Skip to main content

Michael Kors Access Grayson review

The most stylish Wear OS watch?

Verdict

The Michael Kors Access Grayson is one of the most polished, desirable-looking smartwatches on the market - which it needed to be given the higher-than-average price tag.

It certainly feels like you’re getting your money’s worth given its sheer size and heft, while the rotating crown makes scrolling through apps and notifications a tactile joy.

Read more: Apple Watch 4 review

A large and crisp AMOLED display shows off watch faces and notifications as well as anything, while this strong foundation is completed by solid performance and battery life.

This isn’t the most complete smartwatch though, with no heart rate sensor or GPS ensuring that fitness fans aren’t really catered for. No NFC is arguably an even bigger bind, as fashion-conscious urbanites won’t be able to Android Pay for their goods without whipping out their phones.

But being a jack of all trades really isn’t what the Michael Kors Access Grayson is all about. It’s about creating a fashion-forward watch that marries the Wear OS experience with traditional watch design principles - and on that count it’s a winner.

Who’s this for?

The Michael Kors Access Grayson is aimed squarely at the fashion crowd - those who want a stylish timepiece first and foremost, but with the core smartphone-linked advantages that Wear OS brings to the table.

In the same vein it’s also ideal for anyone coming across from a traditional timepiece who likes the concept of a smartwatch, but understandably hasn’t been impressed by the designs to date.

Anyone looking for a more fitness-focused smartwatch should really look elsewhere, like the LG Watch Sport. But if you want a smartwatch that will look as good with a sharp suit as your every day attire, the Grayson is tough to beat.

Should you buy it?

There’s no escaping the fact that $350/£349 is quite a lot to spend on an Wear OS smartwatch. But the Michael Kors Access Grayson offers something few of the established manufacturers can match.

It’s a smartwatch that actually looks like a watch - and a relatively classy one at that.

Its strengths are very specific, though. If you have even modest ambitions of using your new watch as a fitness tracker or for mobile payments, you should probably look elsewhere.

The Michael Kors Access Grayson is an impressive smartwatch, but at this price there's lots of competition, such as the following.

LG Watch Style

The LG Watch Style states its intentions up front - it’s a smartwatch that focuses on its looks as much as anything else.

True, it’s not as good looking or stylish as the Michael Kors Access Grayson, but it has its own more understated charm. Besides which, it’s considerably smaller and slimmer, which may be a consideration for some.

Despite that, the LG Watch Style packs the same core specs - much pokier OLED display aside - for a significantly lower price.

Samsung Gear S3

For its latest smartwatch, Samsung has managed to create a handsome watch that’s also pretty well equipped (albeit far from the best) for fitness fans. Battery life is also very strong.

It’s a really strong rival to the Michael Kors Access Grayson in many ways, and you can generally pick it up for a fair bit less.

There’s one major caveat. While Samsung’s own custom wearable OS is very slick and pleasant to use, it’s also scarcely supported by third-party developers, so the app supply is meager.

Apple Watch 3

Of course, if you’ve got an iPhone instead of an Android phone, there really is no contest. The Apple Watch 3 isn’t just the smartwatch that syncs best with your phone - it’s the best all-round smartwatch in the business.

The recently launched Apple Watch 3 packs in much-improved performance, two-day battery life, excellent fitness-tracking potential, and now the option of LTE connectivity.

It’s a smartwatch that can be worn to any occasion, too, thanks to its understated square design and vast range of interchangeable straps.

First reviewed: October 2017