It’s hard to believe that Google hasn’t made a smartwatch yet. Wear OS launched in 2014 (as Android Wear), and in the intervening eight years, nearly every Android device manufacturer you can think of has given it. Samsung, Motorola, LG, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Sony have all released at least one Android smartwatch — not to mention the likes of Fossil and Mobvoi, who seem to introduce a new model every few months.
But the Pixel watch, which is available for pre-order today, is really Google’s first attempt. At $350, the device is positioned as Google’s answer to the similarly premium Apple Watch. It might be a good Android alternative for every iPhone owner’s favorite accessory — but I’m wondering if that’s what Wear OS really needs.
At first glance, there’s a lot to like about the Pixel Watch. I dig the simple rounded look – it’s so The Google, I mean that as a compliment. It also has the latest version of Wear OS 3.5 and, as best we can tell so far, it’s a well-made piece of hardware. It’s got Fitbit integration, too, and Google has been talking about how accurate its health tracking features are. It even has Fast Pair, so it’s very easy to connect it to your phone.
But even before the Pixel Watch hits store shelves, we’re seeing some worrying signs. It’s powered by a year-old Samsung Exynos chipset – the same chip that was on the first Samsung Galaxy Watch. In fairness, Google has added a coprocessor, and we can’t judge the watch in terms of performance before we’ve had a chance to thoroughly test it. What we can judge invisible is Google’s battery life estimation: the Pixel Watch is claimed to last “up to 24 hours” when charged. Unless the company is conservative in that estimate, it’s not great.
Google really wants you to think of the Pixel Watch as luxury.
Apple Watch users are used to this kind of meager battery life, but Wear OS devices from Samsung and others make it past a full day of use so far, with the best of the bunch taking two or more days. Fitbit’s Versa and Sense watches, which carry many of the same health features as the Pixel Watch, can manage up to week Without seeing the charger.
The Pixel Watch’s sophisticated design, stainless steel case, and intricate, proprietary band connector—not to mention its zigzag marketing—suggest that the wearable Google put a lot of effort into making it look distinctly special. This is a major shift from Google, a company that has been plagued by frequent shifts in strategy and, as a result, something of an unreliable track record with new products.
Despite this, Google follows a lot of Apple’s operating rules here, and the results will certainly appeal to a subset of Pixel fans. The promise of tight integration with Google services and other hardware products and the fit and glossy finish completely piqued my interest.
But despite its aspirations, the Google name doesn’t have the same stamp with most Android users as it does with iPhone users. Apple can get away with expensive smartwatches that offer poor battery life because the Apple Watch is the default in iOS — every watchOS device is a first-party device. On the other hand, Android users are accustomed to a wide range of smartwatches from a number of different manufacturers (not all of them). Good hardware, but that’s beside the point).
And while the Pixel Watch has the latest and greatest version of Wear OS, so does the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 — a watch that costs a full $70 less than the Pixel Watch at MSRP, features newer internals, better battery life, and more durable glass. on his screen. Moreover, it is assumed that watch groups from other manufacturers will get Wear OS 3 in the near future. Sure, the Pixel Watch has Fitbit integration for it, but I can’t imagine many Fitbit enthusiasts charging their wearables on a daily basis.
In building a high-end smartwatch with strong ties to its larger ecosystem, Google appears to have succeeded in creating a Wear OS alternative to the Apple Watch (or at least the closest thing we have to one yet). But Google has also caught up on the bad things about the Apple Watch: mediocre battery life and a hefty price tag.
I’ll probably end up buying one, and you probably will too. But we’re excited, and unlike Apple, Google doesn’t have the advantage of being the only smartwatch game in town. Without a purchase from regular Android users, the Pixel Watch can’t work – I’m not sure about it Apple Watch, but Pixel is the correct way to get it.
google pixel watch
We’ve been waiting for Google to make a watch for the better part of a decade, and the Google Pixel Watch has finally arrived. Pixel Watch, the first Android smartwatch with Fitbit health tracking, aims to help you stay fit or get fit with ease, while Wear OS 3.5 brings us Google’s vision of a wearable user interface and exclusive Wear OS apps for Google services like Google Home .
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