- Page 1 Michael Kors Access
- Page 2 Fitness, Battery Life and Verdict
- Attractive design
- Latest version of Android Wear
- Feature-lacking for the price
- Poor display
- Heavy and uncomfortable
- Review Price: £329.00
- Stainless steel case
- Steel/silicone/leather strap options
- Snapdragon Wear 2100 CPU
- 360mAh battery
What is the Michael Kors Access?
The Michael Kors Access is an Android Wear smartwatch that focuses on style above all else. It wants you to want it, but not every smartwatch that has aimed for such desirability in the past has achieved it.
However, there are areas where it’s left wanting. A relatively poor-quality screen, and lack of features such as GPS and a HR sensor make the Access a pretty face with not much going on behind the scenes.
Looks alone may well be enough to convince some, but £329 is a lot to spend on a so-so smartwatch experience.
Related: Best Smartwatches
Michael Kors Access – Design and Screen
Let’s not start on a down note, though. The Michael Kors Access smartwatch provoked the best reactions I’ve ever had from friends on seeing it around my wrist.
In the past, some models have earned outright ridicule, with my reaction being to quickly hide the device under a sleeve. However, with the Access, several friends commented on how good this Michael Kors smartwatch looks, before even knowing the brand name attached.
The consensus is that the Michael Kors Access looks more like a normal watch than the majority of smartwatches on the market. And it pulls this off with style. The watch’s frame is made of stainless steel, giving it an attractive look alongside an appearance of robustness. Similar to other watches in the Michael Kors lineup, the Access is actually made by Fossil.
Different strap variations are available for the Michael Kors Access, but the blue silicone version I’ve been using is one of the bolder designs. There are also stainless steel and leather strap options, plus two watch face styles.
“Dylan”, the one I’m using, has a bulkier bezel than the “Bradshaw” style, which offers a less overtly masculine appearance judging by Kors’ own photography. Michael Kors labels them as men’s and women’s styles, but I wouldn’t say either is particularly attached to a gender.
Compared to the Huawei Watch 2, the Michael Kors Access appears thick and chunky. In addition, I also didn’t find it the most comfortable of watches to wear.
Since the watch face is quite heavy as a result of all that stainless steel, I’ve ended up fastening the strap fairly securely to ensure the watch didn’t swivel around my wrist. Doing so left a waffle-like pattern embossed on my wrist, so you might want to consider the leather strap instead.
It isn’t a big problem – and it’s a non-issue if you don’t mind a slightly wobbly fit – but just don’t expect a slight and light watch.
The screen on the Access is large at 1.4 inches. However, the display is one of this watch’s weakest elements.
It’s an LCD screen and there’s a ‘flat tyre’ cut-out at the bottom, used to house the display driver. In the silver version I’m using, it’s conspicuous and spoils the overall looks a little, particularly when the watch faces don’t seem to take it into account at all.
This is one of the reasons an OLED screen works well with a smartwatch: with lit pixels, rather than a backlight, it’s easier to make a fully round display. The Michael Kors Access also suffers some of the more obvious image quality problems of LCDs.
Colours are a little muted and there’s a lack of contrast, particularly from an angle. The pixel structure is also strangely obvious, even though the pixel density isn’t particularly bad.
This is a 320 x 290 pixel screen (just under 290ppi), similar to some first and second-wave watches, but there’s clear pixellation in the watch faces. The screen is a disappointment considering the Michael Kors Access costs £329.
There’s a solid consolation for the relatively poor image quality, though. The Michael Kors Access’ LCD screen is transflective. In this case it means that, while it relies on the backlight for good visibility indoors, it can feed off ambient light when outside on a bright day.
I’m disappointed by the Access’ custom watch faces, however, particularly given style is the whole point of this watch. They look cheap, with none of the charm of the Michael Kors ‘normal’ watches – or Kors’ extremely popular handbags, for that matter. Recently, I’ve used the Tag Heuer Connected, and its watch faces are in a different league.
Saying this, a few seem to be based on existing Kors watches, including a chronograph-style one and a bright purple ‘Minimalist’ analogue design. You may feel differently, but the combo of pixellated diamonds, occasionally overdone drop-shadow effects and italic fonts doesn’t appear to shout “Michael Kors” to me; more like a cheesier offshoot.
The main software addition of the Michael Kors Access is the Access app, which lets you customise the included watch faces, but this appears to be simply changing the colour of the background, or selecting them by colour. This app isn’t intuitive and crashed a couple of times in use.
You’re meant to be able to use the app to switch watch faces automatically at night time – a daily costume change – but I couldn’t get this to work. It simply closes when I press the relevant “My Modes” option. An update or two is needed.