The Pixel Watch: Why you should be concerned

Finally, Google has officially revealed all of the specs for the Pixel Watch, and it is now available for order. While I think the design is pretty nice, a deeper look into what the Pixel Watch does and does not come with leaves me concerned.

So let’s start with the price and specs. The Pixel Watch starts at $349.99 and goes up to $399.99 if you want the ability to add 4G LTE Support.

It weighs 36g without the band, features a 41 mm diameter, and is 12.3 mm thick – which is bit thicker than the new Fitbit watches, which is the first concern I have. The thickness may be a bit cumbersome to use for some sports and exercise use, like lifting weights.

The 320ppi AMOLED display made from Gorilla® Glass looks pretty great and should be fairly scratch resistant, something that is especially important due to the rounded shape of the Pixel Watch.

The display has a brightness that can be boosted up to 1000 nits, which is similar to the Apple Watch and is good enough for most outdoor use.

The Pixel Watch also features an Always on Display. But here is where we need to discuss the battery life.

Google says the Pixel Watch has a battery life of up to 24 hours.

Here is my concern: After having tested both the Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4, I found that the battery life was cut in half when using the always-on display. Not a huge issue for them since the battery life still lasts up to six days.

If the Pixel Watch battery life works similarly, that would mean it would last 12 hours with the always-on-display. I hope that is not the case and that the 24 hours includes the always-on-display.

The Pixel Watch also utilizes a lot from Fitbit with the same Heart Rate Tracking, GPS, and Active Zone Minutes, among other Fitbit Premium functions.

Similar to Fitbit wearables, the Google Pixel comes with six free months of Fitbit premium, after which, you will need to pay close to $10 per month to continue.

What really struck me as odd was how much Google focused on heart rate accuracy. As seems to be the case, the Pixel Watch utilizes the same heart rate tracking as the Fitbit watches. From my testing (and pretty much everyone else who has used them), the heart rate accuracy is definitely not something that should be highlighted.

Again, hopefully the Pixel Watch has a new algorithm to better track heart rate, but we will have to wait and see how it compares.

EDIT: Google has clarified that the Pixel Watch will have a new updated algorithm that has improved heart rate accuracy

Fitbit’s new Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4 have both seen some downgrades, including the removal of third-party support, Wi-Fi, music control, and Google Assistant. So I think many are skipping on Fitbit to get the Pixel Watch, which has all of these features.

But there are more drawbacks to the Pixel Watch than just the shorter battery life. When compared to the new Fitbit watches, there are:

  • No auto start, stop, or pause of exercise
  • No swim stroke tracking
  • No high and low heart-rate notifications
  • No irregular heart rhythm notifications
  • No guided breathing 
  • No sleep profile
  • No Silent or SmartAwake Alarms
  • And no blood oxygen nightly average, range, or trends over time

Also when compared to Fitbit Sense 2, the Pixel Watch has:

  • No all-day body response tracking
  • No stress management with EDA sensors
  • And no skin temperature sensor

To add to this list, while Fitbit devices can be used to pair with both Android and iOS, the Pixel Watch does not have any iOS compatibility.

So, for me at least, there is a lot that concerns me about the Pixel Watch. Of course, we will have to wait to test it out and see for ourselves.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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