Hands on: Michael Kors Access Runway review

A new smartwatch from Michael Kors

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Michael Kors Access Runway offers a similar design to watches we've seen from the brand before, but the big upgrade comes from the tech on offer here.

For

  • Google Pay compatible
  • New fitness tech

Against

  • Estimated battery life is just a day
  • Small display

Alongside a swathe of other new smartwatches made by Fossil, the Michael Kors Access Runway is packed full of upgraded tech we've yet to see on a watch from the brand... until now.

Fossil makes watches under the Diesel and Emporio Armani banners (among others) and similar tech is present in most of the new smartwatches from the brand, such as the Fossil Q Venture HR.

The Access Runway is traditionally aimed at the women's market, but this may be suitable for anyone looking for a smaller smartwatch on their wrist.

Michael Kors Access Runway price and release date

The new Michael Kors Access Runway costs $295 / £269 (about AU$400) with a silicone band, but the price will go up to $350 / £349 (about AU$480) if you want a stainless steel option.

You can buy the Michael Kors Access Runway in the US and UK now, while we're not sure yet if it's coming to Australia.

Design and display

The Michael Kors Access Runway looks similar to a lot of other smartwatches already released from the brand, but the design has been refined here to make it feel more premium on your wrist.

It's a relatively small watch, so it's perfect if you have slimmer wrists that want a lightweight device.

The Access Runway is swim-proof, so you can take it into the pool or the shower and it will work safely in depths of up to 3 meters. If you want to do that, we'd recommend using the silicone straps rather than the metal ones.

The metal straps feel premium to the touch, but you can easily swap these out for the silicone ones when you need to.

The watch has a 42mm body, and the screen is small but sharp at 1.19 inches and a 390 x 390 resolution. It also looked bright and seemed easy to navigate during our testing, though of course a bigger screen will give you more room to maneuver.

The right hand edge of the watch includes two programmable buttons as well as a rotatable crown.

Specs and features

The Michael Kors Access Runway will track your steps and sleep, and it will also monitor your heart rate throughout the day.

It comes running Wear OS software, so you'll have access to all the wearable apps on the Google Play Store as well. This will work with your iPhone or Android device, as long as it's running recent enough software.

If you want to use the Michael Kors Access Runway for intensive exercise, you'll likely find the built-in GPS to be a major feature of the watch.

Plus Google Pay is also supported, as there's an NFC chip inside that allows you to make mobile payments while on the go. All of these features come alongside the notifications and much more that you get from a Wear OS watch.

Our limited testing found apps loading quickly on the watch thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 chipset inside, while the 300mAh battery is estimated to last 24 hours. We'll be sure to test that for our full review.

Early verdict

The Michael Kors Access Runway offers lots of new tech that the brand hasn't included on a smartwatch before.

If you're a fan of the brand's aesthetics, it's likely you'll appreciate the Michael Kors Access Runway, as it looks premium and top-end while having lots of great tech inside too.

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What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.