NEW Google Pixel Watch review

by -198 Views
Google pixel watch, review

Smart watch lovers have been waiting and waiting for Google to launch its hotly anticipated Pixel Watch and the wait is now over. I got hands on with the new Pixel Watch on launch day and in this review, I’ll tell you what the watch is like from the design and features perspectives, what it’s good for and what’s it’s not, if it works with Apple phones (you’ve been asking!) and if overall I think it’s a good choice for a smartwatch.

NEW Google Pixel Watch

Summary

Overall, this is a beautiful, functional and helpful watch. It works well, it’s comfortable to wear and with the integration of Fitbit health metrics it’s a valuable activity partner too.

Pros

  • Beautiful Design
  • Very comfortable
  • Fitbit built in: outstanding health & fitness metrics, accuracy
  • Perfect for use with Google Home
  • Easy set up
  • Intuitive to use
  • Excellent for Android users

Cons

  • Graphics don’t completely fill face
  • Battery life could be better
  • No Apple support (really only a con for Apple users!)
  • Some font size adaptations don’t apply to numerals on watch face

What is Google Pixel Watch?

Pixel Watch is Google’s first smart watch, designed to work with the Google Pixel line of phones, and any Android 8.0 and above device. There’s a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth version ($449CAD) or a cellular connected LTE option that costs a bit more ($529). It has built in Fitbit technology for health tracking and fitness, plus it will do all the standard smart watch tasks like send texts, calls, calendar alerts and more to your wrist. It also, naturally, has built in Google Assistant, which as a rule works far better than Siri.

Does Pixel Watch work with iPhones?

Speaking of Siri, in what will be a crushing blow for Apple users, the Watch will not work with iOS devices.

Set up

In the box you get your Watch with a magnetic charging pad and there’s an extra band for adjusting fit too.

Getting the Watch set up was super fast and easy in my testing: Just bring the charged Watch close to your Pixel phone and then watch the magic happen. Set up is automatic, requiring just a few confirmation taps from you, and the download of the Pixel Watch app—then you’ll be ready to go. You can also link an existing Fitbit account in the set up to port that data to your Pixel Watch.

Key Features

Design

Google pixel watch, review

The Pixel Watch uses a 1.5-inch circular, almost pebble-shaped design, that is soft and comfortable. Unlike other watches or smart watches, I found it didn’t get snagged on my sleeves. It comes with a silicone band that’s both comfortable and secure in my testing experience. You can swap out a different size band (included) for a better fit.

It’s got a digital crown and a multifunction button (above the crown) on the side that allow you to access menus and to other navigation. In one of the early cons I noticed, the screen doesn’t quite fill the face of the watch; much in the same way early Apple Watches didn’t either. Given that this is Google’s first watch, maybe they get some slack here, but then again if anyone’s comparing this to the newest Apple Watch it might not show well on this score.

Google Assistant

When it comes to digital assistance and getting fast, meaningful help, the Google Assistant is definitely one of the best. Particularly when compared to something like Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant is leaps and bounds ahead, which makes it convenient that the Google Assistant is built into this watch. That means you can ask your assistant for help anytime anywhere just by long-pressing the multi-function button.

Smart Home control

Pixel Watch has the ability to control your smart home gadgets, thanks to that built in Google Assistant function. That means you can turn lights on and off, unlock doors, even open your garage all by just invoking the assistant on your wrist.

Fitbit health metrics

Google pixel watch, review

Google purchased health giant and fitness metrics expert Fitbit a few years ago and the integration of Fitbit smarts into this watch is a huge deal.

I’ve reviewed dozens of Fitbit devices over the last 10 years and I can say with confidence that Fitbit is one of the best and most accurate fitness and activity tracking platforms out there. With that said, I’m really glad that the new Pixel Watch has the ability to link up to my existing Fitbit account so my data can simply merge seamlessly. (Of note: you may need to disconnect from your old Fitbit device to move the connection to the Watch. The app on your phone will help you do it.)

With Fitbit power in the Watch, I am able to track the basics from steps, workouts and activity, sleep, and heart rate, plus an array of more advanced features too, like an ECG help to detect atrial fibrillation (you’ll need the separate Fitbit ECG app to do this).

  • Distance
  • Floors Climbed
  • Active Zone minutes tracking
  • Activity tracking
  • Workout modes
  • More accurate heart rate

Your heart rate is the key to a lot of health and fitness data, and Google says the Google Pixel Watch features Fitbit’s most accurate heart rate tracking yet.

Google pixel watch, review

“Experts across Fitbit and Google Research and Machine Intelligence worked together to develop an innovative machine learning–based approach to heart rate tracking
which informs key metrics from calories and Active Zone Minutes to Daily Readiness and sleep. The watch’s dual-processor architecture is optimized to give you accurate heart rate data while still maintaining an all-day battery life.” As I did not have any medical grade equipment to test it against, I’ll take Google’s word for this.

Sleep features

When it comes to the sleep features, Fitbit again excels. You can check your Sleep Score each morning and see your sleep stage breakdown for light, REM, and deep sleep. You can also open the Fitbit app to see your longer-term sleep trends (with a Fitbit Premium subscription).

Water & scratch resistance

The Pixel Watch is waterproof with a water rating of 5ATM which essentially means it’s waterproof and can withstand activities like swimming. ATM or “atmospheres” is the amount of pressure a watch can handle. 5ATM will hold up against pressures equivalent to about 50 meters, or 164 ft under water.

Plus with custom-molded, scratch-resistant 3D Gorilla® Glass®, Google says it should be able to manage any hard knocks too.

Battery Life & charging

If there’s anything that will bring this watch down a few notches, it’s the battery life, but let me say it’s still better than an Apple Watch. While Fitbit devices are known for having days and days of juice, the Pixel Watch supplies only “24 hour” battery life.

In my first day of testing I got over 24 hours, wearing it constantly and even to sleep, albeit getting fewer alerts than I might normally.

Pixel Watch comes with that click-on magnetic charging puck and takes only about an hour and 20 minutes to regain full charge status. You can also hit it with about 30 minutes of power to get 50% battery, and 55 minutes to charge to 80%. Important to note that reverse wireless charging from Pixel phones and third party Qi chargers are not supported.

Always On Display

Google pixel watch, review

You have the option of leaving your watch’s display on constantly if you don’t mind a bigger drain on your battery. You can easily toggle this on or off in the settings on your watch itself. Leaving always on display on will dim the face slightly until you raise your wrist at which point you’ll get full brightness. I like this experience of being able to glance down and always see the screen, so I toggled it on. Again, with this on, my first day of use still produced over 24 hours of life. Impressive.

Integration into Pixel Universe

The Google Pixel Watch joins Pixel phones and Pixel Buds Pro in the Pixel universe. You can Find My Device, Google Assistant and the Google Home app for smart home controls, and using your watch as a remote shutter for your phone’s camera.

My experience

I found the Pixel Watch completely comfortable to wear and it’s a good size; it’s easy enough to see things clearly and there’s a variety of changeable faces. You can adjust the size of some of the text that displays, but this didn’t seem to work across all faces and apps in my short time with the watch.

The set up and connection with Pixel phones is easy and seamless. I spent about 5 days with the Watch, and I really enjoyed it. It’s a great watch for Android users and I think it’s going to be very popular.

Accessories and personalization

The Google Pixel Watch comes in four colour options: a Matte Black case with Obsidian Active band, Polished Silver case with Charcoal Active band, Polished Silver case with Chalk Active band, and Champagne Gold case with Hazel Active band.

Made from recycled stainless steel and scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, the circular rounded design leans more towards classic watches. You can change your watch face to a variety of options match any occasion and adjust your complications to get
relevant information at a glance.

There’s also optional accessory bands in a wide range of materials and colors: Woven, Stretch, Active, Two-Tone Leather, and Crafted Leather. Plus, Metal Mesh and Metal Links bands are coming next spring.

Changing and customizing Watch Faces

Google pixel watch, review

Google Assistant help.

Your Pixel Watch will allow you to swap watch faces as well as to customize the ones that are already there. You can do things like adjust the font style on a traditional numeric dial, add different widgets or ‘complications’ onto the face. To play around with this, simply press and hold the face of your watch until the customization menu pops up.

Overall review: Google Pixel Watch

Overall, this is a beautiful, functional and helpful watch. It works well, it’s comfortable to wear and with the integration of Fitbit health metrics it’s a valuable activity partner too.

When it comes to the downsides, the screen could fill a wee bit more of the face, but that kind of feels like nitpicking. And the battery life, whi;e it’s better than some smart watches, isn’t quite up to the usual Fitbit standard, so maybe some improvements could be made in Gen 2.

Even so I can definitely recommend the Google Pixel Watch for Android users.

Google Pixel Watch starts at $449.99 (Bluetooth®/ Wi-Fi) and $529.99 (4G LTE + Bluetooth®/Wi-Fi). In USA: Price: $349 (LTE), $399 (Cellular)

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No More Posts Available.

No more pages to load.