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Google Pixel Watch 2 review: With important improvements, not a world first

Google Pixel Watch 2 featured image
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2024 TechnikNews)

With the Google Pixel Watch 2, Google is already offering its second smartwatch. You can read here whether this is recommended.

tl; dr: The Pixel Watch 2 comes with very few innovations, but these eliminate points that made the first generation even less recommendable. I'm thinking here about the longer battery life.

The smartwatch also impressed me with the display, the smooth software, the Fitbit features and the reliable recording of training sessions. I have to criticize that there is no second case size, the button above the crown for multitasking is difficult to reach, the bracelet mechanism is initially complicated and the music controls cannot be accessed via the workout screen.

Who is the Google Pixel Watch 2 suitable for? I recommend it to anyone looking for a small and unobtrusive Android smartwatch. I can also recommend it to Fitbit users who benefit from the brand's features prowant to get fit, but also want a fully-fledged smart watch.

Unboxing and initial setup

The second Pixel Watch comes in a white box covered in cardboard. This box can be opened like the packaging of previous Fitbit watches. Inside is the Pixel Watch 2 itself, a charging puck, an interchangeable wristband in a second size and various pieces of paper.

You need this for the setup Pixel Watch app, which can be found in the Play Store. The individual steps are very simple and are explained in the app in an easy-to-understand manner. The furnishingsproprocess should not take longer than 15 to 20 minutes.

Design and workmanship

The Pixel Watch 2 looks very similar to the original. We are still dealing with a compact, round smartwatch to which a wide variety of bracelets can be configured. The only change to the design is that the digital crown has grown a little compared to its predecessor. The case is available in silver, black and gold.

Because nothing has changed in the basic design, the wearable comes with the same advantages as its predecessor. These include the low weight of just 31 grams (without bracelet), the compact case of 41 millimeters and the inconspicuous design. And if you switch from the first generation of the Pixel Watch, you can even continue to use the wristbands you purchased.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Theme

Picture: TechnikNews

Unfortunately, the Google Pixel Watch 2 also has some of the disadvantages of the original. The first thing I noticed was that the bracelet mechanism took a lot of getting used to at the beginning. This is noticeable because the bracelet is pushed out to the side where you hold the unlock button and it is difficult to angle the bracelet so that it immediately snaps into the case when pushed in. Furthermore, the button for multitasking is difficult to reach, a second housing size would be desirable and the charging puck only sticks in one orientation.

Google Pixel Watch 2 wristbands

Picture: TechnikNews

The workmanship is again top notch. Google switched from stainless steel to aluminum and apart from a few very few microscopic scratches, it looks great. The smartwatch is also waterproof up to five ATM and has an IP68 certification.

At this point a few words about the built-in vibration motor. This is surprisingly good compared to other Android smartwatches, but doesn't come close to the Apple Watch, which in my opinion still sits on the throne here. But the engine isn't as annoying as it is at Samsung.

Display

The AMOLED display is 1,2 inches in size and has a resolution of 384 x 384 pixels. The pixel density is 320 pixels pro Inch and the panel can of course also be operated in always-on mode thanks to AMOLED. It is protected by a special 3D Corning Gorilla Glass.

The image quality of the display impressed me in everyday life, and I can't complain about anything in this regard. The slightly thicker display edge didn't bother me at all, even though I would still prefer wearables with edge-to-edge touchscreens. But that's how it is now with the Pixel Watch and that's perfectly fine.

Battery life

The 306 milliamp hour battery is supposed to keep the Google Pixel Watch 2 alive for 24 hours, which is significantly better than its predecessor. I came in my test proI have no problem with this value, often even with training and recording my sleep. I also always used the always-on display. Most of the time I was able to use the smartwatch for a little longer than 24 hours.

According to the manufacturer, it can be fully charged in 75 minutes using the appropriate quick-charging power supply. I can sign that too. However, with the Apple Watch, Apple shows that there is still room for improvement in this area.

Operating system and performance

The Pixel Watch 2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100. Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN and NFC are also integrated, although you can also get a variant with LTE for an additional charge. GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo and Quasi-Zenith Satellite are also on board. The memory has a capacity of 32 gigabytes and the RAM measures two gigabytes.

The operating system is Wear OS 4.0. Everything here is structured in such a way that you should be able to find your way around without any instructions if you have already used a smartwatch. And even if that's not the case, the watch will guide you through all the important things at the beginning. My only criticism is that I would have preferred a honeycomb view for the app list like Apple or Samsung. I really liked the selection and customization options for the dials. However, they aren't as playful as the Fitbit, which is kind of a shame. Visually, everything is very similar to Stock Android from the Pixel smartphone, which I really liked.

The performance is at a very good level, you shouldn't experience long waiting times or vague animations in everyday life. Only after starting up the clock is everything a bit slow, but this rarely lasts longer than just two minutes.

Google PixelWatch 2

Picture: TechnikNews

Health functions

The Pixel Watch can indirectly be thought of as a Fitbit wearable disguised as a Wear OS watch. All health data comes together in the Fitbit app on the smartphone and is recorded by several apps on the watch. There are four of them in total: Fitbit Training, Fitbit Relax, Fitbit ECG and Fitbit Today.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 has a number of sensors that record this data. There is a compass, an altimeter, red and infrared sensors, an optical heart rate sensor, a skin temperature sensor and an electrical sensor, among other things. The latter reads the skin conductivity by emitting small electrical pulses. This means the smartwatch is able to detect stress – more on that in a moment.

These sensors allow, among other things, training tracking. You can choose from almost any sport, and I tested the Pixel Watch 2 several times while running. There were almost no differences in the results from other wearables. The only thing that bothered me is that you don't have access to the currently playing music on the workout screen. I got around it by always reading Spotify in the app switcher during workouts.

In addition to training, the watch records steps, heart rate, stairs climbed, calories burned and a few other things in everyday life.

The watch also helps you gain valuable insights into your own sleep. It measures the individual sleep phases and prepares a nice evaluation in the Fitbit app after each night. Here you can see the duration of the individual phases, a score between 0 and 100 and the estimated oxygen deviation. You can only get an insight into your heart rate and a list of restless sleep phases with a subscription to Fitbit Premium. But none of this is new and could already be used with Fitbit models. Nevertheless, it motivates you to sleep more and provides many practical insights.

Last but not least, there are a few functions related to dealing with stress, for which Google built in the previously mentioned electrical sensor. With the evaluations, the software can give you a review of the day or week. If you feel stressed more often, you can then recognize patterns and adapt your everyday life accordingly. Or you can balance it out with the breathing exercises that the Pixel Watch offers. I personally didn't have any use for these features during my testing, but there's definitely a big plus point for having them at all.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Prices and availability

The starting RRP of the Google Pixel Watch 2 is 399 euros. To do this, Google adds a six-month subscription to Fitbit Premium and one month of YouTube Music Premium. You can buy the wearable here:

We would like to thank Google for providing the Google Pixel Watch 2!

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1256 articles and left 117 comments.

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