Michael Kors has announced the availability of its new smartwatch line, dubbed Access. The new smartwatches, which were originally teased earlier this year, run Android Wear and come in two styles. The "Dylan" is a sporty style targeted at men, while the "Bradshaw" is all-metal and designed for a female audience. Both watches are big and chunky, much like Kors’ analog watches, and start at $350. Unlike with many other smartwatches, there is no discernible difference in size between the men's and women's versions.
The big pitch for the Access watches, which otherwise share the same functionality as many other Android Wear watches, are their customizable watchfaces. The various faces are designed to mimic the analog designs on other Michael Kors watches, and can be customized with a variety of colors right on the watch itself. It’s even possible to have the watch switch to a different face at a set time of day, so you can easily match your day and night outfits. The company says there are hundreds of possible combinations between the display face, color, and sub dials.
The Dylan and Bradshaw are also designed to mimic the look of Kors’ other watches, and are thus larger and heavier than many other Android Wear watches. Otherwise, they share technology with Fossil’s Android Wear watches: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor, color touchscreen, speaker, 320 x 290 pixel display, and activity tracking, but no heart rate monitor.
I had a chance to demo the Dylan for a few weeks and found it to be uncomfortably large and heavy. You really have to love big watches to want to wear it all day long. The display is lower resolution and lower quality than others, and has a flat spot on the bottom. It’s not very pleasant to look at, with jagged lines and washed-out colors. On the plus side, it’s very readable outdoors. Customizing the watchfaces on the watch itself proved to be very tedious and fiddly, and I much would have preferred to do it from an app on my phone.
The Access smartwatches are available in the US, UK, and 16 other countries starting today. The company is also announcing that activity trackers, which start at $95, and additional straps for the smartwatches are available, as well.