Pixel Watch beams music direct to your wireless ‘buds, like Google’s own Pixel Buds Pro (pictured)
Google has finally unveiled its Pixel Watch. Yes, it’s really here. After over half a decade of whispers on social media, artists’ impressions, and blurry leaked photos, the Pixel Watch has been unveiled during the annual Made By Google event, which also saw the arrival of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
First things first – Pixel Watch has a circular display. Yes, Google has taken a different approach to the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Ultra, and Fitbit Sense, which use a square-shaped design to maximise the amount of text that can be displayed on a single screen. While this means you won’t have to scroll as much for notifications of new text messages, emails, or directions …it does mean that traditional round watch faces look a little odd on the display.
Pixel Watch follows in the footsteps of Samsung’s best-selling smartwatch series, dubbed Galaxy Watch, and resembles a traditional timepiece. The Pixel Watch sports a 41mm circular display that uses three-dimensional domed glass to cover the screen. Google says this bulbous case – designed to resemble a water droplet – is designed to make the wearable look slimmer on your wrist and ensure it never gets stuck in your sleeve.
Pixel Watch is only available in a single size, so Google will need to find the correct balance between size and wearability.
All of Google’s core services – like directions from Google Maps – are supported by Pixel Watch
But while the Pixel Watch’s circular screen shares nothing in common with the Apple Watch, Google has taken inspiration from other aspects of Apple’s fitness-focused smartwatch. Just like the Apple Watch, Google has looked to classic timepieces for inspiration on the best way to control its wearable, bringing a tactile crown control for on-screen scrolling, accessing shortcuts, and initiating the app tray to provide important information at a glance.
A secondary button – known as the side button – is fitted above the crown and launches your most-recently used apps, so favourites are just a click away. You can also use this button to summon your debit and credit cards with Google Pay.
Google says it has designed 19 watch faces for its new wearable. Each of these designs can be customised to personalise the watch face, with shortcuts to your favourite apps or contacts, complications to provide useful snippets from inside your apps, and dozens of colours to choose from.
You set your favourite photos stored within Google Photos to be your watch face too.
Google has designed 20 watch faces, which can be customised by Pixel Watch owners
Pixel Watch does all of the usual smartwatch stuff – brings text messages, phone calls, WhatsApp notifications, calendar appointments, turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps, and contactless payments to your wrist. It can also track your sleep, heart-rate, and monthly cycle. Following its acquisition of Fitbit, Google has also baked-in Fitbit workout tracking into its smartwatch, so you’ll be able to track your performance in roughly 40 different exercise classes or outdoor workouts.
Just like a Fitbit Sense smartwatch, everything will be synced with the Fitbit app on your phone, so you can drill down into data on your heart rate throughout the exercise, minutes per mile, or whether you were in “Active Zone Minutes” – the term that Fitbit uses to describe periods of fat burn, cardio, or peak heart-rate during exercise. Pixel Watch has GPS, so you’ll be able to revisit the exact route that you took when running, walking, cycling or swimming outdoors.
If you’ve previously used a Fitbit tracker, you’ll be able to switch to the Pixel Watch without interrupting your trends. Fitbit Premium users will get access to 1,000 step-by-step workouts and 400 mindfulness sessions. The subscription service also unlocks more advanced data analysis too, like the Daily Readiness Score, which draws on your heart-rate data and logged exercise to let you know when your body is ready for an all-out workout, or when it’s time to prioritise rest.
Pixel Watch arrives with a number of straps, including a number designed for exercise and style
If you’d rather not use Fitbit, Google Pixel Watch offers some alternatives. You can download a number of popular activity apps from the Google Play Store from your wrist, including Adidas Running, MyFitnessPal and Strava. Other useful apps – like Calm and Spotify – are available to download too.
Since this is a Google-designed gadget, it’ll come as no surprise that Pixel Watch arrives with Google Assistant baked in. You can access the chatty AI assistant by saying “OK,Google” or “Hey Google” to the wrist-worn device. You can easily control your smart home devices through the Google Home app or just say “Hey, Google” to your watch to adjust the thermostat, turn on or off the lights, and get notifications from your Nest doorbell when a person or package is at the door.
Pixel Watch is available in a single size, in either Wi-Fi only or 4G variants
Pixel Watch is designed to sit comfortably alongside the latest hardware from Google, including the new Pixel smartphones and Pixel Buds Pro wireless earbuds. That means you’ll see the same case colours and industrial design across the latest lineup from Google.
For the Pixel Watch, that means you’ll be able to buy a strap that matches your ‘buds or new phone. In total, Google will offer 20 different band choices at launch, including classic and modern bands in woven, stretch, active and leather styles, with metal bands set to launch in spring 2023.
Google has designed a clever system to attach and detach bands from the Pixel Watch. That means you’ll be able to quickly switch from an activity-focused strap designed for the gym or pool, to a smarter woven band in the office. Unfortunately, it does mean that Pixel Watch is incompatible with traditional straps – so you’ll need to start a new collection for your Pixel Watch from the Google Store.
Google Pixel Watch is available with Wi-Fi only, which means you’ll need your paired phone nearby to make and receive phone calls, or a 4G-enabled model, which can send and receive texts and calls independently. Price start from £349 for the Wi-Fi model, with the 4G model costing £379. And of course, you’ll need a contract with a mobile network to use the 4G network from your Pixel Watch.