The first generation Google Pixel Watch wasn’t perfect, especially on the battery side of things but this time, Google has fixed almost everything in Pixel Watch 2 with the inclusion of some of Fitbit’s standout features. Is Pixel Watch 2 the best Android smartwatch out there though? Read on to find out in our review of the Google Pixel Watch 2.
The Google Pixel Watch 2, while boasting a 1.2″ AMOLED display with a brightness of up to 1000 nits, has been met with criticism due to its still noticeable bezels, which many had wished would have reduced in size over the first generation model. The device offers an IP68 rating, which ensures you don’t need to worry about it getting water damage in a variety of weather conditions and now, thanks to its more efficient processor, users can really benefit from its always-on display option, a departure from its predecessor.
When comparing to the first Pixel Watch, the design and build of the Pixel Watch 2 remain consistent, except for a change in crown size. The watch comes in a single size variant, measuring 41mm, despite hopes for a larger size options, this remains the sole choice. The straps, while unchanged, are designed for easy replacement. Weighing only 31 grams, the watch is comfortable for extended wear, even during sleep.
In terms of software, the Pixel Watch 2 operates on WearOS 4.0, offering seamless integration with Google’s suite of services, from to-do lists to calendars. Notably, Google introduced Dynamic Theme support, allowing users to customise their experience by selecting widgets, colours, and other elements for their home screen.
From a connectivity standpoint, the Pixel Watch 2 offers both Bluetooth and 4G LTE variants. However, it’s important to note that the LTE version is not available in Iireland, limiting users to the Bluetooth model. That said, only Vodafone currently supports eSIM support on smartwatches so users aren’t really missing out on much.
The device comes with a single speaker and microphone, enabling users to make and receive calls directly from the watch and are notably better than last year’s attempts in the original Pixel Watch.
Health & Fitness Tracking
One significant enhancement in the Pixel Watch 2 lies in its health and fitness tracking capabilities. Google has incorporated sensors borrowed from Fitbit, including an accelerometer, gyro, heart rate monitor, altimeter, compass, SpO2 sensor, thermometer (for skin temperature), and skin conductance sensor.
These sensors provide a wealth of data, enabling accurate monitoring of activities, heart rate, and stress levels, all of which can be viewed both on the watch itself (in a limited capacity) and via the Fitbit app on your phone.
With these more comprehensive health and fitness tracking features, the Pixel Watch 2 successfully addresses a notable drawback of its predecessor and also introduces an auto-detect feature for workouts. For instance, if you start running without manually selecting a workout mode, the watch detects the activity and activates the appropriate mode automatically, which is very handy for those of you who are slightly more forgetful!
The Pixel Watch 2 will track up to 40 different kinds of workouts, from running to elliptical to CrossFit to weight lifting. At first, you’ll have to swipe through the entire list to find the one you want to track, but if you generally default to the same kinds of workouts, you’re in luck: The home exercise screen keeps tiles of your three most recently used icons front and center for easy access.
The improved heart-rate tracking also allows the Pixel Watch 2 to offer Heart Rate Zone Coaching and Pace Training features as well. These alert you to heart-rate zone changes while you’re exercising, and offer feedback when you’re out running, for example, to ensure you are meeting your training goals.
Fall detection sensors have also been integrated, ensuring user safety during various activities. If a user falls and doesn’t respond to the watch’s prompt, it will initiate a call for help, demonstrating a nice peace of mind feature. There is also the ability to set up ‘irregular rhythm notifications’ which lets you checks for signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib) which is also a fantastic peace of mind feature for those who are conscious of these sort of heart-related issues.
And if you need more relaxation, the Pixel Watch 2 also comes with Fitbit’s most advanced stress-management features so you can learn how your body responds to potential stress or excitement, you can understand potential patterns and learn to make meaningful changes to your lifestyle. We found this feature in particular quite helpful and made sure we kept a check on our stress levels throughout the day. something you wouldn’t necessarily would be as helpful as it is for a fitness smartwatch.
When it comes to battery life, Google claims a one-day usage period. However, real-world usage might vary significantly based on the features you frequently use. WearOS 4.0, while feature-rich, demands substantial power. Continuous use of intensive features such as 24/7 heart rate monitoring, SpO2 tracking, ECG functionality, stress monitoring, and Bluetooth calling can significantly impact battery life.
Charging the Pixel Watch 2 is relatively efficient. It takes approximately 30 minutes to charge from 0% to 50% and 75 minutes for a full charge. Google’s claim of a 24-hour battery life might not hold true under real-life usage scenarios, especially for users engaging in extensive activity tracking throughout the day. While we’re not huge fitness aficionados, we didn’t find ourselves too worried about battery life overall and would have to agree with Google’s ‘all-day’ claims, which, as we said at the start, it s very welcome improvement over its predecessor.
Overall, the Pixel Watch 2 packs a much welcomed array of improvements over its predecessor. Despite its bezel-related criticism, the device offers an impressive set of features, making it a compelling option for health and fitness enthusiasts. The integration of Fitbit sensors, automatic workout detection, and comprehensive health tracking capabilities mark significant strides forward.
The watch’s overall performance and user experience demonstrate Google’s commitment to advancing the smartwatch industry. As these various health and fitness focused technologies continues to evolve, users can anticipate further refinements and innovations in future models but, for right now, the Pixel Watch 2 is a great starting point.
Pixel Watch 2 Pricing & Availability
The Google Pixel Watch 2 is available now via the Google Store starting at €399 in four colour options:
- Polished Silver Aluminium Case/Bay Active Band
- Black Aluminium Case/Obsidian Active Band
- Champagne Gold Aluminium Case/Hazel Active Band
- Polished Silver Aluminium Case/Porcelain Active Band
REVIEW: Pixel Watch 2 - A Healthy Upgrade
- Design & Build Quality
- Health & Fitness Tracking
The Pixel Watch 2 packs a much welcomed array of improvements over its predecessor. Despite its bezel-related criticism, the device offers an impressive set of features, making it a compelling option for health and fitness enthusiasts.