It took time for Google to get into the smartwatch market. Loudly demanded by fans, the Pixel Watch is finally a reality.
Offered at 379 euros, it is the equivalent of the Apple Watch for Android smartphone users. For a first test, Google positions its watch as a high-end product. A risky but not meaningless bet.
A few months ago, the American giant bought Fitbit, a reference in the wearables market, for more than 2 billion dollars. So what is the first watch of the Google/Fitbit era worth? Answer in our full Pixel Watch review.
Yes for its design
The Pixel Watch is intended to be the equivalent of the Apple Watch for the Android universe. Arrived very late on the market, Google therefore had to take care of the design of its very first connected watch. Good news, the Pixel Watch is aesthetically very successful.
Offered in a single 41 mm format, it is therefore rather compact since it corresponds to the smallest of the Apple Watch Series 8. But its main difference with the Pommée watch is of course its round and domed dial.
The small pebble, made of stainless steel and protected by Corning Gorilla 5 glass, might have deserved a slightly larger version, so as not to look too small on large wrists. This would have allowed the passage to integrate a larger battery and to extend the display surface surrounded by large black borders.
The screen, precisely, participates in the polished design of the Pixel Watch. AMOLED technology, it has a resolution of 320 pixels per inch. For comparison, the Apple Watch Series 8 displays a resolution of 326 dpi. Very bright, the screen is readable in all environments, including in direct sunlight with dark dials.
Two physical buttons (including a crown) coexist on the right side of the dial to navigate the menus of Wear OS. Like Apple, Google opts for a proprietary attachment system with a silicone strap. Classic but effective.
By taking up the aesthetic codes of the Apple Watch in a round version, Google therefore limits the risk of error. A cautious approach that does not prevent the Pixel Watch from being attractive thanks to its exemplary finishes.
Yes for its Wear OS interface
Powered by an Exynos 9110 chip (the same as the Galaxy Watch from 2018), an M33 coprocessor, 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, the Pixel Watch runs Wear OS in a new version.
All these ingredients make it possible to enjoy a interface as fluid as it is minimalist. Navigation is done using the physical buttons (mainly the crown) but also on the touch screen.
Google is generous with customization options. Moreover, the Pixel Watch application (which also replaces the Wear OS application) provides access to other more complete parameters. It will therefore be necessary to juggle between two applications: Pixel Watch for personalization and daily functions and Fitbit for physical activity and health (see below).
One of the strengths of Wear OS is to be able to associate many third-party services with it. From music apps to activity tracking apps like Strava, there’s something for everyone. It’s hard to feel cramped in this ecosystem which, like the Apple Watch with iOS, is reserved for Android devices (in version 8.0 or later).
Yes for Fitbit features
By acquiring Fitbit, Google has also taken over the company’s know-how in terms of activity monitoring and health data. If Google Fit exists on Android smartphones, we recommend abandoning this application in favor of Fitbit’s, which is much better designed and more complete. And then nothing tells us that Google Fit will not end up in the grave of Google services (hello Google+).
If the watch will provide you with a package of information, it is in the Fitbit application that you will find all the details on your physical activity and your health data. And there it is a festival: sleep, heart rate monitor, number of steps, kilometers traveled, training (about forty sports supported) there is something for almost everyone.
Because to take advantage of the richness of the Fitbit application, you will have to opt for a Premium offer. Offered free of charge by Google for 6 months, this subscription is then billed at 9 euros per month.
We understand that Fitbit has needed this monetization solution in the past. But Google being the data expert, we assume that it will find its account with those collected from users.
No for his autonomy
This is somewhat the lot of most connected watches: the Pixel Watch will have to go through the recharge box every day. With its 294 mAh battery, the Google watch lasts between 20 and 26 hours depending on whether or not you use GPS and the Alway-on screen. The Pixel Watch therefore ranks in the middle of what can be found on the market.
If you’re going to analyze your sleep quality or get a daily fitness score in the Fitbit app, you’ll need to keep the watch on overnight. But then, when to charge it if you can’t do it while you sleep? Great question, thanks for asking.
Insofar as the Pixel Watch fully recharges in just under 1h30, you can choose to connect it to its magnetic charger (supplied without battery) in the morning when you wake up while you are preparing for your day or in the evening if you are lying on your sofa in front of a film, a series or a good book. Since these activities do not require the watch, you might as well take advantage of this break time to obtain scores that are faithful to your rhythm of life.
However, having to think about how to charge your watch is not the best experience. Like the Apple Watch, the Pixel Watch would benefit from being more enduring. The next version may do better.
No for the lack of essential functions
Beyond the imprecise monitoring of the heart rate monitor, the Pixel Watch lacks some essential features. The Google watch does not have any stress sensor, for example, a feature that has long been adopted by Fitbit. Not terrible for a high-end model. Not terrible either the absence of breathing exercises yet offered on much more affordable models.
Above all, many useful everyday features are only available with the Fitbit Premium offer. Admittedly, Google offers the first 6 months of subscription, but after this period, taking advantage of all the features costs 9 euros per month. After paying 400 euros, the pill is struggling to pass.
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Our opinion on the Google Pixel Watch
For a first try, Google is doing quite well. The Pixel Watch is an elegant connected watch, comfortable to wear every day, well designed, with exemplary finishes. Its interface is fluid, both minimalist and very complete.
Google’s hardware and software know-how is complemented by Fitbit’s expertise in activity tracking and health data analytics. Thanks to all these assets, the Pixel Watch has something to seduce.
Yes but here it is. Apart from its somewhat tight autonomy, it lacks a few features that have already been available on competing models for a long time. Above all, to benefit from an optimal experience, users will have to pay, after the first six months of use, a subscription to Fitbit Premium at 9 euros per month. Without it, the functionalities are very (too?) limited.
If we understand that Fitbit’s economic model was based on these subscription formulas, the takeover by Google reshuffles the cards. The American generates most of its turnover through the collection and use of data. With a Google watch on the wrist, there is no doubt that the company will find its account. The Fitbit subscription goes even worse.
Design and screen
Sensors and data
Interface and ergonomics
Autonomy and charging
Value for money
- Design and quality finishes
- Nice screen
- Minimalist, fluid and complete interface
- Fitbit functions
We love less
- Wide screen borders
- Very average autonomy
- Sometimes inaccurate heart rate tracking
- Missing functions
- Fitbit Premium Membership