Google watch here.  But you'd better like Android.

Google watch here. But you’d better like Android.

It’s 2022, and Google has finally responded with the Apple Watch. It’s the Pixel Watch, which is basically a Fitbit designed to work only with Android phones and appears to be a direct counterattack on Apple wearables that only work with iPhones.

The only losers in the ongoing feud between Apple and Google are us.

For nearly a decade, Fitbit has been a widely loved brand that has been making fitness tracker bracelets and step counters for counting steps. One of its selling points was that the trackers worked with phones running either Google or Apple software.

But soon after the Apple Watch was introduced in 2015, Fitbit’s sales dwindled and its inventory plummeted. In 2021, Google acquired the company for $2.1 billion.

The $350 Pixel Watch featuring Fitbit health monitoring software and released Thursday, is the first Google-branded smartwatch to result from that merger. Requires an Android device to run apps and collect data. So while the Pixel Watch, with its sleek, polished design, is a worthy contender to the $400 Apple Watch, it’s disappointing that Google has limited its compatibility with Android.

From a business perspective, it makes sense for Google to associate the Pixel Watch with Android. If the watch is a hit, it might give iPhone owners a reason to switch to Android.

For side-by-side comparisons, I spent a few days wearing the Google Pixel on my left wrist and the latest Apple Watch on my right. (Yes, I may have sounded a little weird.) That’s what I learned.

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When you turn on the Pixel Watch for the first time, it asks you to link the device to your Android phone. To do this, you can use the phone to download the Pixel Watch app through the Google Play Store.

The Apple Watch setup is similar. You point your iPhone’s camera at the watch face to associate it with your data, then add some vital information, such as height and weight.

Fitness Options

To start collecting health data on your Pixel Watch, you must download the Fitbit app and set up an account. The Pixel Watch relies heavily on Fitbit software. To track an exercise, press the side button and select the Fitbit Exercise app. From there, choose from a selection of exercises, including cycling, hiking and martial arts.

I’m a rock climber, so I chose the indoor climbing exercise in the Fitbit app in the Pixel Watch, and on the Apple Watch I chose the climbing exercise in the Apple’s Workout app. As I climbed for half an hour, both hours measured my heart rate and estimated the amount of calories I burned.

To my surprise, the Pixel Watch was constantly measuring a lower heart rate than the Apple Watch. During the toughest climbs when I was definitely feeling windy, the Apple Watch gave a heart rate reading of 150 bpm, and the Pixel Watch gave a reading of 125 bpm. On the easiest climb, the Apple Watch measured around 130 beats per minute and the Pixel Watch 110. In a few instances, like when I was sitting down to rest, both watches showed the same heart rate.

During the workout, I calculated my heart rate the old-school way by measuring my pulse and got the same measurement as the Apple Watch reading.

Google said in a statement that its Watch and Apple Watch use different algorithms and that it believes the Pixel Watch’s heart rate tracking was accurate.

health monitoring

After I finished my climbing workout, I washed my hands to test a feature clearly created during the pandemic. The Pixel Watch has a handwashing timer app, which must be activated by pressing a button to show a 20-second countdown. It’s a sad version of the Apple Watch’s handwashing timer, which automatically counts down once sensors detect water is splashing on your hands.

I also wore both hours to sleep. On Friday morning, the Fitbit app said I slept about six hours, showing a score of 77 out of 100 — a “fair” rating for my sleep quality. My Apple Watch said I slept about the same amount of time but didn’t show a rating. (I’d rather not get a degree; I already know when my sleep is poor and I don’t need an app that makes me feel more anxious.)

Battery life and other features

Both devices have a battery life that lasts a little more than a day; The Pixel Watch lasted a few hours longer than the Apple Watch before it needed to be charged. In general, both wearables need to be charged daily to keep up with my routine.

Like the Apple Watch, the Pixel Watch has sides that make the accessory an extension of the smartphone. The watch can be set up to reflect text message notifications and make phone calls – features that work well.

The biggest difference between the Pixel Watch and the Apple Watch is the design. The round face of the Pixel Watch resembles a traditional watch, and I’m biased towards it. The rectangular face of the Apple Watch squeezes more pixels into the screen and looks like a calculator clock. (Although it would be hard for either of them to look as good as an old-fashioned analog watch.)

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What you do from here depends on your relationship with your phone. If you have a strong commitment to Android and don’t focus on measuring your heart rate, the Pixel watch could be a good accessory. In the same way, it can be nice to have an Apple Watch, which has more advanced features, including a body temperature sensor to predict ovulation, if you prefer iPhones. But this is not so necessary that it will force most people to switch from the phone ecosystem of their choice.

If you’re not ready to stick with an Android or iPhone and just want to track your fitness, there are plenty of wearables that don’t require a specific type of phone to work, like the $150 Fitbit Charge 5 or the $330 Garmin Vivoactive 4S. For some, the freedom to move between devices is the most important feature of all.

#Google #watch #youd #Android

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