Tech for your connected self

Michael Kors Access Sofie review

A girls' girl smartwatch that's not afraid to show it

Sound the pavé klaxon because this one's selling well. The Michael Kors Access Sofie is the very popular women's smartwatch running Google's Wear operating system from the designer part of Fossil Group's fashion-friendly collections.

It mixes Wear staples with fun frou-frou, all with luxury aplomb, and is a tidy everyday watch that works with both iPhones and Android phones. Along with the delightful Kate Spade New York Scallop and the upcoming Marc Jacobs Riley Touchscreen, it's part of a group of smartwatches that should have necks at Cupertino sweating over the future of the Apple Watch as the luxe, stylish go-to for the fashion crowd.

Priced at $350, the Sofie is in the same price bracket as the Apple Watch. But this smartwatch is circular and has some very distinctive styling.

So do the smarts match up with its stylish design? We've been living with the Michael Kors Access Sofie smartwatch to find out.

Michael Kors Access Sofie: Design and look

Michael Kors Access Sofie review

We said in our initial hands on with the Sofie that it's a really pretty smartwatch and that's still true. It's a well made piece of jewellery, fairly blingy and very eye-catching with its pavé detail around the bezel, as well as on the straps if you choose.

The Sofie is available in a number of styles depending on where you're shopping globally, all with interchangeable straps, including: gold, rose gold, silver and sable-tone finishes as well as new-ish spring 2018 styles of two-tone rose gold, sky blue and white silicone. We've been wearing the silver tone watch, though we did see the rest of the collection at Fossil Group's stand at last year's IFA tech show and they're all Lovely with a capital L.

The screen is now fully round on both the Sofie and the Grayson - last year's model had a very unfashionable cut off. The round screen is a bright AMOLED display that is more than crisp enough for the customisable Michael Kors watch faces as well as Wear OS menus and apps.

Michael Kors Access Sofie review

There is now a thin black bezel within, though, so be aware that watch faces and apps (that aren't black) don't bleed straight into the metal as you may imagine. It all looks smart though.

There's a single round, quite pronounced, pusher/crown on the right hand edge to keep things sleek. We also really like the fact that the design doesn't have big watch lugs, making it much more cocktail party friendly. It's got personality.

It's comfortable too, so you can move your wrist around freely without feeling shackled. You can feel this 42mm stainless steel watch though – it's not super light and when we asked a non-techy female friend what she thought her first words were "it's too chunky".

Now, she hadn't seen last year's (larger, edgier) Access Bradshaw with its huge lugs and all, so we should applaud the difference in overall size, thickness and feel as no mean feat. But some stylish women may well see this and like this, then still end up holding out for something slimmer. (It's worth noting that the watch is still described as "oversized" on Michael Kors' own site, but bonus – it is water resistant to 1 ATM).

Michael Kors Access Sofie: Features

Michael Kors Access Sofie review

The Access Sofie – like its mens counterpart the Michael Kors Access Grayson – will appeal to anyone who wants a smart-lite smartwatch. What I mean by that is that it does a good job on alerts and Google Assistant voice controls, and Wear OS runs perfectly smoothly thanks to a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor.

Read this:Essential Wear tips and tricks

But it's missing extra features – the big one being Google Pay. You can run Google Fit and third party fitness apps on here too for basic activity tracking but there's no GPS for runners – which you'd usually see in a watch this size and price – and also no heart rate monitoring.

Michael Kors Access Sofie review

The one small feature that sets the Access Sofie apart from last year's Michael Kors Access Bradshaw and other Fossil Group smartwatches like the Kate Spade New York Scallop – and the Grayson does do this too – is the new My Social 'micro app' for watch faces.

We had My Looks and My Modes on last year's Michael Kors model and they return here, i.e. you can create day and night watch faces to quickly switch between. Now with My Social you can, in a few taps, set your Instagram or Facebook pics as your watch face and add analogue or digital clocks on top.

Amazon PA: Michael Kors Access Sofie

As of this Spring, My Social is joined by another very simple, very glanceable Michael Kors micro app called My Next, which is a countdown to an important event. It's not earth shattering but we like the drip drip of these very beginner friendly, social focused, customisable features. More where these came from, please.

Michael Kors Access Sofie: Battery life

On average the Access Sofie has lasted us a day of regular use – notifications on, brightness on average, light Wear OS usage etc. You might get a day and a half out of it but either way, you'll still be charging this nightly - and that's fine, it's unlikely you'll want to wear this type of watch to bed.

This does put the Sofie in a different category to one of its main fashion friendly rivals, the Apple Watch, though, which is more likely to stretch to two days in our testing. Charging itself is very straightforward – just plug in the magnetic charging puck and place the Access Sofie on top.


Michael Kors Access Sofie
By Michael Kors
If bling is your thing, smartwatches don't get prettier than the Michael Kors Access Sofie. It keeps the features simple with some custom Michael Kors treats sprinkled on top. So while it's not the most capable of options, it's still a fine choice for the fashion conscious and a cut above last year's Access line for women.

Hit
  • Beaut
  • Nice watch face customisation
  • Great, round screen
Miss
  • Bit chunky, oversized
  • Expensive
  • No fitness extras


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