Hands on: Kate Spade Scallop review

A well-crafted smartwatch built from the ground-up for women

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

If you’re looking for a fashionable smartwatch in 2018, Kate Spade’s entry to the space looks like a bold first effort.

For

  • Fashion-forward design
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Impressive watch face customization

Against

  • There are cheaper smartwatches out there
  • No heart rate sensor

Historically, when smartwatches are made for women, the model that’s made for men is just chiseled away until it’s a little thinner or enough glistening elements have been added. It’s lazy, frankly, so Kate Spade has launched its own for women that’s built from the ground up just for them.

It’s called the Scallop and, like the company’s many fashion accessories, it’s available in several styles and, surprising to us, it’s actually decently priced. Starting at $295/£299 (about AU$500), this smartwatch features nearly all of the bells and whistles of any other model. But there are a few little touches, aside from the strong Kate Spade pedigree, that could make this one to recommend when it releases soon.

Design

Kate Spade’s debut smartwatch looks to complement its other fashion accessories with its striking design that shouts, not whispers, at passersby.

Around the bezel of the Scallop, Kate Spade has implemented a subtle, wavy etching that makes it stand out from just about any other smartwatch to date. However, the mileage with such a look will only appeal to some.

Like the recently announced Skagen Falster, Kate Spade’s smartwatch is proof that these wearables are getting thinner over time, without skimping on vital features, like the latest Android Wear 2.0 update and all-day battery life.

You’ll be able to choose between three different stylings, gold or rose gold with a leather band, or a rose gold option that comes with a premium link band. The price starts at $295 for the former and jumps up to $325 for the latter.

Kate Spade gets bonus points for its watch face customization. One of them allows you to make your own based on the time of day, the sort of occasion you’re attending and the color of clothing you’re wearing. Just like that, you have a smartwatch that looks hand-picked for the night out.

The Scallop (R) sitting next to Skagen's new Falster smartwatch

Performance

It’s always difficult to judge the performance of a smartwatch based on a quick glimpse. We got to try on the Scallop, and though it’s not our style, it seems like everything is here to make this a pleasing discovery for any fashion-forward female looking to get into the smartwatch space.

Running Android Wear 2.0 with the latest Oreo update, the Scallop brings its cool native app function across Android and iOS smartphone users. Kate Spade claims that this smartwatch can achieve a full day of battery life, and while we don’t really doubt that since it’s a common bar to reach for, we’ll have to wait for the full review to see how things fare.

Early verdict

If you’re looking for a smartwatch built for women by a well-known fashion brand, all signs point to the Kate Spade Scallop to be a good fit for you. Add Android Wear 2.0 to the mix and you’ve got the makings of a good smartwatch.

As with all hands-ons that we do with smartwatches, this is but an early look that we’ll quickly work to expand on in the coming weeks.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.