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Google Pixel Watch goes official, promises a Fitbit experience like no other
Google is finally a member of the smartwatch club. After years of Pixel Watch rumors, the wearable has finally arrived with tons of Google smarts and the Fitbit experience at its core.
There’s a lot to say about Google’s first smartwatch. From advanced fitness and health tracking features to integrations with Google apps and services, design principles, and durability. Here’s everything you need to know about the Pixel Watch.
Google Pixel Watch: Design and hardware
Google has opted for a dome-shaped, always-on display covered in a custom 3D glass made by Corning. Its case is made of 80% recycled stainless steel and the back is once again clad in glass. There’s a button on the side of the Pixel Watch, just above the revolving haptic crown meant to assist with navigation.
Google says there will be seven watch band families in all, with metal bands coming next spring.
There are four types of proprietary bands on offer with the Pixel Watch right now — an “Active” band made of fluoroelastomer (rubber) with a soft-touch coating, a “Woven” band made of recycled yarn, a “Stretch” band made of recycled polyester and spandex yarns, and a “Crafted Leather” band made of Italian leather. Each of these comes in a variety of colors for users to choose from. Google says there will be seven watch band families in all, with metal bands coming next spring.
That said, the Active band is the one you get by default in the box, and you can pick the case and color combination of your choice when you purchase the Pixel Watch.
Apart from the Gorilla Glass display, the Pixel Watch also features a 5ATM rating for added durability. This means it is water resistant, not waterproof. It can safely endure water pressure equivalent to about 50 meters in depth, so you can take a shower or clock laps in the pool while wearing your Pixel Watch. Just don’t go deep sea diving with it.
The Pixel Watch's specs aren't the most impressive in the Wear OS world
Over in the hardware department, the Google Pixel Watch features a dual-processor architecture, including the aging Exynos 9110 processor and the Cortex M33 co-processor. While these specs may not be the most impressive in the Wear OS device pool, Google says the two chips help optimize battery life and ensure a 24-hour-long run on a single charge, even with features like all-day heart rate tracking turned on.
The Pixel Watch can top up to about 50% battery in about 30 minutes
The Pixel Watch features a 294mAh battery, which is not much considering all the apps and fitness features it promises to run. It’s also much less than others in the Wear OS family offer. For reference, the Galaxy Watch 5 comes with a 410mAh battery, the cheap Mobvoi TicWatch E3 carries a 380mAh battery, and the Fossil Gen 6 makes do with a 300mAh cell. So clearly, Google sacrificed battery life for the form factor. It remains to be seen if that was a wise decision.
Nevertheless, Google claims the Pixel Watch can top up to about 50% battery in about 30 minutes. A full charge should take 80 minutes. The watch uses a proprietary magnetic charger to juice up.
Health tracking and fitness features
Google promises the best Fitbit experience on the Pixel Watch. In fact, Google noted in a briefing that this Fitbit integration will be exclusive to the Pixel Watch for now. So if you really want the best of Fitbit on your wrist in a Wear OS package, the Pixel Watch may be your only option right now. After all, this is the first real fruit of Google’s Fitbit acquisition, which can make or break the Pixel Watch.
While the smartwatch comes with an SpO2 sensor, you won't be able to use it just yet.
So what can you expect? Well, the Fitbit app will handle all your health metrics with continuous heart rate measurements, sleep tracking, all-day activity tracking, 40 workout modes, and of course, the Fitbit Premium experience. The good news is that you get six months of Fitbit Premium free with the Pixel Watch. You’ll have to pay for the service after that if you want to continue using it for things like sleep stage breakdowns, long-term health trends, additional workouts, and more.
Besides its Fitbit capabilities, the Pixel Watch can also be used for ECG measurements and blood oxygen readings. However, you won’t be able to use the latter feature at launch. While the Pixel Watch comes with an SpO2 sensor, Google hasn’t activated it for use just yet.
Software, features, and integrations
Being a Google smartwatch, you can expect a generous helping of in-house integrations on the Pixel Watch. That means you get everything from turn-by-turn Google Maps navigation, to Gmail and Calendar notifications and the ability to use your Google Photos images as watch faces.
The Google Assistant is there for voice commands, and you can access smart home controls right from your wrist using the Google Home app. Additionally, Pixel Watch users can use their Google Wallet for contactless NFC payments in supported countries. They can also avail three free months of YouTube Music Premium.
At its heart, the Pixel Watch runs Wear OS 3.5. It’s an updated version of Wear OS 3 co-developed by Google and Samsung. The software also powers the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 4, so we have some idea of how it looks and functions, even though Samsung layers its own skin on top.
You get several watch faces and complications to personalize the information you see on the display. The UI navigation requires you to swipe up for notifications, swipe down for quick settings and controls — just like your smartphone, and swipe left/right for Tiles — glanceable screens of information from different apps and services.
Pixel Watch offers deep integration with emergency services.
Google Play Store access ensures the Pixel Watch offers plenty of third-party apps, including popular ones like Spotify, Strava, Bitmoji, Adidas Running, MyFitnessPal, and Calm.
For safety, Google says the Pixel Watch offers deep integration with emergency services. You can long press the button on the watch to connect to emergency responders. Google is also adding a Fall Detection feature this winter that will help connect users to emergency services if they’ve had a hard fall and even auto-dial if they’re unresponsive.
All-in-all, the Pixel Watch sounds like the ultimate Android watch experience. How well it all comes together is something we’ll assess in our review. Google is known to jump into products and not follow through to ensure their successful development. We really hope the Pixel Watch doesn’t become an example of Google’s lack of commitment.
|Google Pixel Watch||Specs|
Custom 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5
320ppi AMOLED display with DCI-P3 color
Brightness boost up to 1,000 nits
Materials and finishes
Case: 80% recycled stainless steel
Active band: Fluoroelastomer with soft-touch coating
Dimensions and weight
36g (without band)
Cortex M33 co-processor
Storage and memory
32GB eMMC flash
Up to 24 hours
USB-C magnetic charging cable
Promised charging speed:
-About 30 minutes to 50%
-About 55 minutes to 80%
-About 80 minutes to 100%
Wear OS 3.5
Blood oxygen sensor (inactive)
Multipurpose electrical sensor
Optical heart rate sensor
Ambient light sensor
-Fitbit health and fitness
-Messages and notifications
-International emergency calling
-Fall detection (up to 32 g-forces) (Coming winter 2022)
5ATM water resistance
4G LTE and UMTS
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
Android 8.0 or newer
-Small: 130-175mm around
-Large: 165-210mm around
What’s in the Box
Google Pixel Watch
Active band (small and large wristbands)
USB-C Magnetic Charging Cable
Quick Start Guide
US, CA, JP, TW, UK:
-Matte Black Stainless Steel case / Obsidian Active band
-Polished Silver Stainless Steel case / Charcoal Active band
-Polished Silver Stainless Steel case / Chalk Active band
-Champagne Gold Stainless Steel case / Hazel Active band
Pixel Watch vs competition
The Pixel Watch stands out in the Wear OS crowd given the sole fact that it’s made by Google, the company that creates the software itself. In the world of smartwatches, though, there are plenty of more powerful devices out there. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest Pixel Watch competitors.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 ($279.99): The vanilla Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 also offers the latest Wear OS experience, which means you get Wear OS 3.5, just like the Pixel Watch. But Samsung’s wearable has a few advantages over Google’s product. For one, Samsung has been in the smartwatch game a lot longer than Google. But beyond Samsung’s proven track record for quality wearables, the Galaxy Watch 5 is also cheaper than the Pixel Watch, offers a bigger battery and a more powerful processor, supports Google apps like Assistant, Maps, and more, and promises a longer update cycle of four years.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 ($299): This is once again a cheaper Wear OS smartwatch compared to the Google Pixel Watch. It offers advanced health-monitoring features like mental fatigue and energy level assessments. Although it won’t get the Wear OS 3 update for a while, it boasts multi-day battery life, customizable backlight, military-grade durability, and a unique dual-screen display.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 ($199): The Galaxy Watch 4 was the first smartwatch to bring the new Wear OS 3 software to the market. It’s still a pretty powerful wearable that now costs less. Samsung also offers users the option to go for a larger 44mm display if they wish, a choice you don’t get with the Pixel Watch. The only issue here is that some of its advanced health tracking features like ECG and blood pressure monitoring only work with Samsung phones.
Apple Watch Series 8 ($399): The Apple Watch is a no-brainer if you have an iPhone. For iOS users, the Apple Watch is hard to beat. The latest model rivals the Galaxy Watch 5 in terms of fitness and smart features. It’s a great wearable with impeccable build quality, Apple’s new S8 chip, blood oxygen and ECG tracking, a new temperature sensor, safety features like crash detection, and much more.
You can also check out our list of the best smartwatches you can buy right now if the above-mentioned wearables are not up your alley.
Price and availability
- Google Pixel Watch (Bluetooth + Wi-Fi): $349.99/€379/£349
- Google Pixel Watch (4G LTE): $399.99/€429/£379
The Pixel Watch comes in two variants: a $349.99 Bluetooth/ Wi-Fi model and a $399.99 4G LTE version. Pre-orders for the smartwatch start on October 6, and if all goes as planned, it should hit shelves on October 13.
Unlike the Pixel 7 series, which has a much wider availability this time around, the Google Pixel Watch will only be available in eight countries: US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, and Taiwan.
The device comes with the Active band in the box, but you’ll have to shell out extra if you want to buy any other bands mentioned in the spec sheet above.
If you’re buying an Active band separately, it’ll cost you $49.99. The Stretch band and Woven Band cost $59.99. The Crafted Leather and Two-toned Leather band will set you back $79.99. The metal bands coming later will be priced at $199.
You can also get a 30W USB-C power adapter for $25.
Here is a list of compatible cellular carriers for the Pixel Watch in case you decide to get the LTE variant of the watch.
Yes, the Pixel Watch comes with an always-on AMOLED display covered in custom Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
Yes, Google has released an app called “Google Pixel Watch” to set up and manage the smartwatch. You can use the app to customize your watch faces, set up Google Assistant and Google Wallet, manage notifications and more.
Yes, some features on the Pixel Watch require a Fitbit Premium subscription.
Yes, you have to use the Fitbit app for tracking workouts, daily activity, heart rate, and more.
Google promises three major Android updates and five years of security updates for the Pixel Watch.
No, the Pixel Watch is not compatible with iOS and thus cannot pair and function with an iPhone.
Yes, Google offers a one-year warranty in the US, Canada, Japan, UK, and Taiwan. However, folks in Europe and Australia can avail a two-year warranty.
The Pixel Watch comes with a USB-C magnetic charging cable in the box. You will have to buy an adapter separately.