With the Sofie, Michael Kors Offers a Smartwatch that's smaller, but still just as powerful.
The Sofie is the other new smartwatch that Michael Kors is announcing for the fall. It's a smaller model, that is definitely more suited towards women's wrists than a man's wrist. It also drops two of the buttons found on the Grayson in favor of just one. Now the smaller smartwatch does provide a better experience for some people, and makes the smartwatch look a bit smaller on the wrist - instead of just looking like a giant computer on your wrist, but does the Sofie fit that bill as well? Let's find out in our full review.
Sofie has a 42mm casing and the lugs are 18mm, which means any 18mm band will work with this smartwatch, as these are easily removed thanks to buttons on either side of the lugs. Michael Kors offers up 6 models here which are priced at $350 (with one being priced at $395), and they are all metal smartwatches. Michael Kors does offer up some leather and mesh metal straps to go along with these watches, which are offered for an additional cost.
The size of the Sofie is significantly smaller than the Grayson (42mm vs 47mm casings), but the build quality is still what you'd expect. We have the gold model here, and it has jewels encrusted around the bezel of the display. Which definitely gives it the vibe of being made for women more than for men. One of the major differences we noticed, besides size, is the fact that Michael Kors has dropped two of the three buttons found on the Grayson, for just one on the Sofie. It is still Android Wear 2.0, it's just not using the additional buttons. This was likely because of the smaller casing, and adding those other two buttons would make things really cramped on this smartwatch.
Michael Kors has made it pretty easy to swap out the bands here, there are two buttons that you can press on either side of the lug and then the band pops right out. It's fairly simple, and that's great for those that might want to swap in a newer band. The lugs are a bit wider than the casing, which makes for a pretty distinct look here on the Sofie, but Michael Kors has made it work fairly well.
There's a smaller 1.19-inch display here on the Sofie, compared to the Grayson. Which is what you would expect anyways. It's a 390x390 resolution AMOLED display, which is great for a smartwatch due to the fact that AMOLED panels light up individual pixels and not the entire display. So that you are able to use the always-on display and not kill the battery as quickly. It also makes for a great experience when using the watch outdoors. In fact, in our testing, the Sofie looked really good outside. It wasn't super bright, but it was more than bright enough to be usable.
One of the big changes Michael Kors made to its smartwatch from last year's model was the removal of the flat tire. Now, many didn't have a big issue with the flat tire, since it was black and blended in. But Michael Kors made their flat tire the same color as the bezel, so the gold models really had it standing out, compared to other colors. But that is now gone, and Michael Kors has a fully rounded display. It does mean slightly larger bezels, but they don't seem to be overly large this time around.
Performance on the Sofie was nothing too surprising, and that's not a bad thing. You see, Sofie uses the same internals as just about every smartwatch that was released in the past year. That includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 paired with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. The Snapdragon Wear 2100 continues to perform really well and it doesn't lag or slow down at all with Android Wear 2.0, of course, you'd expect that from a SoC that was made specifically for smartwatches and wearables. While the 512MB of RAM is definitely a bit on the low-end, it is still plenty. Remember these smartwatches aren't doing as much as your smartphone, so they don't need 4GB of RAM to work well.
The Sofie has a slightly smaller, but still powerful 300mAh battery inside. Michael Kors quotes that this battery can last for around 24 hours on a charge. And in our testing it actually goes a bit further than that. We were able to get it to last through about two full days at the most. Now this is always going to depend on your usage, but for our usage, which was between light and moderate, it lasted close to two full days. And that is actually about average for smartwatches these days.
It's no surprise, but the Michael Kors Sofie is running on Android Wear 2.0. There are quite a few things to be excited about with the Android Wear 2.0 update on smartwatches, but one of the main ones is not available here - that's Android Pay. Unfortunately, Michael Kors has decided to keep out NFC and a heart rate monitor for some reason. So Google Fit is still here, it just can't detect and track your heart rate. Now this might be a good thing, since these heart rate monitors are not very accurate, and in some cases can be very inaccurate. Michael Kors has not listed a reason for leaving these out, but it could be for putting in a larger battery and keeping the smartwatches smaller.
The app drawer does still scroll, but now with the crown, like on the Grayson watch. Which was one of my favorite features. It really made scrolling through stuff much easier. And you also don't have a shortcut to Michael Kors' own watchface app, or a shortcut to the Google Play Store, since Michael Kors has gotten rid of the upper and lower buttons on the side here. You can still get to these by going into the app drawer, so that's not a huge issue, but it's just a step extra that's needed here.
Something we have noticed here with the Sofie is that navigating through the Google Play Store and using Google Assistant seems to be a bit slower than on the Grayson smartwatch - which is a little strange since its connected to the same smartphone. But it's likely due to the network they are connected to, so that shouldn't be an issue all of the time. And it wasn't during our review process.
No More Flat Tire
No NFC, no Android Pay
No Heart Rate Monitor
The Sofie in Michael Kors' Access collection is a great looking smartwatch. It has a lot going for it, especially if you are one with a smaller wrist. However, it appears that like with the Grayson, Michael Kors is targeting those that want a traditional watch that does connect to their smartphone. Instead of a smartwatch that looks a bit more traditional and classy. And we say that because of the fact that the Sofie lacks both NFC and a heart rate monitor. Neither of which will likely be a huge deal breaker for everyone out there, but it's still surprising that it's not here. If you can get past not having either of those features, then the Sofie is a great smartwatch to pick up, and it'll be on sale starting today with more general availability on September 25th.