Try it on for size and you might very well fall in love with the Kate Spade New York Scallop. It might not be perfect (just give us Google Pay please) and there are certainly watches with bags more features for a similar price. But it’s a lovely fashion smartwatch that you’ll proudly show off on your wrist.
- Hey, good looking
- Fashion forward watch faces
- Does what it does well
- Not the smartest
- Drain on battery life
- Could be smidgeon smaller
It’s not often you get a touchscreen smartwatch that looks like the Kate Spade New York Scallop. After years of moaning that someone should build a small-ish, slim, stylish smartwatch for women, this is almost, kinda, maybe it.
After a couple of cute hybrids and a fitness tracker, Kate Spade’s Wear OS watch doesn’t do anything special when it comes to features, aside from some watch face customisation trickery, but it doesn’t really have to. This pretty pretty smartwatch with personality could be another bestseller for Fossil Group’s wearable tech efforts, after the success of the Michael Kors Access Sofie.
What’s great is how accessible this is. Sure it’s pushing $300 at launch but the Scallop is for everyday fashion fans, not luxury buyers, and it does of course work with both iPhone and Android. Read on to find out how we got on with Kate Spade’s first ‘real’ smartwatch.
Design and screen
I’ve worn many smartwatches, for my sins, but the Kate Spade Scallop is one of the first Wear OS (prev Android Wear) watches I’d consider wearing every day – alongside the lovely new Skagen Falster with a mesh strap, that is.
I wanted to love both the Michael Kors Access watches we’ve seen so far and they paved the way for this but, to be honest, neither the oversized boyfriend style or the pavé bling do it for me. This is, of course, totally a matter of personal preference but if you’re a woman who’s been waiting for a stylish smartwatch, this could be it.
The brand’s iconic scallop design (which was also a key part of its first fitness tracker) is front and centre around the bezel, offering texture and identity, which is so often missing on full display Wear OS smartwatches. There’s a small but nice range of models too – the lovely-looking polished stainless steel case comes in both a gold and rose gold finish with both 16mm metal and black/cream leather straps available. Just the one crown/button on the right hand edge here.
When it comes to the tech, the Kate Spade New York features a fully round 1.19-inch AMOLED display with an ambient light sensor to regulate brightness and save on battery life. The screen is 390 x 390 resolution, which is pretty standard for recent Fossil Group smartwatches and looks sharp and shiny enough, if not the best you can get from Wear OS – the new Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41, for instance, is a beauty but four times the price.
A couple of reasons you might not be into this design: this is a 42mm watch so compared to Fossil Group hybrids we’ve been wearing lately, like the dainty Q Neely, this is a bigger proposition. Kate Spade reckons the Scallop is just 9mm thick but together with the size, it has us still dreaming of something slightly smaller. Again, this very much depends on the strength of your wrists – we don’t have a weight in grams from the tech specs, but put it this way, you can feel it. So we recommend trying it on the shop first.
Features and Wear OS
If you’re familiar with Wear OS, you’ll know what to expect; Kate Spade plays it quite safe when it comes to features.
If you’re not a Wear OS aficionado, we’re talking about a pretty capable smartwatch that doesn’t have a particular focus – sports say or women’s health – but that is more a well-rounded wrist assistant. For starters, there’s onscreen alerts for calls, messages and apps which you can swipe through then there are controls for managing your music from your watch.
Activity and sleep tracking is pretty basic – steps, calories burned, distance – and accurate enough if you’re generally trying to move more/do more exercise/see overall trends – but nothing more. It’s handled by Google Fit or the Kate Spade New York Connected app which you can download for iOS and Android.
So what’s missing? Google Pay would be nice, which requires NFC. We weren’t expecting GPS or a heart rate monitor for real sports tracking here but payments from the wrist would round out the features. There is a mic on the right hand edge for interacting with Google Assistant on the wrist, which works on the go, but with no 4G or speaker, it’s a limited experience compared to, say, a cellular Apple Watch Series 3.
It just depends how smart you need your smartwatch to be and it’s worth noting the $295 price tag here but to be fair, you can’t get anything this pretty for cheaper. As an everyday, fashion Wear OS watch, the Kate Spade Scallop does just fine.
Many of the designers coming out with Wear OS touchscreen smartwatches are rightly paying the proper attention to watch faces. Sure, you can download a few apps to round out your Wear experience but this is a fashion watch and we’re sure a big chunk of people buying the Scallop will be into the customisation.
Kate Spade has a collection of quirky analog and digital style watch faces (flower petals, eyelashes, balloon numbers, that sort of thing), all with complications that you can personalise – would you rather see unread alerts than steps on the watch face? Just swap it out. You can also tweak just about every detail on the face – dial style, dial colour, indices style, indices colour, data (complication) ring colour, data pop colour and so on.
Going one step further, Choose Your Look lets you select the colour of your outfit, handbag and jewellery and suggests a matchy matchy watchface. Whether you’re tweaking an existing design or going off what you’re wearing, you can save your ‘looks’ for later. We’ve had mixed results with Choose Your Look – maybe that says more about our officewear – but it’s a fun feature that appeals to the Kate Spade crowd. It’s not gonna change the world but it sure is cute.
Battery life and charging
For all that personality, Kate Spade hasn’t shaken things up in the battery department, but it’s in line with the rest of the Android Wear gang. The official line is that the Scallop will last 12 to 14 hours on average, 24 hours on standby.
In reality, that means you’ll be charging your Kate Spade every night as we have been doing. Those adorable, colourful animations need to draw power from somewhere. If that easily becomes a routine, then great because this isn’t the kind of watch to juice up quickly from dead. Just don’t lose the white, plastic, round puck that takes care of wireless charging (as we have also been doing).