Why you use Google Pixel Watch?
Why you use Google Pixel Watch?
Google gets most things right with its first Smart Google Pixel Watch.
The Google Pixel Watch may not be the perfect smartwatch, but it’s the one Pixel phone owners have been waiting for. Good looks, smart software, and the help of Fitbit’s fitness-tracking features make the first-gen devices stand out.
In this Pixel Watch review, it wasn’t easy to separate the real-world performance of the device from the excitement of a new flagship smartwatch. The best combination of Google and Fitbit? This sounds too good to be true. And, for the most part, Google Pixel Watch lives up to its promise. The Google app runs smoothly, and Fitbit’s fitness tracking is as comprehensive as ever.
But as the Pixel Watch has grown, there have been some inconveniences that are uncommon for a $349 smartwatch but not surprising for a 1.0 device. Battery life feels very unsuitable for a Fitbit, and the large bezels are a missed opportunity. There’s also a worrying moment when I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put the strap back on my review unit, though I did eventually get my hands on the interchangeable strap mechanism.
Despite these reservations, the Pixel Watch offers an entirely different wearable experience than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 but is very similar to the Apple Watch Series 8. I mean, Wear OS on the Pixel Watch mimics the intuitiveness and interconnectivity of the Apple Watch in a way that’s surprisingly different from the software on Samsung’s smartwatch. That’s why I think it’s one of the best smartwatches of the year.
Reasons to buy a Pixel Watch
You’re a Pixel phone owner: Google finally has an Android smartwatch optimized for Pixel phone owners. In our testing, the Pixel 7 Pro experience extended smoothly to our wrists.
You use Google apps a lot: Of all the Wear OS smartwatches we’ve reviewed, the Google Pixel Watch has the most Google apps. Google Maps, Google Home, Google Assistant, Google Pay, Google Calendar, and YouTube Music Premium are all built-in.
You want a Fitbit smartwatch: The Google Pixel Watch is the smartest Fitbit watch ever. It may not have as sophisticated health sensors as the Fitbit Sense 2, but the Google Pixel Watch offers more comprehensive fitness tracking than anything Google Fit has offered before.
Reasons to skip the Google Pixel Watch
You make battery life a top priority: The Google Pixel Watch promises 24 hours of battery life, and it delivers — but only if you limit GPS usage and activity tracking. Overall, battery life is a bit lackluster.
You love the outdoors or strenuous activities: The curved Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the Google Pixel Watch isn’t as durable as the sapphire crystal displays on devices like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and Apple Watch Ultra. It may be more prone to cracking or damage.
You want a big smartwatch: The Pixel Watch comes in only one size — 41mm. We found the size to be a perfect fit for our wrists, but it’s still small. That’s limiting for those who prefer a bigger smartwatch.
Google Pixel Watch price and availability
The GPS + Bluetooth configuration of the Pixel Watch is $349 (£339/AU$549) (opens in a new tab), while the LTE-compatible version is $399 (£379/AU$649). That makes the Pixel Watch more affordable than the Apple Watch Series 8 ($399) but more expensive than the Galaxy Watch 5 ($279) and the recently released Fitbit Sense 2 ($299). (See the rest of the differences between the Google Pixel Watch and Fitbit Sense 2.)
The Pixel Watch release date is October 13, 2022, and we’ll keep tracking the best Pixel Watch deals from then on. Note that the Pixel Watch is launching alongside the Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro, both of which would make ideal companions to the company’s smartwatches.
Google Pixel Watch review: Design
The Google Pixel Watch is a simple-looking smartwatch, I might even call it minimalist. It’s only available in one size: 41mm. People with larger wrists might complain about not having a larger option; that said, it fits me perfectly.
The face has a circular design with a 3D glass dome. This raised effect distracts from the display’s thick bezels, but it doesn’t change the fact that a large portion of the display is unusable. Maybe my previous experience with Samsung watches is the culprit? I can’t help but think this is a missed opportunity to include a digital rotating bezel in that space.
There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the Pixel Watch being a “dark mode” device. The interface and all of Google’s watch faces have black backgrounds to further hide the bezels. The only watch face enlarged in the bezel is the Google Photos face, which I quite like from a personalization standpoint, even if it emphasizes the small size of the watch.
There have been some complaints about OLED burn-in on the Pixel Watch display, but Google says what users see is actually image retention, and that it often shifts pixels around to avoid burn-in.
The Digital Crown on the side is very similar to the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown, with some tactile grooves. Above the Digital Crown, the Pixel Watch has a small button that opens up recent apps with a short press, a convenience that only appeared on the Apple Watch’s side button this year. Long press the button to wake up the Google Assistant.
The Google Pixel Watch comes in three colors: matte black, silver, and gold. Google introduced the Pixel Watch with a series of seven interchangeable strap types in a variety of materials and colors, all fully compatible with the Pixel Watch. Swapping bands present a learning curve because it is a proprietary mechanism. To be honest, I struggled at first, at one point I was sure I couldn’t get the band to start over. But I’m finally getting the hang of it, and am optimistic about swapping out the straps depending on style or occasion.
Google Pixel Watch review: Fitness tracking
Google Pixel Watch fitness tracking is fully powered by Fitbit, which means users will get basic activity data as well as access to Fitbit Premium’s overall health features.
The watch can track over 40 workout types while also counting your steps and continuously monitoring your heart rate. I was impressed with the heart rate measurement, which not only keeps updating the watch face with heart rate complications but also adjusts quickly during workouts. I wore both the Apple Watch Series 8 and the Google Pixel Watch during my yoga practice and found that the Pixel Watch showed heart rate changes at least a full second faster than the Apple Watch. In addition to heart rate monitoring, the Pixel Watch can also be used to obtain an electrocardiogram to detect possible signs of atrial fibrillation.
When it came to GPS tracking during walks and runs, the Pixel Watch’s distance readings matched the Apple Watch perfectly, both on the open road and my local tracks. The workout interface has always displayed my metrics, including distance, elapsed time, steps (walking), pace, and active zone minutes earned.
Active Zone Minutes is an activity metric introduced by Fitbit on the Fitbit Charge 4 in 2020 (it has since been replaced by the Fitbit Charge 5.) Your goal is to spend 150 minutes per week in a moderate- or high-intensity heart rate zone, see from WHO. This may seem like a daunting goal based on your current activity level, but it can be motivating for those looking to spend more time in the gym.
One thing to note is that some people have been reporting that the Pixel Watch seems to be overestimating its calorie count. So, before you take all this data to heart, keep that in mind.
Google Pixel Watch review: Fitbit Premium
With Fitbit Premium for $9.99 per month or $80 per year, you can unlock more advanced features like daily readiness score, sleep tracking analysis, meditation, health reports, and more.
Google is giving Pixel Watch owners six months of Fitbit Premium for free, a standard promotion for all the best Fitbit devices. I’d say Fitbit Premium seems to be becoming less optional, locking the most compelling health tools behind the membership. If you’re just looking for basic activity metrics, you probably don’t need it, but I don’t know that I’d enjoy the Pixel Watch experience without it.
Daily Readiness Score is a big reason for this. After four days of calibration by monitoring your sleep and activity through the Pixel Watch, Fitbit will give you a score every morning on how ready you are to start moving each day. When I’m getting a good night’s sleep, my readiness score indicates that I’m ready for a lot of activity. When I don’t sleep well, Fitbit lets me know it’s time to relax that day. Recovery features like the Daily Readiness Score are what I love about the Oura Ring Gen 3, and I wish the Apple Watch would borrow it since overtraining can (in my case, already) lead to injury.
Advanced sleep tracking is also the backbone of Fitbit Premium. You can get an overview of your sleep stages, as well as data based on long-term sleep trends. Without exception, Fitbit has the best sleep tracking in the game. Additionally, the Google Pixel Watch has been upgraded with a sleep profiling feature that compares your sleeping habits to those of corresponding animals. I found this feature helpful for understanding sleep patterns.
Likewise, I’m inclined to think that skipping Fitbit Premium would limit the Pixel Watch experience. Paid companion apps are becoming commonplace in the wearables market, from the Apple Watch and Oura Ring to Amazon Halo and Whoop. If you don’t want to pay the monthly fee, you can still get activity tracking and readouts from the watch’s health sensors. The period-tracking feature is also not locked behind a paywall, which I think many users will appreciate.
Google Pixel Watch review: Wear OS features
As you might expect, the Pixel Watch takes advantage of Google’s suite of Wear OS services, offering just about every program a person might use daily. Google Pixel Watch includes- Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Pay, Google Home, YouTube Music, and Google Assistant.
Google Maps helped me get around, Google Calendar (called Agenda in the app menu) sent me 10-minute meeting reminders, and I turned on my Philips Hue lights through the Google Home app on my wrist. I also rely heavily on Google Assistant queries. Having the Google Assistant here is a great benefit in my opinion; expected, of course, but still nice, and very similar to the Apple Watch’s Siri in terms of timers, asking for the weather, and more. You can also make calls on Pixel Watch.
Many of the best Android smartwatches (both old and new) run Wear OS, but it’s different. From what I can recall, these smartwatches offer only a handful of Google services—never the full range, and there’s never any obvious rhyme or reason for what’s and isn’t. For example, in the case of the last Galaxy Watch, we were promised Google Assistant, but the feature arrived months later. It’s time for Google to make a smartwatch optimized for its wearable software; it works.
As a result, the Google Pixel Watch has the familiar tile-based navigation of Wear OS, and it’s smooth to move around. While it’s not the same menu as on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, it reveals that Samsung is doing its part with Wear OS. But like the Galaxy Watch, the Pixel Watch supports some third-party apps like Spotify and Strava through the Google Play Store. That’s a huge benefit removed from this year’s Fitbit smartwatches, but that’s a rant for another day.
It is a breeze to open the relevant settings of the watch on your phone, and you can also ping your phone if you misplace it. You can use the Watch app on your phone to create customizable watch faces, including ones that bring images from Google Photos to your wrist. I used an image of my dog. Speaking of Google Photos, there’s a camera remote feature that lets you control the camera on your companion Pixel smartphone. It’s one of my favorite Apple Watch features, so I’m excited to see a version of it on the Pixel Watch.
Google Pixel Watch review: Battery life
The Google Pixel Watch has a battery life of 24 hours. That might be a little less than I would like to see, especially with the battery upgrades coming to the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch this year. In my tests, I barely lasted that long, with GPS draining 20% of battery life every hour. That said, the watch did last a full 24 hours on days when I wasn’t exercising or using activity tracking.
That is not to say charging every day is unusual for a wearable, but switching from a Fitbit Sense 2 with six-day battery life to a watch that lasts a fraction of the time feels a bit incongruous. Maybe the Pixel Watch’s stamina would not look so disappointing if it did not perform like a Fitbit watch.
As for charging, the Pixel Watch comes with a simple magnetic USB-C charger that looks a bit like a pebble. It charges from almost empty to full in about an hour, which is in sync with the charging capabilities of most popular smartwatches.
Google Pixel Watch review: Bottom line
Other than the Apple Watch Ultra, I can not think of a more anticipated smartwatch than the Google Pixel Watch. Now that it is here and I have tested it, I can say it conforms and does not conform to type.
On the one hand, Google services and Fitbit health tracking provide the perfect balance of connectivity and fitness tracking. Without exception, this is the best showcase for Wear OS so far. The Pixel Watch once again proves that Fitbit is one of the most powerful health platforms on the market. If you are a Pixel user, this is a great smartwatch.
On the other hand, some of my complaints remind me that the Pixel Watch is still a first-gen product. As it develops, there is room for improvement. I’m already thinking about what I’d like to see from the second-gen model: Two size options, more health sensors, and the option to pair multiple devices with a Fitbit account are some of the extra upgrades I think the Pixel Watch would be nice to have. I say this purely for the excitement of what’s to come.