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Skagen Falster Gen 6 review watch face display on table22
Andy Walker / Android Authority

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review: Wear OS isn't the only problem

Skagen's new Wear OS watch is a nice-looking wearable, but you might want to wait to buy it.
By
January 20, 2023

Skagen Falster Gen 6

The Skagen Falster Gen 6 is a Wear OS smartwatch with excellent hardware and disappointing software. It launched with Google's neglected Wear OS 2 platform, but recently gained Wear OS 3 smarts. Does this upgrade improve the experience? Not entirely. Throw in the inaccurate GPS, heart rate, and sleep tracking, and the Skagen Falster Gen 6, for all its style, becomes even tougher to recommend against competitors like Samsung, Garmin, and Fitbit.

What we like

Classy design
Custom battery modes are handy
Speedy charging
Phone calls on the wrist

What we don't like

Underwhelming Wear OS 3 update
Battery only lasts a day
Inaccurate sleep tracking
Poor heart rate and GPS accuracy

Skagen Falster Gen 6

The Skagen Falster Gen 6 is a Wear OS smartwatch with excellent hardware and disappointing software. It launched with Google's neglected Wear OS 2 platform, but recently gained Wear OS 3 smarts. Does this upgrade improve the experience? Not entirely. Throw in the inaccurate GPS, heart rate, and sleep tracking, and the Skagen Falster Gen 6, for all its style, becomes even tougher to recommend against competitors like Samsung, Garmin, and Fitbit.

Skagen smartwatches are popular for a reason. They offer nearly identical features to Fossil’s current smartwatch lineup, only in a minimal, Danish-inspired design. The new Skagen Falster Gen 6 is no different.

Taking a lot of what we love about the Fossil Gen 6 — and a few things we don’t quite love — Skagen’s new Wear OS smartwatch launches for nearly $300. Should you buy it? Read all about it in our full Skagen Falster Gen 6 review.

Update: January 2023: We’ve updated our Skagen Falster Gen 6 review with new details relating to Wear OS 3, the new Skagen companion app, and more.

Skagen Falster Gen 6Skagen Falster Gen 6
Skagen Falster Gen 6
Classy design • Custom battery modes • Speedy charging
An elegant smartwatch with Danish-inspired design cues
The Falster Gen 6 offers a understated, sleek option to anyone interested in a Wear OS device. The smartwatch offers activity and sleep tracking, as well as SpO2 monitoring and onboard music storage. It is compatible with both Android and iOS.
$137.38 at Amazon
Save $157.62
$188.99 at Amazon
Save $106.01

What you need to know about the Skagen Falster Gen 6

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review watch face display on table1
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • Skagen Falster Gen 6: $295 / £279 / €299

Fossil Group rolled out its Gen 6 smartwatch platform in August 2021, bringing new Qualcomm chipsets, updated health-monitoring sensors, and software features to its line of Wear OS watches. It debuted all of these features first on the Fossil Gen 6. The Skagen Falster Gen 6, unsurprisingly, runs on the same underlying platform as the Fossil watch, only it has a Danish-inspired design like other watches in the Falster series.

Catch up: Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch review

The new Gen 6 smartwatch features making their debut on the Skagen watch include an upgraded heart rate sensor, which allows for continuous tracking and improved accuracy, as well as an SpO2 monitor for checking your blood oxygen levels throughout the day. The Skagen Falster Gen 6 is also able to charge 2x faster than before, achieving an 80% charge in about 30 minutes. This is partially thanks to the new Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus chipset, which is not only more battery efficient but also decreases app loading time by up to 30%.

You’ll also recognize familiar features carried over from the Skagen Falster 3. You can make and receive phone calls directly on the watch, thanks to the integrated microphone and speaker. The Falster Gen 6 also features Fossil Group’s wonderful customizable battery modes, allowing you to tweak battery settings to your liking.

The Skagen Falster Gen 6 combines the Fossil Gen 6's hardware with a Danish-inspired design.

At launch and at the time of this review, the Skagen Falster Gen 6 ran an older version of Wear OS, version 2. In January 2023, a few months after the Fossil Gen 6 received its upgrade, the Falster gained its optional upgrade to Wear OS 3.

The Skagen Falster Gen 6 is available in the US, UK, and other European countries for $295/£279/€299 from Skagen.com. It is offered in just one 42mm size, but five styles and three color options: silver, charcoal, and black.


What’s good?

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review watch face on wrist
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

I’d say most people gravitate towards the Skagen Falster series because of its design. The Falster Gen 6 is simple, understated, and well-built, just like the Falster 3. In fact, there aren’t many design differences between the two watches. They both have circular, angular cases with three pushers on the right side — two of which can be customized to open any app you’d like. The middle pusher is your typical all-apps button/home button/rotatable crown combo, which is great for navigating around Wear OS’ interface.

Overall, I love the Falster Gen 6’s design. It’s light and simple, which is what I usually look for in a wearable. As noted, it only comes in one 42mm size this year, which may irk some users who have smaller wrists. Despite its bigger size on paper, though, it doesn’t seem too big on my average-sized wrists.

See also: The best fashion smartwatches

Let’s talk about the new stuff. Like the Fossil Gen 6, the Falster Gen 6 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform, which is currently one of the highest-end wearable chipsets available.

Performance is noticeably faster on the Skagen Falster Gen 6 than it was on the Falster 3. App loading does indeed seem faster, and I haven’t experienced the normal Google Assistant lag that I do with other Wear OS 2-powered devices. Some performance hiccups are still present, though. Waking the device from its charging state and from the always-on display usually results in some lag. Nothing major, but worth noting.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review google assistant weather
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The watch also charges way faster than before. We’ll talk about battery specifics in a little bit, but when you do need to charge, it takes under an hour to reach 100%. This is compared to the Galaxy Watch 4, which takes over two hours to reach a full charge.

Again, like the Fossil Gen 6, there’s a new SpO2 sensor in the Skagen Falster Gen 6 for monitoring blood oxygen levels throughout the day. You’ll primarily use it for spot-checks. It doesn’t record at night during sleep tracking, nor does it record automatically during the day. It’s also not medically validated by the FDA, so it should not be treated as a medical device.

Even so, the Falster Gen 6’s readings were spot-on with my fingertip pulse oximeter and Withings ScanWatch. My numbers rarely dip below 95% or so during the day. On multiple occasions, all three devices I just mentioned reported the same readings. However, the Falster watch would fail to record my data about a quarter of the time I tried to test it.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review spo2 blood oxygen readings on wrist
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

I still very much appreciate Fossil Group’s ability to bring on-wrist calling to its current-gen smartwatches. Being able to answer calls on your wrist can come in handy, though I don’t expect most people to use this feature every day. I called my wife multiple times over the Falster Gen 6, and she noted that it sounded tinnier than a normal phone call. I also experienced a few connectivity issues and call drop-outs during the testing period.

Here are a few other good things about the Skagen Falster Gen 6:

  • Display: The 1.28-inch AMOLED display is crisp, bright, and remains plenty visible in outdoor settings.
  • Music storage: The Falster Gen 6 has 8GB of storage space for apps and music. It’s plenty of room for a few workout playlists, made even better now that Wear OS 2 devices can access Spotify and YouTube Music.
  • Android and iOS compatible: The Falster Gen 6 can pair to both Android and iOS phones whether it’s running Wear OS 2 or the newer Wear OS 3 software.
  • Voice assistant support: The Skagen Falster Gen 6 now supports Amazon’s Alexa. The feature is available on all other Gen 6 smartwatches, too. Google Assistant is present too, but only on verseion 2 of Wear OS. If you upgrade to Wear OS 3, you’ll lose this functionality.

What’s not so good?

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review google assistant sorry there was a problem error
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Let’s get it out of the way. The software experience on the Skagen Falster Gen 6 leaves plenty to be desired, whether you stay with Wear OS 2 or upgrade to Wear OS 3.

The Skagen Falster Gen 6 launched on Google’s Wear OS 2 platform. For much of its life, and during our time with it in this review, it ran on this version with a promise from Fossil that it would receive an update eventually. That time came in January 2023. The Skagen Falster Gen 6 finally received its optional upgrade to Wear OS 3. But before you leap head first into upgrading, it’s worth noting that this new software does come with its own limitations.

Unlike Wear OS 3.5 used by Samsung and Google on their particular smartwatches, the Skagen Falster Gen 6 uses an older version. This version doesn’t support Google Assistant, which is a core component of the Wear OS experience. You’ll also miss out on several Skagen watch faces, too, but the ability to install third-party options thankfully remains.

With the move to Wear OS 3 comes a new companion app. The Skagen companion app replaces the Fossil-branded apps formerly loaded to the watch. It retains the Wellness page and simple layout, but it’s not as detailed as its smartwatch contemporaries.

Wear OS 3 comes with its own set of limitations and missing features.

Overall, the Wear OS 3 update is not a silver bullet. It remains an optional update (forcing the update is another complicated affair involving updating, resetting, downloading the Skagen app, repairing the watch, then setting up your device as normal), and we recommend thinking twice before installing it.

Check out: The best Wear OS watches

On the other side of the coin, Wear OS 2 on the Skagen Falster Gen 6 isn’t remarkable either. I’ve had some gripes with Wear OS 2 in the past, and the version on the Falster Gen 6 doesn’t seem to have improved much since late 2020. Skagen and Fossil Group are clearly trying to patch holes in the OS left by Google’s neglect.

There’s a Fossil-branded Wellness app preloaded on the Falster Gen 6, which houses metrics like your activity, sleep, cardio fitness, blood oxygen, and heart rate data. But you can also access all of these metrics in Google Fit, the stock fitness platform on Fossil-made Wear OS watches. The Cardiogram app also comes preinstalled on the watch, meaning there are three (three!) different ways to check your heart rate data.

To add to the confusion, the stock Workout app on the watch only allows for generic outdoor and indoor workouts, not even allowing you to specify which type of outdoor or indoor workout you’d like to track. Most users will need to circumvent this page — which is featured prominently on the first tile — and track their workouts with Google Fit instead.

It’s all a bit too messy for my liking.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review smart battery modes
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Battery life continues to be a pain point for Fossil Group smartwatches. Unless you turn off certain vital device sensors and features, you’ll struggle to get more than a day of use out of the Skagen Falster Gen 6. I frequently mention the Apple Watch’s day-long battery life, though most Apple Watches can last into the second day with minimal usage. With the Skagen watch, you’ll charge it before bed every night if you keep everything turned on.

To soften the blow, you can utilize the watch’s built-in customizable battery modes. With these, you can turn on and off sensors that you may or may not use. For instance, I rarely use Google Pay on my watch, so I usually keep NFC turned off to save a bit of battery life. On the Falster Gen 6, there’s a new option to switch to extended battery mode automatically or when your watch reaches 10%, which is a nice touch.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review heart rate sensor on table
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

There’s an all-new optical heart rate sensor inside the Skagen Falster Gen 6. Skagen says it allows for continuous monitoring throughout the day, along with improved accuracy. I can vouch for the former, but not the latter.

Indeed, the Falster Gen 6 records heart rate data throughout the day, the inclusion of which is appreciated. Resting heart rate readings have lined up well against the Garmin Venu 2 Plus and Polar H10 chest strap. Kudos, Skagen.

However, the Skagen smartwatch should really only be used for activity tracking in a pinch. The upgraded heart rate sensor might be able to give you a general idea of how your workout is going, but it’s not reliable for most use cases. See below for a 3.5-mile run with the Skagen Falster Gen 6 (green), Polar H10 (yellow), and Apple Watch Series 6 (blue).

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review heart rate data vs Polar H10 Apple Watch Series 6
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Unfortunately, GPS accuracy is equally unreliable. In the first screenshot below, you can see the Falster Gen 6 (green) veer off into the middle of the street — where there was no tree coverage or any other interference — while the Coros Vertix 2 (yellow) and Apple Watch (blue) stayed on the right path.

The second screenshot above is a little hard to follow, but it shows the Skagen smartwatch completely dropping its GPS signal when I ran under a bridge. I never received a “location unavailable” or any kind of GPS error during this part of the run. Furthermore, due to GPS tracking issues, the Falster Gen 6 reported my overall distance to be a sizeable .58 miles shorter than the Vertix 2. That’s quite the distance considering this was a 3.5-mile run.

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review sleep tracking data on wrist
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Sleep tracking has also not been a great experience. The Skagen Falster Gen 6 failed to recognize when I went to bed and woke up at specific times throughout the review period. One night, it reported I went to bed at 1 AM, though my Fitbit Sense reported a (correct) 11:30 PM bedtime.

I’ll also use this opportunity to comment on Google Fit’s sleep data page. There’s no way to tap on any of the sections to get more data on a particular metric. For instance, you’re stuck with the basic, pared-back sleep stages graph, even though there’s presumably more data to dig into. Since the Falster Gen 6’s activity data is primarily sent to Google Fit, this could cause frustrations for anyone looking to gather more insights from their tracked data.


Skagen Falster Gen 6 specs

Skagen Falster Gen 6
Display
1.28-inch AMOLED
416 x 416 resolution
326ppi
Dimensions
42mm with 20mm straps
Materials
Stainless steel case
SoC
Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus
RAM
1GB
Battery
300mAh
30 mins to 80% charge
Storage
8GB
Sensors
Accelerometer
Altimeter
Ambient light
Compass
Gyroscope
Off-body IR
SpO2
PPG heart rate
GPS
Hardware
Rotating home button + 2 additional pushers
Speaker
Microphone
IP rating
3ATM
Connectivity
Bluetooth 5 LE
NFC
Wi-Fi
Compatibility
Android
iOS

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review: Should I buy it?

Skagen Falster Gen 6 review vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Left to right: Skagen Falster Gen 6, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Skagen delivered a beautiful smartwatch with the Falster Gen 6. Hardware and design are Skagen’s strong suits, after all, so it’s no surprise that the Falster Gen 6 stands out with its aesthetics and general build quality.

It falls massively short in fitness tracking, though, which is an increasingly important focus area for smartwatches. Even general-purpose smartwatches like the Falster Gen 6 are competing with the outgoing Galaxy Watch 4 ($249), newer Galaxy Watch 5 ($279), and Apple Watch Series 8 ($399), whether Skagen admits to it or not. Both of those devices are excellent fitness trackers, and putting out an expensive smartwatch that falls so behind in this category makes it tough to recommend to a significant amount of users.

Ultimately, sub-par software and inaccurate fitness tracking make the Skagen Falster Gen 6 hard to recommend.

Throw in the fact that the long-awaited Wear OS 3 upgrade still leaves us wanting, and Skagen is driving a hard bargain with the Falster Gen 6. Perhaps we’ll be having a different conversation once Google solves the Wear OS support issues, or once Skagen can get its fitness tracking under control. But for now, there are plenty of other smartwatches we recommend over Skagen’s latest.

Skagen Falster Gen 6Skagen Falster Gen 6
Skagen Falster Gen 6
Classy design • Custom battery modes • Speedy charging
An elegant smartwatch with Danish-inspired design cues
The Falster Gen 6 offers a understated, sleek option to anyone interested in a Wear OS device. The smartwatch offers activity and sleep tracking, as well as SpO2 monitoring and onboard music storage. It is compatible with both Android and iOS.
$137.38 at Amazon
Save $157.62
$188.99 at Amazon
Save $106.01

Top Skagen Falster Gen 6 questions and answers

Technically, there is no Skagen Falster 4. The Skagen Falster Gen 6 is the successor to the Falster 3. Skagen changed the moniker to be more in-line with other Fossil Group smartwatches.

The Skagen Falster Gen 6 Wear OS 3 update started rolling out in January 2023.

Yes, the Skagen Falster Gen 6 works with both Android and iOS devices. According to Fossil Group, the Falster Gen 6 will continue to work with iOS devices, even after the Wear OS 3 update.