Skagen Falster Gen 6 review

Skagen keeps it stylish, but it's another smartwatch calling out for new Wear
Skagen Falster Gen 6
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The Skagen Falster Gen 6 is the latest smartwatch in Fossil's extensive collection of fashion brands to get the full Gen 6 treatment.

Skagen's latest Falster has upgraded internals, most notably, a Qualcomm's Snapdragon 4100+ chipset, which means it can match its looks with slick performance.

Wareable verdict: Fossil Gen 6 in-depth review

That latest Qualcomm tech is key running the latest forthcoming version of Google's Wear OS 3.0, which at the time of writing, remains exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

We've always been big fans of Skagen's approach to smartwatch design, so has it managed to get things up to scratch on the software front, even without Wear OS 3.0?

Priced at $295/£279, the Falster Gen 6 sits alongside the Apple Watch SE, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Fitbit Versa 3 and Huawei Watch GT3 – so it's got its work cut out.

Here's our full verdict on the Skagen Falster Gen 6.

About our review

All of our smartwatch reviews adhere to our strict in-depth testing policy. We test every aspect in-depth, and benchmarking against key competitors so you can make an informed choice. You can read our editorial policy to find out why you can trust Wareable reviews.

Michael Sawh is Wareable's expert and has reviewed nearly every Wear OS smartwatch released over the last decade.

Skagen Falster Gen 6: Design and screen

Design and screen Skagen on wrist

Skagen's Falster smartwatches have remained faithful to the minimalist chic roots of the Scandi fashion brand, and we're happy to say it's more of the same with the Falster Gen 6.

If you're looking for a simple and elegant look to your smartwatches, and one that's light to wear, you'll find plenty to like here.

The Falster Gen 6 comes in six different looks, letting you pick from 20mm stainless steel mesh, leather and silicone straps to match up with the 41mm stainless steel case. It's smaller than the 42mm Falster 3, and it definitely gives it more unisex appeal.

Our midnight black version came partnered up with a soft silicone strap, with a traditional watch buckle that offered up a comfortable fit, and certainly didn't give us any cause to take it off.

Those straps still use the simple pin mechanism to make it easy to remove and replace with new bands if you need to.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 profile

At 11.5mm thick, it's jumped up slightly from the 11mm Falster 3, and while thicker than an Apple Watch, it didn't feel bulky or cumbersome.

The dropdown in case size also affects screen size, where there's now a 1.28-inch, 416 x 416 AMOLED screen, which offers nice accurate colors, good viewing angles indoors and a decent experience outdoors.

There's a thin black bezel around the screen, and while we've definitely seen brighter smartwatch displays on rivals, it's still good enough.

Breaking up the minimal design are the two pusher buttons and watch crown on the right side of the watch case. Those pushers remain customisable, while the crown feels nice to twist to scroll through screens.

The Falster Gen 6 has been slapped with a 3ATM water rating, which means it's suitable for swims and showers, but the latter might wreak havoc activating the screen when the water hits, so it might be one to leave off when you do submerge it.

Skagen Falster Gen 6: Wear OS and smartwatch features

Skagen Falster Gen 6 wear OS menu

The Falster Gen 6 still runs on Wear OS 2, not Wear OS 3.0, which hasn't been released fully. However, it's confirmed that it will get the update when it rolls out later this year.

It has that capability thanks in part to the presence of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 4100+ chipset. That's backed up by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. That's exactly the same setup as Fossil's Gen 6 smartwatch.

The result is a software experience that's satisfyingly zippy to interact with on the whole, but ultimately, is relying on that upgrade to Wear 3.0. And we don't know what that will be like, as yet.

You've got the same gesture-based user interface as Fossil's Gen 6 smartwatch and other Wear OS watches, so you do get some nicer looking Tiles (widgets) and you can swipe up from the main watch screen to see your stream of notifications.

Skagen makes its presence felt through some really lovely looking analogue and digital-style watch faces and the ability to save favourite watch face styles, which feels less useful.

Hit the top physical button and that you get to the Wellness features, which will essentially offers a glanceable look at most recent workout tracking stats, sleep, cardio fitness, blood oxygen and heart rate data.

The presence of those Wellness features feels like a direct response to Google's own clunky suite of Fit apps, which still feel like they are screaming out to be replaced by whatever Google is building with Fitbit to get its fitness tracking features onto Wear OS watches.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 music contros

Outside of Google's apps, there was a handful of third party ones preloaded. The most noteworthy being Spotify, which is all the more useful now thanks to the offer of offline playlist support.

It's easy to set up as well thankfully and doesn't take too long to start streaming or piling your playlists on it. There's also Cardiogram to delve deeper into heart rate insights, though based on our experiences of the heart rate sensor, those insights aren't going to be hugely useful.

Amazon Alexa integration is coming too, we know that because there's an app icon on the watch that tells us that very thing. Until then you've got Google Assistant, which has improved in terms of responsiveness to voice and recognising queries compared to the last time we tested it.

If you want to take calls via Bluetooth, there's microphones and speakers to make that happen. Want to control the music playing on your phone? Those features work well here too.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 wellness options

Things in general worked fine in our time testing paired to a Samsung Android phone. Qualcomm's latest processor tech certainly keeps things running quick and smooth.

What you can't help doing when using the Falster is think about what's coming, what's going to change, what's going to stay and what's going to get fixed when it gets new Wear OS.

Features like notification support could definitely be slicker and Google's apps could be nicer to use too. Features like Tiles, music controls and good third party app support stand out, but as a package, Wear isn't there yet and Google, Fossil and Skagen will be banking that getting the Falster upgraded to Wear 3.0 will make a world of difference.

Skagen Falster Gen 6: Sports, health and fitness tracking

Skagen Falster Gen 6 outdoor GPS workout

Skagen and Fossil's watches in general have a come a long way in terms of the approach to putting fitness and health tracking features at your disposal.

The Falster Gen 6 still feels fashion watch first and fitness and sports tracker second, and that's certainly backed up by our testing time

You can run or jump on an exercise bike with it and it feels light and comfortable to wear during a workout. But you have to weigh up whether you use Google's health and fitness apps or third party ones, and you'll get a better experience doing the latter.

There's an accelerometer sensor to track indoor workout time and built-in GPS to take care of the outdoor ones.

An optical heart rate monitor will handle continuous monitoring and exercise HR and it does work with third party apps like Cardiogram, which as we mentioned, comes preloaded.

Like the Fossil Gen 6, the Falster Gen 6 now gets an SpO2 sensor, and you can take on the spot readings from the Wellness app on the watch.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 running data

GPS tracking compared: Skagen Falster Gen 6 (left and centre) and Garmin Epix (right)

As far as sports tracking goes, the Falster fared well on our short distance outdoor runs, locking on quickly to a GPS signal, and wasn't far off on distance tracking from a Garmin Epix Gen 2 watch. It was a similar story for basic metrics like average pace and lap splits.

Looking at the heart rate monitoring performance during runs, it performed reasonably well up against a Wahoo Tickr chest strap monitor for average and maximum BPM readings in steady and moderate intensity workouts.

This watch feels best suited to those shorter runs, up to 5k to 10km distances, particularly when you factor in the battery performance and a design that's clearly not primarily suited for exercise.

So if you're hoping this will be your marathon training companion, it's not going to give you that supreme accuracy you'll likely crave going long.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 heart rate accuracy comparison

Exercise HR tracking compared: Skagen Falster Gen 6 (left) and Wahoo Tickr X (right)

If you care more about counting steps and tracking sleep, the Falster does offer strong widgets to keep a check on progress and from a step counting accuracy point of view.
It was in the same ballpark with similar tracking on the Oura Ring 3. If you're using the Google Fit app, it will record every time you walk during the day, with a breakdown of steps to get a better a sense of when you do most of that stepping. It's certainly a little light on motivational features to keep you moving though.

sleep data

Step tracking compared: Skagen Falster Gen 6 (left) and Garmin fitness tracking (right)

When it's time for bed, you can track that sleep time and what you should see in the Google Fit app is a record of your time asleep, in bed, sleep efficiency and a breakdown of your sleep stages. Sadly on many occasions, the Falster failed to track sleep properly or at all.

The below screenshots are a good example of what we experienced on a lot of night's tracked. Overall sleep duration was well off from the reliable sleep tracking on the Oura Ring 3. The presentation of the data in the app feels far from slick and it lacks any really meaningful insights.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 sleep data

Sleep tracking compared: Oura Ring 3 (left) and Google Fit app (centre and right)

If you want to track your heart outside of exercise, the Falster 3 can monitoring heart rate continuously and capture resting heart rate data.

Unfortunately, that resting heart rate data didn't feel hugely reliable, and typically captured a resting heart rate 20bpm over Garmin's Elevate heart rate sensor and a Wahoo Tickr chest strap.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 resting heart rate comparison

Resting HR compared: Skagen Falster Gen 6 (left) and Garmin Epix (right)

The ability to track blood oxygen levels is the new sensor across the Gen 6 range, but its execution on the Skagen isn't hugely different from the Fossil Gen 6. You can take on the spot readings, but you can't continuously monitor blood oxygen levels.

Once you've captured a 25-second measurement, those readings are stored in the Google Fit phone app. When we were able to successfully take readings they were usually 1-2% off a dedicated pulse oximeter. Outside of spotting your own trends in your data, there's no actionable insights or effort to help you better understand why you should track this piece of data.

There's good and bad here if you're looking to the Falster Gen 6 to track your health and fitness. The sooner Google's Fitbit can take over proceedings, the better.

Skagen Falster Gen 6: Battery life

In terms of battery life, things haven't really shifted in a promising way.

The first few Skagen Falster watches struggled to make it through a day. The Falster 3 did a much better job of lasting the promised 24 hours.

And it's more of the same with the Falster. This is a smartwatch that's good for a day and half and then after that, you'll need to switch to the basic watch mode to get longer.

In our testing, putting it on in the morning at 100% it was down to around 50% by the evening before we went to bed. By about midday the following day it was down to about 15% and it was at this point we'd be prompted to switch to the one of the extended battery saver modes. By 5-6pm, it was prompting us to switch to the most basic watch mode.

If you're using GPS to track outdoor activity, we found that 30 minute outdoor runs knocked the battery by just 3%, which seems to be an improvement on the performance on the Falster 3.

It's not the best battery life you'll find on a Wear OS watch now. That honour arguably goes to the TicWatch Pro 3. If you want a smartwatch that can make it through a day and you're happy to charge it at night to make it through another, then the Falster will give you that.

When it does hit 0% battery, Fossil has included the fast-charging feature it offers on its own Gen 6 watch. You're still using a small white charging cradle that the watch case sits on top of and a 30-minute charge will get you from 0-80%, which is useful to have if you've forgotten to charge it overnight.


Skagen Falster Gen 6
By Skagen
The Skagen Falster Gen 6 leaves us feeling the same way we felt about Fossil's Gen 6 smartwatch. You'll struggle to find faults with the design and Fossil and its many fashion brands still make some of the best-looking smartwatches. Sadly, that's not matched up with what you get with the software, whether that's core smartwatch features, Google's apps or fitness tracking features. Plus, that battery life just hasn't improved. Hopefully new Wear can address some of those things because right now, the Falster Gen 6 is an attractive smartwatch that needs attractive software to match.

Hit
  • Attractive and light design
  • Zippy software
  • Music features work well
Miss
  • It's not Wear OS 3.0 (yet)
  • Hit and miss fitness and health tracking
  • Battery life in full smartwatch mode