After years of rumors and false starts, Google’s Pixel Watch is finally here, and based on our initial look, it may have been worth the wait.
The new wearable stands out from the rest with a smooth, circular design. The glass dial curves over the entire front of the watch, with only the metal crown peeking out from the side.
It has a bright, high-resolution screen surrounded by a few millimeters of dead space. We thought this would bother us, but up close it’s barely noticeable.
The screen is touch sensitive and accepts swipes in all directions, although you can also use the crown to scroll and start activities. There’s also a dedicated Google Assistant button that’s so flush with the metal body you might not see it.
As you’d expect, this wearable includes pretty much all of Fitbit’s basic health and fitness tracking features, and Fitbit fans will be pleased to see the Fitbit name on the various screens. (Google owns fitbit).
At $350 / £340 / AU$550 for the Wi-Fi and GPS edition, the Google Pixel Watch is $50 cheaper than the benchmark Apple Watch 8. The LTE version of the Pixel Watch jumps to $400 / £380 / AU$650.
Unlike Apple’s wearable device, the Google Pixel Watch is available in only one size: 41mm. Google reps told us that the variety of strap styles should make this mid-range size a good fit for most people (you get two strap sizes in the box).
Google Pixel Watch price and release date
Google unveiled its new smartwatch at its Google Pixel 7 event (officially titled Made By Google ’22) on October 6, alongside the Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro phones. It’s available for pre-order now and will start shipping on October 13.
The Google Pixel Watch is priced at $350 / £340 / AU$550 for the Wi-Fi and GPS model, and $400 / £380 / AU$650 for the LTE edition. As mentioned, there is only one size and a wide range of band styles and colors.
Google Pixel Watch design, materials and screen
The Google Pixel Watch is every bit as stylish as it looked in those teaser images we saw six months ago. It has a sort of poured look, with a domed screen covered in Gorilla Glass 5 that’s flat on the face, and a stainless steel body (there are no other material options).
There’s a small but useful crown that lets you control on-screen activities and a dedicated button that sits flush with the body to summon Google Assistant. There is another button, although it can be a challenge to find it. Let me explain you…
You can swap bands the same way you can with the Apple Watch. There are two channels, one for each side of the strap, carved into the watch, and the straps slide into it. However, to remove the band, you need to press a small button next to the channel and very close to the band and then slide the band over your finger. We found this difficult at first, but the folks at Google, who saw us struggle, insist that we’ll get the hang of it.
The back is more domed glass with sensors in the center. It has fewer sensors than, say, the Apple Watch 8. It has a cleaner look, but it also, thankfully, feels comfortable to wear.
Sensors and fitness of Google Pixel Watch
For Fitbit fans, the Google Watch might seem like a huge upgrade. It includes most of Fitbit’s health and fitness tracking features (dozens of workouts, step tracking, etc.), and we noticed that Google has kept the Fitbit branding on the submenus.
There is a heart rate sensor on the back and the watch can take ECG readings. There’s no blood oxygenation capabilities here, though the watch does have the necessary sensor, which means we can expect Google to add that feature in the not-too-distant future.
Google Pixel Watch performance and software
Google Pixel Watch uses touch control, taps on the screen and the digital crown for navigation and access functions. Pretty much everything we were able to test felt smooth, fluid, and snappy, though of course we’ll need more time for a full evaluation.
If you scroll with the crown, you’ll see your notifications, calendar, and other informational updates. To access apps and other features, press the crown once and then start scrolling with the crown or your finger.
That’s where you’ll find maps, Fitbit exercise, handwashing tracking, and more.
A press of the dedicated Google Assistant button accesses the voice assistant. As soon as we pressed it, the Pixel Watch started picking up our voices and displaying what we were saying on the screen.
Swiping down from the top of the screen accesses utilities like find your phone, do not disturb, and flashlight. You can also swipe up from the bottom to access notifications.
A long press on the screen accesses different watch faces. It’s also worth noting here that you can access some features by selecting complications on the watch face.
There’s also a new Google Home watch app that lets you control smart home devices from the watch; you can control your central heating from your wrist, for example.
Since we’ve only used the Google Pixel Watch for a few minutes, we can’t tell you much about its health and fitness tracking capabilities. Stay tuned for our full review.
Google Pixel Watch Battery Life
Google promises 24 hours of battery life for the Pixel Watch, which sounds good, especially compared to the Apple Watch 8, which can only manage around 18 hours (when not in low power mode).
Still, it’s not as much as we might have expected from a WearOS device, especially when other compatible Android smartwatches and Fitbit devices offer days of battery life.
Again, we’ll know more when we can test this watch more extensively.
Google Pixel Watch: Early Verdict
Overall, we’re impressed with Google’s first watch. This is an attractive and comfortable to use device with a good depth of features. However, the one-size-fits-all design could be a problem, and we’re sure to hear complaints about the band-switching strategy.
Still, we can’t wait to use the Google Pixel Watch for longer periods and in real-world conditions, and give you our final verdict in our full, detailed review.