Tech Junkie review – Google Pixel Watch

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For years people have been waiting and hoping that Google would create a smartwatch. Sure, they build the WearOS software for other companies to use but they never sold their own watch hardware. Now, that has changed. The Google Pixel Watch has arrived and I took it for a test.

Hardware

I’ve tested A LOT of smartwatches from many companies including ASUS, Samsung, Fitbit, Mobvoi and others. Needless to say, it takes a lot to stand out. My first impression of the Pixel Watch… NICE! The round shape and bubble glass gives it a very impressive look. I love the control crown on the right side. The included rubber strap is OK. I liked the latch and simple look but also feel a watch in this price range should include a higher-end strap.

On the back you’ll find a bevy of sensors including an oxygen sensor, heart rate monitor and an electrical sensor. Inside the watch Google also included GPS, a compass, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a light sensor and an altimeter. This thing has pretty much any sensor most people would expect.

Software

Google also re-designed their smartwatch software, WearOS, for the new Pixel Watch. I’ve used previous versions and always liked them but I think “clunky” was always the word that came to mind. Not the case anymore, Google has done a great job of streamlining the watch experience. Setup is easy, navigation feels natural and animations are smooth. It feels like Google’s watch experience has finally grown up.

Fitness

We knew when Google bought Fitbit they had bigger plans and we are finally seeing that in the Pixel Watch. Sure, you can still buy a Fitbit fitness watch but Google integrated the Fitbit features into the new Pixel Watch.

What would I change?

This may not come as a surprise but it was a bummer for me, the watch does not work with standard watch bands. You’ll have to use Pixel Watch specific watch bands. Not a huge deal but it does mean your existing bands are a no-go.

Google touts the battery life of the Pixel Watch but I found it to be pretty standard stuff. I got a solid day, maybe 1.5 days if I ran it to 0% but for me, I want more! You’ll need to pop this watch on the charger daily. I’ve gotten pretty used to my FitBit Versa that gets 4+ days on a charge and I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to daily charging. Hopefully battery life gets better.

Finally – this isn’t a budget watch by any stretch. At $350 it might be out of reach for a lot of people. The features and hardware warrant the price but it would be nice to see a pared down model from Google with a smaller price tag.

The Google Watch to beat

With those gripes out of my system, it’s safe to say that the Pixel Watch is now the WearOS watch to beat! The super slick round design, the updated WearOS software and pretty much every sensor you could ask for make it an awesome option. Sure, the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch and Samsung has been making great watches for years but Google just took a shot and has officially entered the smartwatch wars with a bang.

You can find the Pixel Watch at major stores and directly from Google.



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