Skagen's Falster Wear OS watch put on bulk

Fossil is still churning out a ton of connected watches as if Wear OS isn't stagnating.

Developments in the land of Wear OS may have been a little scarce of late, but that doesn't mean Google's most fanatic smartwatch partner doesn't have new products to share. Fossil Group is here at CES 2020 showing off some new devices, like the Diesel On Fadelite it announced yesterday. Today, the company is unveiling the Skagen Falster 3, a follow up to one of my favorite Wear OS watches in the past. Sadly, it doesn't live up to the high design standards set by its predecessor, but it still represents a noteworthy upgrade.

The Falster 3 looks chunkier than the previous model. It has a slightly larger 42mm face and a wider 22mm band, making it less sleek than before. I'm also a little thrown by the strap options Skagen decided to offer this time -- a brown leather option and a new silicone-mesh band that's "the latest evolution of the brand's signature material." It's less shiny and metallic, which is fine if you prefer a softer material. I preferred the stainless steel mesh, even if it was a little too prone to catching on strands of my hair.

I'm more interested in the limited-edition X by Kygo variant of the Falster 3, though. It was designed in conjunction with the Scandinavian DJ's brand, and features a mostly matte black color scheme that feels more coherent. Skagen's distinctive lug design is still present, and both models don't differ much besides an exclusive watch face in the Kygo model.

Styles aside, the Falster 3's hardware is pretty much the same as the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch. It uses the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset and offers more RAM and storage than the second-gen Falster. There's also a new speaker and the case is now water-resistant up to 30 meters (or about 98 feet) so you can wear it while swimming.

Fossil also added its proprietary battery-saving modes to the Falster 3, which allow you to launch quick profiles like "Time-Only," "Daily" or "Extended Mode" and squeeze more juice out of the watch. You can finetune exactly what sensors you'd like to disable, like GPS, NFC and WiFi, to get more runtime. This feature launched on the Gen 5, and is not to be confused with the battery-stretching modes that Google and Qualcomm announced when they partnered to launch the Wear 3100. That hasn't been activated on many Wear OS devices yet.

The Falster 3 does also feature the Tiles interface that Google announced in May, and while it's not new and did already show up on the Gen 5 Fossil, it's a difference from the Falster 2 that I appreciate. The Tiles make it easier to get to widgets like Weather and Agenda, making Wear OS a little more similar to Samsung's Tizen.

There's not very much else to say about the Falster 3. It's basically the same skeleton as the Fossil Gen 5 clad in a different suit. Google hasn't said much about Wear OS, other than its recent acquisition of Fitbit, but Fossil is clearly not about to stop making its watches. In fact, the company also released a slew of updated styles for its Gen 5 series, Sport and hybrid wristwear. The Falster 3 is available from January 7th for $295, and the limited edition Kygo model will retail later this month.

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