Google’s attempt last year with the Pixel Watch left us hoping for a true competitor to the Apple Watch. Unfortunately, the subpar battery life and issues with integrating Fitbit’s health-tracking features left us wanting more. Expectations for the Pixel Watch 2 aren’t that high, and Google needs to prove that it’s worth the upgrade.
The Pixel Watch 2 may not seem like a game-changer from the outside, but it introduces some compelling features that could make it the ultimate health and wellness wearable. At $350, it sits between the $300 Galaxy Watch 6 and the $400 Apple Watch Series 9. With a multi-way heart rate monitor, body response and skin temperature sensors, and new apps and personal safety features, it aims to stand out in a competitive market.
Many of the significant changes in the Pixel Watch 2 can’t be fully assessed in a short hands-on session, such as the accuracy of the new heart rate sensor or the impact of the Safety Check feature. However, the device retains its attractive design, with a lighter case and improved haptic feedback on the rotating crown.
The reduced weight should increase comfort, especially for those who wear them to bed. The redesigned back cover accommodates the new sensors and ensures consistent contact with the skin, promising more accurate heart rate measurements during intense activities.
Google is also introducing new accessories, including a lighter sports band and metal links. Changing them is easy thanks to Google’s push-and-click mechanism. The Pixel Watch 2 features new watch faces that display information on the edges of the screen, similar to Apple’s smartwatches.
The specifications of the watch remain largely the same, with a 41mm AMOLED screen and a pixel density of 320 ppi. It maintains 1,000 nits of brightness and features minor tweaks to the font size and color scheme. The new Snapdragon Wear 5100 quad-core processor and slightly larger battery promise smoother animations and longer runtimes.
The Pixel Watch 2 includes various sensors, such as a continuous electrodermal activity monitor (cEDA) and a skin temperature sensor, which help manage stress and suggest activities such as guided meditation or walking. It also introduces automatic reminders to start and stop exercise for various activities, which addresses the previous deficiency.
Safety Check enhances personal safety, similar to Apple Check-In, by notifying preset contacts if you don’t confirm your well-being within a set time frame. In addition, Google Assistant supports health and fitness queries, allowing you to check real-time or historical statistics without touching the screen.
While the Pixel Watch 2 brings a few improvements, the final verdict will come after thorough testing. For those eager to explore the new features, pre-orders are open and the device will be available on October 12 in silver, black, and gold cases, including a range of bands and a six-month Fitbit Premium.5