With the Pixel Watch, Google offers a practical, no-frills model that is undermined by certain shortcomings that prevent it from claiming the category of must-have connected watches.
With the Pixel Watch, Google is jumping on the bandwagon. launched simultaneously with Pixel 7 smartphones and Pixel 7 Proit is the first connected watch designed by the American company, while many players, from Samsung to Xiaomi via Huawei and especially Apple, have offered numerous references in this product segment for several years now.
An acceleration in a long-standing project that owes a lot Google’s acquisition of Fitbit in 2020. The acquisition of this company specializing in connected sports and fitness objects has allowed the tech giant to assimilate their physical activity tracking technology and integrate certain features into the Pixel Watch.
An eye-catching design
Compatible only with Android smartphones, the Pixel Watch instantly seduces with the understated charm of its lines. Minimalistic and curved with its circular design that evokes the shape of a small stone, Google’s tocante manages to catch the eye with its vaulted curved screen that extends to the ends of its glass case.
In addition, its bracelet attachment system allows you to change its appearance. You can release it from its original attachment by fluoroelastomer by pressing the push buttons recessed in the case and thus choosing a more elegant appearance when, for example, to turn to a leather strap. However, the manipulation to be performed for this is not easy to achieve, as the said snaps are very small and therefore difficult to reach. Two bracelet sizes are included.
A thousand miles from the aggressive aesthetics of some connected watches, the curves displayed by the Pixel Watch give it an impression of softness that is confirmed when the item is placed on the wrist. Helped by its 35.8 grams and 41 millimeters in diameter, the only size marketed for this model, the smartwatch is comfortable to wear and has a good level of finish.
A good screen
Google chose one AMOLED panel 1.2 inch screen with good brightness, which makes it easy to read the displayed data day and night. A mode highlighted by the presence of a light sensor, which adjusts the latter according to the ambient lighting, and an “Always-on” display mode such as Samsung Galaxy Watch Pro 5.
To personalize the user experience as much as possible, the Pixel Watch offers eight pre-installed watch faces and 19 others available in the Watch application, which is used to configure the connected watch. New discs can also be downloaded via the Google Play Store.
A simple interface for a fairly intuitive handling
The Pixel Watch runs on Wear OS 3.5 and is responsive. The interface is rarely plagued by slowdowns, even when multiple applications are open at the same time.
Navigation in the carousel, which provides access to applications and sports exercises, is quite intuitive. Via the crown located on the side of the device, you can scroll quickly through the tabs. It is also possible to control directly on the touch screen by swiping your fingers on the sides.
Additionally, widgets can be moved or added as you wish in the carousel for easier access. Finally, the configuration of a direct shortcut, with a single press of the physical button located just above the wheel, is convenient to access recently opened applications. By swiping down, it is also possible to access shortcuts to certain functions that have been established in advance.
Pixel Watch recognizes 40 different exercises and sports. Among other things: martial arts, cycling, crossfit, running or even walking. Water sports are not left out, as swimming and canoeing are also present. Google Watch is especially waterproof up to 50 meters deep.
Like all connected watches, the Pixel Watch is lined with several sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, heart rate monitor, oximeter, electrocardiogram… To track your activity and monitor your health parameters, installing the application Fitbit (Android) is required.
Its interface is clear with, on the home page, your daily activity data (number of steps, floors climbed, number of kilometers driven, calories burned, etc.). Physical performance monitoring is reliable. Finally, the Pixel Watch takes advantage of all the apps available in the Play Store, including Google Map, Spotify, Gmail or YouTube Music. In addition, the watch also allows you to make calls, if the sound quality is not the most optimal, to send messages. It is also compatible with Google Assistant.
Autonomy must be improved
Battery life approaches 22 hours in standard use, with “Always-On” enabled and no exercise. If you want to be able to use it every day, and also during the night to monitor your sleep activity or to practice physical activity, an almost daily passage through the charging box seems necessary. Note that the connected watch has an “Energy Saving” mode to retrieve a few percent from the reserve.
On the other hand, the Pixel Watch recharges quite quickly: one hour will be enough to regain 100% autonomy. But we must not forget its charger, which is proprietary. None of the others will work with Google Watch.
A screen that is too small and perfectly ergonomic
The Pixel Watch’s panel shows good brightness, but it is very small at 41 millimeters in diameter. If the information display remains legible, however, it is necessary to scroll, sometimes for several seconds, to reach the desired application or functionality. A configuration that can become tiresome in the long run.
In addition, the circular format of the Pixel, unlike its square counterparts such as the Apple Watch, has the consequence of wasting display space. The information is thus grabbed away and forces the user to scroll further on the screen.
Two applications that interfere with each other
Pixel Watch is based on two applications: Pixel Watch, which allows pairing and configuration of the watch, and Fitbit, which is necessary to ensure medical and sports monitoring. A coexistence that serves the general ergonomics of the Google watch, because it requires switching from one app to another and creating two different accounts. A single platform to manage the Pixel Watch would have been better.
Subscribe to Fitbit Premium to get all the features
Some health tracking features are only available by subscribing to the Fitbit Premium plan. Among them: the daily fitness score, the detailed sleep score and the detailed stress management score, as well as the history of health indicators (respiratory rate, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, etc.). The price to take advantage of these options is 8.99 euros per month or 79.99 euros per year. A rather regrettable expense.
For his first foray into the world of connected clocks, Google only transforms the essay halfway through. Pixel Watch is a beautiful watch that benefits from a successful design, a simple interface, especially for users accustomed to Android and Fitbit’s sports tracking know-how.
Nevertheless, it fishes by its autonomy, its rather expensive price compared to the competition and its qualities. It also suffers from a lack of readability and visual comfort due to the modest size of the screen. The Pixel Watch is nonetheless a pretty decent connected watch for Android smartphone owners looking for a small size.