Google Pixel Watch hands-on: This would have been great in 2022!

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There are a lot of different things about the new Google Pixel Watch hands-on. Thanks to all the leaks, I already knew that before I even saw it. Still, I felt like I had seen it a million times before and like I was seeing it for the first time.

Google Pixel Watch hands-on: This would have been great in 2019!

The Google Pixel Watch hands-on looks much better in person than it does in the renders and thousands of leaked photos. When I saw it in person, I was surprised by how nice it looked and how it manages to look both cute and professional at the same time.

The Google Pixel Watch hands-on seems much smaller and thinner than it is because it has curves in all the right places. Google has outdone itself by coming up with a smartwatch that would look good with both a running T-shirt and an evening dress or suit.

Google Pixel Watch hands-on: This would have been great in 2019!

The dome shape is a big part of this trick of the eye/mastery. It looks modern and simple, but when you put on the Google Pixel Watch hands-on, half of that goes away. The bottom part gently digs into your skin and rests more on it. It’s not clear yet if this could be annoying, but for now, you can only really see the two upper thirds of the watch. The sensor array, which is in the bottom third, goes away. And just like that, Google cuts 4mm off the total thickness of the watch, which is 12.3mm.

With one trick of the eye, the Google Pixel Watch hands-on looks thinner, and with another, the bezels are hidden.

With the Google Pixel Watch hands-on, Google isn’t just playing with this trick of the eye. Every Wear OS 3.5 menu and the built-in app has been made to work best with a dark background.

We know why: “bezels.” They are there, but most of the time they are black and hard to see. When you throw something like a torch at them, you can see how big they are. Someone joked on Twitter that Google went from having a flat tire to having a fat one, and they’re not that far off.

How cool is the Google Pixel Watch hands-on?

I already said that there are contradictions, and this is just the first one. I don’t think I’d notice these bezels in everyday life, but would the Google Pixel Watch hands-on look more modern and show more information if the screen was bigger and the bezels were smaller? It would, of course.

The crown’s haptic feedback feels exquisite.

The crown navigation is a great addition because it saves you from having to scroll on such a small screen (with your index hiding half of it). No one wants smudges and streaks on such a nice watch, but you can’t completely avoid them: Sometimes, after you’re done scrolling, you’ll have to tap the screen to choose. I will say, though, that the crown’s haptic feedback feels absolutely wonderful.

Every swipe, scroll, and choice works the same way. This is by far the best way I’ve seen Wear OS work. I’ve had the LG G Watch and G Watch R, the Huawei Watch, the Misfit Vapor X, the Skagen Falster, and the Galaxy Watch 4 in the past eight years. Every one of them has been rough in some way, but the Galaxy Watch 4 has been the smoothest.

This is the smoothest Wear OS experience I’ve seen on any watch, including Samsung’s latest Galaxy Watches.

The Google Pixel Watch hands-on seems to be the fastest and most responsive of them all. Even Google Assistant seemed to understand it quickly! Again, we won’t know how well it works in real life until we do a lot of tests, but so far, things look good.

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In the short time, I had the Google Pixel Watch hands-on, I wasn’t able to try out many of its features, but we now have a good idea of what to expect. It works like Wear OS, but Fitbit tracking is built right in. Some extras include a zooming camera controller for your Pixel phone and the ability to call for help by tapping the crown five times. Fall detection will be coming later this year.

The Google Pixel Watch hands-on needs its own app, just like every other Wear OS 3.0 or higher watch. It doesn’t work with the standard Wear OS app, which is a clear improvement. Google no longer has to support all wearables in its ecosystem.

Instead, it can focus on its own watch and app experience. This lets it offer a more complete companion app with customizable watch faces and tiles and many fine-grained settings, just like Samsung’s Galaxy Wear app does with its Galaxy Watch line. On the other hand, there are now many different versions of Wear OS.

Under the surface, though, the biggest contradiction might be hiding. The Google Pixel Watch hands-on has an Exynos 9110 chip, which is four years old. It has two Cortex A53 cores and was made using a 10nm process.

We are a long way from the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 platform with its quad-core CPU and 4nm process nodes. With a more modern processor, the Google Pixel Watch hands-on could have been even faster and smoother, and most importantly, it could have lasted two days on a single charge. None of this “up to 24 hours” nonsense. With the W5+ Gen 1, Qualcomm promises this: A watch with a 300mAh battery can be used for 43 hours (the Google Pixel Watch hands-on has a 294mAh battery).

Google chose a processor that was made four years ago. The battery life could have been twice as long with a more modern choice.

Google chose the Exynos 9110 instead, which makes us scratch our heads a little bit more. Here’s a fitness-focused watch that probably won’t last all night and won’t be able to track your sleep unless you charge it before bed. It has a processor and bezels from the years 2018–2019. It doesn’t have the sensors or features that the best smartwatches do.

It almost seems like Google made this watch in 2018 or 2019 and put it away until now. I could agree with this idea. Imagine this: Early in 2019, Google comes up with the idea for a cool Google Pixel Watch hands-on. It realizes it needs a unique selling point, so it starts working with Fitbit.

Google Pixel Watch hands-on: This would have been great in 2019!

At some point, Google decides it might as well buy Fitbit, which throws off the whole Google Pixel Watch hands-on plan. COVID happens, and regulatory issues cause more delays, so the Fitbit purchase isn’t finalized until 2021 and the Google Pixel Watch hands-on comes out today.

This is all just a guess, and I’m getting off-topic, but boy, does it not explain everything we’re seeing here? Yes, this Google Pixel Watch hands-on would have been a huge hit in 2019. In 2022? I’m not so sure.

I still have a lot of different ideas about the Google Pixel Watch hands-on, but nothing compares to how confused I feel when I look at the price tag. How can Google sell the Pixel 6a for $449 and the Google Pixel Watch hands-on for $349?

There is a huge difference between a company that undercuts its competitors and offers a great midrange smartphone experience for $449 and a company that overshoots with its smartwatch and prices it just $100 less than the whole smartphone.

How could the Pixel 6a cost $449 and the Google Pixel Watch hands-on cost $349 from the same company? 

We’ll know a lot more about the Google Pixel Watch hands-on once we’ve used it for a while, but for now, I can say that it’s the most confusing Pixel product I’ve seen from Google. Oh, it looks great and feels even better in the hand, but I know it could have been much better, so I know I’m in for a fun but frustrating time.

FAQs

Does Google Pixel have plans for a watch?

Google’s first smartwatch is finally here, and I’ve been testing it for the past week to see how good it is. The Pixel Watch is basically a mix of a smartwatch made to work with Google’s Pixel phones and a Fitbit.

Is there a watch on the Google phone?

Google finally has an answer to the Apple Watch in 2022. It’s the Pixel Watch, which is basically an Android-only Fitbit. It seems to be a direct response to Apple’s wearable, which only works with iPhones.

Does Google wear a watch on its wrist?

The first smartwatch to combine the best of what Google and Fitbit have to offer. Lovely on the inside and out. On your wrist, help from Google.