Google lifted the lid on the Google Pixel Watch 2 at a crowded event that also witnessed the unveiling of its Google Pixel 8 series phones. Aesthetically, hardly anything has changed, which is welcome because the brand’s smartwatch Pixel stands out for its tilted glass design. But there are changes under the hood that really put it ahead of the competition in several aspects.
But will all of this come together to create a cohesive smartwatch? Here’s everything we know so far.
Google Pixel 8 event in 11 minutes
Starting with the design, the glass dome on top is thinner, while the aluminum casing underneath also achieves a slight weight reduction. Google has also improved the color selection, offering the Pixel Watch in Polished Silver/Bay, Polished Silver/Porcelain, Matte Black/Obsidian, and Champagne Gold/Hazelnut combinations.
There is also a rich selection of band styles to choose from. With the exception of Metal Mesh and the Metal Slim strap, all strap styles are compatible with both generations of Google Pixel Watch. The other options on the table are the soft-touch Active Band, the silicone-derived Active Sport Band, and a woven band made from recycled yarn.
There’s also an Apple Watch-inspired stretch band made from recycled polyester, two band styles made from Italian leather, and stainless steel bands in link, mesh, and slim formats. There is a wide selection of colors to choose from, but not all offer water resistance due to the characteristics of the material. If you are a germaphobe, Research says you should prefer metal bands..
The biggest changes happen under the hood. Google has ditched the Exynos chip from the first-generation Pixel Watch in favor of Qualcomm’s SW5100 processor (aka the Snapdragon W5 Generation 1), combining it with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of built-in storage, a big increase over the 8 GB of storage offered in the previous model. The battery is also slightly larger at 306mAh, but it’s the charging speeds that have received a dramatic boost. Google says its latest smartwatch can go from empty to 100% juice in just 75 minutes, instead of the 2.5 hours it took the original Pixel Watch.
It seems that the real improvements are hidden under the layer of biosensing. Google has equipped the Pixel Watch 2 with a new multi-directional heart rate sensor that is capable of measuring the signal more accurately. It’s accompanied by improvements to the algorithms behind the heart rate measurement systems, putting them in the same league as Fitbit’s full heart health suite.
Another notable addition is the arrival of skin response and temperature sensors. Google says that readings from these new sensors will be used to detect stress due to variable factors such as illness, high caffeine content in the body flow, or alcohol levels. These new sensors also help with mood tracking, allowing the Pixel Watch 2 to offer timely suggestions, such as breathing exercises or walking to calm down.
Fitness enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the Pixel Watch 2 will offer automatic recognition and tracking for a wide range of fitness activities. You are also getting a Apple-inspired Safety Check feature which seeks to monitor a person’s well-being and also reminds them to monitor their friends and family. It works in conjunction with the Emergency Sharing system that alerts emergency help support and also calls saved contacts for scenarios where urgent help is required.
Then there’s the Safety Signal system, which expands phone-free connectivity features without a phone or LTE connectivity plan. Google Assistant is also getting some crucial improvements thanks to deeper integration with core Google services like Calendar. Google is also powering the At A Glance system with relevant and time-sensitive information, such as weather and traffic, right on the home screen.
The Google Pixel Watch 2 starts at $349, the same as its predecessor. But if you are considering the LTE setup, the cellular variant will cost you $399. Google’s latest smartwatch can be pre-ordered from the official Google store and regular sales will begin on October 12.
It’s encouraging to see that Google has made so many internal improvements, even if it hasn’t had any The change in design, especially a larger size, is disappointing. Will the Pixel Watch 2 stand out from other great Wear OS watches released this year, like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and TicWatch Pro 5? Only time will tell, but he certainly seems well equipped to put up a good fight.