Google Pixel Watch Palms-On: Fashionable and Jam-Packed With Fitbit Options


The Pixel Watch is Google’s first smartwatch, At an occasion on Thursday, we bought to get our fingers on one. The watch has a round face and is filled with Fitbit tracker options. Google unveiled the Pixel Watch alongside the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Professional telephones again at its annual developer convention in Could, however we have not gotten to see them in-person till this week.

The announcement comes after Google teased the Pixel Watch in Could throughout its I/O builders convention. Whereas Google beforehand revealed what the watch would appear to be and supplied a preview of its software program, it saved lots of the core particulars round pricing, design and performance for Thursday’s unveiling. 

Apart from making the Put on OS smartwatch software program that is utilized by Samsung, Fossil and Michael Kors, Google’s largely been absent from the smartwatch market. The corporate additionally owns Fitbit, which it acquired in 2021. The $350 (£339, AU$549) Pixel Watch, nevertheless, is the primary smartwatch to be positioned as a Google machine below its flagship Pixel model. It comes as the corporate has been making a renewed push into {hardware} to determine itself as a family identify alongside Apple and Samsung within the cell machine market.

Go straight to the supply in your Google Pixel Watch preorder. Costs begin at $350 and gadgets will start transport on Oct. 13.

Learn our Pixel Watch first take.

The Pixel Watch has a chic design that separates it from most Android-compatible smartwatches accessible in the marketplace. However coming seven years after the unique Apple Watch’s launch, it has a whole lot of catching as much as do from an industry-wide perspective. Apple leads the smartwatch house with 29% of the worldwide market as of the second quarter of 2022, in line with Counterpoint Analysis. Samsung is the chief with regards to Android-compatible smartwatches with 9% of the market, a quantity that trails far behind Apple. 

With its sharp seems to be and Fitbit well being metrics, the Pixel Watch already looks as if a promising alternative for Android machine house owners. However I may additionally see how the Pixel Watch may complicate how Fitbit’s personal smartwatches match into Google’s product lineup. The corporate says the Pixel Watch is for individuals who need Fitbit’s well being monitoring together with further smartwatch options that Fitbit gadgets lack, comparable to elective LTE connectivity and Google Play Retailer apps.

The $300 Fitbit Sense 2, alternatively, contains further well being and wellness capabilities comparable to pores and skin temperature measurements and the flexibility to detect potential indicators of stress. Whether or not the Pixel Watch turns into successful may very well be an indicator of what customers worth most in a smartwatch. 

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Pixel Watch may be the best-looking smartwatch yet

Google's Pixel Watch being held

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Google said in May it’s positioning the Pixel Watch as a premium smartwatch, and that approach comes across in its aesthetic. The Pixel Watch has a domed, circular glass design with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and a stainless steel housing that makes it look more like a regular wristwatch than most smartwatches I’ve seen. 

The watch is water resistant up to 5 ATM, which means it should be able to withstand pressure equal to a depth of 50 meters. It also features an always-on display that can show the time and other information when the screen is idle, just like Apple’s flagship watches and Fitbit’s smartwatches. It will be available in four finish options: matte black with an obsidian active band, polished silver with a charcoal active band, polished silver with a chalk active band or champagne gold with a hazel active band. 

There will also be a variety of band styles to choose from, ranging from lightweight sports bands to breathable woven bands designed for sleep tracking to more formal leather and metal mesh options. The stretch band is surprisingly light and soft, and I could see how it would be ideal to wear to bed. It almost feels like wearing a scrunchie on my wrist. 

Swapping out the bands is relatively simple; it requires pressing a button where the band connects to the housing and then sliding the band in the same direction. It took me a couple of tries to get the hang of it, but it’s easy once you get used to it.

At first glance, the Pixel Watch feels like the Apple Watch’s closest competitor in terms of design — except it’s round rather than square. As a longtime Apple Watch wearer, the Pixel Watch’s use of premium materials and the look and feel of its straps has given me some deja vu — but in a good way. There’s also a crown along the side of the watch that doubles as a button and a scroll wheel, much like the Apple Watch’s digital crown. But the Pixel Watch’s domed glass gives it a distinguished look that sets it apart from most wearables, even the Apple Watch and high-end hybrid watches such as the Withings ScanWatch Horizon. 

Google's Pixel Watch resting on a white table

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That said, I also noticed the bezels framing the display are a bit wide, although they do seamlessly blend into the rest of the watch. The watch itself is also fairly wide, but I’ll have to spend more time with it before I can tell if these factors impact the experience overall. 

Pixel Watch software is a combination of Google and Fitbit

Google's Pixel Watch showing the weather being worn

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The Pixel Watch runs on Google’s Wear OS 3.5 software and inherits some of Fitbit’s health features. In the short amount of time I’ve had to see the Pixel Watch in person, the software looks a lot like the new redesigned interface on the Fitbit Sense 2. It also feels fast and snappy. Compared to the Sense 2, I felt like I was gliding around the operating system, whereas there’s sometimes a pause before launching apps on the Fitbit Sense 2. 

Similar to the Sense 2, the Pixel Watch has tiles for showing activity data, heart rate, the weather, exercise shortcuts and other bits of information. Pushing the Pixel Watch’s crown will take you to your apps, similar to how pressing the Sense 2’s side button pulls up your app list. You’ll also get Fitbit-specific metrics such as Active Zone Minutes, which gives you more credit depending on how high your heart rate is while working out and a daily readiness score.

But the software doesn’t seem to be exactly the same. Google is positioning the Pixel Watch as more of a full-featured smartwatch, so it includes some extras like smart home controls, access to the Google Play Store from your wrist and optional LTE connectivity (although the cellular version of the watch will cost slightly higher at $400). Emergency SOS, international emergency calling and mobile payments through Google Wallet will be available, too, and the watch also includes a compass for navigation. From what I’ve seen, the Pixel Watch’s performance also seems snappier than Sense 2’s, although I’ll have to spend time with the Pixel Watch to know for sure. 

Watch faces also seem like a much bigger deal on the Pixel Watch; there are 18 styles that Google says can be highly personalized. For example, you can change the color of the face and the dials and add complications. Again, this should all sound familiar to anyone who has used an Apple Watch.

Pixel Watch has Fitbit health tracking

Sleep tracking being shown on the Pixel Watch and in the Fitbit app


From a health tracking perspective, you could almost think of the Pixel Watch as a really nice-looking Fitbit smartwatch. All of your health data will live in the Fitbit app (although Google says it will continue to support Google Fit, too). You’ll be able to add the Pixel Watch to your Fitbit app just like any other Fitbit device. That means in addition to workout and activity tracking, you’ll get Fitbit-specific metrics like your readiness score and sleep score. The Pixel Watch will also come with six months of free Fitbit Premium, Fitbit’s $10 monthly subscription that provides access to additional health metrics and workout programs. 

Google claims the Pixel Watch will offer the company’s most accurate heart rate tracking yet thanks to these sensors and its machine learning algorithms, even surpassing Fitbit’s devices. 

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It’ll also be updated with the ability to take blood oxygen saturation measurements and can take an ECG from the wrist, just like watches from Fitbit and Apple. Similar to the Apple Watch, the Pixel Watch will support fall detection and also has built-in GPS for tracking running routes. 

The major feature missing from the Pixel Watch compared with the Fitbit Sense 2, Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Apple Watch Series 8 is a temperature sensor. That shouldn’t be a deal breaker, however, since temperature sensors are relatively new to smartwatches and companies are still figuring out the best ways to make that data useful. Plus, Google sees that as a differentiating factor between the Fitbit Sense 2 and Pixel Watch.

Pixel Watch’s battery life and other details

Google Pixel Watch with a yellow watch face

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The Pixel Watch should last for 24 hours on a single charge and runs on an Exynos 9110 processor along with a coprocessor, says Google. That should put its battery life at about the same length as the Apple Watch’s, although we’ll know more when we actually get to test the watch. The Fitbit Sense 2, on the other hand, is rated to last for around six days, according to Fitbit. Pixel Watch buyers will also get three free months of YouTube Music Premium, and there’s a built-in speaker and microphone for things like taking calls and using the Google Assistant. 

It’s a bit surprising that Google didn’t develop its own Tensor processor for the Pixel Watch considering it’s such a big part of the phone experience. Google says the Pixel Watch’s system-on-a-chip and coprocessor handle different tasks to maximize power and performance. The coprocessor, for example, handles things like step counting, GPS and background heart rate, while the main processor drives Wear OS and LTE functionality. 

Pixel Watch early thoughts

When it comes to smartwatches, Android device owners have had to deal with a fragmented ecosystem of products from Samsung, Fitbit, Garmin, Michael Kors and others. Most of those watches specialize in either fitness or fashion with little overlap. The Pixel Watch could be the first Android-focused smartwatch to change that, but the question is whether that alone will be enough to make it a success.

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