Google Pixel Watch Review
Yes, just around the time of the release of the Apple Watch. Google was trying to reinvent the very idea of a wearable device by releasing Google Glass glasses – the technology giant was probably simply not going to exchange for classic formats. But he did it in the fall of 2022. And it seemed that such a long preparation time would allow the company to do something completely unusual, changing the balance in an already established format that did not go beyond a relatively small niche: accessories to emphasize your status as a geek or fitness assistant.
Looking ahead, I can say that after so many years, Google has made the most ordinary smartwatch, trying just to keep up with modern trends – perhaps even as a reference model for Android Wear OS, they probably don’t pull.
- Form factor: Wristwatch;
- Display: 1.2” AMOLED, resolution 450 × 450, touch;
- Operating system: Android Wear OS 3.5;
- Compatibility: Android 8.0 and above;
- Hardware platform: Samsung Exynos 9110 + ARM Cortex-M33;
- RAM: GB 2;
- Drive: GB 32;
- Wireless interfaces: Bluetooth 5.0; NFC GPS; Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; LTE (eSIM);
- Sensors: Compass, altimeter, heart rate monitor, multifunctional electrical sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, light sensor;
- Water resistance: 5 ATM;
- Body: Steel and glass;
- Straps: Fluoroelastomer;
- Battery: 294 mAh;
- Weight: (without strap), 36g;
- Dimensions: (without strap), mm 41 × 41 × 12.3;
Design and construction
What cannot be taken away from Google is that the company did not copy the Apple Watch in almost anything. Instead of large square “cauldrons”, Google offers elegant small watches with a round dial, focusing on convenience and “invisibility” hours on hand for the user. For this, the developers, however, had to sacrifice battery capacity, but not materials. Design:
- Design. Pixel Watch is decorated as it should: tempered glass, stainless steel. They didn’t even exchange for aluminum – and at the same time they kept the weight at the level of the Apple Watch SE (2022) – 36 grams. The watch is minimal and comfortable – sometimes you just forget that it is on your wrist; for those who like to measure their sleep – great. Another thing is that just at night they will have to be removed for another reason – to charge. You need to do this often enough – certainly more often than you want. We will talk about this in more detail towards the end of the material.
- Colors. Pixel Watch comes in four default color options: gold case with gray strap (as in our case), black case with black strap, silver case with cream strap, and silver case with dark gray strap.
- Mounting. The straps are interchangeable, moreover, Google used a proprietary mount, that is, you cannot use the models you like from other manufacturers. To justify Google, we can say that the mount is very convenient. To detach the strap, you need to hold down the button next to the attachment point and pull the bracelet towards this button – from each side of the case, of course. The strap is attached back in the same way, but the steps are performed in the reverse order. I will add that the kit includes a shorter strap – Pixel Watch is positioned as a unisex product, and the watch is really as neutral in design as possible. And by default, thanks to the complete interchangeable strap, they will fit on a wrist of any diameter.
- Design. The watch looks and feels really great – this is a very solid, high-quality thing. The screen is devoid of a visible frame – the edges are beveled, the device is perfectly adapted for touch control. On the edge, we see two additional controls. The first is the wheel button, which is responsible for quickly switching between the main screen and the general menu, as well as switching between menu items and, in general, any vertical navigation. For example, from the home screen, swiping it up and down takes you to the quick settings screen or the notifications screen – in fact, a duplicated vertical swipe across the touch screen. The wheel reacts to scrolling with vibration – lovers of analog devices will like it. The second button is responsible for accessing the latest applications you used with a single press, or calls the voice assistant with a long press. Double tap returns to the last used application. The button does not protrude above the case, it is even slightly difficult to access – I rarely accessed this key in two weeks of testing. It seems to make the most sense for those who often use voice commands.
- Charger. On the back of the watch are the sensors and the contact area for the charger. The charger itself is standard for smartwatches – a small “cupholder” with a magnetic mount, to which the convex Pixel Watch easily “sticks”.
- Screen. Pixel Watch received a screen with a diagonal of 1, 2 inches and a resolution of 450 × 450 (pixel density – 320 ppi). The picture is smooth and very pleasing to the eye. The brightness is more than sufficient – 1000 cd/m2 are declared, and this application can be trusted, the image at maximum brightness even hurts the eyes a little indoors or in cloudy weather. In the sun, due to adjustment to external conditions, the brightness jumps a little more. I also note how accurately the watch reacts to the movement of the hand – the screen lights up almost before you have time to look at it, and instantly goes out when you relax your hand.
- Gorilla Glass 5. The watch received tempered glass Gorilla Glass 5 and dust and moisture protection. The watch is not IPX rated, but it is claimed that it must withstand pressures up to five atmospheres – the basic level for such a device today, allowing you to swim with the Pixel Watch on your arm.
Pixel Watch runs the latest version of Android Wear OS (3.5 at the time of publication). The ability to be the first to receive the latest system updates – as it happens with Pixel smartphones – Samsung remains – and the main competition (in addition to natural rivals – Apple Watch). It turns out that Pixel Watch will be precisely the watches of the Korean brand.
Pixel Watch App
The latest Pixel Watch app is used to interact with the smartphone – the legacy Wear OS app is being phased out. And yes, the app only exists for Android smartphones – like the Apple Watch, it's a product of the same ecosystem. The application itself is light, concise and offers the traditional “ecosystem” accessories, a quick pairing option – the application “sees” nearby Pixel Watches and offers to connect with them. I should see – in fact, I had to look for the watch in the list, although I synchronized the Pixel Watch not just with an Android smartphone, and with Google Pixel 7 Pro (wait for its review soon). Wear OS:
- In the application, you can adjust the dials, a set of branded cards screens, various watch settings – most of them duplicate those that can be changed right on the watch. But from a smartphone, let's be honest, it's more convenient to do it. You can also install applications from Google Play for Wear OS – this option, perhaps, remains the most “selling” for watches on the Google operating system. As well as in-depth synchronization with an Android smartphone: notes from Google Keep are displayed on the screen of the wearable device (you can make a special “card” for this), the watch easily connects to the smartphone’s camera, works with maps, calendar and so on. The clock also works very smoothly with notifications – somehow you don’t need to configure anything additionally, the main messengers and Gmail immediately start pouring messages on a miniature screen.
- Of course, the watch also works with Google Pay – the NFC module is in place. And here I will start talking about the limitations (alas, considerable ones) of the Pixel Watch, which prevent me from calling this device either a universal smartwatch or a full-fledged answer to the Apple Watch. This place should have been a “Fitness and Health” section, but in fact, for a whole section, the Pixel Watch simply lacks functionality. The watch received an impressive arsenal of sensors. The basic functions that any fitness bracelet is capable of are performed qualitatively: the pulse is measured correctly, the watch also knows how to recognize sleep phases and wake up in the correct phase, There is a built-in pedometer and a set of built-in training modes.
- There are a lot of the latter: from basic ones (running, swimming, cycling) to specific ones (powerlifting, spinning, climbing stairs, and so on). As a workout companion device, the Pixel Watch is excellent (although the calorie counter, in my opinion, does not work correctly). Another thing is that the gamification of the process in the manner of what is in the proprietary application for the Apple Watch is not in this case. Watches do not stimulate sports by themselves, they do not make the process interesting.
This is about the link smartwatch + Pixel Watch app. In fact, to work correctly as a fitness device, you need the Fitbit application – this company, in fact, helped Google create the first smartwatch. Application:
- GPS. This allows you to save a significant part of the Pixel Watch functionality, such as training records, running tracks (yes, the watch has GPS, it can record the route without being tied to a smartphone). Various purposes (to remind you to take a walk or get up, if you are too long, the clock can still). But if you dig a little deeper, most of the app's features are “not available in your region” – from detailed sleep recommendations to ECG readings. The clock has a built-in sensor, but nothing can be measured with it. True, there is a second way – using the Cardiogram application (it is already installed on the watch, it must be installed separately on the smartphone), but this is a paid application that works only by subscription. Yes, Pixel Watch offers to pay extra for some functions.
- Functions. I simply did not find the function of measuring oxygen in the blood, although the sensor is again in place. The watch itself does not record this indicator, including during sleep.
- Microphone and speaker. Other features of the Pixel Watch include a built-in microphone and speaker – if you wish, you can not only answer calls, but also to answer them directly thanks to the clock. There are built-in apps for various streaming services like Spotify or YouTube Music.
Battery and autonomy
Another weakness of the Pixel Watch is autonomy. As I wrote at the beginning, to keep the device compact, the manufacturer sacrificed the battery capacity, putting the battery at only 294 mAh. Autonomy:
- Without GPS, no NFC activation, with adaptive brightness, screen off usually (always-on mode will drain your battery even faster), but with constant heart rate recording and training twice a week Pixel Watch last one and a half days. Compared to the Apple Watch, this is quite an adequate time; compared to other watches (for example, HUAWEI Watch GT 3 Pro or Amazfit GTR 4), it is not serious.
- In fact, the watch should be recharged every day – preferably in the evening before bedtime, to ensure that sleep is recorded. Not very comfortable. At the same time, they charge quite slowly – more than an hour from zero to full charge. Given the rather modest battery capacity – another reason to be unpleasantly surprised. By the way, there is no power adapter included, and the charger cable received a USB Type-C connector, so you will have to look for a suitable adapter or even buy a new adapter.