Among Pixel fans, the Pixel is a hardware product that has been rumored for a long time. For me, it was even rumored as far back as the Pixel 2. But what it looks like has been “all talk and no action” for many years.
On the one hand, Wear OS has been lukewarm for a long time, and although there has been support from brands such as Ask and Fossil over the years, the overall ecology has not been much better. This situation was not completely changed until Samsung abandoned its own Tizen system and switched to Wear OS 3.0 on the Galaxy Watch series, and after the first generation of Wear OS 3.0-equipped Galaxy Watch was released, the Galaxy Watch single-handedly brought the Wear OS market share to the second place in the world with Samsung’s gale like appeal in the global market. market share to the second in the world.
On the other hand, for Google, even though it has been competing with Apple Watch for many years since the time of Android Wear, Google has never released any of its own brand of smartwatch, and most of Google’s strategy in the wearable field is to cooperate with the above-mentioned manufacturers such as Fossil, Gatekeeper and Samsung. Google’s strategy in the wearable field is mostly driven by cooperation with the above-mentioned manufacturers such as Fossil, Menq and Samsung.
The situation changed after the Pixel 5: Google no longer wants to let its Pixel hardware act as an Android “prototype room”, and its strategy to build its own ecology has gradually become obvious.
So in 2022, the Pixel Watch will be unveiled along with the Pixel 7 series of phones.
The Pixel Watch is a hardware product with a distinctly Google design, with a silver/white look reminiscent of the Pixel 6 Pro/7 Pro and even the earlier white version of the original Pixel. The crown can be rotated to control the menu in a similar way to the earlier Fossil models.
Of course, this is nothing new to Apple Watch users, and even in comparison, the Pixel Watch’s crown has more limitations in terms of system coverage: for example, in the process of switching watch dials with a long press, we can’t quickly switch between dials by rotating the crown directly.
The good thing is that the overall experience of wearing Pixel Watch is qualified. In the system settings, we can manually select the left and right hand side of the watch and the orientation of the crown, and when we change the orientation of the crown (e.g., reverse the right hand side), the UI display and operation logic will also change. With the ability to swap the two parts of the band, the Pixel Watch is very user-friendly for users with different wearing habits.
As a Wear OS watch, it’s definitely one of the biggest changes to abandon the previous Wear OS by Google device in favor of a separate Pixel Watch app.
The Pixel Watch app is called Watch, and I’m not sure if it’s going to be a universal app for more Wear OS watches – but I hope it will be, because it’s a complete change from the previous Wear OS by Google’s simplistic design, bringing almost all of the settings and actions we need to perform on the watch into the app. It brings almost all of the settings and actions we need to perform on our watches into the app.
From loading an app on the watch, customizing whether app notifications are turned on on the watch, to dial replacement, style customization, and Tile card sorting, all can be done directly from the mobile app.
Unlike most Wear OS smartwatches on the market, the Pixel Watch starts out with a rounded, minimalist design. This style is somewhere between the Fitbit and Apple Watch, and also separates it from the Fossil and Galaxy Watches of the same camp.
But in some of the details of the Pixel Watch, it’s not hard to find the urban sporty feel of Fitbit products. The strap interface is more delicate than the Samsung and Apple solutions, with a snap button and a rotating strap to remove it, much like changing the lens on a microphone.
While the private interface may result in a small selection of bands, and Google didn’t mention any third-party band manufacturers at the event, I don’t think this issue will be a problem for the almighty Alibaba. In fact, Alibaba has already searched for several strap models for the Pixel Watch.
More than the band, what really stands out about the Pixel Watch is the bezel. Even though Google has been trying to hide it in various promotions, there is still no way to avoid the reality that the bezel of the Pixel Watch is really thick.
The Google Pixel hardware team is also very unlikely to want users to perceive the presence of bezels, and that part at least has to give the Pixel Watch UI design team a prize. From the default dials to the in-app settings menu, they’ve made software gradients in all the places where users might perceive the bezel, and even the flashlight feature, which is supposed to be full on-screen horsepower, has a transition mask that sets the Pixel Watch apart from other Wear OS watches.
So the first time I really realized the exact position of the bezel was when I used a photo dial in the Play Store a few days after using it that wasn’t yet compatible with Wear OS 3.0.
As for the surface, the Pixel Watch is covered in fifth-generation Corning Gorilla Glass, not sapphire — not really enough for a peripheral like a watch that can be accidentally bumped and scratched every day. Although I don’t have any scratches on the Pixel Watch (yet), I’m still a little freaked out every time I see a scratch on a Pixel Watch review device in the media.
Finally, a small, unrelated detail: I took the leap of faith and chose the LTE version when I purchased it (and incidentally, the Pixel 7 Pro comes with a free Pixel Watch when you buy it for the first time in some regions), and I took a chance to see if my eSIM would activate, but the answer was no. The Pixel Watch only supports certain carriers in the corresponding countries and regions. The Pixel Watch only supports certain carriers in certain countries and regions, a short list of which you can find on the Pixel Watch support page.
If you happen to be a user of one of these carriers, you should also be aware that the same parent company, a partner carrier (e.g. CMHK and E&E), or if you are not physically located in one of these countries or regions, you will most likely not be able to turn on the Pixel Watch’s eSIM function in the normal way.
Considering that the Pixel Watch itself is still based on the Android system architecture, and that there are already developers who have unlocked the bootloader for the Pixel Watch, perhaps there will really be a solution to crack the eSIM afterwards.
As a relic from the Wear OS 2.0 era (the last Wear OS watch I wore daily was the Fossil Gen 5), the biggest difference I felt in the health monitoring section was that the Pixel Watch, as a Google first-party hardware device, completely stripped out Google Fit, the original first-party sports monitoring service, for the first time.
In its place is a series of monitoring and experience in the Fitbit ecosystem.
Compared to Google Fit, Fitbit’s professionalism in sports health monitoring is self-evident, as the Pixel Watch’s continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep monitoring are all from Fitbit.
It’s worth mentioning that the Pixel Watch’s integrated Fitbit ECG function is not as geographically restricted as the Apple Watch next door. the ECG function is now available after the system update, and the mobile app can export the ECG data to PDF for doctors’ reference.
Replacing Google Fit entirely with Fitbit is a good experience overall, so what’s the cost?
Independent of the Pixel Watch ecosystem, Fitbit also has its own paid account system Fitbit Premium, which is fine for many of Fitbit’s previous cheap smartwatches, but the counterpart in the Pixel Watch is that many essential features But the Pixel Watch is the counterpart of the Fitbit membership system, with many essential features such as exercise, guided meditation, and more detailed sleep quality data.
Google is generous enough to give each Pixel Watch purchaser 6 months of Fitbit Premium for free, and I can occasionally console myself with the fact that Fitbit is not quite a Google first-party service. But with just 6 months of membership, it’s hard not to feel like “hardware doesn’t make money, software subscriptions reap the rewards” when you compare it to the Google Pixel’s lifetime unlimited storage of Google Photos.
In addition, the Pixel Watch has no proprietary features like collision detection, and the hand-washing mode, which was added as early as Wear OS 2.0, does not support automatic detection of the sound of water flow to turn on, so the actual experience does not open a clear gap with other smartwatches. If your Fitbit Premium membership expires, it will even be overtaken in terms of basic features.
As early as this year Google I/O has announced one thing: Pixel Watch is a hardware product built on the deep cooperation between Google and Samsung in the field of hardware in the past two years.
But the actual specifications, Pixel Watch is equipped with the SoC Exynos 9110, in Samsung’s own Galaxy Watch product line not released before the people who know this specification more or less have been disappointed.
The good news is that I didn’t experience any noticeable lag on the Pixel Watch, thanks in large part to the large 2GB of built-in memory. Although this combination is a bit strange, but Google veterans have probably seen this “valley-style power pill” is not strange.
In addition to this bottom-of-the-barrel SoC, according to Google, Samsung’s biggest contribution to the watch, or the biggest help to the Wear OS ecosystem, is that it helped develop an algorithm module that extends the battery life of smart wearable devices, allowing more health and sports monitoring functions to run on the Pixel Watch with lower power consumption, helping to improve the overall battery life of the watch.
For me, the actual battery life of the Pixel Watch is not too good. With the AOD on, wrist lift detection, and full time heart rate detection all on, a full charge can barely last a full day, and the battery percentage is basically in the red every night. Later I went back to take a closer look at the Google Pixel Watch under what conditions the 24-hour battery life was tested.
In other words, it’s not uncommon for my average battery life to be less than this (about 16-20 hours) with almost all of the high power features on – and that’s with very little exercise and no real eSIM activation.
The good thing is that the Pixel Watch itself charges pretty quickly, with actual test data showing that it can be fully charged in about an hour, and that the first 80% of the time it’s fully charged is much faster. Because I’m used to wearing the Pixel Watch while I sleep, I’ll give the Pixel Watch a short recharge during the 20 minutes or so I spend washing up in the morning and evening. The Pixel Watch also has a battery health learning feature like the Pixel phone, which can gradually adjust the watch’s battery life based on the user’s usage and charging habits. In the last few days of use, I’ve noticed that the Pixel Watch’s battery life is getting better.
But if you can’t handle a smartwatch that needs to be charged every day, the Pixel Watch isn’t the best choice for you.
Finally, while the Pixel 6/7 series has full support for reverse wireless charging, and you can see the Pixel Watch charging animation when charging the Pixel Watch using the Pixel 6 Pro reverse wireless charging feature, the Pixel Watch doesn’t actually charge. Google has also confirmed that the Pixel Watch can only be charged using the official magnetic charger, so it’s a shame that it doesn’t support wireless charging on its own devices.
Also similar to the Apple Watch charger, this original charger for the Pixel Watch also supports charging for Pixel Buds, AirPods Pro and other true wireless headphones, but of course, limited by the size of the coil, to the general smartphone normal wireless charging is a bit out of reach.
In an earlier post by 9to5Google called “Why the Pixel Watch is a Pixel device,” it was concluded that the Pixel Watch is still not too far off from other Wear OS watches in terms of features.
For me, the moment I realized the Pixel Watch was a Pixel device was when I saw the Pixel Watch’s remaining charge directly in the Pixel phone’s power widget. Many of the Fast Pair-enabled headsets already support a full-time display of battery levels in the widget, and looking at the consistent design of the icons can satisfy some collectors and OCD.
The Pixel Watch has built-in support for Google Pay and Google Home. Google seems to have put the pairing system and account tethering in the cloud. Google seems to have tied the pairing system to the cloud, and it’s easy to use because the device image and model number can appear in the pairing list without restriction.
The operating system Wear OS on Pixel Watch will also be a reason for some Android users to choose it, after all, even though the Wear OS application quality is relatively inferior to Apple Watch, it is still the second largest smartwatch ecosystem with many quality applications.
The Pixel Feature Drop, the most important selling point of the Pixe line, will of course be added to the Pixel Watch, and while the first feature push hasn’t come as of this writing, the Pixel Watch’s software updates over the next three years will give people something to look forward to in the software experience that follows.
To be less objective, as Google’s first smartwatch, it’s not really fair to pit it against the long-established Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch series in the market. But the Pixel Watch is priced right between the Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch, so many people will compare these three products together in a real world comparison.
My first hands-on with the Pixel Watch reminded me of the “Equator” bracelet Amazfit once introduced. As the functional components of smartwatches become more and more complex, the difficulty and cost of creating an elegant and compact smartwatch in 2022 seems to be unacceptable to manufacturers.
Published by Tony Shepherd & last updated on November 14, 2022 11:33 am