Michael Kors MKGO first look: A Wear OS watch with sporty chic

IFA 2019: Fashion brand breaks from the smartwatch norm
Michael Kors MKGO first look
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Michael Kors' contribution to the world of smartwatches has undeniably been bringing some glitz to the party. From its first Access duo – the Bradshaw and the Dylan – to the hugely popular Sofie, the Kors watches have tried to inject some much-needed style into Google's Wear OS platform.

That's why the introduction of the Michael Kors MKGO, the designer name's first sports-centric smartwatch, is all the more puzzling. Parent company Fossil recently made it known it was planning to launch more fitness-focused watches from its many brands. But we are definitely surprised to see that Michael Kors is one of them.

Read this: Best Wear watches to buy now

What you get is a 43mm watch available in four very bold looks, packing in pretty much all of the hardware that we've come to expect from the latest Wear smartwatches. There's built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and a swim-proof design to give it that sports tracking prowess. The proof though will be in the testing to see if its tracking powers are up to scratch.

Michael Kors MKGO first look: A Wear OS watch with sporty chic

Being such a departure from its usual smartwatches, we anticipated that the MKGO might be a bit of a garish mess. Up close, that's definitely not the case. You're not getting the most luxury materials here or what you get on MK's other watches, but you are getting a slim, pleasantly light smartwatch. We loved the red colourway, which we tried in our demo. The 1.19-inch AMOLED screen is sharp and the 20mm straps don't feel cheap at all. It's a watch aimed at women, but it could comfortably get away as unisex.

When we say it has almost everything the latest Wear watches have to offer, it is still lacking in a few departments. It has just 4GB of storage, while newer watches offer 8GB to give you more room for things like apps and music. It also doesn't have a speaker, which we are now seeing crop up on newer Wear watches.

It still has 512MB of RAM as well, which is what Wear watches have been featuring for some time now. It packs Qualcomm's newest Snapdragon 3100 chipset, and our brief play showed no real signs of sluggishness. The question is whether it can stay like that over time.

Michael Kors MKGO first look: A Wear OS watch with sporty chic

Scrolling through the MKGO's app drawer doesn't bring any surprises. All the usual suspects are here and a big deal is being made about Spotify, heart health monitoring app Cardiogram and safety app Noonlight all being preloaded. Michael Kors hasn't added anything extra on the sports tracking front, relying on Google Fit and third-party fitness apps to fill that role.

And while the exterior may be different, it still gets the same MK software treatment, adding in social watch faces and offering the ability to customise the dials on the side of the watch to quickly launch your favourite features.

Initial verdict

Everything about the idea of a sporty Michael Kors smartwatch felt like a misstep in the making, particularly for a brand that has been doing such a fine job enticing more people to wear Google-powered smartwatches. But there's something quite likeable about the MKGO. It looks good and offers most of the top-line Wear OS software and hardware features. It could probably do with coming down a little from its $295 price, but it has more appeal than similarly priced watches like the Fossil Sport.

What do you think?
Reply to
Your comment