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Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 4

Is the Pixel Watch a better buy than Samsung's older Wear OS watches?
By
December 13, 2023
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
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
MSRP: $279.99
Check price
Positives
Classy, durable designs
Multiple size options
Good value buy
Negatives
No solid software update commitments from Google
Some features for Samsung phone users only
Slow, slow charging
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
MSRP: $349.99
Check price
Positives
Classy, durable designs
Multiple size options
Good value buy
Negatives
No solid software update commitments from Google
No Google Assistant support
Slow, slow charging

Samsung has a healthy head start with Wear OS thanks to the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 series. But now there’s another contender from the OS maker itself. After years of speculation, the Google Pixel Watch is finally official.

Should its existence force you to rethink Samsung’s superiority in the Wear OS space? Whether you’re a Galaxy Watch 4 owner pondering an upgrade or a first-time buyer deciding between the Pixel Watch or the Galaxy Watch 5, read our comparison of the Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 4 to better inform your decision.

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 4: Design

There’s no denying the Pixel Watch is an attractive smartwatch. We feel its bezels could be slimmer, but we’re 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 two Samsung Galaxy Watch models. The more reserved Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 are nearly identical in the flesh, save for tiny build improvements on the latter. Is this a bad thing? We don’t think so, no. But the Pixel Watch certainly provides a more distinct alternative for those considering upgrading from the Galaxy Watch 4. 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 models cater to a broader range of users as they’re available in two sizes. You can have the Galaxy Watch 4 in 46mm or 42mm options, while its successor comes in 44mm and 40mm guises. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro model lands with a 45mm diameter and is better suited to larger wrists. 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 4 and 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 4 Classic 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. Both Galaxy Watch model lines use standard 20mm watch bands, making them easily swappable. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro goes one step further by providing buyers with a D-buckle strap. I’m not a fan of this uncomfortable and cumbersome strap design, but your taste may vary. It’s still a pretty nice addition to the premium model. 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. The Pro model uses plenty of titanium in its construction, complete with a protective lip running around the screen. It’s worth noting that the lips are painted on the Galaxy Watch models, so any damage results in very apparent chips. 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 found that it stood up to bumps and knocks without issue.


Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 4: 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 4 and 5 pull 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 family is the more efficient.

Samsung’s smartwatches also trump 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 Samsung watches charge at awfully slow rates. For instance, you’ll need around two hours to charge the Galaxy Watch 4.

Samsung's smartwatches trump the Pixel Watch in terms of battery capacity and endurance.

The Google Pixel Watch does pack more storage and RAM than its Korean counterparts. It gives users 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. The Galaxy Watch lines settle 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 lineup, you get pure Wear OS with official Google apps, but the Pixel Watch is still limited to Wear OS 3.5. The Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 4 recently upgraded to Wear OS 4 and One UI 5 Watch. It seems that Samsung is a step ahead on the OS version front.

Even with this disparity, 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. Notably, the Pixel Watch uses its LTE smarts to power emergency SOS and emergency international calling capabilities. While the Samsung watches debuted with fall detection features, Google only recently activated the feature.

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. While there is an SpO2 sensor, blood oxygen metering is still disabled, and it’s unclear when Google will activate it. 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 line 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 Galaxy Watch 5 Pro takes these features a little further. It sports GPX mapping support, which allows users to input preset maps into their watch and follow along from their wrist. It’s great for hikers, trail runners, and cyclists. And if you make a wrong turn somewhere, the watch also includes a Track Back feature that helps you retrace your steps.

Speaking of navigation, the Pixel Watch comes with GPS baked in. This means you can leave your phone at home when going out for a run. Samsung matches it with the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5. We also applaud the GPS accuracy of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro in our review, but lament the poor performance of the Galaxy Watch 4.

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 and 4: 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 4 (Bluetooth): $249 / £199
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (LTE): $299 / £239
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (Bluetooth): $299 / £349
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (LTE): $349 / £389
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (Bluetooth): $279 / £269
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (LTE): $329 / £319
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (Bluetooth): $449 / £429
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (LTE): $499 / £479

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.

As for the Galaxy Watch 4, you can have the 44mm model in Black, Silver, and Green, in addition to Pink Gold for the 40mm model. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic only comes in Black and Silver.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
AA Editors Choice
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Classy, durable designs • Multiple size options • Good value buy
MSRP: $279.99
Even if you aren't a huge Samsung fan, you'll find a lot to like.
Samsung and Google combined forces to improve the software situation with smartwatches on Android. The result is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, running a co-developed Wear OS. The standard Galaxy Watch 4 is for the sportier crowd, while the Watch 4 Classic is for those who'd like a watch they can wear to the office.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has more variety regarding 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. Finally, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is available in two case and strap colors: Black and Gray.

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
30%off
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Up to 2 days battery life
Advanced sleep tracker
Fast Charging
See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
41%off
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Excellent build and comfort
Improved battery life
Solid GPS accuracy
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 and 4 specs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 ClassicSamsung Galaxy Watch 5Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 ProGoogle Pixel Watch
Display
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
44mm: 1.36-inch Super AMOLED
450 x 450 resolution
330ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass with DX+

40mm: 1.19-inch Super AMOLED
396 x 396 resolution
330ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass with DX+
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
46mm: 1.36-inch Super AMOLED
450 x 450 resolution
330ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass with DX

42mm: 1.19-inch Super AMOLED
396 x 396 resolution
330ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass with DX
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
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
45mm: 1.4-inch
Super AMOLED
450 x 450 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 4
44mm: 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm
30.3g

40mm: 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm
25.9g

Compatible with 20mm straps
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
46mm: 45.5 x 45.5 x 11mm
52g

42mm: 41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2mm
46.5g

Compatible with 20mm straps
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
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
45mm: 45.4 x 45.4 x 10.5mm
46.5g
Google Pixel Watch
41mm diameter
12.3mm height
36g
Colors and materials
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Aluminum case
Black, Silver, Green (44mm only), Pink Gold (40mm only)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Stainless steel case
Black, Silver
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Armor Aluminum case
Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold (40mm only), Sapphire (44mm only)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Titanium case
Black, Gray
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 4
44mm: 361mAh

40mm: 247mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
46mm: 361mAh

42mm: 247mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
44mm: 410mAh

40mm: 284mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
45mm: 590mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Google Pixel Watch
294mAh
Up to 24 hours
USB-C magnetic charging cable
Processor
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
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 4
1.5GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
1.5GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
1.5GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
1.5GB
Google Pixel Watch
2GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
16GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
16GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
16GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
16GB
Google Pixel Watch
32GB
Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
LTE (available in select models)
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, Galileo
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
LTE (available in select models)
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, Galileo
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
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
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 4
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Ambient light sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Ambient light sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)
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)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
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 4
5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G
Google Pixel Watch
5ATM water resistance
Software
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch
Google Pixel Watch
Wear OS 3.5
Compatibility
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Android
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Android
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Android
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Android
Google Pixel Watch
Android 8.0 and newer

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 4: Which should you buy?

It’s difficult to recommend the Google Pixel Watch when the Samsung Galaxy Watch line exists. The latter, especially the Galaxy Watch 5, 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, we 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.

However, 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.

Ultimately, money is tight for most of the planet’s inhabitants right now. As a value proposition, the Pixel Watch at $349 doesn’t make sense when the $279 Galaxy Watch 5 is available. Even with the Galaxy Watch 6 series is now available, perhaps waiting for the Google Pixel Watch 2 ($349.99 at Amazon) is a better play if Samsung’s offerings don’t convince you.

If you aren’t convinced, we pit the Pixel Watch 2 against the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and versus the Galaxy Watch 6. You can make a more informed choice with both comparisons.


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?

619 votes