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5 things the Pixel Watch does better and worse than the Apple Watch Series 8

Find out how Google's first smartwatch compares to Apple's eighth generation.

Published onMay 11, 2023

A Google Pixel Watch and Apple Watch Series 8 rests on a glossy white surface.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Google’s first-ever smartwatch faces tough competition, especially from the leading Cupertino-based wearable. The Google Pixel Watch and Apple Watch Series 8 both represent the best each company has to offer, so it’s only fitting to compare each watch head to head. While some features, like aesthetic or basic shape, might be too subjective to rank, others boast a clear winner. Find out five things the Pixel Watch does better vs Apple’s latest generation, and five areas where Apple comes out on top.

Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch: 5 things Google does better

A Google Pixel Watch on a users' wrist displays their Recent Apps list.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Wear OS users waited a very long time for the arrival of the Google Pixel Watch. Three years after initial rumors, the device finally arrived, squaring up to Apple’s 2022 competition. It’s a first-generation device which means it still has some first generation generation kinks, but overall its a promising start to the lineup. In these five examples, it even beats out its famous square-shaped competition.

Integrates with Fitbit

The headlining feature of Google’s flagship smartwatch is its deep integration with the Fitbit ecosystem. While not every single Fitbit feature made its way to the device, plenty did, including Fitbit’s laudable sleep tracking suite. The Pixel Watch even comes with six free months of Fitbit Premium for deeper insights into your Zs and access to Fitbit’s Sleep Profile program. Though Apple improved its overnight offerings with the latest watchOS 9 updates, it still doesn’t boast the same level of data analysis as Fitbit.

Offers better assistance

A Google Pixel Watch displays the Google Assistant.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Google Assistant is a huge advantage of the Pixel Watch. After waiting excruciatingly long for the voice assistant to make its way to the Samsung’s Wear OS-powered Galaxy Watch series, it is wonderful to see the latest crop of Wear OS devices feature the assistant out of the box. Sure Apple offers Siri, but many rank Google’s voice assistant higher in terms of integration and usability. Google Assistant on the Pixel Watch is responsive, reliable, and a sight for sore eyes.

Controls your Smart home

Likewise, the Pixel Watch features built-in Google Home integration for controlling all your smart devices. It’s easy to see the potential of having seamless control from your wrist. To that end, we imagine Google integration in general will continue to beef up the Wear OS platform and improve the Pixel Watch further. While the Apple Watch also features a Home app, it is not natively compatible with as many devices as Google Home.

Keeps data a swipe away

A user scrolls the tiles on their Wear OS device.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

With Wear OS tiles, the Pixel Watch offers at-a-glance data at the swipe of a finger. Tiles offer quick access to everything from timers to weather to fitness stats. Users can then tap a given widget to dig deeper into the information on the screen. Swiping on an Apple Watch Series 8, meanwhile, will only swap its watch face (often accidentally).

Overall, navigation is simpler on the Pixel Watch vs the Apple Watch, especially if you keep tiles organized. One exception is that Apple allows users to edit their quick menu panel while Google does not.

Supports fresh faces

Speaking of watch faces, both the Google Pixel Watch and Apple Watch Series 8 offer an extensive library of native faces. However, Wear OS still beats out Apple by supporting third-party options as well. Personalizing your Pixel Watch with seemingly endless choices and customization makes for a much better watch face experience than any Apple device offers.

The Pixel Watch can even equip watch faces from face-building platforms like Facer. This allows users tons of creative freedom to add the style and function they want to their devices.

Apple Watch vs Pixel Watch: 5 things Apple does better

An Apple Watch Series 8 on a user's wrist displays the app screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

In some areas, the Apple Watch Series 8 still has Wear OS beat. Starting with the most obvious of these, below are five things the Apple Watch Series 8 does better than the Pixel Watch.

Extensive third-party app support

Apple’s third-party app support remains the best in the biz. Anything the watch doesn’t already do natively, users can find an app for in the App Store. While it’s great to see the Pixel Watch leverage the Google Play Store, Wear OS app development hasn’t quite caught up to that of watchOS just yet.

Maximizes display space

A Google Pixel Watch and Apple Watch Series 8 rest on a glossy white surface, each displaying a photo watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

You’ve probably heard complaints about the bezels that debuted on the Pixel Watch. While Google does a good job blending these bezels into the device’s dark mode aesthetic, the fact remains that they do eat up display space. The Apple Watch Series 8, on the other hand, features minimal bezels to maximize on-screen real estate.

Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch: Which is better?

1182 votes

One feature that clearly portrays this difference is the photo watch face on both devices. The Pixel Watch offers an even smaller display space than users may notice with typical use. The Apple Watch display is substantially larger. It’s also a square watch, not a circular one, which means text boxes are less likely to be trimmed. When you compare the Pixel Watch vs the Apple Watch in terms of display, it’s hard not to give Apple higher marks.

A variety of sizes and materials

The Apple Watch Series 8 comes in two case sizes for a better fit on any wrist. The lineup offers one option in 41mm and a second, larger option in 45mm. The Pixel Watch is only available in a single 41mm case size. Additionally, both Apple Watch sizes are available in aluminum or stainless steel while the Pixel Watch only comes in one stainless steel build.

Tracks advanced health metrics

A user logs her period in the Cycle Tracking app.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Our hopes were high when we learned the Pixel Watch would be deeply integrated with the Fitbit ecosystem. However, the device lacks more health-tracking features than we initially expected.

For starters, the Pixel Watch features an SpO2 sensor, but blood oxygen monitoring cannot yet be enabled. The Series 8 tracks SpO2 and can even take measurements on demand. Likewise, the Pixel Watch lacks high and low heart rate alerts, another feature offered by Apple.

Finally, there is no female health tracking available on the Pixel Watch. Meanwhile, the Series 8 offers native cycle tracking plus a temperature sensor for deeper insights into individuals’ menstrual cycles. With an Apple Watch Series 8, users can even access retroactive ovulation predictions.

Auto-detects workouts

Is there any more encouraging screen than the “It looks like you’re working out” message on an Apple Watch? The Series 8 automatically detects (and prompts users to save) the following workouts:

  • Indoor walk
  • Outdoor walk
  • Indoor run
  • Outdoor run
  • Outdoor cycling
  • Elliptical
  • Rower
  • Pool swim

In a truly baffling move, the Pixel Watch opts out of Fitbit’s traditional auto-detection for workouts, though some workouts will still be recorded after the fact in the Fitbit app.

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Apple Watch Series 8 (LTE 45mm)
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Google Pixel Watch
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Voice-to-text assistance
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