be moved alongside the longer part of the band. The company calls this whole mechanism the 'Single Prong Strap Closure'. You will probably need to move it in order to find the right fit for your wrist. It's really easy to do that, as well. All you have to do is detach it from the band (you'll need a small piece of metal in order to do so), move it, and attach it once again. The mechanism will be familiar to those of you who used such bands before. If you haven't, it's really not a problem to use. Once you find the right fit, you won't have to mess with it again.
The display is plenty sharp, and quite usable outdoors as well
The Skagen Falster 3 features a 1.3-inch (328 x 328) AMOLED display. That is a circular display, as I've already mentioned. There is some bezel around it, but not by much, and many of you won't mind that. The display itself is more than good enough. The colors on it are quite good, for a smartwatch, and it does get bright enough outdoors. It's also sharp enough, I don't have any complaints regarding that.
As long as you keep in mind that this is a smartwatch display, and don't expect miracles, you'll be happy with it. The touch response is also great. Some smartwatches in the market have issues in that regard, but not the Skagen Falster 3. The watch managed to follow along without a problem, and registered (almost) every tap as it should. I really don't have any complaints when it comes to touch response here, and that is quite important. All in all, this display won't disappoint you.
The Skagen Falster 3 is one of the best-performing WearOS smartwatches
Now, you probably know that WearOS-based smartwatches don't have the best track record when it comes to performance. That's something I've been concerned about before I started using the Falster 3. Luckily, my concerns were completely not needed. The Skagen Falster 3 offers great performance, to say the least. The watch followed along brilliantly, without the lagginess that was and is present in so many other smartwatches. I did spot a couple of bugs, but they weren't all that annoying, more on that later.
There is only so much you can ask a smartwatch to do, though, of course. I did not run any games on the watch, because… well, it's a watch. Don't play games on a watch, just don't. For everything else, though, it's good to go. No matter whether you use it as a remote for podcast / music listening, reading tons of notifications, messing around with various watch face styles, or whatever else.
The best performance I've seen in a WearOS watch
The watch managed to do all that without a problem, the same goes for the fitness side of things as well. It also delivered every notification that arrived, even though I did notice one or two disconnects, though they were quite brief. I don't know what happened there, but it did not affect anything. I felt compelled to mention it, though. The watch is equipped with the Snapdragon Wear 3100, and 1GB of RAM, which is plenty enough to make this watch feel smooth in terms of performance. Skagen did some software tweaking as well, for sure.
The rotating dial on the right is a home run for Skagen. That is something every smartwatch should have, that, or a rotating bezel. Navigating the UI using it feels natural, fun, and just… well, right. It's well-optimized, and it reacts to rotations brilliantly. Scrolling through your notification cards using it feels much better than swiping across the display, at least it did for me. Also, you'll be leaving less fingerprints on the display that way.
There are a couple of bugs in WearOS, though
There are a couple of additional, small issues I'd like to mention, though. In addition to several disconnects, which were not all annoying, as the watch connected itself almost instantly, I've spotted two small bugs. On occasion, I was unable to use the rotating dial in order to access the quick settings panel, or notifications. I had to turn off the display, and then power it on in order to do that. The second bug has to do with notification cards. It happened only several times, but a notification card didn't cover the whole display, only like 80-percent of it. It did not affect its usage or anything, but it's worth noting either way.
In any case, you will not be disappointed when it comes to the performance here. The Skagen Falster 3 does have a couple of bugs, but those are WearOS bugs it seems, and chances are you won't be annoyed by them. In fact, the Skagen Falster 3 is the best-performing WearOS watch I've ever used.
You will never have to charge this watch in the middle of the day
What good is a watch if you have to charge it in the middle of the day, right? Well, that won't be the case with the Skagen Falster 3, thankfully. This smartwatch will give you more than a day's worth of battery life, though that will all depend on your usage. We're sure that some users can get two days' worth of battery life from this watch, on a standard battery setting. More on that later.
We've managed to get a day an a half, tops. Do note that the heart rate sensor was turned out when not working out. The same goes for an NFC chip, when not using it directly, I turned it off. The location toggle was on the whole time during my testing. With that in mind, I used the watch for listening to music and podcasts, quite a bit, but via a Bluetooth connection, not directly from the watch. I also used it to read various notifications throughout the day, and quickly replied to some of them.
I was able to get a day and a half worth of battery life, on average
I'm not really a fitness-obsessed person, so I used the watch for that aspect several times only for review purposes. Using the heart rate sensor does increase battery drain a little bit, that much I did notice. After several weeks of use, I've managed to get a battery life of about a day and a half, on average. So, one example is, I charged the watch over night and took it off the charger at 7 am in the morning. it managed to last until around 4-5 pm the next day, until it died. That, of course, varied from one day to the next, but I got about a day and a half.
In the last couple of days of my usage, I charged it before going to bed every night. That way, I knew it will last the whole next day no matter what I do, so that worked for me. You may prefer a different regime. Now, that is its battery life with a standard battery mode. There are several of them you can try, though. Those are the same battery modes that you'll find on the Fossil Gen 5, by the way. The Daily mode keeps everything on at all times. The extended mode turns on only essential features when you need them, while the time only mode displays the time only (5-7 days worth of battery in this mode). The custom mode lets you turn on or off any sensors you wish, which is what I've been using and referred to it as 'standard'.
Wireless charging is, unfortunately, not available
Now, in regards to charging. This watch ships with a small charging dock that has pogo pins. The watch magnetizes to the dock, and charges without a problem. That dock is extremely small, and truth be said, I'd prefer wireless charging. The Skagen Falster 3 is quite pricey, so the inclusion of wireless charging would have been justified. I do hope that it will be included next time around.
That charging dock is extremely light, so it fell down my night stand quite a few times. It also feels a bit cheap, to be honest, but you can't really expect much out of a small charging dock that is made out of plastic. The thing is, it worked well, and that's all that matters. The watch also charges rather fast via that charging dock, I didn't really time it, but I put it on a charger with 20-40% of battery life left, took a shower, and it was already over 70-80-percent.
Heart rate sensor, GPS, NFC & water resistance are all accounted for
The Skagen Falster 3 does feature a heart rate sensor, and the same goes for GPS and an NFC chip. On top of that, it is 3ATM water resistant as well. That being said, it's equipped with pretty much every sensor you'd want in a smartwatch. The best of all, all of these function really well. The heart rate sensor worked just as well as any other we've tried out on a smartwatch, and the same goes for NFC.
We haven't really had any issues with GPS either. It managed to pick up a signal fairly quickly and it was consistent in holding it when needed. We haven't really pushed the limits when it comes to water resistance, but I did get it wet during a rainstorm, and that did not damage it in any way.
Its speaker is more than usable, and the same goes for a microphone
Now, when it comes to smartwatches, there's really not much to talk about when it comes to audio. Speakers on smartwatches, if they're included, are usually not that good. Well, the Skagen Falster 3's is better than most in that regard. That speaker is a bit tinny, but not to the extent of other smartwatch speakers we've had the chance of using. It's perfectly fine for listening to what Google Assistant has to say. You can even take calls on this watch, if that's something you'd want.
Do note that a SIM card is not included on the watch, so you can take calls from your phone, but using your watch, via Bluetooth. The microphone is perfectly usable as well, just don't expect miracles. You can even connect a pair of Bluetooth earphones to the watch directly, and listen to music via the watch, instead of via your phone. That feature comes in quite handy if you're out on a run and don't want to take your phone with you. All in all, the Skagen Falster 3 delivers when it comes to audio.
The Skagen Falster 3 is, without a doubt, one of the best smartwatches in the market
So, what's the gist? Well, truth be told, the Skagen Falster 3 is the best WearOS watch I've used. WearOS itself can be quite buggy, and we have talked about several bugs on the Falster 3, but that's nowhere near what we've seen before. That aside, the Skagen Falster 3 has plenty to offer. Its build quality is great, while the battery life is quite good, for a WearOS watch. It includes all the sensors that you may need in a smartwatch as well, and all of those work as they should. Truth be said, the Skagen Falster 3 could be more affordable, and offer wireless charging while it's at it… but other than that, this is a great watch. If you're planning on purchasing a WearOS-powered smartwatch, the Skagen Falster 3 is amongst the best you can get, if not the best one.