Google fires shot at Apple-dominated smartwatch market with Pixel Watch

Google wants a piece of the smartwatch pie.

Pixel Watch

Google has unveiled the Pixel Watch at its ‘Made by Google’ hardware event, both a company-first and a potential competitor in a market dominated by the likes of Apple, Garmin and Samsung.

The watch itself is rather elegant, featuring a 1.2in domed AMOLED display, housed in a stainless-steel case, complimented with a haptic feedback-enabled crown and side button. Dimensions come in at a sleek 41mm x 12.3mm, making it ideal for petite wrists, and there are no other size options, a 36g weight should be suitable for most. Google claims the watch was built with both comfort and durability in mind.

Adopting a circular format with a somewhat large bezel that has divided users, the always-on AMOLED display outputs 320 PPI and is DCI-P3 colour certified with a brightness boost of up to 1,000 nits. Sun, be damned.

Google Pixel Colourways

While most smartwatch makers nowadays opt for sapphire crystal protective glass, Google opted to protect the display with a custom, curved Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Though the former has been proven to be better in scratch resistance scenarios, the team behind the watch are confident in its overall durability. Perhaps limit your use to hiking and workouts, rather than all-out extreme rock climbing, just to be on the safe side.

The Pixel Watch is driven by a combination of Exynos 9110 chipset, and Cortex M33 processor mated with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage. GPS tracking covers the latest GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo technologies and the device is water resistant up to 50 meters.

There’s also a large number of sensors you would expect from a fitness-focused wearable including:

  • Compass
  • Altimeter
  • Blood oxygen sensor
  • Multipurpose electrical sensor
  • Optical heart rate sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Ambient light sensor

Moving swiftly on, the device is among the first to run Google Wear OS 3.5, which also runs on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5. You can expect the latest apps Google has on offer including Google Maps, Google Wallet, Google Assistance, Gmail and Calendar, as well as a three-month premium membership of YouTube Music included with purchase.

Health and fitness features come fine-tuned in collaboration with wholly owned Fitbit, who enabled the device with what Google claims is the most advanced heart rate monitoring yet and including but not limited to; a dedicated ECG app, night and breathing rate tracking, fall detection and emergency SOS capabilities. You also get a six-month Fitbit premium membership with purchase.

Closing in on specs, it comes equipped with a 294mAh battery, which the company says lasts up to 24 hours of screen-on time based on typical daily usage, and charging speeds translate to approximately 30 minutes for 50 per cent battery capacity, and about 80 minutes of charge time to full capacity.

We’re looking forward to seeing reviews and hearing user experiences, but as far as first attempts go, the Pixel Watch looks to offer well-rounded features (excuse the pun) in a form factor slightly different to the norm. The Pixel Watch is currently available in two options, Wi-Fi only and 4G LTE variants, with prices starting at £339 and £379, respectively.

Pre-orders are now live in nine countries, with an expected shipping date of October 13. Colour combinations include; Champagne Gold case with Hazel active band, Matte Black case with Obsidian active band, and Polished Silver in either Charcoal or Chalk active band. Alternatively, Pixel 7 Pro pre-orders come bundled with either Pixel Buds Pro or Pixel Watch with purchase.

Additionally, there are 20 different bands available for further customisation, in woven, stretch, active, and leather styles, with metal bands arriving early next year.