The Skagen Falster Gen 6 is part of Fossil’s recent lineup of smartwatches. With the Falster Gen 6, the watch gains faster performance thanks to the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ Platform. There are also shorter charging times, improved power consumption, and updated health sensors including the addition of SpO2 monitoring.
Features out of the box include standalone GPS support, NFC for payments, built in speaker and mic for phone calls, and anything you’d expect from a modern fitness smartwatch like heart rate monitoring, workout and sleep tracking, and continuous heart rate monitoring.
Like the Falster 3, this smartwatch keeps the sleek and minimal design, and the watch case only comes in a 42mm size with 20mm straps that are interchangeable for your own. There are five finished to choose from, each with either a woven metal or leather strap.
The new Skagen Falster, along with other Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches, will come with Wear OS 2.3 out of the box, and will be eligible to receive the Wear OS 3 update sometime during the second half of the year.
Unboxing, design, and build
The Skagen Falster Gen 6 comes included with an adjustable wrist strap. The included fast charger can recharge the Falster Gen 6’s battery to 80% in half an hour.
The Falster Gen 6 looks a lot like the Falster 3. The different here is the slightly thicker body, but the watch case is essentially the same: round design with thin bezel and minimal, yet stylish, appearance. The case is made of either stainless steel or nylon depending on the finish. As well, the Falster Gen 6 is swim proof up to 3 ATM.
The three-button setup includes a rotating home button which can be used to scroll through menus and lists on the watch. The other two buttons are programmable to open apps or start a workout.
The rotating button is a nice feature. It scrolls smoothly and it a great way to read notifications without blocking them with your finger. Unlike with previous iterations, scrolling works through all menus and apps. In Google Maps, for instance, turning the home button will zoom in and out.
The display is a 1.28-inch AMOLED panel with 326ppi and has a round resolution of 416×416 px. Animations are smooth and the screen is amply bright. When set to automatic brightness, there are three adjustment levels or set one of five levels in manual brightness adjustment.
The watch is a sleek piece of jewelry, and I wouldn’t say that about most smartwatches. This is the approach that Skagen is going for and you’ll see this as we dig into the watch’s software.
Wear OS and fitness
The Falster comes with Wear OS 2.3 out of the box and Fossil confirms that the Wear OS 3 update is expected for its Gen 6 lineup. A rough estimate of H2 2022 was offered and Fossil explains that it is currently working to keep the user experience on Wear OS 3 as consistent as it is on the current Wear OS version. The model I reviewed was running pre-retail firmware and I only attribute that 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 is: Stock Wear OS with some added wellness features and fashion-forward watch faces.
There are many aspects that are customized for Fossil such as the custom charging animation, custom watch faces which feature Skagen’s branding, Fossil’s Wellness app, and the Saved Faces app. The highlight of the watch’s software is in the customization of the watch faces and their color schemes.
There are almost two dozen Skagen watch faces, and you can deeply customize the color schemes of these watch faces to your heart’s content. Some watch faces have fully customizable colors that will let you slide over the whole color spectrum and then adjust the color’s intensity.
The way that a Fossil watch is set up by default is different than other brands’ approaches. To start, the always-on feature is enabled, and the raise-to-wake is disabled. This makes it feel more like a traditional watch in that the time is always visible, but the screen won’t wake or change when the watch is moved about. Touching or pressing a button on the watch will still wake it.
When a notification arrives, there’s a short window of time where raising your wrist will show you the alert. Always-on perhaps isn’t the best approach for battery life, but Fossil has a certain philosophy with regards to battery life of its watches, which we’ll cover in the battery section.
Saved Faces is a feature that lets you save, and recall watch faces and their color settings to match your outfits.
Fossil’s approach to Fitness is all done through its Wellness app on the watch. There is no “Wellness” companion app for the smartphone, and it was designed to be synchronized with a Google Fit account. The Wellness app can track basic activity (like steps) workouts, sleep, and SpO2 (Blood Oxygen), and will sync most to Google Fit. As of this writing, SpO2 readings can only be pulled up on the watch itself. Workouts and sleep data are sync’d to Google Fit.
Fitness can be as simple or as complex as you want, and that’s on the demographic for a fashion brand’s smartwatch. The Wellness app tile lets you quickly start either 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 stand-alone.
If the Wellness app is too simple, just use the Google Fit apps that are preloaded to the watch instead. There is way more fitness modes for activity tracking.
The metal mesh bands are nice on the Falster Gen 6, but it is not a comfortable band for working out in. We’d swap the band out for a more breathable/flexible one that’d be more ideal for activities to track.
Depending on your activity, sometimes the left wrist can trigger the Google Assistant via an accidental long-press of the home button. Think when doing a pushup or warming up the wrists. This happens with me often during yoga workouts, though isn’t uncommon with smartwatches that have protruding buttons.
Performance and battery life
Fossil’s Gen 6 watches are all intended to last a single day and maybe a bit more. The watch is intended to have always-on screen and all the fitness and tracking features enabled, which – in turn – consumes more battery life. To have the best experience with the Falster Gen 6’s battery life, you’ll need to incorporate charging this watch into your daily routine. That means you’ll still need to bring the charger along for a weekend trip.
A Fossil rep offered the following scenario as the ideal: The battery lasts all day with enough to spare for tracking your sleep into the next morning. Then, you take the watch off and drop it on the charger while you get ready for your day. This is where the fast-charging speed comes in.
The Falster Gen 6 features even quicker charging now. Fossil promises the watch can recharge to 80% in only half an hour.
In my experience, battery life always lasted just under 36 hours. This is with all features turned on and all the settings out of the box including always-on display – this is how the watch was intended to be used.
Battery life with all features turned on
Conclusion and verdict
What you need to know about the Skagen Falster Gen 6 is that it’s a fashion piece first and everything else it does is secondary. This means that when comparing it to other smartwatches, there are not only the specs on paper, but the way they watches look and feel when you wear them.
Instead of focusing on how well it does things, or how long it can go on a charge, or how fast it can do things, the consumer who has awareness and familiarity for brands under the Fossil Group will look at this and shop for it the same way they would for a bag, or a belt, or a watch – with intuition. The kinds of questions they are asking are “How does this look on me?” or “How does this make me feel?”.
The price of $295 will get you a sleek and nice-looking smartwatch that does everything a modern smartwatch can do including fitness, sleep tracking, and SpO2 tracking. It also keeps the software experience easy by not needing a secondary smartphone app.
The Skagen Falster Gen 6 does not make any technological innovations or impressive hardware, it’s more about the looks and the emotion invoked by wearing this time piece.
- Durable and stylish design
- Bright and colorful screen
- Fast charging
- Highly customizable watch faces
- Not technologically innovative
- Mediocre battery life