Fashion brand Michael Kors is about to launch its Access Android Wear smartwatches into stores. The devices were first announced at Baselworld 2016, alongside several other smartwatches from various other Fossil brands, but there were no working samples on the stand.
There were working devices of the fashionable Android Wear smartwatches at consumer electronics show IFA however, just in time for us to see them in action before they arrive on 6 September and they are definitely something to get excited about.
The smaller Michael Kors Access smartwatch looks every bit like the company's distinguishable Bradshaw watch, while the larger option takes its design cues from the company's Dylan watch. Regarding the smaller model, its casing is a little thicker than the traditional Bradshaw in order to house the technology inside, but the overall look is every bit as Michael Kors as fans could hope for.
It has a lovely, chunky, premium finish that has a good, reassuring weight to it and it's really lovely. The signature MK-etched crown is present on the right-hand side of the touchscreen face, while a linked bracelet is fastened with a Michael Kors-branded clasp. The case is available in gold, silver, rose gold or navy blue.
The larger Michael Kors Access watch is a little more masculine, with a slightly chunkier design and a wider bezel surrounding the face. Again, it is thicker than the traditional Dylan model but it too offers a well-built design with an MK-etched crown that looks great. Rather than a clasp fastening, the larger device comes with a silicone strap as standard, fastened with a buckle, and overall it has a slightly sportier look. There is the option of a silver, black or gold casing.
You'll get one strap as standard with the Access watches but there will be plenty of extra straps available to buy, allowing you to interchange them as you want to, switching between linked, silicone, leather, etc. According to Fossil, between the straps and the watch faces, there are 27 million ways to customise your smartwatch, including special Michael Kors face options.
Fashion is at the forefront of these watches, with technology following. This is evident in the way the Access watches not only look but how they feel when on. They might be smartwatches, but they look like watches and ones that you could wear with whatever you want to, given the customisation options available.
The Access smartwatches run on the Android Wear platform, which is compatible with both Android and iOS devices and they offer the same features as other Android Wear devices. This means the Access watch will deliver smartphone notifications directly to your wrist, whether that's emails, WhatsApp, text messages, or whatever other alerts you want to receive.
It will also run a range of apps, be that mapping, controlling your music, telling you which bus to get, and so on.
There is a microphone and speaker on board the Access watches so you can have a phone conversation through your wrist, without needing to get your smartphone out of your bag or pocket, and this also allows for voice control. Additionally, the Access offers multiple timezones, automatic updating of the timezone and activity tracking.
Like the Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch, the Michael Kors models also have a black bar at the bottom of the display, creating a flat tyre look. We haven't been a great fan of this in the past, but the build quality of the MK options does help us focus less on it.
As with every other Android Wear device, users will need to pair their Michael Kors Access watch to the Android Wear app. In the case of these watches, there is a dedicated Michael Kors Android Wear app. From here, you'll be able to customise your watch to how you want it, including scheduling faces to change based on whether it is daytime or evening, for example. We didn't get a chance to play with the app, but we will look at it in more detail when we come to review the Access.
As we mentioned, the Michael Kors Access Android Wear smartwatches will go on sale from 6 September. They will cost £295 each and additional straps will be available for around £40 each. They aren't the cheapest out there, but for those that want a stylish, fashionable smartwatch, the Access is one smartwatch not to ignore.