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Hands on: Skagen Falster 3 review

Plenty of style. Plenty of substance.

What is a hands on review?
Skagen Falster 3
(Image: © TechRadar)

Early Verdict

The perfect balance between style and substance? You'll have to wait for our full review to find out, but the early signs are positive for the Skagen Falster 3.

For

  • Make and receive calls
  • NFC, GPS, Heart Rate
  • Minimalist design

The Skagen Falster 3 provides a slightly different take on smartwatch design, with a clean, minimalist look - even more so than its predecessor, the Falster 2.

With NFC, GPS, a heart rate monitor and built-in speaker, the Falster 3 arrived at CES 2020 extremely well equipped too - making it a serious contender for 2020.

Skagen Falster 3 release date and price

The Skagen Falster 3 release date is January 7 (the same day as it was announced), meaning you can buy the smartwatch right now if you're in the US or Asia.

For those in other regions, you'll have a little longer to wait, but Skagen told TechRadar that the wearable will hit Europe by the end of the month.

In terms of cost, the Skagen Falster 3 price is $295 / £279 (around AU$425), which is $20 more than the launch price of the Falster 2. However considering the additional features and refined design, the price hike doesn't sting too much.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design and display

As we've mentioned, Skagen has further refined the look of its Falster series with the third gen installment. The strap lugs are more rounded, the buttons neater and the overall aesthetic is a pleasing one.

It sits well on the wrist, with a fashionable presence and a size that doesn't feel overpowering.

The central crown button rotates, which makes scrolling through menus and apps much easier, while the buttons above and below it can be programmed to quickly launch your favorite apps.

The watch body is also swim-proof up to a depth of 30 meters, and you can track your swims via the fitness apps.

You get to choose from three different strap materials; metal, leather and rubber (pictured), all costing the same. There's no premium to pay for Skagen's mesh metal strap - something that can't be said for all smartwatch makers.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Features and performance

At its heart, the Skagen Falster 3 has Qualcomm's dedicated Snapdragon 3100 wearable chipset alongside 1GB of RAM, which is all you need to run Google's Wear OS software. You also get 8GB of storage - double that of many smartwatches available.

However it's the vent on the left of the watch body which is more interesting, as it reveals where the built-in speaker sits. The speaker can be used in a number of ways, including playing notification tones, using Google Assistant, playing music and taking phone calls directly on the watch.

We were unable to test out the quality of this speaker during our hands on time with the Falster 3, so keep an eye out for a full review where we will put it through its paces.

It's nice to see the Falster 3 come with the ability to make and receive calls directly on the watch, without the need of a SIM card in the wearable.

"Using our proprietary phone app, both Android and iPhone users will be able to make and receive phone calls directly from their Bluetooth-enabled watch," reads the Skagen press release. Sadly, we were unable to test this during our preview time, but it's something we'll look at in our in-depth review.

As well as the heart rate monitor and app, Skagen also pre-installs the Cardiogram app on the Falster 3, which can monitor your heart rhythm and alert you if it thinks it's detected something irregular. It won't be able to give you a diagnosis, but a suggestion you may need to see your doctor could end up saving you.

There's an 'extended battery mode' included on the watch which, Skagen claims, can give you days of battery life while still offering features such as notifications and heart rate (although many functions will be unavailable in this mode).

(Image credit: TechRadar)

X by Kygo edition

For the music fans among you, you may be interested in this edition of the smartwatch, created in partnership with Swedish DJ Kygo.

The DJ has his own line of tech products under the 'X By Kygo' brand and the Falster 3 is the latest addition to a headphones-dominate range.

In terms of tech, everything is the same with the only differences being subtle design tweaks.

There's an 'X' logo on the strap, 'X by Kygo' wording on the white strap pusher and the watch will have some exclusive faces when it goes on sale later this month.

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Early verdict

Fans of tech and Scandinavian design will enjoy the Skagen Falster 3, with its unfussy looks and feature-packed innards. It's not too pricey either, and the firm may have struck the perfect balance between style and substance.

  • Check out all of TechRadar's CES 2020 coverage. We're live in Las Vegas to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus hands-on reviews of everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets.  

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.