The Google Pixel Watch is an amazing piece of technology that you can wear. It looks more like it was poured in than it was made. It has a glossy, smooth, flat face that curves to meet a similarly curved stainless steel body. Almost nothing goes wrong during the building process. Because of the curve, there is more Gorilla Glass 5 facing you than on the Apple Watch 8. This makes the smartwatch look more elegant and, in our opinion, hides one of its flaws: a black bezel around the screen that is a little bit bigger than on the Apple Watch 8.
Without a doubt, this AMOLED screen is bright, colorful, and responsive, but it is also much smaller than the rectangular face of the Apple Watch 8. But Google makes great use of the smaller screen space, and we never felt the need to complain when using it normally. When paired with an Android phone running version 8.0 or higher, like the Google Pixel 7 Pro or Pixel 7, the Google Pixel Watch shows a constant stream of notifications that can be seen by swiping up on the touch screen or automatically. Apps, maps, directions, and (some) controls can be used in smart homes. It’s also a good health and fitness wearable, though a lot of its features come from the awkward way it works with Fitbit. Even though Fitbit has been around for years and was just bought by Google, we wish it didn’t seem to live a separate but equal life inside wearables. Fitbit adds a lot to Pixel Watch in terms of exercise and tracking.
GOOGLE PIXEL WATCH DESIGN, MATERIALS, AND DISPLAY
- Exquisite design and build
- Dome on the back might need to slim down
- Band connection takes practice
The Google Pixel Watch is a smartwatch that combines metal, chrome, and glass in a way that is undeniably elegant. The small (1.2-inch, 450 x 450 pixel) screen on the wearable is given the best chance to shine by its design, which is simple but helpful.
Compared to the nearly 2-inch screen on the Apple Watch 8, this one is much smaller. The Google Pixel Watch comes out with a black bezel that is shockingly thick between the round display and the metal chassis. This is in contrast to Apple, which has been working for seven years to make the bezel around its watch face thinner and to stretch the screen all the way to the edges of the Iox-X glass.
Even though we didn’t like this decision, it didn’t change our lives much. This is because the curves in the glass make it look like the edge of the device is closer to the screen than it really is. When you get a text alert, the curves make it hard to read the small amount of text that the 320ppi display can show. The screen on the Apple Watch is a little bit denser at 326ppi, but it is also bigger. This is where you can really see how small it is.
You can access a few pre-loaded watch faces by holding your finger down on the screen until a menu of watch face options appears. Some of these watch faces have helpful complications that give you quick access to different features.
The Pixel Watch’s face is flat, but its sensor-filled back, which is shaped like a dome, is not. The Pixel Watch is a less comfortable bedside companion than the Apple Watch 8 because its sensor bump is bigger. If the wrist with the watch ends up under your pillow or body, which has happened to us, it’s not very comfortable.
Even though the Active Band that came with our watch was gray and flexible, you can choose from a huge range of colors and materials. The only problem is that you have to learn how to change the band. Google’s watch, like Apple’s, has two channels for bands. As soon as the band is fastened, the watch and wristband are joined together.
GOOGLE PIXEL WATCH SETUP, SENSORS, AND FITNESS
- Not all the sensors, but the ones you need
- It’s a full Fitbit device
- Fitbit integration could be tighter
The Google Pixel Watch is neither hard to set up nor strange. It worked well with Google’s new Pixel 7 Pro phone, and after a few updates and one account sign-in, it was mostly ready to use. We think it will be just as easy to pair and set up other Android phones.
But this is more than just a smartwatch. Fitbit is built into the Google Pixel Watch as well. Most of the time, this is a good thing, but sometimes it feels like Google is holding back on integrating Fitbit. This is because most of the health and fitness tracking features require a separate Fitbit account from your Google account. Google tells you to put the Fitbit app on your phone and make a Fitbit account if you don’t already have one.
This can sometimes make you feel like your workouts, health stats, and activities are more complicated than they should be. Workout is one of the first apps I can choose on the Apple Watch. The first app I can choose from on the GooglePixel Watch is Fitbit Exercise, and then I can choose All Exercises. We liked that the app will show you your most recent workouts. This means that the one you want to use is probably just one level down from the top of the watch interface.
The fastest way to get to activity metrics, health stats, and advanced exercises is to swipe left on the screen. This gives you immediate access to your steps, heart rate, three exercises (with a link to “more”), sleep stats, schedule, weather, and directions. The watch comes with a six-month trial of Fitbit Premium, which gives you access to things like mindfulness tips, workouts you can do whenever you want, and more detailed sleep tracking. We tried it to be thorough, but I don’t think you need it for the watch to feel like a complete workout and health partner.
As was already said, it can measure your heart rate, and the numbers we got from our Apple Watch 8 seemed to be pretty close to what it said. There is also an ECG. To use it, we had to sit down, relax, hardly move, and put our finger gently on the Pixel Watch crown without touching any other part of it. It wasn’t hard at all. It took us about 30 seconds to figure out that our sinus rhythm is normal. The Pixel Watch is supposed to have a sensor that can measure how much oxygen is in the blood, but it’s not working right now. There are many ways to work out, such as walking (indoors or outdoors doesn’t matter) and strength training. We used both of these, and the controls for start, stop, and pause were similar to those on the Apple Watch.
GOOGLE PIXEL WATCH PERFORMANCE AND SOFTWARE
- Wear OS has been waiting for this
- Makes good use of the dual-core Exynos 9110
- Hands-free Google Assistant
Wear OS on the Google Pixel Watch is the most complete version of the software since it was first made almost ten years ago. Almost every time you swipe, the device shows you a new set of ways to use it. You can get to all of your settings and apps by swiping down from the top. This includes Airplane mode, Theater mode, screen lock, flashlight, Wallet, and more. You can get turn-by-turn directions by swiping to the left, and if you’ve added your home and work addresses to your Google Account, they’re already on the watch.
Notifications show up when you swipe up from the bottom. You can track your activities, workouts, and health by swiping from the right. This is better than the Apple Watch 8, which only lets you swipe from the top or bottom of the screen to get to Watch features. Swiping left or right just changes the face of your watch.
You press the crown and then turn it to scroll through the list of apps on the Pixel Watch. On this list are apps like Agenda (your calendar and to-do list), Alarm, Assistant, Fitbit Exercise, Fitbit Today (a quick look at all your health stats), the flashlight, Wallet (you can add credit cards so you can tap and pay with your Pixel Watch), Messages, YouTube Music (you get a free trial with the watch), and even hand washing.
Google talked a lot about its Camera App when it showed off its Watch. This app lets you control your Pixel 7 camera from your phone. This wasn’t already on the Pixel Watch, so we had to use the phone to find it and put it on. Once we did that, we could open the app on the watch and use the small screen as a viewfinder for our phone. Is it awesome? yes. Does it help in any way? We’re still not sure. There is also a direct link to the Google Play watch app store, where you can find more cool apps to add to your watch.
The Pixel Watch’s integration with Google Assistant is as smart and useful as you would expect from a device called the Google Pixel Watch.
When you hold down the Google Assistant button, the screen will say, “How can I help you?
“The microphones are sensitive enough to pick up questions that are asked at a normal volume. We’d rather just say “Hey Google” to get to Google Assistant, especially when our hands are full of something else (think working out with weights). In this case, as long as the Pixel Watch is connected to the internet, it can hear us and answer our questions just as well. The media controls that come with the device are easy to use. We put Apple Music on our Pixel 7 Pro because we are rebels, and we used the crown on the watch to play, pause, skip, and change the volume. We were surprised to find that we couldn’t zoom out on the Pixel Watch’s map to see the whole world.
The Google Pixel Watch reminds you to stand up, move around, and take all of your steps for the day, just like other wearables do. Wearable babysitters are getting old, but if you still need one, the Pixel Watch has you covered.
We slept with Pixel Watch almost every night for a week. We didn’t realize at first that we had to give the Fitbit app permission to access our sleep data, but even after we did, the watch still tracked our first night’s sleep. The free version keeps track of how long you sleep. The Premium version adds a sleep score based on a number of sleep-related factors, such as the amount of time you spent in deep sleep and REM sleep and your heart rate while you were sleeping. About the same information is given as with an Apple Watch, but Apple doesn’t give you a score. But, as we said above, the Google Pixel Watch isn’t as easy to wear. The sensor bump on the Pixel Watch pressed on our wrists more than once, waking us up.
GOOGLE PIXEL WATCH BATTERY LIFE
- A15 Bionic (iPhone 13 Pro class) is still a winner
- Still hard to find the performance limits
- New internal design might be helping with performance
Google says that a single charge of the Pixel Watch will last for 24 hours. When we didn’t use the always-on display, which the watch says can shorten battery life, we got about 26 hours of use. We do, however, recommend using the always-on display because it makes it much easier to see at a glance.
But not everything in this area went well.
To use a smartwatch to track your sleep, you have to keep track of your charge cycles. You probably won’t wear a smartwatch to bed if you wear it all day.
Just before going to bed, the watch was almost out of power, so we put it on the Pixel Watch charger. It will work with a wide range of wireless chargers because it is Qi-compatible. The good news is that the watch quickly charged from 0% to 24% in 10 minutes. When it was at 30%, we took it off the charger. Google says that you should charge the Pixel Watch at least 30% before wearing it to bed. When we woke up, though, the watch wasn’t working. It must have died right before we woke up, though, because most of the information from the night before was still there. Still, it looks like you might need more than 30% charge before you can start eating. As expected, using the always-on display cut the battery life so much that we didn’t have at least 30% charge left before bedtime and had to remember to charge it for 30 minutes before bed.
You can wear the Google Pixel Watch, which is a nice-looking piece of hardware. The most important thing is that it helps.
It looks great with Google’s new Pixel 7 phones. Even though we’d like the Fitbit integration to be smoother, the small hoops we had to jump through were soon forgotten as we used the watch to track our workouts, walking, heart rate, sleep habits, and more.
One of the best things you can do is put Google Assistant on your wrist. We love our Apple Watch and Siri, but Google Assistant is still smarter thanks to Google’s huge knowledge base. The screen is a bit small, but as we said above, you don’t notice it much unless you’re reading text. We don’t like the big sensor bump on the back, especially when it presses into our wrists while we sleep. We also don’t like how the band goes on and comes off, and we don’t know how long the battery will last (Android Watch battery life is often measured in days, not hours, after all). One size fits all might seem like a bad thing, but the 41mm case is a good size for many wrists.
Overall, this is a great smartwatch that was built on a top-notch platform. It’s also a little cheaper than some of its competitors, and it feels like a real competitor to Apple’s best products. The Pixel Watch could be the best smartwatch on the market if Google fixes the back, changes the band, and makes the battery a little bigger.