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Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Which should you buy?

Is the Pixel Watch a better buy than Samsung's older Wear OS watch?
By

Published onMarch 15, 2024

Google Pixel Watch
MSRP: $349.00
Check price
Positives
Very smooth performance
Reliable heart rate sensor
Fairly accurate GPS
Negatives
Disappointing battery life
Only available in one size
Missing key health tracking features
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
MSRP: $279.99
Check price
Positives
Much better battery life
Full compatibility with more phones
A slimmer design
Negatives
No skin temperature monitoring at launch
No more rotating bezel
GPX file sharing not applicable to runs
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
MSRP: $449.99
Check price
Positives
Long-lasting battery
New adventures features
Reliable heart rate monitoring
Negatives
No skin temperature monitoring at launch
GPX file sharing not applicable to runs
No more rotating bezel

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Google Pixel Watch are no longer their companies’ brightest stars, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them as capable Wear OS smartwatches. If you’re on a strict budget, opting for one of these wearables could be a good decision. But which is best for you? Read our comparison of the Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 to better inform your decision.

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Design

There’s no denying the Pixel Watch is an attractive smartwatch. Its bezels could be slimmer, but I’m not against its smooth pebble-like gleam on the wrist. It’s environmentally kind, too, with 80% of its shell using recycled steel. Mated with a choice of pastel body and band finishes and a protruding crown on its right side, the Pixel Watch sure makes a statement. Although it’s among the many circular smartwatches on the market, it’s certainly distinctive enough.

There's no denying the Pixel Watch is an attractive smartwatch.

The same can’t really be said for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. The more reserved Galaxy Watch 5 is aesthetically similar to its predecessor and successor. Is this a bad thing? We don’t think so, no. But the Pixel Watch certainly provides a more distinct alternative for those who value style. Of course, there’s also the chunkier Galaxy Watch 5 Pro you may want to consider, but it’s not what we’d call affordable.

Aesthetics are not everything, though. The Galaxy Watch 5 caters to a broader range of users as its available in two sizes: 44mm and 40mm. All Google Pixel Watch models land with a 41mm dial, making it a little more awkward for those with broader arms.

Google Pixel Watch Crown
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Despite its smaller footprint, we found that navigating menus on the Google Pixel Watch during our review was easier with its rotating crown. You can also configure it on either side of the watch, depending on how you wear it. While you’ll have to get used to the awkward digital rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch 5, you can quickly scale screens by twisting the crown between your fingers. This is a better way to navigate Wear OS menu items and apps in our book. Of course, the physical bezel on the Galaxy Watch Classic models still trumps all other solutions available.

Despite its smaller footprint, navigating menus on the Google Pixel Watch is a little easier thanks to its rotating crown.

In terms of fit and finish, the Galaxy Watch 5 is among the most comfortable smartwatches I’ve ever worn, thanks to its protruding sensor array. It’s the smallest improvement that I feel makes the biggest difference. It also uses standard 20mm watch bands, making them easily swappable. Google, meanwhile, has opted for a walled garden approach when it comes to accessories. All Pixel Watch bands are proprietary, so you’ll need to go through Google to find a replacement. Not only is this annoying, but it’ll likely scare away those with an extensive watch band collection.

For those who regularly bash their wrists into solid objects, the Galaxy Watch 5 uses a sapphire glass coating to protect its display. Notably, the dial lip is painted, so any damage results in very apparent chips, but I found that the Galaxy Watch 4 is more susceptible to this. The Pixel Watch employs custom Gorilla Glass 5, and despite its largely exposed lens, we discovered that it stood up to bumps and knocks without issue.


Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Features

Google Pixel Watch Fitbit apps
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Design is only part of the smartwatch story, so let’s also talk about hardware.

The Google Pixel Watch wears a 1.4-inch AMOLED screen with a pixel density of 320 per inch. Interestingly, that’s practically identical to the Galaxy Watch 5 screen specs. Both panels also top 1,000 nits of brightness, so there’s more parity. But the Galaxy Watch 5 pulls out a substantial lead in the chipset stakes.

Google opted for Samsung silicon in the form of the 10nm Exynos 9110, a chipset you’ll find in the much older Galaxy Watch Active 2. The new Galaxy Watch models use the 5nm Exynos W920 SoC. Although the Pixel Watch features a more efficient co-processor, the Galaxy Watch is the more efficient overall.

Samsung’s smartwatch also trumps the Pixel Watch in terms of battery capacity. The latter settles for a 294mAh cell that is good for around 24 hours per charge. The Galaxy Watch 5 has an upgraded 410mAh cell in the larger 44mm model that’s enough juice for just over two days. If you want battery endurance, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro brings a 590mAh battery pack, giving users just over three days per charge. It’s the clear battery champion in this particular head-to-head and the Wear OS world at large. Granted, the Galaxy Watch 5 charges at a leisurely rate.

Samsung's smartwatch trumps the Pixel Watch in terms of battery capacity and endurance.

The Google Pixel Watch does pack more storage and RAM than its Korean counterpart. It gives users 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. The Galaxy Watch 5 settles for 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The Pixel Watch is the better option if you prefer storing music offline.

A Galaxy A51 displays the Home screen of the Pixel Watch app.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Pixel Watch is also the best option for those wanting a Google-first experience, but not the best if you want the latest wearable OS. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, you get pure Wear OS with official Google apps. While Samsung was initially a step ahead on the OS version front, both the Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 5 now run the latest version of Wear OS. You can expect a similar third-party app experience across Google and Samsung smartwatches. Both lines also feature LTE models to stay connected while on the move and without a phone.

Fitness tracking duties on the Pixel Watch come from Fitbit’s software, which Google calls “Fitbit health and fitness.” This suite includes sleep tracking, daily step and distance counting, heart rate monitoring, and an ECG for heart health. A Fitbit Premium trial is also included, which gives users access to more health data and a bouquet of workouts and guided sessions. It’s a spread that should appease those with modest health tracking needs, but if you want more, the Galaxy Watch 5 has Google covered.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in graphite black color with black and white strap on wrist showing body composition data
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The standard Galaxy Watch 5 includes all of the above alongside a body composition calculator thanks to its BIA sensor, a blood pressure monitoring system, and a skin temperature sensor. Annoyingly, blood pressure monitoring isn’t available everywhere and requires plenty of prerequisites to set up. Samsung hasn’t yet activated the skin temperature feature, and it’s unclear when it’ll go live. Despite these blips, the Galaxy Watch 5 has a more complete health tracking loadout. The Pixel Watch and Samsung come with GPS baked in. This means you can leave your phone at home when going out for a run.

Overall, the Google Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch lines offer similar base features, but the latter has the upper hand regarding advanced health tracking.


Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Price and colors

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 strap selection
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Google Pixel Watch (Wi-Fi): $349 / €379 / £349
  • Google Pixel Watch (LTE): $399 / €429 / £379
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (Bluetooth): $279 / £269
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (LTE): $329 / £319

Two versions of the Google Pixel Watch are available: the Wi-Fi-only option and the LTE flavor. The latter will set you back $50 more than the Wi-Fi model. As the Pixel Watch is one of Google’s more exclusive products, it will see limited availability across major markets. Consumers in Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, and the UK can purchase the device.

Case finishes on offer include Matte Black, Polished Silver, and Champagne Gold. You can have straps finished in Obsidian, Charcoal, Chalk, Lemongrass, or Hazel. For those who want something more sophisticated, Google also offers stretch, woven, and leather bands as premium accessories.

Google Pixel WatchGoogle Pixel Watch
Google Pixel Watch
Voice-to-text assistance • Play Store integrated • Wear OS
MSRP: $349.00
The Pixel Watch is the first wearable with the Big G.
The Google Pixel Watch is a Wear OS-powered wearable that's aiming to be the smartwatch for everyone. It has a robust app library, plenty of Fitbit-based health-tracking features, and a classy design.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has more variety regarding the official case and strap colors. The 40mm model comes in Silver, Graphite, and Pink Gold, with straps available in Graphite, Pink Gold, and special edition Bora Purple. The 44mm option is available in Sapphire, Silver, and Graphite, with Sapphire, Graphite, and White straps on tap.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
AA Recommended
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Excellent build and comfort • Improved battery life • Solid GPS accuracy
MSRP: $279.99
Subtle upgrades make a huge difference
The Galaxy Watch 5 smartwatch offers a bigger battery, more sturdy body, and more comfortable fit than its predecessor. It supports Google Assistant and Google Maps navigation, while a body composition monitor, skin temperature sensor, and improved sleep tracking makes for an impressive health-tracking product.
See price at Amazon
44mm, Bluetooth

As mentioned before, if you’re unhappy with the Galaxy Watch line’s strap color offerings, you can slap on a 20mm watch band of your choice. This isn’t possible with the Pixel Watch.

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 specs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5Google Pixel Watch
Display
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
44mm: 1.4-inch
Super AMOLED
450 x 450 resolution
Sapphire Crystal

40mm: 1.2-inch
Super AMOLED
396 x 396 resolution
Sapphire Crystal
Google Pixel Watch
41mm
320ppi AMOLED display with DCI-P3 color
Custom 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Brightness boost up to 1000 nits
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
44mm: 43.3 x 44.4 x 8.9mm
33.5g

40mm: 39.3 x 40.4 x 9.8mm
28.7 g
Google Pixel Watch
41mm diameter
12.3mm height
36g
Colors and materials
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Armor Aluminum case
Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold (40mm only), Sapphire (44mm only)
Google Pixel Watch
80% recycled stainless steel case
Matte Black case / Obsidian band
Polished Silver case / Charcoal or Chalk band Champagne Gold case / Hazel band
Battery
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
44mm: 410mAh

40mm: 284mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Google Pixel Watch
294mAh
Up to 24 hours
USB-C magnetic charging cable
Processor
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz
Google Pixel Watch
10nm Samsung Exynos 9110
Dual-core 1.15GHz
Arm Cortex M33 co-processor

RAM
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
1.5GB
Google Pixel Watch
2GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
16GB
Google Pixel Watch
32GB
Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
LTE (available in select models)
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo
Google Pixel Watch
4G LTE and UMTS
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
NFC
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
Sensors
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Light sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)
Google Pixel Watch
Compass
Altimeter
Blood oxygen sensor
Multipurpose electrical sensor
Optical heart rate sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Durability
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G
Google Pixel Watch
5ATM water resistance
Software
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch
Google Pixel Watch
Wear OS 3.5
Compatibility
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Android
Google Pixel Watch
Android 8.0 and newer

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Which should you buy?

It’s difficult to recommend the Google Pixel Watch when the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 exists. The latter features everything you could ever want in a smartwatch, from modern silicon and useful health tracking features to battery life that doesn’t limit the experience. Of course, if you’re a Galaxy Watch 4 user looking to upgrade, the Galaxy Watch 5 may seem a bit too similar on paper and in the flesh. Honestly, I agree. But if you are buying your first smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 5 is hard to bet against.

It's difficult to recommend the Google Pixel Watch when the Samsung Galaxy Watch line exists.

The Google Pixel Watch does have some alternative appeal. If you want something truly unique, or want to own Google’s first smartwatch, the Pixel Watch is the ticket. It’ll be the better option for those wanting a more holistic Google experience, as plenty of apps and services work out of the box. You’re also getting a rather attractive piece of kit that will surely stand out in the crowd. The Pixel Watch is the device you should choose for pure Google fans or those simply fishing for novelty.


Do you prefer the Google Pixel Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch duo? Be sure to vote in our poll below.

Will you be buying the Google Pixel Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5?

628 votes

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