Apr 3rd, 2020

Fossil owns a pretty incredible amount of brands, and as such, the company has created a ton of Wear OS devices. We’re happy to see the smartwatch operating system being pushed forward, and when you buy a Fossil group watch, you know what you’re getting. And with Michael Kors, you’re getting a lot of gratuitous bling paired with the same hardware you see in other watches. And for $350, it’s not cheap bling compared to its cheaper Fossil Gen 5 sibling.

Hardware

On the front you’ll find a 1.28-inch 390×390 AMOLED display. It looks much larger than it is, but once it’s on you’ll find it flanked by a substantial bezel. You can especially notice this with watch faces that aren’t black, and it’s pretty unfortunate. I really wish the display was bigger.

Another issue with the display is the pretty much broken auto brightness. If auto brightness is on, the display is super dim in all circumstances. Whether you’re indoors or out, the display is too dim to comfortably read. I ended up setting it to 4 out of 5 in brightness and it became a much better experience, but it’s a waste of auto brightness.

Inside is a Snapdragon 3100 and 1GB of RAM. This is as good as it gets for a Wear OS smartwatch and results in a smooth, quick experience. The experience isn’t always buttery smooth, but no Wear OS smartwatch really provides that. But for the most part, the experience is great. Animations are smooth, scrolling is nice, and apps load reasonably quickly.

In terms of sensors and features, this watch is well equipped. You get a heart rate sensor, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, and even a speaker. It’s nice to have notifications play on your watch and you can use it for phone calls if need be.

Build quality

This watch is built like a real watch, and a damn good one at that. Well, it’s almost copied off of one. The bezel and crown look suspiciously like a Rolex Datejust. The case and band are both made out of stainless steel and they feel solid, hefty, and premium. The band doesn’t feel cheap like a lot of generic metal bands you’d find on Amazon. Buttons are stiff, clicky, and solid while the crown has a smooth spin to it. It’s not loose and easy to spin, and it feels great.

The back has the normal Fossil plastic piece with the two charging rings in it. This plastic feels relatively good and offers no creaks or squeaks. It’s also compatible with other Fossil chargers, which are fairly nice and snap on magnetically.

The only issue is that the glass is Gorilla Glass 3. While it’s fairly resistant to major scratches, small ones will build up over time (as we’ve seen with all of our phones). We wish this was sapphire at the price, like many regular watches and the original Huawei Watch.

Software

Under the hood you’ll find standard Wear OS. And if you’ve ever used another Wear OS smartwatch, you know exactly what to expect (and whether you like it is up to you). Wear OS doesn’t change between watches (Google doesn’t let it), but Michael Kors has switched a few things up.

First of all, the theme is a strange pale yellow. It’s not particularly attractive, though I guess it’s more appropriate than neon blue. Next are the watch faces. There are a lot of them, and most of them are garish and in your face and covered in Michael Kors logos. We’re talking bright gold, pink, and entire screens full of MK. There are a few decent ones, and you can download more from the Play Store to your hearts content.

There’s also a Michael Kors app which has a few tricks. It can select watch faces at random for you, it can use social media posts as watch faces, it can set timers for major events, and it can do different modes for day and night mode. I didn’t find much use for it but more options is always a good thing.

A few oddities are the stock settings. The raise wrist to wake option is turned off, and will be turned off every time you reset the watch. Why this is, I have no idea because it’s an essential part of a smartwatch. Head into settings to play around a bit and adjust them to your liking.

Battery life

This is a major failure on Michael Kors’ part. A smartwatch is only as good as its battery, because once that’s dead, all you’re left with is the lifeless husk of a fancy watch on your wrist. And with the always on display on (a must have with Wear OS), full time heart rate monitoring, and no work outs, it would never last through a regular 16 hour day. Sometimes it didn’t come close. And worst of all, turning off full time heart rate monitoring didn’t help.

When the watch would die soon after the work day ended, I’d throw it on the charger and forget about it. I’d end up missing the functionality of notifications and music control until I went to bed. And this makes the watch far less useful than most of the competition to me. Throw in a workout and the battery life gets shorter, though I wouldn’t work out wearing a stainless steel weight on my wrist.

The Puma smartwatch, which I’m reviewing at the same time, would last through an entire 16 hour day with those features turned on (though barely). And my original Huawei Watch still manages two days a majority of the time on its aged battery, though it doesn’t have full time heart rate monitor. The Huawei Watch 2 does, and it does two days easily.

Comfort

Being a fashionable and large stainless steel watch, the comfort of a silicone band isn’t expected. Let’s be fair here. But for the type of watch it is, I found it relatively comfortable. I could wear it all day without issue.

The band is designed like a traditional watch band, meaning you either have to use a special tool to remove links or you have to take it to a professional. This isn’t a big deal (it is a fancy watch after all) but it does mean on the fly adjustments are impossible. If you do any physical activity and want a bit more room in your watch band, you might as well take the watch off. Luckily it does come with quick disconnects so you can change the band if you wish. I wouldn’t, this is a really nice band.

Conclusion

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 Rating: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_0star_0 (3 / 5)

The Good

  • Build quality is superb
  • It sure looks great
  • Screen is sharp and bright
  • Full of sensors and features

The Bad

  • Battery life won’t get you through a day
  • Bezels are large
  • Auto brightness seems broken
  • Raise wrist gesture is turned off by default
  • $350 price tag

This is a damn good looking watch, and it’s built like a tank. It’ll look great even with formal attire but perform all the duties of a regular smartwatch… well until it dies that is. The awful battery life makes it hard to recommend, because the bare minimum of one day of light use can’t even be met here. And especially at this price, it should not be a problem. But if you need a fancy smartwatch to wear to a soiree, this is your best bet.

Buy on Amazon

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