Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

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Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

Today we are reviewing Google Pixel Watch 2, an elegant continuation of the acclaimed Pixel Watch series. While the external design maintains a semblance of familiarity, Google has incorporated notable upgrades under the hood, expanding sensor capabilities and enhancing battery life.

Google Pixel Watch 2 is available for $299. Available in four different color options, the package always includes a plastic sports bracelet in two lengths.

Google Pixel Watch 2 with the Best of Fitbit and Google - Heart Rate...
  • The Pixel Watch 2 comes with three new advanced sensors for heart rate tracking, skin temperature, and stress...
  • The all-new heart rate sensor and Google AI combine for Fitbit’s most spot-on heart rate tracking yet[4], so you...
  • Go even longer with the enhanced 24-hour battery and always-on display[6,7]; charge for 75 minutes to get a full...
  • Identify potential signs of stress with Fitbit’s body-response feature, so you can manage it in the moment[5];...
  • Get help with Emergency SOS and Fall Detection if you’re feeling unsafe or if you’ve had a hard fall[11,12];...

During the test, we will take a close look at the new version of the Pixel Watch 2 smartwatch and find out whether the smartwatch is worth it.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Video Review

SpecsGoogle Pixel Watch 2
Display1.2 inch AMOLED display, 450 x 450 pixels, 320ppi, Always-on display, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
ChipQualcomm SW5100, Cortex M33 co-processor
Storage and memory32GB eMMC flash, 2GB SDRAM
SoftwareWear OS 4.0
CompatibilityAndroid 9.0 or newer
Connectivity4G LTE and UMTS, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz, NFC,
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, Quasi-Zenith Satellite
FeaturesFitbit health and fitness, Google Maps, Google Wallet, Google Assistant,
Messages and notifications, YouTube Music, NFC, Emergency SOS,
International emergency calling, Fall detection (up to 32 g-forces)
AudioBuilt-in microphone, Built-in speaker
SensorsCompass, Altimeter, Blood oxygen sensor, Multipurpose electrical sensor,
Optical heart rate sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor,
Electrical sensor to measure cEDA, Skin temperature sensor, Barometer, Magnetometer
Battery306mAh, Up to 24 hours with always-on display, USB-C Fast charging cable
Dimensions41 x 41 x 12.3 mm (1.61 x 1.61 x 0.48 in)
Weight31 g (1.09 oz)
ColorsPolished Silver, Matte Black, Champagne Gold

Design

Google Pixel Watch 2 retains the sleek design of its predecessor, but makes small but noteworthy changes.

The round case, measuring a modest 41 mm, retains its compact form, ensuring comfort on the wrist. However, a notable shift in materials is evident, as Google opts for recycled aluminum instead of stainless steel. This change not only contributes to a lighter overall weight but also aligns with Google’s commitment to sustainability. The Pixel Watch 2 tips the scales at a mere 58 grams with its accompanying bracelet.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

Functionality meets aesthetics on the right side of the watch, where a rotating and pushable crown takes center stage. Flanked by a seamlessly integrated menu button above, these physical controls offer a tactile alternative to the primary mode of interaction – the borderless touchscreen.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

Speaking of the touchscreen, it graces the watch face without any visible bezel, creating a modern and immersive display experience. However, a subtle nuance emerges when the 1.2-inch AMOLED display lights up, revealing a thin, approximately 4 mm wide border beneath the edgeless Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. While this detail may take some getting used to, it does not diminish the overall aesthetic appeal.

Google offers the Pixel Watch 2 in four distinct colors, each accompanied by a plastic strap. Notably, compatibility extends to the first generation Pixel Watch bracelets.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

The Pixel Watch 2 maintains its predecessor’s aquatic prowess, boasting a waterproof rating of up to 5 ATM. This enables users to submerge the watch underwater without hesitation, making it a versatile companion for various water activities.

Despite its contemporary design, the Pixel Watch 2 does come with a caveat – susceptibility to scratches. Users are advised to exercise caution to maintain the pristine appearance of the watch.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Display

In the realm of displays, Google maintains its commitment to the OLED technology that characterized its predecessor, ensuring a vibrant and visually pleasing experience on the Pixel Watch 2. The 1.2-inch display boasts an impressive brightness exceeding 600 candelas, rendering content with clarity even under the harsh gaze of direct sunlight.

The resolution stands at a finely detailed 384 x 384 pixels, offering a crisp and sharp presentation on the compact screen.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

One notable aspect is the retention of a wider display edge – a design choice that some may find less contemporary. Google ingeniously addresses this by incorporating watch faces that cleverly conceal the wide edge through dark elements, creating an illusion of seamlessness.

The Pixel Watch 2 introduces adaptive brightness, facilitated by a brightness sensor that intelligently adjusts the screen’s luminance according to ambient light conditions. This not only enhances visibility but also contributes to power efficiency. For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, the watch offers manual brightness adjustment across three distinct levels, allowing users to tailor the display to their specific preferences.

Google emphasizes user customization with the inclusion of font size adjustments. Users can choose from six different levels, allowing for a personalized reading experience that accommodates individual preferences and visual comfort.

User Interface

The Pixel Watch 2 features a rotating and pushable crown on the right side, accompanied by a seamlessly integrated menu button. While these physical controls offer tactile feedback, the primary mode of interaction is through the borderless touchscreen. Operating the watch is intuitive, with a brief press of the crown granting access to installed apps, and a long press providing options to power off, restart, or send an emergency SMS.

Performance

Google has chosen a modern Qualcomm SoC W5 Gen 1 processor coupled with a Cortex M33 coprocessor, replacing the previous generation Exynos 9110. This update results in a seamless and responsive user experience, with a notable increase in operating speed.

Connectivity on the Pixel Watch 2 adheres to industry standards for this class of wearables. Google incorporates WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless communication, ensuring a reliable and efficient connection. NFC is also part of the package, facilitating convenient mobile payments for users on the go.

Internally, the Google Pixel Watch 2 boasts a substantial 32 GB of memory, providing ample space for users to download and store longer playlists from platforms like Spotify directly onto the watch. This capacity caters to those who prefer to have their favorite music readily accessible without relying on a constant connection to their smartphone.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

The smartwatch runs on Wear OS 4.0, and Google commits to providing software updates for a minimum of three years.

Wear OS 4.0 introduces several new features to enhance user experience. Notable among these are the Google Calendar and Gmail apps, allowing users to open and edit these applications directly on the Pixel Watch. The Calendar app, in particular, offers valuable insights into upcoming appointments. Another innovative addition is the “safety check” feature, enabling users to set a timer requiring them to confirm their well-being. Failure to do so prompts the sharing of their location with designated emergency contacts.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Functions

The Google Pixel Watch 2 continues to impress with its comprehensive suite of health and fitness features, solidifying its position as a premium smartwatch in the market. 

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

The inclusion of GPS, compass, altimeter, pulse sensor, gyroscope, acceleration sensor, and brightness sensor forms a robust sensor system that enhances the overall functionality of the watch. Notably, the pulse sensor is an upgraded model, utilizing multiple LEDs and photodiodes to detect the pulse from different angles. This design significantly improves measurement accuracy, ensuring precise readings even during activities with rapid pulse changes, such as sprinting.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

The Pixel Watch 2 also introduces a skin temperature sensor, contributing valuable data for a more detailed analysis of the wearer’s stress levels. Google employs continuous electrodermal activity (cEDA), incorporating measurements of pulse, heart rate variability, sweat production, and skin temperature. The real-time stress level is calculated based on this data, and the watch automatically alerts the user when stress is detected, offering relaxation tips.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

While the stress detection functioned accurately in practice, there was a slight delay of 10 to 30 minutes, impacting the timing of relaxation tips. The stress diary proves useful in identifying patterns of recurring stress, and the stress management index provides a daily value. However, accessing extended stress analysis features requires a paid subscription to Fitbit, a Google subsidiary, priced at 8.99 euros per month. This subscription includes additional benefits such as guided exercise programs, video workouts, advanced sleep metrics, and profiles.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

The Pixel Watch 2 includes a 6-month membership to Fitbit Premium with the purchase, but concerns arise regarding the long-term value proposition. This begs the question of why buyers should pay extra for full access to the watch’s health features, especially when competitors like Samsung and Garmin provide comprehensive health data without imposing a monthly subscription.

Battery life

The Google Pixel Watch 2 packs a 306mAh battery, a slight improvement over its predecessor’s 294mAh. Despite the modest increase, the smartwatch manages to eke out approximately 20% more runtime, attributed to the efficiency of the new processor team. Google has focused on optimizing the always-on display to enhance battery life.

With the always-on function activated and a 40-minute running workout, the Pixel Watch 2 impressively offers nearly 24 hours of usage. During the mentioned workout, only 8% of the battery reserves were consumed, showcasing the efficiency of the new processor. While this is an improvement compared to the first generation, it’s worth noting that in the broader landscape of smartwatches, the Pixel Watch 2 still requires nightly charging. 

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review: Modern design and many valuable features

Charging the Pixel Watch 2 is a relatively speedy affair. The included charging pad, featuring four tiny pogo pins, establishes physical contact for efficient current flow. Contrary to its predecessor, which relied on contactless Qi charging, the new approach maintains user convenience. The smartwatch docks magnetically on the charging pad, automatically aligning itself for the correct position. However, a drawback surfaces with this change: compatibility with the charging pads of the first Pixel generation is lost.

Despite the need for daily charging, users can appreciate the faster charging times. Within 45 minutes, the battery reaches 80%, and a full charge takes 80 minutes. This is an improvement compared to the Pixel Watch, which required 55 minutes to reach 80% and 90 minutes for a complete charge.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Conclusion

The Google Pixel Watch 2 represents a commendable evolution from its predecessor. One of the most notable improvements is in the battery life, a significant pain point for users of the first generation.

Google Pixel Watch 2 with the Best of Fitbit and Google - Heart Rate...
  • The Pixel Watch 2 comes with three new advanced sensors for heart rate tracking, skin temperature, and stress...
  • The all-new heart rate sensor and Google AI combine for Fitbit’s most spot-on heart rate tracking yet[4], so you...
  • Go even longer with the enhanced 24-hour battery and always-on display[6,7]; charge for 75 minutes to get a full...
  • Identify potential signs of stress with Fitbit’s body-response feature, so you can manage it in the moment[5];...
  • Get help with Emergency SOS and Fall Detection if you’re feeling unsafe or if you’ve had a hard fall[11,12];...

The optimization of sensors contributes to the overall enhancement of the device, ensuring that health and fitness tracking, as well as other functionalities, are at the forefront of the smartwatch experience. The top-tier equipment, coupled with a vibrant OLED display, positions the Pixel Watch 2 among the most elegant in the smartwatch world. The design, with its sleek housing, reflects a refined aesthetic that adds to the allure of the device.

The integration of Fitbit enhances the sports and analysis functions, bringing the Pixel Watch 2 up to date in terms of fitness tracking and health monitoring. However, a point of contention arises with the introduction of paid subscriptions for premium functions. The need for additional payments may be perceived as a drawback, especially considering the already premium price tag of the smartwatch.

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