The Google Pixel Watch is cool, but I would never buy it

A Google Pixel Watch hangs from an exercise bike with the classic watch face.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

We waited years for Google to launch its first wearable. After all this time, we finally got what we wanted with the Google Pixel Watch, which launched earlier in October along with the Google Pixel 7 series. It is without a doubt one of the most hyped tech products of 2022.

However, I have no problem admitting that I had little interest in the Pixel Watch leading up to its release. In fact, back in May, I wrote all about how not thrilled I was with it and how much more excited I was about the Fitbit Sense 2.

Knowing what I know now, it’s clear that I was completely wrong about the Sense 2. But I was also wrong about the Pixel Watch. After using it for over a week now, I realize it’s a lot better than I thought it would be. I am pleasantly surprised by the design and how well it performs.

But does that mean I’m going to buy one? Certainly not.

About this article: I tested the Google Pixel Watch for 10 days. The unit was provided by Google, but Google had no say in direction or published content.

There’s a lot to love about the Pixel Watch

Google Pixel Watch Cards 1

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

As I’ve seen the scores pour in for the Google Pixel Watch, it’s become very clear that most tech reviewers aren’t quite enamored with it. Terms like “too expensive,” “lack of,” and my favorite, “you can do a lot better” appear all over popular articles, including our review, which also drew some serious criticism. Despite all this, I really want to hammer home that there are plenty of great aspects to this wearable.

The Pixel Watch, despite the reputation it deserves, has a lot going for it.

For starters, it’s a beautiful watch. Its minimalist design gives it a timeless aesthetic. That minimalism also makes it very versatile, as you can put on a metal band for formal outings, a sport band for working out, and a leather band for going to the bar with some friends, and the watch will look great on all occasions.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism about the watch’s relatively small size and Google’s refusal to offer another larger size. This is an advantage for me, as I hate huge timepieces. I feel the Pixel Watch fits my wrist perfectly, and it doesn’t weigh on my arm or look so large as to draw attention to itself.

Also see: What is the best smartwatch?

Beyond how it looks, it’s also quite powerful. Jumping through the various functions is smooth, intuitive and easy with a swipe or physical twist of the sturdy rotating crown. It has a huge app library thanks to the longevity of Wear OS, giving you access to robust versions of Google Maps, Spotify, Messages, Google Home and more.

It also has Fitbit smarts. It tracks your heart rate more consistently than virtually any other wearable, as it measures every second of every day. With that data, you can track all manner of exercise routines, as well as daily health. It’s not the best Fitbit out there, but it delivers the basics most people care about.

Honestly, despite my initial skepticism, the Google Pixel Watch ended up impressing me on many different fronts. That made it all the more disappointing to find that Google has still completely messed up in one key area.

Alas, all that good stuff means very little to me

Google Pixel Watch Crown

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

In short, the Pixel Watch’s battery life is terrible. Even if you’re in the camp that a smartwatch with around 24 hours of battery life is all good (which is a terrible stat that all wearables should push past), you’ll be disappointed with the Pixel Watch’s longevity.

With the always-on display active, the Pixel Watch didn’t even make it through a single day reliably for me. I was able to turn the AOD off and pull it out for a little over 24 hours, but then I had to deal with the inconvenience of relying on tilt-to-wake (which works maybe 60% of the time) or hitting the crown. Without the AOD, the watch doesn’t function like a real watch, which to me is an essential aspect of any wearable anyway.

The Pixel Watch’s battery life is so bad it negates everything good about it.

Plus, it takes just over an hour to charge. If the AOD is on, that means the watch needs to be on the charger for an hour every day as long as you own it. Think about that: when is it appropriate to charge the watch in your daily life? You could leave it on the charger for 15 minutes in the morning, but that’s not enough. You could toss it back on the charger when you’re at your desk for work, but then you’ll have to take your charger with you or buy a second one. You could also give it a juice before going to sleep, but that forces you to stay awake while you wait, which may not always be feasible. This is not to say that the problems you face when you travel, camp or otherwise change your daily routine. It’s so clunky that you wonder why anyone would bother.

The Pixel Watch’s poor battery life makes it a completely unsustainable product for my needs. No matter how many good things it has – which, as I said in the previous section, is quite a bit – the terrible battery life negates it all. If I have to turn off smartwatch features — be it the AOD, Fitbit’s heart rate tracking, or even keep myself from using the watch that often — to get decent battery life, that’s a watch I won’t be buying. .

Imagine you have an electric car with an average range on a single tank (~230 miles), but you can’t use the headlights, wipers or radio. Oh, and that car is also very expensive. That’s the level of uselessness this watch represents. And that, of course, brings us to the other big problem with the Pixel Watch…

The Google Pixel Watch isn’t worth its price

A Google Pixel Watch displays a user's Spotify app.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Let’s talk about how much you love the Pixel Watch. You like it so much that you’re willing to look past the poor battery life. You’re going to have to love it even more, though, because it’s going to cost you at least $350 to get it, which is just way too much.

For context’s sake, iPhone users can get a great value out of the Apple Watch SE 2, which starts at $249, a full $100 cheaper than the Pixel Watch. Even if iPhone users pull out all the stops for the brand new Apple Watch Series 8, they’re only paying $50 more than the Pixel Watch at $399. Meanwhile, Android users have other Wear OS options like the Galaxy Watch 5 at $329. and the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition for $299. Those two watches both have the latest version of Wear OS, so they’ll offer very similar experiences compared to the Pixel Watch — albeit without the Fitbit integration — while offering better battery life. to have.

I tried to ignore these price differences and worked on a way around the Pixel Watch’s battery life limitations. In short, I nurtured the idea of ​​owning two wearables. I really love the way the Pixel Watch looks, but it can’t get through all day and track a night of sleep. But if I put the Pixel Watch on a charger before going to bed and put a fitness tracker in place to get my sleep data, that could work, right?

To fit the Pixel Watch into my life, I’d need both it and a fitness tracker, which could put the combined price above $450.

I cherished the idea for a while and then realized how stupid I was. I’m really considering adding Lake money on the already too high cost of the Pixel Watch just to make it fit into my life? Even if I had a relatively inexpensive fitness tracker, I’d still spend over $400 to make using the Pixel Watch feasible. And that is if I go wifi only. If I were going for the Pixel Watch LTE model, I’d go over $450 when paired with a decent tracker. That is ridiculous.

Ultimately, the Pixel Watch is a hard no-buy for me. I can only hope that Google solves these problems in 2023. The Google Pixel Watch 2 better be a whole lot better than this or Google’s dreams of a full hardware ecosystem will be hard to sustain.

Google Pixel watch

Google Pixel watch

Speech-to-text help • Play Store integrated • Wear OS

The Pixel Watch is the first wearable with the Big G.

The Google Pixel Watch is a Wear OS-powered wearable that strives to be the smartwatch for everyone. It has a robust app library, plenty of Fitbit-based health tracking features, and a stylish design.