Google Pixel Watch 2 review: Google really did it

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A being cutting the Google Pixel Watch 2.

Google Pixel Watch 2

MSRP $349.00

“The Google Pixel Watch 2 is a huge upgrade, alms bigger performance, battery, and more.”

Pros

  • Battery lasts added than 24 hours
  • One hour array charge
  • Slick, fast performance
  • Comprehensive fettle tracking
  • Comfortable to abrasion 24/7

Cons

  • Only one case size
  • Subscription appropriate for all fettle data
  • Small screen, big bezel

The Google Pixel Watch 2 has a difficult assignment advanced of it. It needs to attempt with some added excellent smartwatches appear this year, banish the abstruse issues that afflicted its predecessor, and change the minds of those who didn’t acquisition the small, minimalist architecture ambrosial at all. That’s all while accustomed a aerial amount tag and accepting a fettle belvedere with a account subscription.

That’s a lot to do, but happily, Google has stepped up to the task. At atomic in best cases.

About our Google Pixel Watch 2 review

Our Google Pixel Watch 2 analysis was initially accounting and appear by Andy Boxall on October 16, 2023, afterwards testing the Pixel Watch 2 for about two weeks. It was adapted in aboriginal December by Joe Maring to accommodate the “two months later” area you’ll acquisition below.

Google Pixel Watch 2: two months later

The Google Pixel Watch 2 comatose on a bean fireplace.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Google Pixel Watch 2 has now been out in the agrarian for aloof about two months, and amazingly, it still charcoal one of the bigger Android smartwatches you can buy today. Although Pixels accept become belled for degrading, with bugs and added software quirks as time goes on, the Pixel Watch 2 charcoal aloof as acceptable today as it was at launch.

Similar to Andy’s abounding analysis below, I’ve been thoroughly afflicted with the Pixel Watch 2 throughout my time cutting it. The watch’s baby size, while not my admired architecture choice, has developed on me added than I doubtable it would; I absolutely anticipate the Pixel Watch 2 can attending absolutely acceptable back commutual with the appropriate watch band. And baby architecture tweaks — like the abundant bigger acme — go a continued way in convalescent my circadian acquaintance with the wearable.

A top appearance of addition cutting the Google Pixel Watch 2.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Pixel Watch 2’s array activity has additionally connected to impress. I consistently get through a day-and-a-half per allegation with beddy-bye tracking and the always-on affectation enabled. I additionally absolutely like the new charger. It feels a little cheap, sure, but it attaches deeply to the Pixel Watch 2 and never gets too balmy — things I can’t say about the aboriginal Pixel Watch’s charger.

What’s additionally afflicted me with the Pixel Watch 2 is its Fitbit component. I absolutely feel like I can await on the Pixel Watch 2 as a able activity/health wearable, which is article I never anticipation about its predecessor. Additions like automated conditioning apprehension and a temperature sensor accomplish a big aberration (at atomic for me), and the redesigned Fitbit app looks bigger than ever.

Someone cutting the Google Pixel Watch 2 with a yellow/green bolt band.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Similar to Andy, I didn’t go into the Pixel Watch 2 assured all that much. Thankfully,  I’ve been accurate amiss about it. The Google Pixel Watch 2 charcoal a able smartwatch in December 2023, and if you’re in the bazaar for a new wearable to brace with your Android phone, it deserves a aerial atom on your arcade list.

Google Pixel Watch 2: design

The ancillary of the Google Pixel Watch 2, on a person's wrist.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Pixel Watch 2 looks absolutely the aforementioned as the first Google Pixel Watch, which is abundant if you anticipation the aboriginal archetypal was adorable and appropriately sized for your wrist. If not, again you’re out of luck, as Google hasn’t afflicted its apperception about authoritative it in added than one admeasurement or convalescent on the stark, ever simple design.

The 41mm case is 12.3mm blubbery and fabricated of recycled aluminum (different from the Pixel Watch’s stainless steel), and it weighs 58 grams with the Active band. It’s alike added adequate to abrasion than the aboriginal Pixel Watch, helped by the abridgement in weight and the adjustable new band. I accept had no botheration cutting it brief to clue my sleep, and it takes aloof moments to bind the casting afore exercising. If you appetite to balloon you’re cutting article on your wrist, the Pixel Watch 2 is ideal. The appearance of the case aback agency the sensor consistently makes acquaintance with your skin, while the curvature agency it’s about unnoticeable.

A being cutting the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

This additionally applies to the design. The minimalist, simple annular architecture lacks flair, and the distinct admeasurement agency it will attending too baby on abounding wrists; in my opinion, it does on my 6.5-inch wrist. It additionally doesn’t accomplish any affectionate of statement, which, like the baby size, some will appreciate, but others will acquisition off-putting.

This is declared to be article we abrasion all the time, and for that, we should additionally affix with it on a personal, adept level. The Pixel Watch 2 doesn’t accomplish actuality at all and instead seems to be fabricated to go disregarded on your wrist. Because of this, in agreement of architecture and intent, it is afterpiece to a fettle tracker than a smartwatch.

The ancillary button on the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It’s additionally not abnormally aerial quality. The aluminum case doesn’t add abundant to its all-embracing feel, it’s bottle rather than azure over the screen, and the acme has an abhorrent clicky feel back pushed. There’s an IP68 baptize and dust attrition appraisement and 5ATM baptize resistance, but unfortunately, no MIL-SPEC courage certification. It feels actual ordinary, and apparently, little anticipation has gone into how we’re declared to love the Pixel Watch 2. This is what separates it from added smartwatches and why it’s added carefully accompanying to faux smartwatches like the Fitbit Sense 2.

If I absolutely avoid the actuality it’s marketed as a smartwatch, again the Pixel Watch 2 is a superb wearable. It’s light, comfortable, durable, and absolutely calm on my wrist. But it is declared to be a smartwatch, and it fails to be appropriate or able abundant to be an addition to the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, the Huawei Watch GT 4, the Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4, or the Montblanc Summit 3. It’s additionally actual far removed from the pure, individual, affection watch-like address of the Apple Watch Series 9.

Google Pixel Watch 2: screen, sensors, and performance

Daily footfall calculation apparent on the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Google Pixel Watch 2’s awning is a baby 1.2 inches with a 320 pixel-per-inch (ppi) pixel body and able of a 1,000 nits best brightness. It’s abate than the 40mm Samsung Galaxy Watch 6’s 1.3-inch awning and a lot abate than the Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 5’s 1.43-inch screen. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 processor (with an ARM Cortex M33 co-processor) and 2GB of RAM. This is a footfall up from the Exynos cavity in the Pixel Watch and altered from the Snapdragon W5+, which comes as a amalgamation with the ARM Cortex M55 co-processor in the Ticwatch Pro 5.

Performance is excellent. It’s smoother, beneath jittery, and added affable to use than the Pixel Watch. It’s not absolutely as fast as the Ticwatch Pro 5, but it doesn’t ache from the casual pauses or stutters that sometimes action with the Galaxy Watch 6 and bedeviled the Pixel Watch. Even awfully slow, energy-intensive apps like Google Maps are up and active in moments, and Tiles amount their advice immediately.

The Google Pixel Watch 2's sensors.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The awning is bright, but it’s too baby to absolutely abduction blush or to attending visually interesting, and already again, a distractingly ample bezel surrounds it. The screens on Samsung’s smartwatches are far added appealing. It’s additionally not consistently quick to acknowledge back alive up, but afterwards this, I accept not apparent any issues with performance. The acme twists to move through airheaded and attenuate haptics accompany it and added actions. There is a button to appearance contempo apps, but it’s even and hidden on the lower bisected of the case, authoritative it awkward to locate and press.

On the aback of the Google Pixel Watch 2 is an updated, added accurate multi-path optical affection amount sensor which additionally advance claret oxygen levels, bark temperature, and stress. The Pixel Watch 2 will additionally booty an electrocardiogram (ECG) account and accelerate notifications if it detects aberrant affection rhythms. There’s additionally a compass, altimeter, gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, and magnetometer.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Fitbit

The Fitbit app on the Google Pixel 8, affiliated to the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Fitbit is the Pixel Watch 2’s fettle platform. There’s a chargeless adaptation for anybody to use, or to acceptance some appearance (including your Daily Readiness Score and all-embracing beddy-bye analysis), you’ll accept to pay for Fitbit Premium. You get six months chargeless with the Pixel Watch 2, and it’s $10 per ages afterward. It’s not capital to anyone alone accidentally absorbed in their bloom and fitness, but it’s an abhorrent accession to a $350 product, aloof as it is on the Oura Ring. Samsung Health and Garmin Health are not all that altered functionally, yet both accommodate all abstracts for free.

The added botheration is the Fitbit belvedere is accessible on abundant cheaper articles than the Pixel Watch 2, so if that’s the acumen you’re cerebration of affairs it, why not absorb bisected the amount on a Fitbit Charge 6, which additionally comes with six months of chargeless Fitbit Premium? It’s not like you’re absolutely missing out on a beauteous architecture by not activity for the Pixel Watch 2. But afore you get the Charge 6 instead, should you blitz to get on axle with Fitbit in the aboriginal place?

Screenshots taken from the Fitbit app, with abstracts taken from the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Don’t apprehend it to do annihilation badly altered from any added fettle platform. It advance your workouts, sleep, steps, affection rate, and added metrics — aloof like best of its competitors. The anew redesigned Fitbit app is abundant easier to accept and cross than before, with acceptable use of white amplitude and prioritization of beddy-bye abstracts — so capital to compassionate your circadian address and health. Individual sections are acutely separated, argument is glanceable, and you can tap to see added all-embracing data.

One new affection is accent management. Turn it on, and if the Pixel Watch 2 notices changes in your body, it prompts you to log your mood. It again proves a circadian accent score, and it’s absorbing to attending at how your affection and accent associate with anniversary added and how movement and beddy-bye access it. It sends absolutely a few notifications though, so be able to collaborate with it often. This is additionally the case for the circadian movement reminders. It sets a ambition of 250 accomplish per hour, and it does not let you forget.

Screenshots taken from the Fitbit app, with abstracts taken from the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Automatic conditioning tracking bliss in about 10 account into one of the contest it recognizes, or manually ambience conditioning tracking in motion is quick and accessible from a Tile or the Fitbit Exercise app, and there’s affluence of abstracts apparent on the watch’s awning back you’re exercising. One new affection is the adeptness to set your own affection amount zone, and the app will active you back you ability it or advance you harder to accomplish it. Daily Readiness is addition new metric, but it has not formed for me yet, with the cardinal actual unchanged.

The altered conditioning controls are logically placed on the awning during a workout, and there’s no acid articulation drillmaster shouting out your stats to the apple (take note, Apple and Huawei). Dig added into the Fitbit app, and it begins to await added on you actuality a Premium member, including accessing the apprenticeship programs. Plus, all of Fitbit’s Safety Signal emergency appearance — including abatement apprehension and Safety Check — crave both the LTE Pixel Watch 2 and a Premium account.

Screenshots taken from the Fitbit app, with abstracts taken from the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Sleep tracking is addition affection that shows added abstracts back you accept a exceptional subscription. The breakdown of abstracts is impressive, with graphs on time asleep, REM and abysmal beddy-bye stages, affection rate, and alleviation time. Wear the Pixel Watch 2 for 14 canicule or more, and you get a abounding Sleep Profile. Data is additionally apparent historically and includes hours slept and a attending at your beddy-bye schedule. It’s all-embracing and informative, but the after-effects do alter from my Oura Ring, mostly about time spent in altered stages of beddy-bye and the way both calculation time awake.

The Fitbit belvedere is expansive, detailed, and informative, yet still accessible to anybody behindhand of fettle akin or commitment. The new app has a abundant architecture too. However, the account cable is a downside, and you can acquisition added wearables with according functionality and adorable apps — Samsung and Garmin, to name aloof two — that do not amount added on top of the device.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Wear OS 4

Google Maps aeronautics awning on the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Google’s Wear OS 4 is installed on the Pixel Watch 2 and isn’t all that altered from Wear OS 3.5. It still relies on the easy, acceptable arrangement of gestures to move around: alongside swipes to see Tiles — steps, weather, calendar, affection rate, and so on — an advancement bash to see your notifications, and bottomward to see quick settings. Google’s promised ability improvements, alternating with the processor change, accept fabricated a absolute aberration to the Pixel Watch 2’s array life. The baby awning does accomplish interacting with Wear OS feel like an abnormally airy exercise, though.

I’m aghast with Wear OS’s reliability, article that doesn’t alone affect the Pixel Watch, as the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic wasn’t abundant better. It doesn’t anxiously bear notifications from my buzz — I’ve been application it affiliated to the Google Pixel 8 — and it has absent about every buzz alarm I’ve accustomed too. It’s actual arresting to see a notification access on my phone’s lock awning and for the Pixel Watch 2 to sit there, not cogent me anything. That’s accomplished back I’m at my desk, but not back I’m out, and my buzz is in a bag. It has additionally about restarted afterwards cavernous for a moment a few times.

Google’s ability improvements accept fabricated a absolute aberration to the Pixel Watch 2’s array life.

Google Assistant is accessible either with a articulation command or by continued acute the ancillary button, and it has formed well. But Assistant’s believability varies over time and amid accessories (my Google Pixel Tablet is activity through a hard-of-hearing phase, for example), so I’m consistently half-waiting for it to stop working. When I advised the Apple Watch Series 9 recently, I was afraid at how abundant faster and bigger at compassionate commands Siri had become, but I can’t say Assistant is acutely bigger than it was on the Pixel Watch.

Several new apps accept been appear for Wear OS, and I’ve been application WhatsApp and Gmail on the Pixel Watch 2. Both attending excellent, with designs that tie in with the buzz apps, authoritative application them actual easy. Typing letters or replies on Wear OS’s keyboard is decidedly natural, and it seems to be actual accurate, but accent is the way to go for both. The microphone best up my articulation alfresco after issue, and I rarely had any abominable inaccuracies to amend. Both are examples of how all apps should be on Wear OS activity forward

Wear OS is far bigger than it acclimated to be, and I’m actual blessed the era of Wear OS 2 actualization on every smartwatch has passed. But abounding of the issues that bedeviled the earlier versions remain, and while the design, functionality, app compatibility, and affluence of use accept improved, it’s still not absolutely as reliable and bug-free as it should be.

Google Pixel Watch 2: array and charging

The Google Pixel Watch 2's charging puck.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’m a bit abashed by the Google Pixel Watch 2’s array and charging because it doesn’t assume to bout what Google says about it. Google’s blurb says to apprehend 24 hours with the always-on affectation breath and 100% array allegation in 75 minutes. I’m not accepting either of those two figures, and commonly this would accomplish me appealing mad, but with the Pixel Watch 2, I’m seeing much bigger results from both.

I’ve acclimated the Pixel Watch 2 with the always-on awning active, and back I started cutting it, the 306mAh array has lasted for 24 hours minimum, with the best I’ve apparent extensive about 36 hours. This includes at atomic one 30-minute conditioning tracked with or after GPS and brief beddy-bye tracking. This is abundant and a huge advance over the Pixel Watch’s afflicted array life. The Pixel Watch 2 comes with a proprietary charging puck, and afterwards 30 minutes, the array goes from about collapsed to 70% and on to abounding in about 55 minutes.

The Pixel Watch 2 is accessible all day, every day, and for any task.

I accept noticed the array allegation indicator will stick at 98%, but back you booty it off and put it aback on the charger, it about anon alcove 100%. Perhaps it’s a software bug that will be anchored in the future. Here’s added on how assorted tasks affect the array life: clue sleep, and it’ll absorb about 12%, while a single, 30-minute, non-GPS conditioning takes aloof 2%. Use Google Maps for navigation, and a 30-minute avenue takes about 7%. What this agency is the Pixel Watch 2 is accessible all day, every day, and for any task.

Google has redesigned the charging bogie for the Pixel Watch 2, so you can’t use the one that came with the Pixel Watch. It uses a USB-C affiliation and has four absolutely aciculate analysis pins on the bogie itself, which again magnetically fixes to the aback of the Pixel Watch 2. It’s defended — added so than the Pixel Watch’s charger — but the bogie itself feels bargain and boilerplate abreast as aerial affection as the Apple Watch Series 9 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic’s charger.

Google Pixel Watch 2: amount and availability

A being application the agenda acme on the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

There are two versions of the Google Pixel Watch 2. The cheapest is the Wi-Fi archetypal at $349, while the archetypal with an LTE affiliation will amount you $399. Remember, if you appetite to accomplish use of the LTE connection, you will accept to pay an added allegation to your carrier, which is usually about $10 per month. In the U.K., the Pixel Watch 2 costs 349 British pounds for the Wi-Fi archetypal or 399 pounds for the LTE model.

You’ve got the best of four altered blush combinations, but acutely you can’t mix and bout like you can with the Apple Watch Series 9. The Polished Silver case with a Bay Active Band is the one featured in our photos, or you can aces a Matte Black with the Obsidian Active Band, a Champagne Gold with the Hazel Active Band, or a Polished Silver with the Porcelain Active Band. As discussed above, the Pixel Watch 2 alone comes in a distinct 41mm case size.

The Google Pixel Watch 2's Active casting and how it secures on a wrist.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Google Pixel Watch 2 is absolutely big-ticket compared with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, which starts at $299 but is agnate to the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, which starts at $399. Samsung generally has acceptable offers available, too, potentially abbreviation the amount further. The Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 5 starts at $350. These are the best accessible competitors, but there are some added choices to anticipate adamantine about too.

I absolutely like the Garmin Vivomove Trend, which expertly bridges all-embracing fettle tracking and lifestyle-friendly design, and costs $299. If you’re awash on Fitbit’s platform, the new Fitbit Charge 6 costs $160, and the Fitbit Sense 2 costs $300. Neither absolutely bout the Pixel Watch 2’s affection list, but they aren’t all that different, and you abstain Wear OS’s downsides at the aforementioned time. It’s account demography a attending at all three, as you could end up extenuative absolutely a lot of money (and annoyance) by above Pixel Watch appearance you won’t need.

Google Pixel Watch 2: verdict

A being cutting the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Pixel Watch 2 is far bigger than the Pixel Watch. The array lasts longer, it’s faster, and interacting with it feels altogether slicker. It’s alike added adequate to wear, and the abridgement in weight has fabricated a absolute difference, ensuring you can accomplish the best out of its absolute bloom and fettle tracking.

But for all these improvements, added problems accept been agitated over. There’s still alone one case size, the architecture is underwhelming, the screen’s bezel is too big, it doesn’t feel abnormally expensive, and Wear OS isn’t as reliable as it should be. Fitbit’s redesign has bigger the app, but ambuscade appearance abaft a cable isn’t acceptable at all.

A being cutting the Google Pixel Watch 2.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Much as I like the Bay Blue band, the blow of the Pixel Watch 2’s architecture leaves me cold, and because it’s functionally no bigger than the admirable Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, I’d abundant rather abrasion that. If I didn’t affliction about architecture at all or capital to adumbrate my fettle wearable while I wore a acceptable watch, I’d buy the Fitbit Charge 6 or a agnate fettle tracker instead.

All this said, it’s abundant to see the Pixel Watch’s abstruse shortcomings rectified with the Pixel Watch 2. It agency it’s absolutely a recommended buy this time around, but alone if you can get accomplished the acutely accustomed design, are abiding the case admeasurement apparel your wrist, and don’t apperception advantageous account for all Fitbit’s data. Those are a lot of ifs, but if you don’t apperception them, the Google Pixel Watch 2 is account your attention.

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