Google’s Pixel Watch is one of the most anticipated products of the year, so much so that even the non-techies in my life won’t stop asking me about it. It’s easy to see why — while iPhone and Galaxy phone users have long preferred smartwatches built specifically for their devices, users on the Pixel team have had to rely on the occasional third-party option.
The Pixel smartwatch works seamlessly with your Pixel phone to give you finger-free access to your messages, notifications, and fitness stats, a tantalizing promise that’s finally come true. When you consider that the Pixel Watch is actually also a full-fledged Fitbit fitness tracker, you have what is probably one of the best smartwatches out there.
I had the chance to get a hands-on experience with the Pixel Watch at a Google event made by Google in New York, and while it’s too early to tell if it’s worth $349, it looks like Pixel fans will finally have a proper Apple Watch equivalent of making their own phone calls. Here’s everything you need to know.
The Google Pixel Watch is available for pre-order now, with shipments starting next week. The basic Bluetooth and Wi-Fi model of the watch starts at $349, while the LTE version — which can be used without a phone nearby — costs $399. Pre-order either model and get 6 months of Fitbit Premium and 3 months of YouTube Music Premium.
The watch is available in four styles: Matte Black Case with Obsidian Active Strap, Polished Silver Case with Charcoal Active Strap, Polished Silver Case with Chalk Active Strap, and Hazel Active Strap Strap with champagne gold case. Of course, you can purchase a range of additional straps to customize the look and fit of your Pixel Watch, including the $49 Active Band and the $59 Woven Band.
• Google Pixel Watch with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth ($349 at Best Buy)
• Google Pixel Watch with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE ($399 at Best Buy)
simple and stylish
The Pixel Watch has a very clean design, which isn’t a bad thing. It feels like a cross between an Apple Watch and a Samsung Galaxy Watch, combining the sleek minimalism of the former with the large circular display of the latter. The watch’s 41mm display is huge and colorful, and it looks great with every traditional and artistic dial I’ve tried. As an Apple Watch guy, it didn’t take long for me to get used to navigating the Pixel Watch, whether it was swiping the screen or using the “haptic crown” on the side (much like Apple’s Digital Crown) or the device.
Google’s Watch weighs only 36 grams, and was comfortable to wear during my limited hands-on time. I found the rubber active straps felt the best – I also tried stretch, fabric and leather straps which looked more attractive but felt rougher to the touch. Google is also introducing metal bands in the spring, so you can customize your watch to your liking. Whether you want to mimic a traditional watch or prefer something loud and colorful, you can create “thousands” of different combinations between the physical straps and digital watch faces provided, Google says.
The Pixel Watch runs on Google’s Wear OS software, the same operating system that powers third-party watches like the Galaxy Watch 5 and Fossil Gen 6. That means you can easily pair with your Pixel phone, get quick access to Google features like Find My Device and Google Assistant, and access a ton of third-party apps, including Spotify, Strava, MyFitnessPal, and Calm.
As far as battery life goes, Google says it’s expected to last up to 24 hours on a single charge, with the ability to get a 50 percent charge with a 30-minute quick charge.
As good as the Google Pixel Watch looks and feels, its real killer feature is its deep integration with Fitbit — made possible by the fact that Google bought the fitness tracking company a few years ago. While we had to test the Pixel Watch’s fitness features ourselves, the fact that it can function as a full Fitbit on its own might make it one of the best Android smartwatches on the market.
Google’s Watch features what the company calls “Fitbit’s most accurate heart tracking yet,” using a variety of sensors and machine learning to help keep your heart healthy. You also have access to Fitbit’s extensive suite of sleep tracking features, which includes daily sleep scores, a complete breakdown of various sleep states, and long-term trend information. This is the basis for 40 different workout modes and daily prep scores that can help you understand how hard you should push yourself on a given day.
The Pixel Watch also integrates with Fitbit Premium, adding more than 1,000 workouts, more than 400 mindfulness workouts, and a deeper understanding of overall health patterns. The watch includes 6 months of free service – after that, you’ll have to pay $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year.
We’ll have to see how the Pixel Watch’s fitness features play out in the real world, but it’s worth noting that the Fitbit Inspire 2 has long been our pick for the best fitness tracker thanks to its useful workouts and sleep tracking capabilities.The promise of more traditional and powerful smartwatches that can return Being a great fitness tracker certainly interests us.
If you’re a Pixel phone user, or have been craving a smartwatch with really great fitness features, the Google Pixel Watch is worth your attention. It’s one of the most beautiful Android watches out there, and its seamless Pixel connection (it works with other Android phones, too) and powerful Fitbit features could make it the ultimate smartwatch and fitness tracker. We’ll have a full review of Google’s new watch soon, so stay tuned for our final verdict.