A luxury handbag, some coveted make-up, high fashion and even an eye-catching pair of sunnies. These are some of the iconic brand Michael Kors’ popular merchandise.
But a smartwatch?
Well, it’s flashy, gorgeous and packs a punch when it comes to technology features. The Michael Kors Access Gen 5E Darci is a keeper — if you like big dials and a little bit of bling. For all those, who want a statement piece on the wrist, here’s a detailed review.
Fun fact — the E in Gen 5E stands for ‘essential’. So, how essential does this smartwatch prove to be?
I have been walking around with the Darci on my wrist for more than two weeks now and several people have asked me, “what’s that on your wrist?” When it comes to design, the name Michael Kors is synonymous with luxury and high fashion. And the brand has put all its design prowess into the smartwatch. The design alone makes it a disruptor in the smartwatch space.
While the sparkly frame of the circular dial makes it a better fit for women, the large real estate on the 1.19-inch AMOLED screen for all your notifications and health data will appeal to many. The stainless steel 7-link bracelet adds to the premium feel on the wrist. For those who want design over rugged features and yet compatibility with most smartphones, this design is ideal.
Connectivity and compatibility
Here’s requesting all iOS user to sit down and not raise your hands. The Gen 5E Darci is powered with Wear OS by Google Technology and will be easy to decode by Android users or those who are familiar with Wear OS.
As a challenge, I decided to pair the Gen 5E Darci with my iPhone. As a habitual user of the Apple Watch, I was intrigued and apprehensive. But much to my delight, the pairing was easy and the compatibility ranks high on the scale. It comes with Bluetooth-enabled calling and you can answer calls, view notifications and even get candid with the Google Assistant. The in-built speaker performs well and you can hear sound alerts and even play music directly from your smartwatch.
My only gripe was that WhatsApp notifications took a while to configure. You may have to configure settings multiple times through the Wear OS app for better customisation.
The Gen 5E Darci is priced at Rs 25,995. Interestingly, the pricing puts in the “affordable luxury” segment when it comes to smartwatches. Comparisons with other Android smartwatches as well as the undisputed king of the smartwatch space, the Apple Watch Series 6, are going to happen. But the Apple Watch Series 6 starts at more than Rs 40,000. So if you think about it, you get a more attractive watch with similar features at a lower price point in the Gen 5E Darci. But Apple loyalists will need to be convinced to make the switch. And Michael Kors will have to try harder to appease them if the brand wants to tap into that market.
Let’s be frank. Why do we wear a smartwatch these days? To be independent of our phones? No. To have some wrist candy? Probably. To track fitness, heart rate and overall health? Definitely yes. The Darci comes with a step-tracker, a calorie tracker, and a new Wellness app to monitor real-time metrics. I tried wearing it during high-intensity cardio workouts and strength training and it performed well.
However, the gorgeous metallic strap was a bit uncomfortable and I would shudder to damage it with sweat! So, fitness enthusiasts may not lean towards this smartwatch to meet their fitness objectives. Having said that, I was impressed with its cardio-fitness tracking which helped me track my resting heart rate and other biometrics. Another noteworthy feature — the watch is water-resistant up to 30 meters. This means it may be shower-proof but certainly not swim-proof.
The deal-clincher or deal-breaker in most cases with gadgets is the battery life. The watch lasted around 8 hours on a full charge and that’s because I am addicted to a smartwatch and use it for multiple purposes. The brand claims the watch comes with multi-day battery mode and you can switch between more efficient modes to make your smartwatch last longer. All in all, the battery life was predictable, satisfactory and in line with its competition.
Should you buy it?
At nearly Rs 26,000, the Michael Kors Access Gen 5E Darci is somewhere between aspirational and affordable for smartwatch users who like to invest in their technology.
Just like a Michael Kors handbag, this smartwatch carries with it the tag of aspiration and luxury — one that is synonymous with the brand. The luxe feel of the watch on the wrist, at times, compensates for the lack of other features which may be available at a lower price point. It doesn’t look ostentatious or garish despite the sparkle and will be a perfect accessory for a boardroom meeting or to flaunt during a Zoom meeting.
So, I say, go for this timepiece if you like bling and elegance, with a dash of technology to keep you going through the day.