Google Pixel Watch Review: I love it and hate it

Emanuele Cisotti



It has been talked about for years (with a sort of first attempt) and it has finally arrived, even if not officially in our country. I’m obviously talking about the Google Pixel Watch, the first real smartwatch Made by Google.



Packaging

The packaging of this smartwatch includes inside the magnetic charger and a second strap in size largeto be used as an alternative to that small already present on the watch. An excellent solution for not having a single strap with many holes for various sizes. The magnetic charger is discreet: it allows you to position the watch in any way and even if the magnet is not very strong it is difficult to unhook the watch by mistake.



Construction and fit

Google Pixel Watch it is available in the only 41mm cut. As much as this personally makes me extremely happy, it is perhaps a bit shortsighted solution, since it cuts out all the public who prefer (for aesthetics or necessity) a larger dial. The watch is modern and elegant, with the curved glass which folds on the edges effectively hiding the display inside. The circular shape is very clean and the sliding hooking of the straps ensures that there are no other elements that could spoil this cleaning.

On the right side (but it can be reversed by inverting the strap) there is the circular crown which also acts as a physical button. It has a good feedback tactile, also aided by a good vibration. Then there is a second physical button, a little hidden on the back, useful for setting a default shortcut and for recent apps.

The watch is water and dust resistant according to it IP68 standard and can therefore also be used in water for short periods. It is difficult to say what the resistance of the front glass on the edges will be in the long term, given how much it is exposed to possible impacts.



Hardware

From the hardware point of view this Pixel Watch has everything you need: GPS for positioning (fast and precise fix), NFC for payments, LTE / 4G optional, Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth and 32 GB of internal memory. Too bad for the processor which is the old Exynos 9110. You won’t have any performance issues, but a newer processor would probably have improved the situation in terms of energy.

We then also speaker and microphone (discreet, nothing exceptional) and on the underside a nice sensor kit: it is possible to record the heartbeat, the oxygenation of the blood and even make an ECG. It’s just a pity that the SpO2 measurement isn’t active at the moment.



Display

The screen of this Pixel Watch is circular and is from 1.2 inch. It’s in technology OLED and this allows it to “disappear” when the screen is off within the product design. The screen is also very bright and is also equipped with a system that increases the brightness beyond the manual limit on the sunniest days. The criticism that can be made of this beautiful display is that it is in fact too small, at least in relation to the surface of the display. It is true that the black interface is designed to hide this defect, but more space for interaction would certainly not have spoiled.



Software

Google Pixel Watch is the first smartwatch with WearOS 3.5 “pure”, that is, not masked by the One UI of the Galaxy Watch 5.

The system is extremely well designed and quickly gets carried away with the positioning of the elements. The dials are many and customizable. The quick commands accessible from the top curtain are very convenient, among which we also find the rest mode, which unfortunately does not activate automatically when it recognizes that we have fallen asleep. Also here we also have a first version of Home beta which allows you to control home automation in your home thanks to Google Home.

Scrolling sideways in the home we then find the various widgets, which you can choose by hand and which, if selected, open the respective application to give you a clearer view of the information. Finally, by dragging upwards we have the latest notifications received, perfectly integrated with your Android smartphone, also showing emoji, the app logo and signaling the presence of new notifications not seen with a small and discreet dot on the dial. Below and where indications such as low battery, do not disturb mode and sleep mode are also shown.

You can interact with the notifications by also going to respond, where possible. You can do it with your voice, with an emoji or by typing text. There are no predefined messages.

It is by pressing the physical wheel that you access the list of applications. Here we find Fitbit’s fitness and health apps in plain sight. These have completely replaced the Google apps and for a very good reason. They are in fact the same apps that you would find on a Fitbit smartwatch and this is absolutely a plus. In fact, you can set goals and modify the data seen during physical activity. The data recorded during physical activity are very accurate, as are those of the GPS. It also tracks sleep well and inactivity notifications are on time.

In the list of applications the Play Store obviously stands out, the Google store that allows you to download other applications directly on your wrist. Three functions that this watch can boast we cannot fail to mention the NFC for Google Wallet and the voice assistant Google Assistant (even if due to a bug you must first set the language to English and then change it back to Italian).

The system is generally fluid on virtually any occasion, with only sporadic drops in frame-rate. Among the things we would like to see improved for sure the management of the do not disturb, not synchronized with the smartphone, and greater control over some options, such as the frequency of the heartbeat detection.

To manage this smartwatch it takes two apps: Pixel Watch to manage the first configuration, the watchfaces and some other secondary options e Fitbit, which is the only software needed to verify the fitness and health part. For some non-core options (such as a more in-depth sleep analysis), however, it will take Fitbit Premium. The Fitbit software is however a huge step forward compared to Google Fit which in fact becomes useless. The data are presented in a very clear way and the physical activity sessions have a lot of correlated data.



Autonomy

Google Pixel Watch has a 294 mAh.

This battery allows, with average use, to guarantee about 24 hours of autonomy. A little. You can slightly increase the autonomy by deactivating the most frequent notifications, but on the contrary you could lower it by activating the display mode always active, or using the GPS for a long time. Charging is fast on average, in an hour you can recharge the watch by about 80%.

It is well known that watches with smooth and complete operating systems guarantee reduced autonomy, but in the case of the Pixel Watch the bar is really low. It is true that it is not possible to adjust or deactivate the heartbeat detection rate, but it is also true that at the moment the detection of blood oxygenation is completely deactivated. In the 24h reported above then we also consider about 7 hours of sleep, where health is still tracked but where the smartphone was not connected and therefore there was no consumption on the Bluetooth front.

We hope that with future updates Pixel Watch will be able to optimize its autonomy, just enough to give you a few more hours of behavior and no longer have the anxiety of punctual recharging every day.



Price

Pixel Watch has the price of a top of the range. In Germany (in Italy it is not officially sold) it costs € 379, while it takes € 429 for the LTE variant. They are high prices, in line with other premium competitors (see Apple Watch) which, however, may have more experience behind them.

Photo

Final judgement

Google Pixel Watch

Google Pixel Watch is my new favorite smartwach to pair with an Android smartphone, except that I hate it a little. It is complete on every front, finally has a fitness / health part taken care of thanks to Fitbit, it has a nice design and it is very fluid. But autonomy won’t give you time to really enjoy all this without anxiety.

Summary

Packaging 8

Construction and fit 9

Hardware 9

Display 8.5

Software 8.5

Autonomy 5.5

Price 6.5

Final vote

Google Pixel Watch

Pro

  • Fast and complete software
  • Great fitness / health part
  • The best of Google: Wallet, Assistant, Maps and Play Store
  • Nice design

Versus

  • Just enough autonomy
  • One dimension
  • High price
  • Do not sync do not disturb

Emanuele Cisotti

Emanuele Cisotti He lives in the world of telephony from the Nokia 3210 and in the world of linux from Ubuntu 5.04. If he could he would also live in a world of Lego and one of electronic music.

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About Alex Marcell

He likes dogs, pizza and popcorn. Already a fanboy of Nintendo and Sony, but today throws anything. He has collaborated on sites and magazines such as GameBlast, Nintendo World, Hero and Portal Pop, but today is dedicated exclusively to Spark Chronicles.

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