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Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 review

The latest MK smartwatch is a flash-looking Gen 5 Fossil
Michael Kors Access Lexington 2
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Another day, another review of a Fossil-built Wear OS smartwatch. This time around, it's the Michael Kors Access Lexington 2, which is the fashion powerhouse's latest attempt at bringing a bit of bling to the tech timepiece world.

Launched alongside the Access MKGO and the Access Bradshaw 2 back in September at IFA, it forms a trio of new Michael Kors-branded Fossil Group Gen 5 smartwatches that are all now on sale.

Gen 5 is a big deal for both the Fossil Group and its many umbrella brands (the likes of Emporio Armani, Puma, Kate Spade, Diesel and many more), because it gives the engine room running the smartwatch show a much needed boost - but more on that later.

The Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 is the most 'dressy' of the new MK trio, it's a watch that packs in sporty hardware by default, but which is much more cocktail bar than sweaty gym.

Listed in both the men's and women's storefronts - despite its fairly bulky 44mm case - it's not a cheap Wear OS option; you'd very much be paying a premium for a high quality, and slick looking design. It's priced up at between $350 and $425, depending on what finish you opt for.

I've had the gold tone version slapped on my wrist for the last couple of weeks. Read on for my full Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 review.

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2: Design and variants

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 review

Let's start with the different models on offer and the different prices you'll pay for them.

The gold number I've been reviewing, pictured throughout this review, is one of the three base models. It's gold tone stainless steel, and there are also silver tone and tri-tone (sort of silver, gold and rose gold) variants too - all of these are the lowest priced Lexington 2s, costing $350.

If you want to add pavé topring into the mix, then you're looking at an extra $45 for a two-tone version, or an extra $100 (US only) for a gold, all over pavé, design.

Watch designs are such a personal thing. Michael Kors knows what it's doing. It's been knocking out shiny, bejewelled watches for years (there are regular dumb watch alternatives of all of its smartwatches), so there's obviously enough people out there who like 'this sort of thing'.

The fact that it's not-for-me, and I felt like Rodney in his Rooney bracelet (Google it, US readers) is irrelevant. It's shiny, it's brash... it's a statement. It's up to you if it's a statement you want to make.

What I can say, with authority, is it's incredibly well built, with a superb finish and the little touches - like the MK on the crown, or the logo on the link lock - are brilliant executed.

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It's not overly comfortable, though. I wasn't expecting a hardly-notice sports strap feel, but it sure feels bulkier and more weighty than any of my similar sized, non-smart, dress watches. It's no uncomfortable, but you certainly don't forget you're wearing it. You'll get extra links (22mm wide, by the way) in the box if you need to go bigger.

On the side, that digital crown and the two additional buttons offer a hardware touch to the touchscreen controls, and that's always a welcome inclusion.

Rotating through menus and the like is just so much easier using a rotating crown and the buttons can be configured to fire-up any app of your choosing. The crown, by default, wakes the watch screen, takes you to apps and launches Google Assistant with a long press.

The 1.28-inch, 328ppi resolution, AMOLED display is crisp, whether up to full brightness, or making use of the always-on monochrome Wear OS functionality.

In the intro, we mention that the Lexington 2 is listed in both the male and female smartwatch sections on the Michael Kors online store. I'm a male with female-sized wrists, so I'm ticking both boxes. I think it's unisex. Probably. Although there are smaller, daintier, Michael Kors smartwatches on sale, which are probably even more female-friendly, such as the Runway or the latest Sofie; both of which are Gen 4, mind.

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2: Features and Wear OS

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 review

Let's get through the Wear OS stuff as quickly as possible, shall we? Everyone knows it's a bit of a mess beyond the genuinely useful stuff, such as notifications and Google Pay (yep, NFC is on board with the Lexington 2).

It's just not a smartwatch OS that has evolved quickly enough and, as such, has been left miles behind Apple's watchOS. Heck, it's even miles behind Samsung's in-house Tizen smartwatch OS.

Wear OS isn't unusable, and the hardware controls on the Lexington 2 do make things a bit more manageable, but you'll soon get frustrated by something / everything... especially if you try and use anything health or fitness related.

Face off: Top Wear OS faces for your smartwatch

Differentiating Wear OS is difficult for all brands (except if you're Xiaomi), with Google limiting its partners to widget and watch face alterations, and the odd custom app.

On that front, with the Lexington 2, you can choose from an array of slick looking watch faces - either on the device itself or using the companion Wear OS app - and the pre-installed MK Access app allows you to customise the complications you see on those faces.

For example, from MK Access, which can be fired up instantly by tapping that top button, you can set up a 'My Next'; a countdown to something that can be accompanied by a little icon like a martini glass (party, yeah!), plane (holiday, yeah!), guitar (gig, yeah!) or a calendar (dentist appointment, yeah!).

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 review

You can give this countdown a custom name and have a widget on the watch face showing the days left until it happens. There's also My Social, which brings in notifications from Instagram and the like, and the MK Access app is also the easiest place to tweak the look and customisations of the watch.

Everything is pretty snappy thanks to the new Snapdragon 3100 chip running the show, backed up with 8GB of storage and 1GB RAM.

Read next: Everything you need to know about Wear OS

There's also a speaker (not too tinny) on the side, so you can - if you're that way inclined - take calls from your wrist. Only calls routed through your paired phone though, it's not an LTE smartwatch.

That speaker is also where the Google Assistant will talk back to you from and where, if you are completely mental, you can listen to music from.

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2: Heart rate and sports

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 review

Look, let's not beat around the bush - if you're considering buying the Lexington 2, in any of the design variations on offer, then you're not thinking about using it as a running watch, sports tracker or for tracking your heart rate during workouts. If you are, then you're an idiot.

It's not a watch that could be worn comfortably for any sort of physical activity. That's not really a criticism; it's definitely not where Michael Kors is aiming this smartwatch.

However, this being a Gen 5 Fossil smartwatch, it does pack in all of the same sporty hardware as its cousins across the Fossil Group. Fossil has a hardware base - this time around it's sports heavy - and it builds various devices across multiple brands based on that.

Read now: Best Wear OS apps to download

But, while it does indeed have the same GPS radio and heart rate monitoring as the likes of the sporty MKGO and the Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3, as is just as 'swimproof' as those models; there's no way you want the Lex 2 on your wrist when running. And you might drown if you wear it to go swimming.

So I'm not going to go into great depth - or indeed any depth on the accuracy of either GPS or HRM on the Lexington 2 - as I feel it's totally irrelevant.

My advice, should you consider these aspects important is to check out our review of the base-model Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch. Spoiler - they both perform okay, if not spectacularly.

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2: Battery life

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 review

The 310mAh battery has a touted maximum life of 36 hours, which is about right if you only lightly use the smartwatch apps.

If you do use GPS, stream music or do anything beyond glancing at your wrist for notifications though, you'll have to charge it everyday. Such is life in the smartwatch world.

However, one of the plus points of Fossil Gen 5 - and likely due to the more efficient Qualcomm 3100 chip running the show - is the new battery saving modes.
You won't get the week-long benchmark set by the likes of Garmin and Fitbit, but you can strip back features like heart rate and the always-on display and get a good couple of days.


Michael Kors Access Lexington 2
By Fossil Group
Michael Kors' latest smartwatch fashion statement, of course, deserves to be judged on its own merits, rather than just being labelled yet another Wear OS Fossil smartwatch. The trouble is, that's exactly what it is. That's not really Michael Kors' nor Fossil's fault either; the aesthetics and the design from the former are great, if this shiny look is your sort of thing; and the hardware inside the latter's latest generation smartwatches is unrivalled in the Wear OS world. But it's, yet again, Google's software that lets everything down. It's just not good is it? Google knows that, and it's working on it... but in the meantime, every Wear OS watch that goes live is going to be bogged down by the same issues as those that went before. If you can ignore Wear OS, or at least use its most minimal functions, and you like the shiny strap, case and watch faces, then by all means splash some cash on the Lexington 2. But, if that is the case, you may as well just buy the regular, non-smart version.

Hit
  • Shiny, shiny, shiny
  • Nice MK watch faces
  • Latest Fossil Gen 5 hardware
Miss
  • Wear OS is still not brilliant
  • It's a bit expensive
  • Totally unsuitable for sports features


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