Google Pixel Watch Hands-On: Fitbit Debuts Android Watch

Google Pixel Watch Hands-On: Fitbit Debuts Android Watch
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Google’s new Pixel Watch is the company’s first smartwatch, but it’s probably the highest quality Fitbit tracker to date. The company recently introduced the Pixel Watch. event on thursdayBesides, it is solidifying its expansion in the mobile device market. Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro phones.

The announcement comes after Google mocked the Pixel Watch in May. I/O developers conference. While Google has previously revealed what the watch will look like and offered a preview of its software, it saved most of the key details regarding pricing, design and functionality for Thursday’s unveiling.

Besides making the Wear OS smartwatch software used by Samsung, Fossil, and Michael Kors, Google is largely absent from the smartwatch market. The company also Owner of FitbitHowever, the $350 (£339, AU$549) Pixel Watch is the first smartwatch to be positioned as a Google device under the flagship Pixel brand. Sounds like the company does a renewed push to hardware to become a brand alongside Apple and Samsung in the mobile device market.

Go straight to the source for your Google Pixel Watch pre-order. Prices start at $350, and the devices will start shipping in October. 13.

Read our Pixel Watch first.

Pixel Watch has an elegant design that sets it apart from most Android compatible smartwatches on the market. But seven years after the release of the original Apple Watch, there’s still a lot to be done from an industry-wide perspective. As of the second quarter of 2022, Apple is the leader in the smartwatch space, with 29% of the global market. Counterpoint Research. When it comes to Android-compatible smartwatches, Samsung is the leader with 9% of the market, a number that lags far behind Apple.

sharp eyes and Fitbit health metrics, Pixel Watch already looks like a promising choice for Android device owners. But I could also see how the Pixel Watch complicates how Fitbit’s own smartwatches fit into Google’s range. The company says the Pixel Watch is for those who want Fitbit’s health tracking and additional smartwatch features that Fitbit devices lack, such as optional LTE connectivity and Google Play Store apps.

$ 300 Fitbit Meaning 2On the other hand, it includes additional health and wellness features such as skin temperature measurements and the ability to detect potential signs of stress. Whether the Pixel Watch is a hit could be an indication of what consumers value most in a smartwatch.

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Hands-on with the new Google Pixel Watch


Pixel Watch could be the best-looking smartwatch ever

Google's Pixel Watch is being held

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Google said in May that it is positioning the Pixel Watch as a premium smartwatch, and this approach comes across in its aesthetics. The Pixel Watch has a domed, circular glass design with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and a stainless steel body that makes it look more like a regular wristwatch than most smartwatches I’ve ever seen.

hour water resistance Up to 5 ATM, which means it must be able to withstand pressure equal to 50 meters deep. It also has an always-on display that can show the time and other information when the screen is idle, just like Apple’s flagship watches and Fitbit’s smartwatches. It will be available in four finishes: matte black with obsidian active band, polished silver with charcoal active band, polished silver with chalk active band, or champagne gold with hazel active band.

There’s also a choice of strap styles to choose from, from lightweight sports straps to breathable webbing straps designed for sleep tracking to more formal leather and metal mesh options. The stretch band was surprisingly light and soft, and I could see how ideal it was to attach to the bed. It almost feels like wearing and scrunchies on my wrist.

Replacing bands is relatively simple; a button must be pressed where the tape attaches to the slot and then the tape is slid in the same direction. It took a few tries to get used to it, but it’s easy once you get used to it.

At first glance, the Pixel Watch seems to be the closest competitor to the Apple Watch in terms of design, except that it’s round instead of square. As a long-time Apple Watch user, the Pixel Watch’s use of premium materials and the look and feel of its straps gave me some deja vu – but in a good way. There’s also a button on the side of the watch, much like the digital crown of the Apple Watch, and a crown that functions as a scroll wheel. But the Pixel Watch’s domed glass gives it a premium look that sets it apart from most wearables, even the Apple Watch and high-end hybrid watches like the Withings ScanWatch Horizon.

Google's Pixel Watch rests on a white table

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

However, I also noticed that the bezels framing the display are a bit wide, although they blend seamlessly into the rest of the watch. The watch itself is pretty roomy as well, but I’ll have to spend more time with the watch to see if these factors affect the overall experience.

Pixel Watch software is a combination of Google and Fitbit

Pixel Watch showing Google's weather

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The Pixel Watch runs on Google’s Wear OS 3.5 and inherits some of Fitbit’s health features. In the short time I had to see the Pixel Watch in person, the software is very similar to the redesigned interface on the Fitbit Sense 2. It also feels fast and snappy. Compared to Sense 2, I felt like I was navigating the operating system, but sometimes there is a pause on Fitbit Sense 2 before launching apps.

Similar to Sense 2, Pixel Watch has tiles that show activity data, heart rate, weather, workout shortcuts, and other bits of information. Pressing the top of the Pixel Watch takes you to your apps, much like pressing the Sense 2’s side button pulls up your app list. You also get Fitbit-specific metrics like Active Zone Minutes, which give you more credit based on how high your heart rate is while exercising and your daily preparedness score.

But the software does not show definitely the same. Google is positioning the Pixel Watch as a full-featured smartwatch, so it includes some extras like smart home controls, access to the Google Play Store from your wrist, and optional LTE connectivity (although the cellular version of the watch costs a little more at $400). Emergency SOS, international emergency calling and mobile payments via Google Wallet will also be available, and the watch will also feature a compass for navigation. From what I’ve seen, the Pixel Watch’s performance also seems to be faster than Sense 2, but I’ll have to spend time with the Pixel Watch to know for sure.

Watch faces also seem to be a much bigger deal on the Pixel Watch; Here are 18 styles that Google says can be highly customizable. For example, you can change the color of the dial and dials and add complications. Again, this should all sound familiar to anyone who has ever used an Apple Watch.

Pixel Watch has Fitbit health tracking

Sleep tracking shown on Pixel Watch and Fitbit app


In terms of health tracking, you can almost think of the Pixel Watch as a really nice looking Fitbit smartwatch. All your health data will live in the Fitbit app (although Google says it will continue to support Google Fit as well). You will be able to add Pixel Watch to your Fitbit app just like any other Fitbit device. That means you’ll get Fitbit-specific metrics like your readiness score and sleep score, in addition to training and activity tracking. The Pixel Watch will also come with six months of free Fitbit Premium, a $10-per-month subscription from Fitbit that provides access to additional health metrics and workouts.

Google claims the Pixel Watch will offer the company’s most accurate heart rate tracking ever, even surpassing Fitbit’s devices, thanks to these sensors and machine learning algorithms.

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It will also be updated with the ability to take blood oxygen saturation measurements and will be able to take an ECG from the wrist, just like Fitbit and Apple’s watches. Similar to the Apple Watch, the Pixel Watch will support fall detection and also has built-in GPS for tracking running routes.

The main feature missing from the Pixel Watch compared to the Fitbit Sense 2 is, Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Apple Watch Series 8 It is a temperature sensor. That shouldn’t be a deal breaker, however, as temperature sensors are relatively new to smartwatches and companies are still finding the best ways to make this data useful. Plus, Google sees this as a different factor between the Fitbit Sense 2 and Pixel Watch.

Pixel Watch’s battery life and other details

Google Pixel Watch with yellow watch face

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Google says the Pixel Watch should last 24 hours on a single charge and is running on an Exynos 9110 processor with a co-processor. This should keep battery life the same length as the Apple Watch, but we’ll find out more when we actually test the watch. Fitbit Sense 2, on the other hand, is rated to last about six days, according to Fitbit. Pixel Watch buyers will also get three months of free YouTube Music Premium, and there’s a built-in speaker and microphone for things like answering calls and using Google Assistant.

It’s a little surprising that Google hasn’t developed its own Tensor processor for the Pixel Watch, given that it’s such a big part of the phone experience. Google says the Pixel Watch’s system-on-chip and coprocessor perform different tasks to maximize power and performance. For example, the coprocessor manages things like step counting, GPS, and background heart rate, while the main processor runs Wear OS and LTE functionality.

Pixel Watch early thoughts

When it comes to smartwatches, Android device owners Samsung, Fitbit, Garmin, Michael Kors and others. Most of these watches specialize in either fitness or fashion with little overlap. The Pixel Watch may be the first Android-focused smartwatch to change that, but the question is whether that alone will be enough to succeed.

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