The Pixel Watch has been a long time coming from Google. The tech giant bought part of Fossil’s smartwatch division in 2019, and then purchased Fitbit in 2021. After years of rumors of a Pixel Watch, the highly anticipated wearable has finally arrived and it brings together the best of both worlds – Google’s own Wear OS, alongside Fitbit technology.
We’ve always preferred Wear OS to other wearable platforms because it’s feature-rich, and designed for smartwatches with a round face dial. That means that Wear OS smartwatches generally look and feel like traditional watches and we wholeheartedly prefer a conventional watch design to the boxy look of the Apple Watch.
But beyond the fact that the Pixel Watch sports a round watch face, we appreciate that the Pixel Watch sports an incredibly slim profile. For some time now it has felt like smartwatches haven’t been designed in mind for those with petite wrists, but the Pixel Watch changes all of this.
People with petite wrists have always seemed to be an afterthought, but the Pixel rectifies that.
The Pixel Watch measures just 12.3mm thick and weighs a mere 36g. It rocks a circular, domed design with a side button that doesn’t protrude much at all. We’ve yet to come across a Wear OS smartwatch that offers such a small and sleek profile, as most of the Wear OS smartwatches on the market are significantly bulkier. We also appreciate how its curved round-edge display gives it a premium look and sets it aside from other smartwatches on the market.
But we do have a few gripes with its design. To start, the Pixel Watch’s design uses proprietary bands. This isn’t uncommon in the wearable space but it’s still frustrating – especially since Google’s own watch bands are somewhat pricey. For example, an official leather watch band for the Pixel Watch will run you $79.99. Furthermore, its watch band clasp mechanism is a bit finicky and somewhat difficult to secure.
Furthermore, the actual size of the watch is 41MM, which makes it the same size as the smallest Apple Watch. While we personally find that 41MM hits the sweet spot, we imagine that many people would want an option to get a bigger 44mm watch face.
It’s also worth noting that the Pixel Watch isn’t made to be especially rugged, but it’s respectably water resistant up to 50 meters and it’s IP68 certified.
The excellent 1,000 nits Amoled display on the Google Watch is bright and vivid and made with Corning Gorilla Glass 5. But it’s 2022 and we wouldn’t expect anything less than a premium display from a $349 smartwatch.
Perhaps most importantly, the Pixel Watch is super fast and responsive. In the past, we’ve experienced lag on other Wear OS smartwatch models, but fortunately, the Pixel Watch is peppy and offers a smooth experience that brings out the best of Wear OS.
To that effect, the Pixel Watch actually comes running the latest version of Wear OS – 3.5. The 3.5 update offers lots of refinements to Wear OS. Most importantly, it makes it easier to get information quickly, in a more fluid way that utilizes tiles and intuitive swipes.
When it comes to features, the Pixel Watch pretty much does it all: it offers sleep, heart rate, and activity tracking, emergency SOS calling, tap-to-pay, turn-by-turn directions using Maps, smartphone notifications and you can even control your Nest smart home devices from your watch. It really is a little phone on your wrist.
And if you have a Pixel, you can use the Pixel Watch as a shutter and viewfinder when taking a photo – from up to 30 feet away. This can be very useful for taking selfies and photos from weird angles or from a distance.
Thoughts on the Pixel 7
We were a bit letdown by the Pixel 6 Pro. Although it is a great device, its camera didn’t blow us away the way many of the previous Pixel models have. Fortunately, the Pixel 7 Pro is making up for lost time with a fantastic camera that manages to excel at everything from portraits, to night photography – and for the first time ever – Pixel is taking really good videos too.
A few weeks back, Google took some of its Team Pixel members, including myself, on an outing to the Catskills in New York so that we could put the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel Watch through its paces. We ended up being blown away by the photos the Pixel 7 Pro can take – even in low light the Pixel impresses. It proved to us that the Pixel 7 Pro is one of those phones that is a true DSLR killer.
Check out the gallery below for sample photos taken with the Pixel 7 Pro.
How long does the Pixel Watch battery last?
During testing, Google’s claim of 24 hours on a charge has proven true. To that effect, the battery life on the Pixel Watch is pretty much what we’ve come to expect on an LTE-connected smartwatch these days. We’ve been getting about a full day’s use with the LTE model.
We’d like to see longer battery life from the Pixel Watch. It’s pretty disappointing that even in 2022 we can’t manage to squeeze out a few days of battery life with all features being turned on, but it’s the current reality.
Fortunately, the Pixel Watch offers fast charging. The watch is able to charge from 0 to 50% in about 30 minutes, and from 50% to 80% in another 25 minutes. On the other hand, the Pixel Watch doesn’t support wireless charging.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that you can wear for days without charging, you’ll have to look to a hybrid-type smartwatch such as the Withings Scanwatch. But these hybrid smartwatches don’t offer as many of the capabilities as the Pixel Watch.
Do you need a Pixel to use a Pixel Watch?
No, you don’t. The Pixel Watch will work with most Android phones running Android 8.0 and above. That said, there are perks you’ll get when using a Pixel with the Pixel Watch. For example, as mentioned, the Pixel watch can be used to control the camera on the Pixel Watch. If you have Pixel Buds, they’ll also work with the Pixel Watch.
Pixel Watch pricing
Priced at $349 for the Wi-Fi model and $399 for the LTE model on Amazon, the Pixel Watch is somewhat pricey. You can pick up a solid Wear OS smartwatch from Fossil for as low as $199. However it won’t offer many of the features the Pixel Watch offers – such as LTE, it also won’t offer the same premium performance, and it won’t sport as sleek a profile.
Is the Pixel Watch worth buying?
The Pixel Watch has gotten us excited about smartwatches again. Packed with premium features, while offering great performance and a great user experience, the Pixel Watch is a pleasure to use and wear every day. We especially appreciate that its sleek, compact profile is suitable for those with smaller wrists too.
So is the Pixel Watch worth buying? It has taken a while to arrive but the Pixel Watch has been worth the wait. While it’s hardly perfect, we consider the Pixel Watch to be the best smartwatch on the market right now for Android users.
The Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel Watch was gifted to us by Google. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.