Top-notch fitness tracking

Galaxy Watch Active

Fashionable smartwatch

Michael Kors Access Sofie

The Galaxy Watch Active has a lot to offer. The design might be a bit bland, and Tizen OS isn't the best, but these points pale in comparison to the positives. You'll enjoy extensive activity tracking, built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring, and more.

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Lightweight, comfy design
  • Robust fitness tracking
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Less stylish appearance
  • Tizen OS can be challenging

If you take on a "less is more" attitude when it comes to your wristwear, the Michael Kors Sofie was made for you. It provides you with the basics for day-to-day life but doesn't expect many extras. It's hard to complain when a smartwatch looks this amazing.

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Fancy, stylish design
  • Highly customizable
  • Google Assistant

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Lacks GPS and NFC

First and foremost, both of these smartwatches are compatible with both Android and iOS. However, it's worth noting that they'll be most appreciated by existing Samsung/Android users. It's a much more seamless experience when it comes to apps and notifications. If this isn't something that bothers you and you're comfortable dabbling in both worlds, more power to you.

What are your priorities?

The best way to decide between any two smartwatches is to determine what your priorities are. Most importantly, do you care more about looks, or are you investing in a smartwatch for fitness tracking and other bonus features? Either way, there's something for everyone with these two devices. However, given that they're the same price and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active has much more to offer in the way of fitness tracking and smart features, it's the clear winner between these two.

Both the Galaxy Watch Active and the Michael Kors Sofie offer stunning AMOLED displays that are a joy to look at. Most of your navigating will take place through touching and swiping. The Active offers a home and a back button on the right side of the watch while the Sofie provides a single button on the right side that opens a list of installed apps. You can also long-press it to access the Google Assistant.

Galaxy Watch Active Michael Kors Sofie
Display AMOLED 1.1-inch, 360x360 AMOLED 1.19-inch,
390x390
Dimensions 39.5 x 39.5 x 10.5 mm 42 x 42 x 11mm
Sensors Accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, heart rate sensor, light sensor Accelerometer, gyroscope, light sensor
Connectivity Bluetooth4.2, Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.1 BLE, Wi-Fi
Operating System Tizen Android Wear
Battery life Up to 2 days 1 day
Storage 4GB 4GB
Built-in GPS Yes No
NFC Yes No
Water resistance 5ATM 1ATM

Aside from the similar displays and navigation, the only other features these two smartwatches have in common are activity tracking, 4 GB of storage, a few of the same sensors, and Bluetooth capability. The Active promises twice the amount of battery life and offers a better water resistance rating. That's not all that's different, though.

The Michael Kors Sofie caters to women with its dazzling design and ultra-slim profile. And while it does support basic fitness tracking such as calories burned, steps taken, and distance traveled, it's hard to imagine using a smartwatch this elegant during rigorous physical activity.

Night and day

Pictured: Michael Kors Access Sofie

At the very least, it will serve its purpose for very basic tracking. The 20mm straps are interchangeable, so you could always swap for something more exercise-friendly. After all, it would be a crying shame to do damage to the glamorous band that comes with the watch.

You can personalize your watch face to match your mood and customize your notifications, so you only receive the ones that matter. You'll also enjoy the convenience of having Google Assistant right on your wrist, which can even be used when replying to notifications on an Android device. Speaking of Google, there's plenty more where that came from. The Sofie comes preloaded with the calendar, Google Fit, and Google Workout. Any others that you could want are most likely available for download on the Google Play store.

Keep in mind that the Sofie relies heavily on your phone for certain functions.

Keep in mind that the Sofie relies heavily on your phone for specific functions. There's no built-in GPS, but the watch can retrieve GPS data from your phone. Additionally, if your watch is paired with an Android phone and has Wi-Fi, your watch can automatically connect to saved Wi-Fi networks when the Bluetooth connection with your phone is lost. This allows your watch and phone to stay synced over the Internet. This means you can still get notifications and use voice search.

Pictured: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Now for the Galaxy Watch Active, which will be far less about physical design and much more about what's inside. Sure, you can pick which color you prefer but other than that, it's a pretty straight-forward watch design. Again, you have the option to find a more suitable band thanks to 20mm interchangeable straps.

As for tracking and other features, this is the area where the Active really hits it out of the park.

As for tracking and other features, this is the area where the Active really hits it out of the park. You'll enjoy heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, automatic activity detection for a handful of exercises, built-in GPS, smartphone notifications (and replies for Android), Samsung Pay, blood pressure monitoring, and more.

It's not hard to tell that the list of features for the Active is significantly more impressive than the Sofie's. If you're a fitness-focused individual who can compromise when it comes to the aesthetics of your smartwatch, it only makes sense to go with the Active. You'd be missing out on a ton of features for the sole purpose of having a pretty device on your wrist that can't do much when it comes to tracking.

Decision time

Depending on how you plan to use your smartwatch, this might be a relatively easy decision. There is no difference in price, which is almost hard to believe when you do a side-by-side comparison of the features. However, if you're simply seeking a capable smartwatch that's lovely to look at and easy to use, the Michael Kors Sofie is the one for you.

If you prefer to get more bang for your buck and you're more concerned about fitness than fashion, the Galaxy Watch Active is the better choice by a long shot. It might not be as flashy, but it's packed with features, and it makes the perfect fitness companion. If you're going to spend this much on a smartwatch, you should get your money's worth.

Top-notch fitness tracking

Galaxy Watch Active

More for your money

If you can live without the fancy factor, your money will be much better spent on the Galaxy Watch Active. In addition to robust fitness tracking, you'll have heart rate monitoring, Samsung Pay, and built-in GPS.

Fashionable smartwatch

Michael Kors Access Sofie

As fancy as it gets

This smartwatch is designed for those who prefer form over function. And it's a gorgeous form at that. You'll have basic fitness tracking with Google Fit, smartphone notifications, and the ability to store and listen to music.

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