With the Pixel Watch, Google offers a practical and no-frills model 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 at the same time as 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 been offering numerous references in this product segment for several years now.
An acceleration in a long-standing project that owes a lot the takeover of Fitbit by Google in 2020. The acquisition of this company specializing in connected sports and fitness objects has enabled the tech giant to assimilate their physical activity tracking technology and integrate certain features into the Pixel Watch.
An eye-catching design
The Pixel Watch, compatible only with Android smartphones, immediately seduces with the discreet charm of its lines. Minimalist and curvaceous with its circular design that evokes the shape of a small pebble, Google’s tocante manages to catch the eye with its domed curved screen that extends to the ends of its glass case.
In addition, its bracelet attachment system allows you to modify its appearance. You can relieve it of its original attachment by fluoroelastomer by pressing the snaps recessed in the case and thus opt for a more elegant appearance by turning to a leather strap for example. However, the manipulation to be carried out for this is not easy to achieve, the said snaps being very small and therefore difficult to reach. Two bracelet sizes are provided.
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 once the object is put 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 opted for a AMOLED panel 1.2 inch screen offering good brightness, which makes it easy to read the data displayed day and night. A state of affairs accentuated by the presence of a light sensor, which adjusts the latter according to the ambient lighting, and an “Always-on” display mode like the Samsung Galaxy Watch Pro 5.
In order to personalize the user experience as much as possible, the Pixel Watch offers eight preinstalled watch faces and 19 others available in the Watch application which is used to configure the connected watch. New dials can also be downloaded via the Google Play Store.
A simple interface for a fairly intuitive handling
Running on Wear OS 3.5, the Pixel Watch is responsive. The interface is rarely faulted by slowdowns even when several applications are open at the same time.
Navigation in the carousel, which allows access to applications and sports exercises, is quite intuitive. Via the crown located on the side of the device, you can scroll through the tabs quickly. It is also possible to manage directly on the touch screen by swiping the fingers on the sides.
In addition, widgets can be moved or added as you wish in the carousel to access them more easily. Finally, the configuration of a direct shortcut, with a simple press of the physical button placed just above the wheel, is practical for accessing recently opened applications. By sliding your finger down, it is also possible to access shortcuts to certain features established beforehand.
The Pixel Watch recognizes 40 different exercises and sports. Among others: martial arts, cycling, crossfit, running or even walking. Water sports are not left out since swimming and canoeing are also present. The Google Watch is notably water resistant 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, the installation of the application Fitbit (Android) is necessary.
Its interface is clear with, on the home page, your daily activity data (number of steps, floors climbed, number of kilometers traveled, calories burned, etc.). Physical performance monitoring is reliable. Finally, the Pixel Watch benefits from all the apps available on the Play Store including Google maps, Spotify, Gmail or YouTube Music. In addition, the watch also allows you to make calls, whose audio quality is not the most optimal, to send messages. It is also compatible with Google Assistant.
Autonomy to be improved
Battery life is approaching 22 hours in standard use, with “Always-On” activated and without exercising. If you want to be able to use it every day, and moreover during the night to follow the activity of your sleep or to practice a physical activity, an almost daily passage through the charging box seems necessary. Note that the connected watch has an “Energy saving” mode to glean a few percentages from the reserve.
On the other hand, the Pixel Watch recharges quite quickly: one hour will be enough to recover 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 perfectible ergonomics
The Pixel Watch’s panel displays good brightness, but it is very small with its 41 millimeters in diameter. If the information display remains readable, it is however necessary to scroll, sometimes several seconds, to reach the desired application or functionality. A configuration that can tire in the long run.
In addition, the circular format of the Pixel, unlike its square-shaped counterparts like the Apple Watch, has the consequence of wasting display space. The information is thus nibbled away and forces the user to scroll the screen further.
Two applications that interfere with each other
The Pixel Watch is based on two applications: Pixel Watch, which allows the pairing and configuration of the watch, and Fitbit necessary to ensure medical and sports monitoring. A cohabitation that serves the general ergonomics of the Google watch, because it requires switching from one app to another as well as creating two different accounts. A single platform to administer the Pixel Watch would have been better.
Subscribe to Fitbit Premium to get all the features
Some health tracking features are only accessible by subscribing to the Fitbit Premium subscription. Among them: the daily fitness score, the detailed sleep score and the detailed stress management score as well as the history of health indicators (breathing 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 cost.
For his first foray into the world of connected watches, Google transforms the essay only halfway. The Pixel Watch is a nice watch that benefits from a successful design, a simple interface, especially for users accustomed to Android, and Fitbit’s know-how in terms of sports tracking.
Nevertheless, it fishes by its autonomy, its rather expensive price with regard to the competition and its qualities. It also suffers from a lack of readability and visual comfort due to the modest size of its screen. The Pixel Watch is nonetheless a fairly decent connected watch for Android smartphone owners looking for a small size.