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The best Google Pixel Watch alternatives you can buy
After years of speculation and seemingly endless rumor, customers can now get their hands on the Google Pixel Watch. The company’s first smartwatch worthy of the Google logo hopes to offer a quintessential Google experience on the wrist, with a dash of Fitbit’s fitness tracking and Wear OS app support. But if you weren’t rocked to your core by the Pixel Watch at launch, there are plenty of other stellar smartwatches to consider. Below, we round up the best Google Pixel Watch alternatives you can buy right now.
Buying the right Google Pixel Watch alternative
The Google Pixel Watch isn’t particularly unique in its smart or fitness feature set, but before buying any product it’s important you ask one question: What do you want from your smartwatch?
Do you chiefly require a smart wrist companion that can run plenty of apps and packs additional utility, or something that’ll augment your exercise experiences? Realistically, the Google Pixel Watch should serve both sets of users, but it’s by no means the best smartwatch in either category.
If you’re specifically interested in the “smart” aspect of the smartwatch, look for a watch with a large OLED screen, an OS, and additional cellular connectivity options. These will allow you to get the most from the smartwatch-smartphone experience.
Runners, gym-goers, and more active users should look for built-in GPS, an array of sport tracking modes and metrics, and reliable sensors. These will help you to maximize your effort while pumping iron or eating up the miles.
Whatever your preference or use case, there’s a Google Pixel Watch alternative that’ll fit your fancy. See the full list below.
The best Google Pixel Watch alternatives
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: This is the best value Wear OS smartwatch, and arguably smartwatch, at the moment. Although it resembles its predecessor, it wears a more resistant shell, packs a larger battery, and has a skin temperature sensor.
- Apple Watch Series 8: Apple’s Pixel Watch rival is exclusively for iPhone users, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it as one of the best smartwatches money can buy, especially if you’re entrenched in Cupertino’s ecosystem.
- Garmin Venu 2 Plus: This is hands-down Garmin’s best smartwatch to date, packing all the strong fitness features brought by the Venu 2 but with added smart features.
- Fitbit Sense: This is Fitbit’s best smartwatch and seems likely to stay that way for some time. It’s a little older than other devices on this list, but that plays to its advantage when it comes to price.
- Mobvoi TicWatch E3: The TicWatch E3 is an outsider pick. If you don’t mind its outdated software, it’s a great budget smartwatch to go with your budget Android phone.
- Fitbit Charge 5: If you’re looking for a fitness tracker with ECG capabilities, the Charge 5 is among the cheapest choices you have. It also includes all the fitness tracking goodies of the Pixel Watch for much less.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: The best Google Pixel Watch alternative
Samsung’s latest smartwatch doesn’t bring any revolutionary features to the table, but it further polishes the already excellent formula used by the Galaxy Watch 4. The Galaxy Watch 5 retains plenty of its predecessor’s features, including the chipset, primary health tracking kit, and design. However, buyers will appreciate the tougher body, sapphire face, larger battery, and new skin temperature sensor for menstrual cycle tracking.
Like the Pixel Watch, the Galaxy Watch 5 runs Wear OS 3.5 with One UI Watch, providing a more Samsung-like look and feel. This means most of the Google services and apps available to Google’s smartwatch will run without issue on the Galaxy Watch 5. You also get the added bonus of Samsung features if you’re partial to the Korean company’s other products.
While there’s plenty to like about the Galaxy Watch 5, there are some downsides. Some features, including the ECG and blood pressure reader, are only available to those running a Galaxy smartphone.
If you can look past the awkward Samsung oddities, the Galaxy Watch 5 is the best Wear OS experience you can have. And the real kicker is its price. It’s much, much cheaper than Google’s new challenger.
- Tougher build
- Comfortable on the wrist
- Better battery life on 44mm model
- Faster charging
- Reliable fitness tracking
- Good value for money
- Very similar to its predecessor
- Skin temperature sensor not ready at launch
- Small models still have short battery life
- Awkward touch bezel
- Some features exclusive to Samsung ecosystem
Apple Watch Series 8: The best Google Pixel Watch alternative for iPhone users
Another case of evolution over revolution, the Apple Watch Series 8 brings minor improvements to the Series 7’s package. The latest edition includes all the fan favorites seen in the last model, like the tougher and larger screen and slimmer bezels.
There are some new features never seen on an Apple Watch before. You’re getting a skin temperature sensor that informs smarter fertility cycle monitoring, more intuitive sleep tracking, and a low power mode that ekes out 36 hours of battery life from the refreshed chipset.
Of course, the Apple Watch line will never be a true alternative for Android smartphone users. You’ll need an iPhone to use the company’s watches. This automatically makes it a tough recommendation as a true Pixel Watch rival. However, if you are already invested in the Apple ecosystem, there’s no need to look over Google’s fence.
- Excellent Retina display
- Premium design and build
- Advanced health tracking sensors
- Crash detection
- Improved sleep tracking
- Plenty of watchOS 9 upgrades
- Battery life still hasn’t improved
- No third-party watch faces
Garmin Venu 2 Plus: The best Google Pixel Watch alternative for fitness-conscious users
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is the best Garmin smartwatch you can buy right now. On the surface, you’re getting a classically gorgeous watch with a bright OLED screen and typically solid build quality. But the Venu 2 Plus’ real allure lies beneath its skin.
It builds on the already excellent Venu 2 recipe, which features the company’s remarkably accurate Body Battery energy meter, stellar sleep tracking, Health Snapshot, and smart fare like mobile payments and onboard music storage and streaming. If you’re wondering what the “Plus” is all about, it signals the addition of voice assistant support for whatever is used on your smartphone and for taking calls on the wrist. These two minor additions make the Venu 2 Plus a more useful smart companion. It’s also the only Garmin watch at present with ECG capabilities.
These additions don’t solve all of Garmin’s watch problems, though. Garmin’s most significant weakness remains its lack of app integration compared to the likes of Wear OS. The Pixel Watch should have a leg up there. It’s also particularly pricey compared to its contemporaries, starting at $449. That said, you’ll likely won’t find a more complete smartwatch experience anywhere else, so that premium is well worth paying.
- Excellent design and build quality
- Rapid charging helps make up for battery woes
- Clear call quality on the wrist
- Slow, but useful voice assistant support
- Accurate fitness and health tracking
- High price tag
- Battery life shorter than Garmin’s claims
- Heart rate sensor still has issues
Fitbit Sense: The best affordable Google Pixel Watch alternative
The best Fitbit smartwatch you can buy is also the most affordable alternative for serious Google Pixel Watch buyers. This wasn’t always the case, but the Sense’s relatively recent price drops put it well within reach of most buyers and makes it a sensible value offering.
So, what can the Fitbit Sense offer that the Pixel Watch can’t? While the Pixel Watch has Fitbit software onboard, it lacks some of the Sense’s health tracking hardware. For starters, the Sense features an EDA sensor that allows for more accurate stress monitoring. You’re also getting a skin temperature sensor that keeps tabs on your baseline temp while asleep. It’s particularly handy for monitoring a fever, too. Speaking of sleep, the Sense lands with Fitbit’s stellar shuteye tracking and a host of tracking modes for enthusiastic sports people.
As for the “smart” experience, the Sense is found wanting. While it supports Google Assistant and Spotify from the wrist, it lacks support for a host of apps and services.
If you’re wondering why the newer Fitbit Sense 2 doesn’t make the cut, the answer lies in its stripped-down smart feature list. No Google Assistant support and the lack of third-party apps are just two negatives that make the Sense 2 feel more like a fitness tracker than ever before. Its predecessor is by far the better smartwatch.
- High-end, premium design
- Improved quick-release straps
- (Mostly) accurate GPS and heart rate sensors
- Skin temp sensor provides useful data
- Detailed sleep tracking
- ~6-day battery life
- Bad inductive button
- SpO2 tracking requires a dedicated watch face
- EDA and ECG sensors need refining
- Fitbit OS still needs work
Mobvoi Ticwatch E3: The best pure Wear OS watch on a budget
The Ticwatch E3 might not be an obvious Pixel Watch alternative, but it is in line to receive an update to Wear OS 3 at some point this year. With this in mind, we think this might be the best bang for your buck if you want a pure Wear OS smartwatch.
So what does the Ticwatch E3 have going for it? It’s pretty attractive and can challenge the Pixel Watch on aesthetics alone. You’re also getting a bright 1.39-inch OLED screen, an IP68-rated body, and the usual Wear OS fare. Hilariously, you’ll also find a more modern chipset in the Ticwatch E3 than in the Google Pixel Watch. The cherry on top is its two days of battery life per charge thanks to the larger battery.
However, we should stress that the Ticwatch E3 has its fair share of negatives. We don’t recommend it as a fitness tracker, as its sleep and general activity tracking is disappointing. There’s also no word when the Wear OS update will land. Buying this watch before the update is a risk, but if you don’t have an extra $150 to spend on a smartwatch for a pure Wear OS experience, this is a gamble worth considering.
- Well-built hardware
- Good display
- Decent battery life
- IP68 rated
- NFC and Google Pay
- Iffy automatic activity tracking
- Inconsistent sleep tracking
- Wear OS 2 is aging
- Cheap strap
Fitbit Charge 5: The best Google Pixel Watch fitness tracker alternative
If you were only interested in the Google Pixel Watch’s Fitbit features, there’s no need to spend $350 to get them. The Fitbit Charge 5 should suit you just fine. Fitbit’s premier fitness band comes packing an ECG, an EDA sensor for stress monitoring, and a skin temperature sensor. In essence, it’s a slender, cheaper Fitbit Sense.
The Charge 5 isn’t infallible, though. You forego an altimeter, which makes it a less attractive prospect for hikers. The GPS performance, heart rate accuracy, and battery life have all been scrutinized by users online. Battery life, usually a Fitbit strength, is an issue on the Charge 5.
However, you can look past these problems when you factor in its regular appearance in stock dump sales and its current low list price.
- Bright, beautiful full-color OLED display
- Smaller and slimmer than Charge 4
- EDA, SpO2, and skin temperature tracking
- Usual quality of Fitbit tracking accuracy
- Battery life isn’t great
- No altimeter
That’s it for our list of Google Pixel Watch alternatives. We’re only just scratching the surface of what’s available. If you’re looking for a left-field pick or something that fits your niche, browse the honorable mentions below.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro ($374 at Amazon): Samsung’s premier smartwatch brings a titanium body, a massive battery that’s good for three days, and some nifty features trail runners and cyclists will love. The only downside? It’s pricey.
- Apple Watch Ultra ($659 at Amazon): Speaking of pricey, Apple’s range-topping smartwatch blows the Pixel Watch’s feature list out of the water. Literally. This watch includes a depth sensor for divers, and a programmable action button to go with its upgraded battery and massive 49mm face.
- Garmin Forerunner 255 ($304.99 at Amazon): If you’re looking for a watch chiefly for running, look no further. The Forerunner 255 improves on Garmin’s already excellent running watch formula, packing in NFC for payments on the go and upgraded sensors. The Forerunner 265 is now available with a brighter OLED display, but it’s much pricier than the Pixel Watch.
- Fossil Gen 6 ($188 at Amazon): Another pure Wear OS watch worth mentioning. We don’t think the Gen 6 is quite worth its $299 asking price if you’re looking for a capable fitness watch, but that value proposition is more enticing now that it has received its long-awaited Wear OS upgrade.
- Withings ScanWatch ($299 at Amazon): Our long-time favorite hybrid watch packs medical-grade ECG and blood oxygen monitoring tech, a classic analog watch aesthetic, and a price that won’t make your eyes water.
- Fitbit Inspire 3 ($99.95 at Amazon): Fitbit’s latest budget tracker rights the wrongs of its predecessor with a bright, colorful screen and useful fitness tracking suite.
Top Google Pixel Watch questions and answers
The Google Pixel Watch starts at $349 for the Wi-Fi model and $399 for the LTE alternative.
Yes. The Pixel Watch runs a pure version of Wear OS 3.5. It’s the same OS you’ll find on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and 5, although Samsung skins the OS with its One UI Watch overlay.
No. You can only use the Pixel Watch with an Android phone. It seems unlikely that Google will bake in iPhone support to the Pixel Watch series. However, the Montblanc Summit 3 proves that Wear OS 3.5 has the ability to connect to iPhones.
The Google Pixel Watch has a 5ATM water resistance rating, which means you’re safe up to depths of 50 meters.
No, but you’ll need an Android smartphone running at least Android 8.0 to use the Pixel Watch.