When it was announced at CES 2018, Skagen's Falster watch was one of the prettiest and most minimalist Wear OS watches to date. In my review of it, I liked the design but criticized some hardware decisions, like the lack of NFC, GPS, and heart rate monitoring. All three features have been added to the new Falster 2, which has just been announced.

The Falster 2 builds on the missteps of the original model by integrating NFC for on-the-go mobile payments with Google Pay, onboard GPS tracking without the need for a connected smartphone, and heart-rate monitoring. It's also swimproof and thus more water-resistant than the first gen's IP67 rating, and has two customizable buttons to launch your favorite activities and apps, both very welcome features.

However, and like Fossil's (Skagen's mother company) fourth-generation smartwatches, the Falster 2 keeps the almost-dead Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and the $275 starting price tag. It will be available on September 12 in different colors and configurations including a silicone strap, a leather one, and a new magnetic mesh strap that seems much more convenient than the original's annoying buckle.

However, given that Qualcomm is said to be announcing a new smartwatch SoC on September 10 with more power and better battery life, it's sad to see this slew of sexy smartwatches from Fossil that will be imminently outdated. If you don't care a lot about the very latest technologies and need your smartwatch to be an elegant piece of jewelry first and foremost, the Falster 2 won't disappoint you. I still wear my original Falster every day and have been asked about it at least twice per week ever since I got it: people love that it "doesn't look like a smartwatch," but is one. But if you're reading Android Police, odds are that you value the tech more than the bling, and the Falster 2 will elicit a sigh of disappointment.

Press Release

Announcing Falster 2, SKAGEN’s Next Generation of Touchscreen Smartwatch

BERLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Danish-inspired lifestyle brand SKAGEN is proud to introduce the newest addition to its smartwatch portfolio: the Falster 2. Boasting the same minimalist design approach as its award-winning predecessor—Falster, which debuted in January 2018 at CES—Falster 2 offers more in the way of available features without sacrificing the pared-down, life-simplifying ethos of the original.

“The Falster 2 represents everything SKAGEN stands for: beautiful, design-focused products that are functional for the way people live,” says Frederik Thrane, creative director for SKAGEN. “An appreciation of simplicity and a thoughtful approach to how your time is spent are key elements in the Danish way of life—and we capture them in our smartwatches through minimalist execution and customizable function.”

Subtle updates have been made to the Falster’s design, including new minimalist, battery-saving watch dials and the addition of two programmable pushers, allowing users more personalized functionality and quick access to their favorite apps. The case is now swimproof, so users can track swim workouts, hang poolside or hop in the shower without risk of damaging their smartwatch. Additionally, Falster 2 is one of the only smartwatches on the market with a magnetic steel-mesh strap—the latest evolution of the brand’s hallmark band material.

The most notable evolution is in the Falster 2’s tech capabilities. Following the launch of Falster, SKAGEN invited fans to share feedback about which features they would like to see in future generations. Heart-rate tracking was most requested, and SKAGEN is happily delivering on that request. The expanded feature line-up includes:

Heart Rate

Powered by Wear OS by Google, Falster 2’s newly integrated Google Fit allows users to prioritize their wellness. The wearer’s heart rate is automatically tracked across a variety of workouts.

Untethered GPS

Falster 2 has GPS capabilities built into the watch rather than piggybacking off a synced smartphone. This allows users to leave their phone at home during bike rides, walks and runs while still tracking their route—viewable right on their watch dial—and distance logged.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

Falster 2 features integrated NFC technology, allowing users to make hands-free payments via Google Pay and access participating public transit systems using their device (available at launch in select countries). Sensitive account information is protected by a user-set lock code, preventing data and identity theft in the event the watch is lost or stolen.

Additional Features

The complete range of features from the original Falster carry over to Falster 2, including:

Function-Based Dials for quick access to favorite features
Smartwatch Notifications
Activity Tracking
Customizable Watch Faces
Voice Command, powered by Google Assistant
Interchangeable Straps
Powered with Wear OS by Google
Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 2100 Platform
Compatible with iOS 9.3+ and Android 4.4+ (excluding Go edition)
Falster 2 starts at $275 USD/£269 GBP/2495 DKK

Visit: www.SKAGEN.com

*The Google Assistant is not available in all languages. Android, Wear OS by Google, Google Play, Google Fit and other marks are trademarks of Google Inc.

Qualcomm, Snapdragon and Snapdragon Wear are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

ABOUT SKAGEN

Founded in 1989, SKAGEN was inspired by the Danish coastal town from which we borrow not just a name, but a warm spirit and a minimalist mindset. We create watches, wearables, jewelry and leather goods that capture what’s truly essential. SKAGEN is a division of Fossil Group, with headquarters based in Richardson, Texas.