Google Pixel Watch: The Best Of Both Worlds?
Google Pixel Watch: The Best Of Both Worlds?

Does the Pixel Watch finally deliver a worthy alternative to the Apple Watch?

It’s been a long wait. Google acquired Fitbit in 2019 and almost three years later James Park (who founded Fitbit back in 2007) delivered the keynote for the Google Pixel watch at its launch. We were at Delhi a day later for the India launch of the Google Pixel 7 and the 7 Pro when Google confirmed that the Pixel Watch will not debut in India. The pre-launch buzz around the Pixel Watch is understandable; it’s the first smartwatch with the Google Pixel tag and also the first Wear OS smartwatch with Fitbit baked in. Is this the best of both worlds? After two weeks with the US edition ($ 349.99/Wi-Fi and $ 399.99/ LTE and Wi-Fi) of the
Pixel watch, we might have the answer.


A beautiful smartwatch but…



There are times when you see a TV commercial and you go like “I want that’. You’re likely to experience that with the Pixel watch. It doesn’t just look good on TV, it’s one of the most elegantly designed smartwatches that stands out in a crowd. We dig the circular design and the gorgeous AMOLED display. It’s particularly great for small wrists like mine; it felt weightless (it weighs just 36g) on my wrist. But you can’t ignore the bezels. Google has designed watch faces with black borders to take the focus away from these bezels but it looks glaringly obvious when you are reading text on the display.


Premium build



Everything about the Pixel watch feels premium. It’s why it has quickly earned the ‘Apple watch of the Android world’ moniker. The jewellery inspired design comes in three stainless steel finish options including our favourite – in black. While the 3D glass is water resistant and also resistant to scratches it does feel very delicate. Google offers a range of swappable bands but getting these bands on and off is a steep learning curve. The user interface is easy on the eye, we like the tiles and the easy navigation driven by the watch crown. Google Apps like Maps and Assistant integrate seamlessly.


The future of Fitbit?



A big part of the Pixel watch sales pitch is around Fitbit integration. You get a six-month free trial for Fitbit Premium with this smartwatch. If you’re familiar with the Fitbit user experience, there are no real surprises here. You get most of the features on the Fitbit Sense 2 (like ECG and advanced sleep tracking) except for stress monitoring. The Fitbit experience plays out quite well in a new circular format. Just like how the Apple Watch only works with iPhones, this one is an Android exclusive.


The best Apple Watch alternative?



In many ways the Google Pixel watch reminds me of the first Apple Watch back in 2015. We knew back then that Apple was on to something and yet it wasn’t quite the polished smartwatch experience that it has become now. Just like that Apple Watch, battery life is one of the big dampeners in the Pixel watch experience. I struggled to get through a whole day when I used the GPS for workouts. This means you need to charge your watch before hitting the bed if you need to use sleep tracking. There are other cribs like a one-size only approach (41 mm) that may not suit very big wrists. The Pixel Watch has our attention not because of what it can do now but because of its future potential. We dig the build and the Fitbit integration, as well as the Wear OS capabilities. We do hope Google irons out all its teething issues with OS fixes and hardware fixes. This a watch you want to like and it might soon be as Google scales up and sets this up for more global markets including India in the months to come.

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