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Buying a Pixel Watch 2? Get the LTE version if you care about safety

Connectivity is key to Google's latest safety features.

Published onOctober 29, 2023

A user begins a Safety Check session on her Pixel Watch 2.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Google’s second-generation smartwatch tracks sleep, counts beats and monitors my sleep stages. It even calculates my real-time running pace so I can then calculate how much longer I’ll be huffing and puffing until the end of my 4-mile loop. It also fires off emails, stores payment cards, houses a voice assistant, and plays music through my Bluetooth headphones. In short, it’s an impressive little piece of wristwear. But one of the most powerful things the Pixel Watch 2 can do is help keep me safe, and the best way for it to do so is with an LTE model instead of the Wi-Fi version.

When launching the Pixel Watch 2, Google announced the addition of Safety Check. The feature allows users to set a check-in timer when heading into certain scenarios, such as before starting a solo run. When the timer expires, Safety Checks prompts users to confirm that they are, in fact, safe. Failure to do so automatically triggers the watch to share its location with specified emergency contacts.

A Google Pixel Watch 2 enables Emergency Sharing.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

While the tool is usable with a Wi-Fi connection, it’s most valuable when you don’t have a phone nearby. To that end, an LTE model device makes the most sense for anyone interested in Safety Check, even if you don’t plan to pay for a carrier plan. With a Fitbit Premium subscription, the Pixel Watch 2 offers Safety Signal, which provides LTE connectivity from Google to use safety features. Users can access the following using Safety Signal:

  • Safety Check
  • Calls to and from emergency contacts
  • Emergency Sharing
  • Emergency SOS
  • Fall Detection
The LTE Pixel Watch 2 with Fitbit Premium offers excellent safety features, even without an LTE plan.

Considering each device comes with a 6-month Fitbit Premium subscription, Safety Signal is a home run. Access to these tools without paying a monthly cellular plan makes the $50 upcharge for an LTE model more worthwhile. Of course, once the 6 months are up, you’ll need to either sign up for Fitbit Premium or add a plan to your watch. With that in mind, it’s actually disappointing to see Google gatekeeping something as important as safety. Once you realize the company has the capability to grant connectivity in an emergency, it’s frustrating to see a fee established for the privilege.

A Pixel Watch 2 rests on a teen's desk, display Safety Check.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Besides celebrating advancements in cycle tracking and fertility tools, I rarely weigh in on the wearables market with a specifically female perspective, but some features call for it, and Safety Check is an obvious one. As a woman, I spend a lot of subconscious energy on my safety. That includes everything from scheduling runs before dark to tasking my partner to play security guard as I pick up a secondhand item from Facebook Marketplace.

Safety Check is an especially attractive feature for females, teenagers, and kids newly off to college.

I wouldn’t say I live a fearful life of paranoia, but Safety Check allows me to feel accounted for, with loved ones on standby if needed. It’s clutch for mundane errands, as well as for my more adventurous outings, like hiking precarious landscapes or surfing in shark-friendly waters. Likewise, as an aunt, I am constantly looking for ways to keep my nieces safe from the world’s dangers (creeps, bullies, and music by the Jonas Brothers). Safety Check makes the Pixel Watch line a more attractive option for forgetful teenagers who never remember to call home when they reach their destinations.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Personal Safety
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Tools like Safety Check are just one of many ways users can leverage smartwatches for personal safety. From the 86-decibel siren of the Apple Watch to the reliable Fall Detection on numerous devices, features intended to offer peace of mind deserve a spot on our wrists. I hope companies like Google continue to develop these offerings and provide them without additional costs.

How to use Safety Check on the Google Pixel Watch 2

It is up to you whether you would like to notify your contacts when you start or cancel a Safety Check. Regardless of your settings, Safety Check will always share your location with your chosen contacts if you don’t respond at the end of the set timer.

  • On your Google Pixel Watch 2, press the crown.
  • Tap Safety & emergency, then tap Safety Check.
  • Select your activity and set the timer for your desired amount of time.
  • Select the contacts you would like involved and tap Start timer.
  • To stop Safety Check, tap End Safety Check or Stop Safety Check.

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