Michael Kors Sofie vs. Runway: Which smartwatch should you buy?

Michael Kors Access Runway
Michael Kors Access Runway (Image credit: Michael Kors)

Michael Kors Sofie

If your main goal is to put your fashion sense on display via your wrist, this smartwatch was made for you. The Sofie is a beautiful wearable that offers basic functionality, like notifications, standard activity tracking, and Google Assistant.

Michael Kors Sofie

Style that shines

Google Assistant
Basic activity tracking
Gorgeous display and design
Lacks heart rate monitor

Michael Kors Runway

This is a smartwatch through and through with impressive features and a bit more fitness tracking sprinkled in. If you want a stylish wearable that still offers a decent amount of functionality, the Runway will serve you well.

Michael Kors Runway

Amazing features

Built-in GPS
NFC payments
Heart rate monitor
Mediocre battery life
Limited functionality with iOS

There are many ways to go about choosing a smartwatch. The best place to start narrowing it down is by considering your intended purpose. If you want a smartwatch with fitness tracking abilities but don't want to compromise on having a fashion statement on your wrist, Michael Kors has a lot to offer. The Sofie and the Runway are two popular options that you should consider.

Consider your needs

For those who only want a classy design with basic tracking and features, the Access Sofie is an excellent choice. It's worth noting that you can get the Access Runway for the same price with a design that's just as elegant. More importantly, there are several more features to enjoy, too. While both are exquisite wearables, the Runway has so much more to offer. When you take into account that they're the same price, it only makes sense to choose the Runway over the Sofie.

However, a case can be made for both of these smartwatches. It all comes down to what type of experience you're looking for with your wearable. Not everyone has an immediate need for a long list of features and tracking abilities, which is precisely the type of person who would find the Sofie to be a perfect choice. Then some are looking for a more complete, in-depth experience. For that, there's the Runway. You'll have access to new and improved features the Sofie doesn't have, like built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring, and a better water resistance rating.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 SofieRunway
DisplayAMOLED 1.19-inch, 390x390AMOLED 1.19-inch,
Operating SystomAndroid WearWear OS
SensorsAccelerometer, gyroscope, light sensorAccelerometer, heart rate sensor, gyroscope, light sensor
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.1 BLE, Wi-FiBluetooth 4.1 BLE, Wi-Fi
Battery lifeUp to 1 dayUp to 1 day
NFC PaymentsNoYes
Built-in GPSNoYes
Water resistance1ATM3ATM

One crucial difference is in the design. The Sofie is considered a woman's smartwatch. While the Access can undoubtedly be enjoyed by women as well, it could just as easily be a unisex smartwatch. This is mainly because it boasts a more polished and subtle design as opposed to the Sofie's bling-bling appearance that's meant to turn heads.

The Runway comes with three buttons, whereas the Sofie only comes with one.

The Runway comes with three buttons, whereas the Sofie only comes with one. If you prefer to have buttons for seamless navigation, the Runway will impress you. The middle button is a rotating crown for opening apps, scrolling through options, and returning to the home screen. The other two buttons can be set as shortcuts for your preferred apps.

Both of these smartwatches are compatible with Android and iOS. You'll have an easier time if you're an Android user, though. They might be small details, but they could get irritating over time. For example, iPhone users will always need to have the Wear OS app running in the background for the smartwatch to stay connected. If not, you won't be able to receive notifications. Other than accepting or denying calls, iPhone users won't be able to do much when it comes to interacting and replying on their smartwatch.

A truly smart watch

Pictured: Michael Kors Access Runway

Pictured: Michael Kors Access Runway

While it's helpful to have additional tracking features (like heart rate monitoring and GPS) to enhance your overall fitness experience, but there are other extras the Runway offers that make this a truly smart watch. For starters, the addition of NFC for Google Pay is a game-changer. The setup process consists of adding a card, verifying it with your bank, then opening the app on your watch to select the right card. When making payments, you simply hold your wrist over the terminal, and it will vibrate once the payment has been received.

The Runway also boasts swimproof technology thanks to its improved water resistance rating of 3 ATM or 30 meters. This is a step up from the 1 ATM offered by the Sofie, which only promises resistance to dust and splashes. Even then, the company recommends that users limit exposure to dust and water with their Sofie since certain materials on the smartwatch may react poorly to exposure.

You have more wiggle room with the Runway, which has successfully passed a 10,000-stroke swim test and can be worn while swimming in shallow water or showering. If you want to try tracking lap exercises, you can download a third-party swim tracking watch app from the Google Play Store.

Track your fitness

Pictured: Michael Kors Access Sofie

Pictured: Michael Kors Access Sofie

For many users, this is the area where you might start to lean one way or the other. You get a very standard fitness tracking experience with the Sofie. Google Fit tracks your physical activity, such as steps taken, calories burned, and speed. The activities it tracks include running, walking, and biking. You can also set daily step goals. This might be sufficient for people who want a fancy smartwatch and aren't overthinking about fitness tracking to begin with, and this feature is just a bonus.

You can dig deeper into fitness tracking with the Runway.

You can dig deeper into fitness tracking with the Runway. This smartwatch lets you track specific workouts, take heart rate readings, track calories burned, map exercise routes, as well as set and meet your fitness goals. There's a generous selection of activities to choose from, including elliptical, aerobics, CrossFit, boxing, circuit training, and more. This is where the addition of heart rate monitoring and GPS tracking come in handy on the Runway.

Bottom line

Taking all of this into consideration, if your main goal is to invest in a high-quality smartwatch that's solely focused on fitness, there are better options out there than these two Michael Kors wearables. There's no denying that they've made some significant improvements that deserve acknowledgment, especially when it comes to the Runway, but you could easily score a more fitness-focused device elsewhere for this price.

With that said, these are great choices if you want something super stylish and suitable for all occasions. Although it's hard to imagine participating in a high-intensity workout with this designer smartwatch on your wrist, you could opt for a more work-out friendly band material to make it more feasible for exercise. We still think that the Runway is the best option between these two. When you're paying this much for a smartwatch, you might as well get your money's worth and get the extra tracking abilities and bonus features.

Courtney Lynch

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.