The rumors and leaks have been many, but today Google finally pulled back the curtain on its very first smartwatch. The Pixel Watch combines aspects of the Google universe with health and fitness smarts from fellow family member Fitbit for a best of both worlds wearable.
Starting at the top, the Pixel Watch features a 41-mm (1.6-in)-diameter scratch-resistant circular Corning Gorilla Glass dome atop a stainless steel body. The 320-ppi AMOLED always-on display supports the DCI-P3 color gamut and can get up to 1,000 nits of brightness. And there’s a haptic crown to the side for scrolling onscreen, and a slim button above that allows for quick access to most-used apps. Users can choose from 19 customizable watch faces.
The smartwatch runs Google’s WearOS 3.5 mobile operating system, so users can check Gmail or Calendar, pay for stuff using Wallet and get to where they need to be via Maps. Free access to YouTube Music Premium for 3 months is included in the ticket price, to line up ad-free music on the go, and Google Assistant is available for hands-free voice searches, as well as control over compatible smart home devices.
The wearable is powered by an Exynos 9110 system-on-chip with a Cortex M33 co-processor, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of flash storage. It comes in two connectivity variants – one with Bluetooth 5.0/802.11n Wi-Fi only, and the other with added 4G mobile connectivity built in for use without pairing to a handset.
Fast Pair is supported for quick and easy connection to Android devices, such as the new Pixel smartphones and the Pixel Buds Bluetooth earphones.
Google has also tapped into Fitbit’s expertise, redesigning the health and fitness experience specifically for the Pixel Watch while also delivering its “most accurate heart-rate tracking yet” via the optical sensor. Plus there’s an ECG app that checks for signs of atrial fibrillation. Other onboard sensors include an altimeter, blood oxygen sensor and compass.
The Pixel Watch sports 40 exercise modes out of the box, the wearable can be submerged in the drink to a depth of 50 m (164 ft), and there’s a dashboard in the Fitbit app for insights into key metrics. GPS tracking is cooked in too, the device can monitor sleep patterns and serve up a sleep score, and data-hungry users can also look forward to six months of access to Fitbit Premium for additional features, access to more workouts and hundreds of mindfulness sessions.
Despite being relatively small and thin on the wrist, the Pixel Watch’s 294-mAh battery is reckoned good for up to 24 hours of continuous use between charges, and fast-charging can top it up to 50% in 30 minutes or 100% in around 80 minutes.
Google has also built in an Emergency SOS feature that will send alerts to emergency services or pre-loaded contacts, with fall detection coming next year.
The Bluetooth/Wi-Fi version of the Pixel Watch is up for pre-order now for US$349, while the 4G model will set you back $399. A selection of 20 available watchbands are available, and easily switched out via an attach and lock mechanism inspired by the way lenses attach to a camera body. Shipping is expected to start from October 13.
Product page: Pixel Watch