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    Google Pixel Watch 2 review

    It took Google an eternity to create its own wristwatch, but we’ve now arrived at the second iteration in the shape of the aptly called Pixel Watch 2.

    The wearable debuted alongside the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones, and while it remains one of the most appealing smartwatches on the market and has some improvements, it is largely identical to the original.

    It’s seen a small price increase, so has Google concentrated its efforts in the correct areas to make it worthwhile?

    Design & Build

    • Spot the difference
    • Aluminum chassis
    • Lighter than first-gen

    Because the Pixel Watch 2 is similar in look and build, you’d be excused for assuming the photographs above are of the first Pixel Watch.

    Unless you put it under a microscope. One of the most noticeable modifications is a new 100% recyclable aluminum case, albeit according to Google, this only accounts for 3% of the total weight. Previously, the body was made of stainless steel, which felt more premium and sturdy, but the watch is now 5g lighter at 31g.

    The same three finishes are available as before: polished silver, matte black, and champagne gold. There are also two additional band colors, Bay and Porcelain, which are both matched with the silver body.

    All of them are normal silicone Active bands (with a proprietary fast release connection and a larger size in the package if needed), but Google has included three additional optional straps with Metal Slim and Active Sport.

    The Pixel Watch 2 is just as pleasant to wear as its predecessor, and it is still IP68 and 50ATM (50m) certified. I didn’t notice any weight difference, but I’m all for it being made of 100% recyclable materials.

    The side button and speaker location remain unaltered on the sides. The digital crown has been repositioned closer to the watch and no longer requires a little cut out in the glass. That seems neater, but it takes a magnifying lens to tell the difference (see below).

    The rear looks a little different because of some new sensors and the way the charger attaches.

    Overall, it’s simply little improvements here and there, but given how stunning the Pixel Watch was the first time around, I can’t blame Google.

    Screen & Audio

    • Still AMOLED
    • Still 320ppi
    • Still 1000 nits

    There are no noticeable enhancements to the display. It still has a circular AMOLED screen protected by 3D Gorilla Glass 5. It features the same pixel density of 320ppi and max brightness of 1000 nits as the original Pixel Watch.

    It’s a beautiful screen with rich colors, deep blacks, and plenty of brightness for outdoor use. By default, the Pixel Watch 2 will adapt the brightness based on your surroundings, exactly like your phone, and I didn’t need to modify anything.

    There is still a pretty thick bezel around the edge, but Google covers this effectively with the interface design, and I think the display size achieves a decent balance of real estate while keeping the device small. I wouldn’t blame you if you want a greater selection.

    Bedtime and Cinema modes return, allowing you to turn off the display in certain scenarios (saving battery life), but there’s a difference in that the screen is always-on by default, while the Pixel Watch’s wasn’t.

    This is because Google has enhanced battery life so that you may go a day without having to switch off the screen to save electricity.

    The speaker will play alerts, but it’s also great for taking phone calls when your phone isn’t nearby, as well as hearing Google Assistant replies.

    Software & Features

    • Wear OS 4.0
    • Similar with tweaks
    • Better integration for some apps

    While the Pixel Watch 2 runs Wear OS 4.0, the experience is virtually the same as the original Pixel Watch, which will also receive this upgrade.

    Google did an excellent job with the prior iteration, so it’s not surprising that it’s more of the same here. For alerts, slide up from the watch face, down for quick settings, and sideways for Tiles. When you click the digital crown, you’ll be presented with a variety of applications to pick from.

    The experience is intuitive, slick and fits the round screen well

    The experience is easy, sleek, and well-suited to the circular screen. Tiles, which are effectively widgets for applications and functions ranging from weather and fitness monitoring to calendar items and more, are one of my favorite parts.

    You may arrange up to 15 of them as you like. Body reaction is a new addition that I’ll discuss later. Calendar and Gmail connectivity has improved such that you can do almost anything, even reply to emails, and there are even Gmail watch face complexities.

    Speaking of watch faces, there’s a new set of pre-installed designs, and customization is nearly limitless, with the opportunity to pick multiple colors and complexities to make things just how you want them.

    There are other things you can (still) do with the watch, like on-wrist Google Maps navigation, Google Home control, and (with limits) control of your phone’s camera. With the Play Store on your wrist, you can access a plethora of apps like as Spotify, Strava, WhatsApp, and many more.

    One of Wear OS 4’s new and beneficial features is the ability to move your watch to a different phone without losing data. You may also use Google One to backup and restore your data, as well as synchronize your phone’s settings (such as do not disturb and bedtime).

    There are also new emergency capabilities, such as the ability to set a timer and have your position shared with emergency contacts if you do not check in when it goes off.

    Fitness & Tracking

    • New sensors
    • Better tracking
    • Fitbit Premium not included

    This is an area that has evolved significantly since the first Pixel Watch, owing partly to new sensors. The Pixel Watch 2 has a multi-path heart rate monitor and a cEDA (continuous electrodermal activity) sensor, both of which are also included on the Fitbit Sense 2.

    combined with the cEDA and a new skin temperature sensor, the Pixel Watch 2 is more capable of tracking wellness

    Pixel Watch 2

    The Pixel Watch 2’s heart rate monitor is more accurate for exercises, and when paired with the cEDA and a new skin temperature sensor, it is better capable of measuring wellbeing. This mostly takes the form of ‘Body Reponses,’ in which the gadget detects changes in your body and prompts you to report your mood, whether it’s tension or happiness.

    Based on these, you may be advised to conduct some breathing exercises or take a soothing stroll. While just one minute of following the on-screen and haptic breathing guidance reduced my pulse rate by an amazing 14bpm, Body Responses was a mixed bag.

    I used to get notifications a while after they happened and then had to go back and remember what was going on at the time to figure out what to log. I also received several alerts during the night, but I couldn’t log that I was sleeping.

    If you’re willing to wear the gadget overnight, you can track your sleep. For wearing in bed, the Pixel Watch 2 is the most comfortable wearable I’ve tested. However, I didn’t think the tracking was extremely precise.

    Pixel Watch 2

    The Pixel Watch 2 is the most comfortable wearable I’ve tried for wearing in bed

    I frequently sleep for an hour or two before being woken up by a baby, and the Pixel Watch 2 occasionally failed to capture those hours. I know I was sleeping since I have a Nest Hub 2 with Sleep Sensing on my bedside table.

    The watch may provide a variety of data, including fluctuations in skin temperature, blood oxygen levels, and more. It’s questionable what you’ll get from this, but they weren’t helpful to me.

    However, if any metrics go outside of your own range, it may assist uncover a problem.

    The quantity of data available on the watch, and much more so on the new Fitbit phone app, is massive – nearly overwhelming in fact – but this is where things become personal. I’m not interested in seeing how many Active Zone Minutes or calories I’ve burnt.

    However, if you enjoy fitness monitoring, gamification, and setting goals, the Pixel Watch 2 will be quite enticing. Pace training is now available, and it can automatically track specific activities.

    The main issue here is that you need a Fitbit Premium subscription to access several tools and statistics, like Daily Readiness, Sleep Profile, Sleep Score information, Wellness Report, and others.

    Given that the Pixel Watch 2 already costs $349/£349 and Fitbit Premium costs $9.99/£7.99 each month, it’s a tough sell. The device comes come with a six-month trial period so you can assess how much you use it before deciding whether or not to subscribe.

    Specs & Performance

    • New chip
    • Same memory and storage
    • LTE optional

    The Pixel Watch 2 retains its 2GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage, so the only difference to note is the CPU.

    Google has moved from a Samsung to a Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 (SW5100) processor, making the Pixel Watch 2 quad-core rather than dual-core. Furthermore, the W5 is designed specifically for wearables.

    The first Pixel Watch performed admirably, and the narrative is the same here. Overall, the Watch 2 is substantially more snappy and sleek than the original.

    This must also have an effect on battery life as we’ll explore next.

    Pixel Watch 2

     

    Just before that, it’s worth mentioning that the Pixel Watch 2 features NFC for contactless payments and that the LTE version costs an additional $50/£50. That means you don’t have to rely on your phone to connect to the internet, so you can receive alerts and calls while running without your phone.

    However, while this is widely supported by carriers in the United States, it is only supported by EE and Vodafone in the United Kingdom. You are not need to purchase the watch on contract from a carrier, but if you want to utilize LTE, you must join up with one that supports it.

    Battery Life & Charging

    • 306mAh
    • New (not wireless) charger
    • ‘Fast Charging’

    The battery inside the Pixel Watch 2 is only 12mAh bigger in capacity than the original – a negligible improvement.

    The battery life is said to be 24 hours, although it is with the display set to always-on rather than clocking out to entirely off. Of course, the actual duration is determined by factors like as usage and lighting conditions.

    I’ve discovered that it can survive a whole day without needing to turn off the screen (with Bedtime mode on at night), or even longer with light usage.

    Checking the clock, receiving alerts, and utilizing background tracking (for steps and heart rate) meant I had little more over 40% left at night, with sleep tracking using roughly 10%, leaving 30% for the morning.

    If you plan to use the Pixel Watch 2 for a daily workout with GPS tracking, outside in broad sunlight, and routinely utilizing applications like Maps, WhatsApp, or others, it will most likely be flagging or entirely inoperable when you go into bed. That eliminates sleep tracking unless you give it a boost at a handy time.

    When the battery runs low, you receive a message, but it’s a shame there isn’t a more sophisticated “charge before bed” alert like on an Apple Watch.

    When it comes to charging, Google claims that you can get 50% charged in 30 minutes and a full charge in 75 minutes (but only at 2.5W).

    Pixel Watch 2

    I only observed 44% after 30 minutes, but the watch had reached an astounding 98% after an hour. This was done with the USB-C cable connected to an authentic Google 18W adapter (not supplied).

    In one frustrating manner, the new charger is inferior to the old. The Pixel Watch 2 does not enable wireless charging (nor did its predecessor), but it does feature metal POGO pin connections. While this is OK, the charger must be oriented correctly, with the cord on the same side as the digital crown.

    If you’re like me, you don’t want to think about it: it’s one of the best features of the Apple Watch charger. The magnets are stronger than previously, which is advantageous because the charger floats in the air rather than sitting neatly on a desk.

    Price & Availability

    The Pixel Watch 2 is more expensive than the original, although not by much with a £10 bump in the UK. It’s the same price as last year in the US.

    This means you’ll have to fork out $349/£349 for one, and $399/£399 if you want the LTE model. The price is the same regardless of which case and strap combo you opt for.

    You can buy it from Google as well you can buy it from Amazon. In the US, you can get it from Google and Amazon.

    Should you buy the Google Pixel Watch 2?

    If you already have a Pixel Watch, the answer is almost definitely no, though I wouldn’t blame you if you desired the improved battery life and tracking.

    Those who do not have the original must make a more difficult choice. The Pixel Watch 2 is without a doubt one of the greatest smartwatches available right now, but it is not without flaws.

    It strikes an excellent mix between smartwatch and fitness functions and remains, in my opinion, the most appealing design on the market. However, to get the most out of Fitbit Premium for fitness and health, you must pay an additional fee, which seems a little harsh for Google’s most expensive wearable.

    There are cheaper devices (like the original Pixel Watch), devices that last longer, and devices with a larger screen available, so it’s definitely worth window surfing before purchasing.

    Specs

    • Wear OS 4.0
    • 1.2in AMOLED, 320ppi, 1000 nits
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon W5
    • 2GB RAM
    • 32GB storage
    • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz
    • Bluetooth 5.0
    • GPS
    • NFC
    • 4G LTE (optional)
    • Mic
    • Speaker
    • Multi-path optical heart rate sensor
    • Blood oxygen sensor
    • cEDA for body response tracking
    • Skin temperature sensor
    • Accelerometer, altimeter, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, compass
    • Fall detection
    • 306mAh battery
    • Up to 24 hours of battery life (always on screen)
    • Water-resistant to 5ATM / 50m
    • IP68
    • 100% recycled aluminium body
    • Custom 3D Gorilla Glass 5 front
    • Digital crown
    • Side button
    • 31g (body only)
    • Launch colours (body): Matte Black, Polished Silver, Champagne Gold

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