You’ve waited long enough. It’s about time I share with you my review of the Google Pixel Watch, which I’ve been using since November 2022. I’ll tell you what I like and dislike about Google’s first smartwatch, and whether I think it’s worth buying.
First of all, let me say that I really like the design of the Pixel Watch. It’s sleek, smooth, and elegant, with a curved glass screen that blends seamlessly with the stainless steel body. I have the LTE model, and I also bought a third party stainless steel watch band that matches perfectly with the watch and really elevates the look. The watch has been very comfortable to wear, and it doesn’t feel too bulky or heavy on my wrist, in fact it’s the most comfortable smart watch I’ve ever worn.
The screen is bright, colourful, and responsive, with an AMOLED display that shows crisp and clear graphics when woken up, but if you don’t raise your hand they do appear pixelated when just glancing down at the always on display. The watch has a button and a crown on the right side, which you can use to access the menu, Google Assistant, and other features (double clicking the crown quickly brings up Google Wallet, for example). The watch also has a mic and a speaker on the left side, which you can use to make and receive calls, or talk to Google Assistant, with the assistant replying to any queries with voice rather than just text.
The Pixel Watch runs on Google’s Wear OS software, which is integrated with Fitbit’s health and fitness features. This means you can track your steps, heart rate, calories, sleep, and more with the watch. You also get 6 months of Fitbit Premium for free, which gives you access to more detailed insights, workouts and wellness programs. However I am concerned about the £7.99 subscription that’s needed to get the most out of the watch once the free 6 months comes to an end. While Fitbit is indeed integrated, I wouldn’t say that it’s fully integrated with Wear OS. For example, if I want to see my sleep data or my wellness score on the watch, I have to open the Fitbit app separately from the Wear OS app. There’s a FitBit app on the watch which displays steps etc and even has a tile for sleep data, but this simply says ‘Log in to the FitBit mobile app’ – It feels like Fitbit is still a somewhat separate entity from Google, rather than a single unified platform.
I’d also like see tighter integration with my Pixel 7 Pro, things like do not disturb modes and occasionally notifications aren’t synced between both devices. Don’t get me wrong notifications appear on my wrist the same time as they hit my phone, but swiping a notification away on one, isn’t always synced on the other for example. Even unlocking my Pixel 7 Pro, doesn’t automatically unlock the watch. This feels like a missed opportunity and an obvious area of improvement. Apple for instance is way ahead here with their iPhone and Apple Watch being tightly integrated.
Another area where the Pixel Watch is behind their competitors is battery life. The watch can last for about a day with normal use, but if you’re a heavy user with navigation lots or exercise tracking or music streaming, I feel like you’d need to charge it more often. I usually charge it every night before bed, which works great for me in terms of having a full charge ready for sleep tracking, but sometimes I do forget and then I have to charge it early in the morning ready for the day ahead.
One more thing I don’t like is how the material design accent colour seems to be locked lime green. I’d like to be able to change this to something else that better suits my style/mood, just like I can on the Pixel phones. Again, another thing that would be seemingly simple to fix via a software update, but a strange omission nonetheless.
Overall, I think the Pixel Watch is a very good first attempt from Google at making a smartwatch. There’s a lot to like and it has the potential to become even better over time. However, as it stands today, it does have some flaws and quirks that should be easy enough to fix via Pixel drops (Google’s name for monthly updates). Google Assistant is a highlight and similar to Pixel Phones, the watch has that special something that makes me love it despite its flaws. Another often overlooked bonus, is that it’s almost certain to be well supported by Google for many years to come too!
If you’re looking for a stylish and functional smartwatch that works well with your Android phone (especially a Pixel), then you could do much worse than giving the Pixel Watch a try. But if you’re looking for a more mature smartwatch that has better battery life and more integration options (especially if you have an iPhone), then you might want to look elsewhere.