The Pixel Watch is finally coming and will be priced at $349 to start in the US. At that price, Google has a high bar to beat to keep its first smartwatch competitive, but will it hit the basics?
Pixel Watch price: how much it will cost and how it compares
The Pixel Watch is a device that customers have been waiting for a long time as Google’s Wear OS has always lacked a definitive option. Earlier this year, Google officially announced that the Pixel Watch was real, showing off the design and telling us it would make its debut later this year.
Starting this week, we’re exclusively reporting Pixel Watch pricing for Bluetooth and LTE-enabled models. Pixel Watch pricing will start at $349 for Bluetooth/Wi-Fi and go up to $399 for cellular connectivity.
Where does that sit in the overall smartwatch market? It’s certainly on the higher end.
Looking at the current market leader, the Apple Watch, the price of the Pixel Watch will hardly undermine the Apple Watch Series 8, which costs $399. But Apple offers a more affordable model in the Apple Watch SE, which costs $249.
Meanwhile, looking at more direct competition in the Android world, there’s the Samsung Galaxy Watch line. the Galaxy Watch 5 starting at $279 and goes up to $309 for the largest model; In terms of size, it looks like the Pixel Watch will sit in the middle of the two. Samsung also sells a higher range Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for $449. Add Cellular adds $50 to the price of any model.
Elsewhere in the Wear OS landscape, smartwatches running Wear OS 2 vary wildly in cost. Fossil Gen 6 retails for $299while those similarly equipped Skagen Falster Gen 6 asks $295. However, both are generally on sale for much less at the moment. Mobvoi offers some of the most affordable Wear OS smartwatches. the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is $299while the TicWatch E3 is $199. All these clocks will be eligible for Wear OS 3 upgrades Over time, the Pixel Watch software will run out of the box.
So looking at the competition, the price of Google’s Pixel Watch seems to be very much in the middle of the pack. It’s not topping the charts, but it’s not offering a bargain either.
And a portion of the Pixel Watch price may also be slashed to the rest of the company’s lineup. Fitbit is a core part of Google now, and the new Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4 they come in at $299 and $229 respectively. If Google were to match Samsung’s prices, for example, the company would be offering a smartwatch that has more features than your flagship activity tracker for less money.
The concern then turns to keeping up with the competition. The Apple Watch is currently the gold standard for smartwatches, while the Galaxy Watch 5 has shown what Wear OS is capable of with solid hardware to back it up. The Pixel Watch, however, doesn’t seem to hold up, based on what we’ve seen so far.
What does the Pixel Watch need to do well?
Early Pixel Watch leaks seem to point to a less powerful spec sheet compared to these other devices. The Exynos 9110 chipset is the main point of concern as that chip has it was apparently pulled from 2018 to boost Google’s smartwatch. The 9110 was a great chip when it came out, but things have come a long way since then.
The other area of concern is battery life, as we’ve reported that the Pixel Watch will only last about a day on a charge.
To be fair, Apple only cites an 18-hour battery life on the Apple Watch, so the 24-hour claim we’ve seen seems to last longer than Apple’s, but user experience shows that the Apple Watch generally lasts more than 18 hours on a charge. Meanwhile, Samsung doesn’t have an official claim on the Galaxy Watch 5’s battery life, but we found that it can easily last between 30 and 40 hours depending on usage.
But aside from these two core areas, Google has fallen far behind in the smartwatch race. Wear OS has long lacked the health features offered by Apple and Samsung, which Google appears to be solving with Fitbit integration. Apps on Wear OS are plentiful, but there have been glaring omissions from Google’s catalog for a while, and some developers have also been slow to improve their Wear OS experiences.
Personally, I’m optimistic that the Pixel Watch will keep landing, despite its price. Starting at $349, it’s not a small fee to get in, but it looks like it’s all coming together for a acceptable first generation product.
The important thing to remember, however, is that wearable devices are an incredibly personal product. There’s the looks, of course, as smartwatches are part fashion statement. But beyond that, there is also the question of what you prioritize. Want top-of-the-line health and sleep tracking? Long duration battery? The best app support? Better integration with your smartphone?
Conventional smartwatches are tasked with being a “jack of all trades” when they get expensive because you can choose wearable devices that offer many of the same features for a batch less money today.
So what is your priority? What does the Pixel Watch have to do well to be worth it?
the pixel clock will be officially announced on October 6.
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