(Pocket-lint) - Fashion brand Michael Kors has a number of smartwatches within its portfolio, all of which are delivered through umbrella company Fossil, which is also responsible for smartwatches from the likes of Diesel, Emporio Armani and Kate Spade.
The original Michael Kors Access Bradshaw that launched in 2016 was one of the first Wear OS smartwatches we genuinely wanted to wear day-in-day-out, and many of its successors, including both the Access Sofie and Access Runway, have the same appeal.
The Michael Kors Access Bradshaw 2 was therefore greeted by us with genuine excitement and, once again, Michael Kors and Fossil have delivered a great smartwatch, made even better with the addition of some new features.
- 44mm casing, 22mm lug width
- Stainless steel casing
- Six colour options
The Michael Kors Access Bradshaw 2 looks virtually identical to the analogue Michael Kors Bradshaw watch that it's based upon, which is one of its greatest attributes. It has a fabulous stainless steel casing with solid build quality that's just like the non-smart version, while the well-positioned lugs grasp the 22mm interchangeable link strap for a great overall design.
On the right side of the casing is the main rotating crown that has MK etched into it - like all Michael Kors watches, both smart and analogue - and there are also two customisable action buttons placed either side, differentiating the Access Bradshaw 2 from the older Access Bradshaw. These useful additions are found on most of the latest Wear OS smartwatches.
The underside of the Bradshaw 2 casing sees a plastic covering with a heart-rate monitor and the charging mechanism. This is really the only place the Bradshaw 2 doesn't ooze quality - but given that you don't see it, it doesn't really matter.
As with all Michael Kors watches, the Access Bradshaw 2 isn't a small watch. It's chunky compared to the Apple Watch and even other smartwatches in the company's range, like the Access Sofie and MKGO, but for the Michael Kors fan this won't be a problem. The brand is known for its bold products and the Bradshaw 2 is certainly that, in all the right ways.
- 1.28-inch AMOLED display, 328ppi
- Customisable faces with MK Access
On top of the 44mm casing is a 1.28-inch AMOLED display that pumps out plenty of vibrancy, deep blacks and punchy colours. Thankfully, there is no 'flat tyre' - that black-out area across the bottom of the watch - as there was on the original Access Bradshaw from a few years back. Instead, you get a fully round display that presents crisp images and text.
With the Michael Kors Access MKGO there were a few Michael Kors faces that weren't as crisp as we would have liked, but this isn't the case on the Access Bradshaw 2. All the customisable Michael Kors faces - another one of the best attributes of this smartwatch - look excellent. MK faces are exclusive to Michael Kors smartwatches, but you might not find all faces on all the available watches.
The MK Access app serves up hundreds of customisation options though. You can change everything from the dial colour to the crystal colour to match an outfit or a specific pair of shoes, while other features like My Modes and My Social offer the ability to automatically change faces between day and night or set a Facebook or Instagram picture as a watch face. Read our tips and tricks to get the most out of the MK Access app.
Like most Wear OS smartwatches and even the Apple Watch Series 5, the Access Bradshaw 2 has an Always On display, switching to monochrome output and only serving up essential information in order to preserve battery life.
The designs and layouts of the Always On display vary depending on which main face you have chosen, but like other Kors smartwatches they allow the Access Bradshaw 2 to look more like a traditional Kors watch when the smartwatch functions aren't being used. We think that's great, especially in the evenings.
Features and fitness
- 30m waterproof (3ATM)
- Heart-rate monitoring
- Built-in GPS
- Google Pay
The Michael Kors Access Bradshaw 2 has a number of features under its belt. Many are the same as the latest other Fossil smartwatches, including the Gen 5 smartwatch, so it's the primarily the design and the exclusive Michael Kors watch faces that that will attract you to this particular smartwatch.
Like the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch, you'll find heart-rate monitoring, built-in GPS, and 3ATM waterproofing. Unlike the Access MKGO, however, the Access Bradshaw 2 isn't the Michael Kors smartwatch we would recommend wearing during a gym workout. Swap the stainless steel link strap for a silicone option and you can probably get away with it, but it won't ever be as comfortable as the likes of the Apple Watch or a sports-specific device like a Garmin or Fitbit.
Still, having the features on board is great and the heart-rate monitor is pretty much on par with the Apple Watch Series 4 in our experience, perhaps occasionally a little higher in its count. If you're planning on training using heart-rate zones though, we'd always recommend a chest strap and we'd also be surprised if this smartwatch was your go-to for fitness.
Like the MKGO and Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches, the Access Bradshaw 2 synchronises with Google Fit (accessed with a right-to-left swipe from the main home screen or via the bottom action button on the right of the casing). Google Fit concentrates on two metrics - Move Minutes and Heart Points - both of which are shown in circles, not too dissimilar to the Apple Watch and its rings. Move Minutes are all about any physical activity you do, while Heart Points are all about higher intensity activities.
In the centre of the Google Fit rings is the Workouts icon, which you can tap to log a workout. There's a huge range to choose from, including some less obvious options too.
Scroll past the Google Fit rings and there's a range of other data available, from guided breathing - something the Apple Watch, Fitbit and Samsung all offer - to steps, calories and distance covered. Google Android users will find all their data in the Google Fit app, which Apple iOS users can also download. Some information is also presented in the Wear OS app.
In terms of other features, the Access Bradshaw 2 has NFC on board, allowing for Google Pay, so you can pay from your wrist.
It also has standard Wear OS features too, including smartphone notifications. Any notification coming through to your phone will appear on your wrist - though you can block any apps you don't want appearing.
There's also a speaker on board, allowing you to take phone calls on your wrist, as well as hear responses from Google Assistant (accessed with a swipe left to right off the main watch face).
Performance, hardware and battery
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100
- 8GB storage, 1GB RAM
- 310mAh battery
The Michael Kors Access Bradshaw 2 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, offering an upgrade on the likes of the Access Runway and Access Sofie, and especially the original Access Bradshaw.
Unlike the Access MKGO, we didn't experience any lag on the Bradshaw 2 when switching between tasks or pushing the action buttons. This is likely thanks to the 1GB of RAM on board the Access Bradshaw 2 - double that of the MKGO. You'll also find double the storage compared to the sportier MKGO, which is great for downloaded music on Spotify, for example.
We did face a couple of connection issues with the Access Bradshaw 2, though, when it was paired to an Apple iPhone 11 Pro. Occasionally the Bluetooth connection would drop and it wasn't possible to get the Bradshaw 2 to reconnect without factory resetting the smartwatch. This happened on two occasions, though following the second reset, our connection has since held. It's just worth noting in case you find yourself in a similar position.
In terms of battery life, the Access Bradshaw 2 got us through the day no problem. We typically ended a 7am to 11pm day with between 20 and 30 per cent battery remaining, allowing us to continue through to the first part of the next day before we needed to charge it. That was with the Always On display turned on and the display brightness set to auto.
Charging takes place via a magnetic disc and the Access Bradshaw 2 benefits from Rapid Charging that offers up to 80 per cent battery in 50 minutes, which is great if you don't want to compromise features for battery.
Of course, if you switch built-in GPS on, take multiple phone calls through the watch itself, and have all your social media and email notifications coming through, you might find you need that Rapid Charging feature more than we did.
Wear OS platform
- Compatible with both iOS and Android
- Microphone and speaker
- Google Assistant
Like other Michael Kors smartwatches and Fossil smartwatches, the Access Bradshaw 2 runs on Google's Wear OS platform. The platform has seen some significant improvements over the last couple of years and it's much more intuitive now than it was when we first strapped a Michael Kors Access smartwatch to our wrists.
But for iPhone users it doesn't quite match Apple's watch OS yet. The Apple Watch is excellent but it looks more like a smartwatch than the Bradshaw 2. Still, the Kors experience is enough for iPhone users, as Wear OS plays nice Apple's platform too.
Swipe down from the top of the main screen and you'll find access to quick settings, like Google Pay and screen brightness. A left-to-right swipe opens Google Assistant, while right-to-left opens Google Fit. Swipe up from the bottom to bring up notifications.
The main rotating crown on the right of the watch casing allows you to glide through the apps, while the top button takes you to the MK Access app, and the bottom one to Google Fit by default. These last two can be customised though.
The Michael Kors Access Bradshaw 2 is an excellent smartwatch. It oozes quality and style, delivers a plethora of features - from waterproofing and built-in GPS to a built-in speaker and customisable watch faces - and offers great overall performance.
Its battery could last longer, we did have a few connection issues, while the chunky design won't be to everyone's taste, nor does it lend itself well to the the great fitness features on board. But on the whole, we have very little to complain about regarding the Access Bradshaw 2.
The Access Bradshaw 2 is a feature-rich, fashionable, bold and brilliant smartwatch. For the Michael Kors fan, it is everything you could ask for in a smartwatch, perfectly blending traditional Kors style with modern day smarts.
Apple Watch Series 5
If you're an Apple iPhone user, you might consider the Apple Watch Series 5. It doesn't have quite the same fashionable look as the Michael Kors Access Bradshaw 2, but the watchOS platform delivers a seamless experience. You could also look at the Series 4 if the Series 5 is too pricey.
Michael Kors Access MKGO
The Michael Kors Access MKGO misses out on a few features compared to the Access Bradshaw 2, but if you're after a Michael Kors smartwatch that is better suited to the gym, then you might consider the MKGO, offering a nylon casing for a lovely lightweight device.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active runs on the Tizen OS - an alternative to Wear OS and watchOS - and while it lacks in third party apps and the smartwatch itself has been succeeded by the more feature rich Galaxy Watch Active 2, the Watch Active offers a lovely design, beautiful screen and some great fitness features.