Google Pixel Watch hands-on: It might be the Android watch we've been waiting for

Google Pixel Watch hands-on: Fitbit debuts on the Android watch

Pixel Watch is Google’s first smartwatch, at an Thursday happenedWe need to get practical training. The watch has a round face and is packed with Fitbit tracker features. Google has unveiled the Pixel Watch along with Pixel 7 And the Pixel 7 Pro The phones are back at its annual developer conference in May. But we didn’t get to see them in person until this week.

This announcement comes after Google teased the Pixel Watch in May while I/O . Developers Conference. While Google previously revealed what the watch will look like and provided a preview of its software, it saved several key details about pricing, design and functionality for Thursday’s unveiling.

Aside from making the Wear OS smartwatch software used by Samsung, Fossil, and Michael Kors, Google has been largely absent from the smartwatch market. The company also Owns a Fitbitwhich it acquired in 2021. However, the $350 Pixel Watch (£339, AU$549) is the first smartwatch to be positioned as a Google device under its flagship Pixel brand. It’s about what the company makes Renewable batch in hardware To establish itself as a household name alongside Apple and Samsung in the mobile market.

Go straight to the Google Pixel watch pre-order source. Prices start at $350 and the devices will begin shipping on October 13.

Read Pixel Watch first.

The Pixel Watch has a stylish design that separates it from most of the Android compatible smartwatches on the market. But seven years after the original Apple Watch launched, it has a lot to catch up with from an industry-wide perspective. Apple leads the smartwatch space with 29% of the global market as of Q2 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. Samsung is the leader when it comes to Android-compatible smartwatches holding 9% of the market, a number that lags far behind Apple.

With her sharp look and Fitbit According to health metrics, the Pixel Watch already looks like a promising option for Android device owners. But I can also see how the Pixel Watch can complicate how Fitbit smartwatches fit into Google’s suite of products. The company says the Pixel Watch is for those who want to track their Fitbit health along with additional smartwatch features that Fitbit devices lack, like optional LTE connectivity and Google Play Store apps.

300 dollars Fitbit Sense 2On the other hand, it includes additional health and wellness capabilities such as skin temperature measurements and the ability to detect potential signs of stress. Whether the Pixel Watch is a success may be an indication of what consumers value most in a smartwatch.


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Pixel Watch might be the best smartwatch to date

Google Pixel watch on hold

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Google said in May that it is positioning the Pixel Watch as a premium smartwatch, and that approach is aesthetically pleasing. The Pixel Watch features a round domed glass design with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and a stainless steel case that makes it look more like a regular wristwatch than most smartwatches you’ve seen.

the hour water resistant Up to 5 ATM, which means that it must be able to withstand a 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 flagships and Fitbit smartwatches. It will be available in four finish options: matte black with an active obsidian strap, brushed silver with an active charcoal strap, brushed silver with an active chalk strap or champagne gold with an active hazel strap.

There will also be a variety of belt styles to choose from, from lightweight sports belts to breathable woven belts designed for sleep tracking to more formal options in leather and metallic mesh. The elastic band is surprisingly light and soft, and I can see how perfect it would be to wear to sleep. Almost feels like wearing scrunchy on my wrist.

Switching domains is relatively simple; It requires pressing a button where the tape attaches to the housing and then moving the tape in the same direction. It took me a few tries to learn it, but it’s easy once you get used to it.

At first glance, the Pixel Watch looks like the closest competitor to the Apple Watch in terms of design — except that it’s round, not square. As a longtime Apple Watch wearer, the Pixel Watch’s use of premium materials and the look and feel of its straps gave me some deja vu — but in a good way. There’s also a crown on the side of the watch that doubles as a button and scroll wheel, like the Apple Watch’s digital crown. But the Pixel Watch’s domed glass gives it a distinctive look that sets it apart from most wearables, even the Apple Watch and high-end hybrid watches like Withings ScanWatch Horizon.

Google Pixel Watch on a white table

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However, I also noticed that the bezels framing the display are a bit wide, although they blend in seamlessly with the rest of the watch. The watch itself is also fairly spacious, but I’ll have to spend more time with it before I can see if these factors affect the overall experience.

Pixel Watch is a combination of Google and Fitbit

Google Pixel watch showing the weather

Lisa Eadicicco / CNET

The Pixel Watch runs on Google Wear OS 3.5 and inherits some of the health features of Fitbit. In the short amount of time I’ve had to watch the Pixel Watch in person, the software looks a lot like the new, redesigned interface on the Fitbit Sense 2. It’s also fast and fast. Compared to the Sense 2, I felt like I was cruising through the OS, while there are sometimes pauses before apps launch on the Fitbit Sense 2.

Similar to Sense 2, the Pixel Watch has tiles to display activity data, heart rate, weather, workout shortcuts, and other pieces of information. Pressing the crown of the Pixel Watch will take you to your apps, similar to how pressing the Sense 2’s side button would pull up your apps menu. You’ll also get Fitbit-specific metrics like Active Zone Minutes, which give you more credit depending on how high your heart rate gets during exercise and your daily readiness.

But the program doesn’t look like that exactly The same. Google positions the Pixel Watch as more of a full-featured smartwatch, so it does include 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 a bit more at $400) . Emergency SOS, international emergency calls, and mobile payments through Google Wallet will also be available, and the watch also includes a compass for navigation. From what I’ve seen, the Pixel Watch does seem to perform much smoother than the Sense 2, although I’ll have to spend some time with the Pixel Watch to find out for sure.

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

Pixel Watch has Fitbit health tracking

Sleep tracking is displayed on the Pixel Watch and in the Fitbit app

The Google

From a health tracking perspective, you can almost think of the Pixel Watch as a really great-looking smartwatch from Fitbit. All of your health data will live in the Fitbit app (although Google says it will continue to support Google Fit as well). You’ll be able to add your Pixel Watch to the Fitbit app just like any other Fitbit device. This means that in addition to tracking your exercise and activity, 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, a $10 monthly subscription from Fitbit that provides access to additional health metrics and training programs.

Google claims that the Pixel Watch will provide the company’s most accurate heart rate tracking to date thanks to these sensors and its own machine learning algorithms, even bypassing Fitbit devices.


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It will 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 have GPS to track your running paths.

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

Pixel Watch battery life and other details

Google Pixel Watch with yellow watch face

Lisa Eadicicco / CNET

The Pixel Watch should last 24 hours on a single charge and run on the Exynos 9110 processor along with a co-processor, Google says. That should put the battery life at the same length as the Apple Watch, although we’ll know more when we actually test the watch. On the other hand, the Fitbit Sense 2 is rated for about 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 making 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 to be a huge part of the phone experience. Google says the Pixel Watch system and coprocessor handle different tasks to increase power and performance. The coprocessor, for example, handles things like step counting, GPS, and heart rate in the background, while the main processor powers Wear OS and LTE functionality.

Pixel Watch Early Ideas

When it comes to smartwatches, Android device owners have had to contend with a fragmented ecosystem of products from Samsung, Fitbit and GarminMichael Kors and others. Most of these watches are specialized in fitness or fashion with very little overlap. The Pixel Watch may be the first Android-focused smartwatch to change that, but the question is whether that alone is enough to make it work.

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