Michael Kors Access - Fitness, Battery Life and Verdict

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Michael Kors Access – Fitness Tracking

Don’t come to the Michael Kors Access expecting excellent fitness tracking. Barebones sensors mean that unless you’re connected to a phone, the device isn’t much more than a fancy-looking Fitbit step tracker.

There’s no GPS, no heart rate sensor and no other atmospheric sensors. You can still use great apps such as Strava, Runkeeper and so on, but they’ll only be of use if your phone is within Bluetooth distance so that the Michael Kors Access can piggyback off your phone’s GPS.

Related: Best fitness trackers
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As much as this makes me cringe when looking at features versus the price, a stripped-back feature set does make sense in a watch that would never claim to have any priority greater than design.

After all, it isn’t as if you’re going to go running with a Michael Kors handbag. But you may want to track your steps to offset them against every avocado sandwich you log in a lifestyle tracker app.

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Michael Kors Access – Software and Performance

The Michael Kors Access runs Android 2.0, which is vital since it makes the older version of Android Wear seem pretty poor by comparison. Basic elements of the system remain: it’s still split into an apps menu and the watch face, but how you navigate between these areas and the way notifications are handled has significantly improved.

Android Wear 2.0 also opens up the possibility for control methods other than buttons and a touchscreen, but like other early Wear 2.0 watches, the Michael Kors Access doesn’t benefit from any such elements. There’s a single button on the side that takes you to the apps menu. It looks like a rotary dial, but it isn’t one. Other operations are performed via the touchscreen.

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Thanks to the lower-quality screen, Android Wear doesn’t look its best here, but the Michael Kors Access is at least as powerful as other recent smartwatches. It uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 CPU, a quad-core 1.2GHz processor with Cortex A7 cores.

Like most Android Wear 2.0 watches, it feels fairly fast, although – being pedantic – the slower response time of the Michael Kors Access’s LCD screen does take the edge off this a little. There’s slight motion blur as you flick through high-contrast menus. I also found the side button a bit too hard to press. The quality of the button’s action is just about perfect, but you do really have to put in a bit of effort to make it depress.

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Of course, given how little most users are likely to press it – the Michael Kors Access being a watch that skims across the surface of Android Wear for the most part – maybe this isn’t a big deal.

The one major problem I’ve encountered during testing is that even when the watch appears to be connected, at times your notifications simply don’t show up on the watch. There seems to be a real issue with the stability of the connection between watch and phone. Checking user reviews online, this doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident. It needs to be addressed in an update.

Michael Kors Access – Battery Life

One benefit to not having battery-sapping features such as GPS is that you should be able to get reasonable battery life out of the watch. The Access has a standard-size 360mAh battery, and uses a neat little magnetic wireless charge pad.

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You’ll want to give the pad a good spot on a side table, since there’s nothing to secure it to the watch. I found that it often slipped off onto the floor.

With normal use I’ve found the Access’s stamina to be conventional. It will last a day, and some. This is with the “always on” screen mode switched on. It simplifies the clock face, turns the screen monochrome and lowers the backlight to save battery.

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Should I buy the Michael Kors Access?

The Michael Kors Access is an Android Wear watch for people who want a smartwatch that isn’t embarrassing to wear. It looks great, despite being fairly heavy and bulky.

For those who are after as much tech as possible, the Michael Kors Access will disappoint. It lacks GPS and a heart rate sensor, which are fast becoming standard features in the latest wave of Wear watches from the tech giants.

Pure tech cred was never going to be the Michael Kors Access’ aim. However, it’s disappointing that the screen makes so little of the confident styling. The cut-out at the bottom of the screen is very obvious in the silver version I’m using, and the display just doesn’t have the colour or sharpness to make the most of Michael Kors’ watch face designs. It’s a 2017 frame with a few too many whiffs of 2014/2015 elsewhere.

For around the same price, the Huawei Watch 2 is going to be a better choice for those who aren’t prioritising design.

Verdict

Great looks let down by an unremarkable screen and lack of features.

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