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Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE vs Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi: What's the difference?

Connectivity can be key for certain users.
By

Published onFebruary 9, 2024

Google's latest smartwatch rests on a display platform.
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Google’s second-generation smartwatch packs a powerful Wear OS, advanced health sensors, and many fitness-tracking features. Before you purchase the new watch, though, you’ll need to decide what connectivity you prefer. The Pixel Watch 2 is available in two variants: Wi-Fi or LTE. Find out what each model offers in this Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE vs Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi guide.

Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE vs Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi: At a glance

Both models of Google's newest smartwatch offer a nearly identical user experience. Below are the major differences in features and specs between the LTE and Wi-Fi models.

  • The Pixel Watch 2 LTE model requires a 4G LTE wireless service plan to use cellular functionality.
  • With an LTE model, users can make and receive phone calls or receive and send texts without a paired phone nearby.
  • The LTE model also allows users to utilize important safety features without a paired phone nearby.
  • LTE models can stream music and support Google Maps, Google Assistant, and additional web-based apps without a paired phone nearby.
  • The Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi model requires a Bluetooth connection to a paired phone or a Wi-Fi connection to access any of the abovementioned features.
  • LTE can drain power faster than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections in many smartwatch lineups.

Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE vs Google Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi: Features

google pixel watch 2 and pixel buds pro
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Back with an upgraded experience, the Google Pixel Watch 2 lineup offers all the features users loved about the original model, plus a few improvements. At the heart of the experience is Google’s Wear OS 4.0, running on a powerful new Qualcomm SW5100 chipset. The software still packs all the best tools of Google’s ecosystem. The new processor offers more efficient power usage and faster performance specs. In person, this translates to a speedy user experience free of lag or glitches. The watch also still boasts thorough integration with Fitbit’s ecosystem, now including the company’s advanced stress management tools. Though I wasn’t overly impressed by the stress tracking during my review, the rest of the Fitbit platform remains one of the line’s biggest strengths.

These smartwatch and fitness tracking features, as well as new temperature and cEDA sensors, are identical on both the LTE and Wi-Fi models. Both variants also boast updated heart rate sensors for even more accurate heart rate zone tracking during workouts. They sensor proved reliable during a variety of workout types, and I found the heart rate zones fantastic for managing exertion during training. Both models also automatically track seven popular workouts, body response data, sleep, steps, and more. In other words, either way, shoppers can invest in a robust smartwatch experience with plenty of wellness tools.

Connectivity on the Pixel Watch 2 is most important for smart features like on-wrist phone calls and safety tools like the line's new Safety Check, plus routing apps and music streaming for long-distance training.

Where the LTE and Wi-Fi models differ is in connectivity. With an LTE model, users can make and receive on-wrist phone calls. They can also fire off texts, check emails, or pepper Google Assistant with queries. With a Wi-Fi model, these features require a paired smartphone nearby or a connection to a Wi-Fi network. Many apps also will not load, update, or send notifications to Wi-Fi users out of range. Meanwhile, LTE models can even stream music on the go, allowing runners and cyclists to hit their routes without the added weight of a smartphone. Perhaps more importantly, LTE models also provide uninterrupted accessibility to safety features.

In addition to Fall Detection and Emergency SOS, the Pixel Watch 2 introduces a new precautionary tool called Safety Check. This feature allows users to schedule a timer for specific situations they may be concerned about. Once the timer expires, Safety Check prompts the user to confirm they are safe or allows them to start sharing their location. If someone fails to respond, Safety Check will trigger Emergency Sharing, which shares the user’s real-time location with selected emergency contacts. Emergency Sharing also allows users to share their real-time whereabouts at will. These features require an LTE model or a paired smartphone nearby.

Notably, however, Fitbit Premium members can get phone-free connectivity to safety features without activating a full carrier LTE plan on their watch. This is especially significant considering all purchases of a Pixel Watch 2 include six months of Fitbit Premium membership.

Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE vs Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi: Design

google pixel watch 2 color options
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

As mentioned, the Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE and Wi-Fi models are identical in most ways, especially in design. Both models feature 41mm watch cases with domed glass over their AMOLED displays. Made from 100% recycled aluminum, the devices weigh only 31g without bands attached. Regarding durability, each boasts 3D Corning Gorilla Glass protection and 5ATM water resistance. On-wrist, either model is comfortable for all-day wear, including during workouts and to bed for sleep tracking.

When it comes to design, the LTE and Wi-Fi Pixel Watch 2 models are virtually identical.

For interacting with the devices, both models feature a protruding, rotating digital crown and a tactile back button. Like last year, the lineup also features integrated band connections for a minimalist aesthetic. Either model Pixel Watch 2 is available in four color combinations and ships with a fluoroelastomer sport band. The company also introduced new metal and active band options sold separately.

In terms of power, both models also pack the same size battery as well. According to Google, the Pixel Watch 2’s 306mAh cell provides up to 24 hours of use between charges. I found this claim accurate during my review of the LTE model. However, extended calls will drain the battery more quickly. In our experience, LTE models tend to drain device batteries faster than models relying on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. As always, battery specs in general vary by usage.Both watches also ship with a fast-charging cable. Google claims the cable can charge the device from zero to 80% in under 45 minutes. During my review, this took about 50 minutes, so it was very close. Neither watch ships with a power adapter.

Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE vs Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi: Price and colors

  • Google Pixel Watch 2 (Bluetooth + Wi-Fi): $349.99/€349/£349
  • Google Pixel Watch 2 (4G LTE): $399.99/€399/£399

At launch, the Google Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi model costs $350. Opting for an LTE model costs an additional $50. However, that is not the only added cost of LTE connectivity. The device also requires a 4G LTE wireless service plan to use its cellular functionality. Depending on your provider, these plans typically cost around $15 monthly. Before getting your heart set on an LTE model, contact your carrier for pricing, network compatibility, and performance details.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 comes in four color combinations regardless of which model you choose. With a Matte Black case, the device ships with an Obsidian active band. The Champagne Gold case comes with an active band in Hazel. If you choose the Polished Silver watch case, you can select an active band in either Bay or Porcelain.

Google Pixel Watch 2 (Wi-Fi)Google Pixel Watch 2 (Wi-Fi)
Google Pixel Watch 2 (Wi-Fi)
Runs a snappy Wear OS 4 • Added and upgraded advanced health sensors • Fast charging alleviates battery woes
MSRP: $349.99
Wear OS 4, advanced health sensors, and upgraded training features elevate the Pixel Watch 2
The Google Pixel Watch 2 retains the first model's successful features and refines several of the original's shortcomings. Added sensors, upgraded training tools, and a few key changes suggest a more finished product. Google's Wear OS 4 runs flawlessly, while advanced health tools from Fitbit join the lineup.

Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE vs Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi: Which should you buy?

google pixel watch 2 gold
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
Google Pixel Watch 2

The Google Pixel Watch 2 is a promising new device, regardless of your chosen model. We are always grateful to see companies offer an LTE model, as the connectivity can be clutch for certain users. Access to phone calls and texts without a paired phone nearby makes the watch a more complete standalone device. Access to smart features and music streaming can be especially useful for athletes. LTE models allow these users to leave their phones behind rather than train with them in their pockets.

An LTE model is particularly attractive for runners and cyclists who prefer to train without a paired phone nearby, but the connectivity is not necessary for all users.

On the other hand, as mentioned, these perks don’t simply cost an extra $50. They also require a cellular plan with a monthly fee. Many users will find the Wi-Fi model plenty adequate for their basic needs. If you typically have your phone on you or find yourself within range of a Wi-Fi network, an LTE model is probably unnecessary.


That’s it for our Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE vs Google Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi comparison. Which watch do you prefer? Let us know in the poll below.

Do you prefer the Google Pixel Watch 2 LTE or Google Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi?

287 votes

FAQs

The Google Pixel Watch 2 features a 5ATM water resistance rating.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 works with most Android phones, including Samsung phones. The wearable does not work with iPhones.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 landed on October 4, 2023.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 comes with a charging cable but does not come with a power adapter.

Yes, the Google Pixel Watch 2 features a Fitbit ECG app.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 has Fall Detection as well as Safety Check and Emergency Sharing.

The Google Pixel Watch features a built-in GPS.

Users can send and receive texts on the Google Pixel Watch 2.

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