It may only be January but look no further, the flashiest smartwatch we’ll probably see all year has arrived. It’s the Michael Kors Access Gen 5E Darci, and the press release correctly states it comes with, “a touch of sparkle.” After studying the pictures and depending on your personal taste, you may consider this to be an understatement.
The Darci is based on the recently released Fossil Gen 5E platform, which debuted with a more compact case and a lower price than the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch. While the smaller case remains on the Darci — it’s 43mm with a 1.19-inch AMOLED screen — the price has shot up to $350. Why? Michael Kors has swapped the aluminum case for a stainless steel one, and matched it to a stainless steel 7-link bracelet, increasing the luxury feel.
There are three different styles to choose from, all with lots of gold, but it’s the bezel that contains the all-important sparkle. The result is as dainty, showy, and as statement-making as you’d expect from a Micheal Kors watch. There’s a single button on the side of the case and it’s etched with MK branding, a feature repeated on the pin holding the intricate strap to the triple horn layout. It’s certainly a very eye-catching smartwatch.
On the tech side, nothing has changed compared to the Fossil Gen 5E, which means unfortunately it still uses the old Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor and 512MB of RAM. In our Gen 5E review we found the performance was surprisingly good though. There’s a heart rate sensor on the back, NFC for Google Pay, Google’s Wear OS software, and the ability to take calls too. The Gen 5E Darci does not have GPS built-in, but it is water-resistant to 30 meters and has plenty of activity tracking features too.
The Darci Gen 5E is clearly aimed at women, but is not the only new model Michael Kors has revealed at CES 2021. The Darci is joined by the Gen 5E MKGO, which is its more unisex companion watch. The price has dropped to $250, matching the Fossil Gen 5E, due to the case being made from aluminum and the smartwatch using a normal rubber strap. There’s still some sparkle around the bezel, but in black with a black strap, it’s a far more subtle affair than the Darci.
All Gen 5E watches come with the latest Fossil software onboard, which makes tracking workouts easier using a special piece of software, and it sips energy from the processor so the battery lasts longer. Even so, expect the battery to need recharging most days unless your use is very low. The watch does have several extended battery modes though, if you’re willing to go without a few features in order to always see the time.
The Fossil Gen 5E is a little ordinary in its design, and the large bezel around the screen does make it look old, but the flashy design of the Michael Kors Access Gen 5E Darci and Gen 5E MKGO leaves those dull looks far behind and for that, we’re very grateful. Michael Kors has not confirmed a release date for either model yet, but if you’re looking for a smartwatch right now, make sure to see our best smartwatch recommendations here.
The Micheal Kors watches also feature in our roundup of the best wearable tech at CES 2021, along with plenty more interesting products.
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