The first release of Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) was in 2014, and yet, for some reason, we never had a first-party Google smartwatch — neither from Google’s defunct Nexus lineup nor from its current Pixel series. That’s changing today: the Pixel Watch is finally here.
Google unveiled its Pixel Watch smartwatch today at its Made by Google hardware event, alongside the Pixel 7 series. And it looks like a slick product — even as it’s suffering from some first-gen flaws that Google will need to address in future iterations. The large bezel around the screen has been a point of contention over the past few weeks of leaks, for example.
Let’s talk about the cool things first, though. The watch has a 1.6-inch AMOLED display protected by Gorilla Glass 5 (sorry, sapphire lovers) and comes in a single, 41mm size. The display has an always-on mode and it can get as bright as 1,000 nits, so you shouldn’t have any problems at all when it comes to brightness outdoors. The watch is made of stainless steel and it also comes with 2GB of RAM, half a gig more than Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 in terms of memory.
The Pixel Watch 5 has proprietary bands that lock into the watch, which means there isn’t any additional bulk from lugs and other traditional watch elements, but also means you’re limited to bands specifically designed for the Pixel Watch. That’s a major downgrade from the hundreds (if not thousands) of traditional bands that work with smartwatches like the Galaxy Watch 5 and Fossil Gen 6. Right now, Google is only promising 20 bands will be available.
As far as sensors go, the watch has a heart rate monitor, and it’s even capable of taking ECGs. It’s also water resistant, and it can be submerged up to 50 meters — roughly the same as the Galaxy Watch 5, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the 100 meters the Apple Watch Ultra allows for. We also have both “active” rubber bands and several other models. There’s also some software integration with Fitbit’s health services.
The watch is powered by the Samsung Exynos 9110 SoC, which is an older chip by this point — it was superseded by the Exynos W920, which is the chip used on the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 5 lineups. The Pixel Watch does try to make up for the older chip with that 2GB of RAM, as well as with a Cortex-M33 co-processor. It also offers up to 24 hours of battery life on a single charge, which, while decent, is still less than what its direct Samsung-made competitors offer.
As far as pricing goes, the watch will start at $349 for the Wi-Fi-only version, going up to $400 for the LTE model. The watch will be available in matte black/obsidian, polished silver/hazel, polished silver/charcoal, and champagne gold/hazel.
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