Google’s highly anticipated Pixel Watch is finally here. After years of speculation, scrapped prototypes, and a Fitbit acquisition, the company has a smartwatch of its own, neatly integrated with its line of Pixel devices. What sets it apart from the competition? What does it do? Here’s everything you need to know about the Pixel Watch.
The Pixel Watch’s design
Google’s first attempt at a wearable on the surface seems to have been a success. The watch itself looks great: It has a circular design, unlike the Apple Watch’s square look. It’s made of stainless steel, and comes in four different color combinations: Champagne Gold case and Hazel Active band, Matte Black case and Obsidian Active Band, Polished Silver case and Chalk Active band, and Polished Silver case and Charcoal Active band.
Google doesn’t offer a dimension for the circular display, nor a resolution, but it is a 320 ppi AMOLED display with up to 1,000 nits of brightness, which should be plenty to see outdoors. The watch itself is 41 mm by 12.3 mm, and is 36 grams without the band. Customers can expect 32GB of eMMC flash storage with 2GB of SDRAM.
As to be expected, the Pixel Watch works with a band system, allowing you to mix and match over 20 Google bands (although, presumably, third-party options will hit the market shortly). Unlike other watches, however, the Pixel Watch bands attach internally, with a twist and click mechanic. To be honest, it looks cool, even if that’s not necessarily a selling point.
What can you do with the Pixel Watch?
As you’d expect from a smartwatch, the Pixel Watch gives you a mini smartphone experience on your wrist. Google showed off examples like adjusting your thermostat from the Home app, controlling playback in YouTube Music, viewing your notifications, using Google Wallet, following step-by-step Google Maps directions, setting timers, and texting.
Some of the integrated apps Google highlighted included Strava, adidas Running, Line, Strava, and Spotify. Hopefully, more developers will continue to make Wear OS versions of their Android apps now if the Pixel Watch is successful enough.
The watch is built around Fitbit, which makes sense, since Google owns the company. The watch uses machine learning and deep optimization to track your heart rate by the second. They claim they can do this all day, no matter the activity, while also keeping an “all-day battery life,” which, in this case, is actually a full 24-hour day. That’s powered by a 294 mAh battery, which can be charged to 50% in about 30 minutes, 80% in roughly 55 minutes, and 100% after 80 minutes or so.
You can use it to track your sleep, including metrics like how long you meant to light sleep, REM, and deep sleep. It works with Fitbit Premium (and includes six months for free) to follow along to workouts and engage with mindfulness content. The app also informs you of your workout readiness to help you properly approach your next exercise routine, and tracks your Active Zone Minutes, to keep tabs on how long you spend in your target heart rate zones.
It looks for AFib with an ECG reader, and has a built-in Emergency SOS feature, a standard option for both smartwatches and smartphones. Fall Detection is coming to Pixel Watch, but not until 2023.
How much does the Pixel Watch cost?
The standard Pixel Watch costs $349.99, while the 4G LTE model costs $399.99. With it, you not only snag six months of Fitbit Premium, but three months of YouTube Music Premium. In order to use a Pixel Watch, you’ll need an Android device running Android 8.0 or newer.
The Pixel Watch seems great for any Android fan, but especially those who are deeply invested in Fitbit. It’s like a Fitbit Pro, equipped with all the best Fitbit features you want, with all the benefits of a Wear OS smartwatch. Of course, even if you aren’t a Fitbit user, Google’s six months of free Fitbit Premium gives you a chance to become one.
It’s clear the Pixel Watch is a major step for the Android smartwatch market. We’ll need to see how well it truly performs in the real world, and whether its sales reflect Google’s hopes for the shiny wearable.
This article was updated Friday, Oct. 7 to remove an incorrect reference to Galaxy Watch5’s compatibility.
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