Google Pixel Watch

After years of rumors and false starts, Google’s Pixel Watch is finally here – and, based on our early look, it may have been worth the wait.

The new wearable sets itself apart from the pack with a smooth, circular design. The glass face curves over the entire front of the watch, with just the metal crown peeking out from the side.

It has a bright, high-resolution screen surrounded by some millimeters of dead space. We thought this would bother us, but up close it’s barely noticeable.

The display is touch-sensitive, accepting swipes in all directions, though you can also use the crown for scrolling and to launch activities. There’s also a dedicated Google Assistant button that’s so flush with the metal body you might miss it.

As expected, this wearable bakes in virtually all of the baseline Fitbit health and fitness-tracking functionality – and Fitbit fans will be pleased to see the Fitbit name within the various screens. (Google owns Fitbit).

At $349 / £339 for the Wi-Fi and GPS edition, Google Pixel Watch is $50 cheaper than the baseline Apple Watch 8. The LTE version of the Pixel Watch jumps to $399 / £379.

Unlike Apple’s wearable, the Google Pixel Watch is available in just one size: 41mm. Google representatives told us the variety of band styles should make this mid-range size a good fit for most people.

The Google Pixel Watch, right, and Apple Watch 8 (Image credit: Future)

Google Pixel Watch price and release date

Google unveiled its new smartwatch at its Google Pixel 7 event (officially titled Made By Google ’22) on October 6. It’s available for pre-order now, and will start shipping on October 13.

The Google Pixel Watch is priced at $349 / £339 for the Wi-Fi and GPS model, and $399 / £379 for the LTE edition. As mentioned, there’s just the one size, and a wide range of band styles and colors.

(Image credit: Future)

Google Pixel Watch design, materials, and display

The Google Pixel Watch is a one-size-fits-all affair (Image credit: Future)

The Google Pixel Watch is just as elegant in the flesh as it looked in those teaser images we saw six months ago. It has a sort of poured-in look, with a domed, Gorilla Glass 5-covered screen that’s flat on the face, and a stainless steel body (there are no other material options).

There’s a small but useable crown that lets you control on-screen activities, and a dedicated button that sits flush against the body for summoning Google Assistant. There is one other button, though it might be a challenge to find it – let me explain… 

You can swap out bands in a way to how you can with the Apple Watch. There are two channels – one for each band side – carved out of the watch, and bands slide into this. However, to remove the band, you have to press a small button next to the channel and very close to the band and then slide the band out over your finger. We found this difficult at first, but Google’s people – who watched us struggle – insist we’ll get the hang of it.

The back is a more domed glass with sensors in the center. It has fewer sensors than, say, the Apple Watch 8. It’s a cleaner look, but also, thankfully felt comfortable to wear.

Google Pixel Watch utilities (Image credit: Future)

Google Pixel Watch sensors and fitness

Google Pixel Watch back (Image credit: Future)

For Fitbit fans, the Google Watch may feel like a big upgrade. It includes most of the Fitbit health and fitness tracking features, and we noticed that Google has maintained the Fitbit brand name in the sub-menus.

There’s a heart rate sensor on the back, and the watch can take ECG readings. There are no blood oxygenation capabilities here, although the watch does have the necessary sensor, which means we can expect Google to add that feature in the not-too-distant future.

(Image credit: Future)

Google Pixel Watch performance and software

(Image credit: Future)

The Google Pixel Watch employs touch control, on-screen presses, and the digital crown for navigation and accessing features. Virtually everything we were able to try felt smooth, fluid and fast, although of course we’ll need more time for a full assessment.

If you scroll using the crown you’ll see your notifications, calendar, and other informational updates. To access apps and other features, you press the crown once and then start scrolling with the crown or your finger.

That’s where you’ll encounter, maps, Fitbit Exercise, Hand Washing tracking, and more.

A press of the dedicated Google Assistant button accesses the voice assistant. As soon as we pressed it, the Pixel Watch started picking up our voices and displaying what we were saying on the screen.

Swiping from the top of the screen down accesses utilities like finding your phone and flashlight. You can also swipe up from the bottom to access notifications. 

A long press on the screen accesses different watch faces. It’s also worth noting here that you can access some features by selecting complications on the watch face.

There’s also a new Google Home watch app that enables you to control smart home devices from the watch – you can control your central heating from your wrist, for example.

As we’ve only worn the Google Pixel Watch for a few minutes we can’t tell you very much about its health and fitness-tracking capabilities. Stay tuned for our full review.

Google Pixel Watch battery life

(Image credit: Future)

Google is promising 24 hours of battery life from the Pixel Watch, which sounds good, especially compared to the Apple Watch 8, which can only manage around 18 hours (when not in low-power mode).

Still, it’s not as much as we might have expected from a WearOS device, especially when other Android-friendly smartwatches and Fitbit devices offer battery life running into days.

Again, we’ll know more when we’re able to test this watch more extensively.

Google Pixel Watch: Early verdict

Overall, we’re impressed with Google’s first watch. This is a great-looking and comfortable-to-wear device with a good depth of features. The one-size-fits-all design might be a problem, though, and we’re sure we’ll be hearing complaints about the band-switching strategy. 

Still, we’re looking forward to wearing and using the Google Pixel Watch for longer periods, and in real-world conditions, and bringing you our definitive verdict in our full and in-depth review.

Here’s everything Apple announced at its September 7 event.

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