Google Pixel Watch 2 Hands-On: More Fitbit Features, Same Price [Video]
Video uploaded by CNET on October 4, 2023
Google Pixel Watch 2: Many Improvements in Terms of Health and Fitness Features
Among other products, Google unveiled its Pixel Watch 2 at its big event in New York City last week. The new smartwatch has a similar design to the previous model, with a round screen and interchangeable bands, but it has many improvements in terms of health and fitness features.
The Pixel Watch 2 has a better heart rate sensor that can measure more accurately and quickly. It also tracks sleep quality, alerts users if their heart rate is too high or too low, and helps them achieve their fitness goals with Active Zone Minutes/Heart Zone Training during workouts. A new feature that uses Fitbit technology and sensors like sweat detection, heart rate variability, and skin temperature is the stress management system, which helps users cope with stress and improve their well-being. The watch can also detect and track various activities, such as cycling and running, and has a “Safety Check” feature that lets users set a timer for when they’re traveling from one place to another. If the user doesn’t confirm their safety by the end of the timer, the watch will send an SOS message to their emergency contacts.
The battery life of the Pixel Watch 2 is also longer than the previous model, lasting up to 24 hours even with the always-on display on. That’s almost twice as long as the previous estimate. The watch is also lighter and more comfortable to wear, thanks to the switch from stainless steel to recycled aluminum for the case.
The Pixel Watch 2 is also more durable and water-resistant, with an IP68 rating and a 5 ATM rating, meaning it can withstand dust and water up to 50 meters deep.
Besides, Google opted for the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 chipset from Qualcomm for its Pixel Watch 2, which outperforms the older model’s Samsung chip.
The Pixel Watch 2 comes equipped with Wear 4, the newest edition of Google’s wearable OS, which first appeared on the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 earlier in the year. Its best feature? The capacity to back up and switch phones without resetting the watch – a true blessing for someone like me who swaps phones frequently. Transitioning between the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro was seamless during my tests.
Additionally, Wear 4 introduces native Gmail and Google Calendar apps. This is a much-needed enhancement as the Wear platform lacks app diversity. Yet, the Gmail app lacks work profile support on Wear OS, meaning while I can preview and discard work emails, I can’t browse them. Likewise, the Calendar app doesn’t let users set up events, though Google Assistant can be employed for the task.
Thinking about sleep tracking? The Pixel Watch 2 nails it, even for naps. The revamped Fitbit app makes sleep data interpretation a breeze. However, I still believe that one shouldn’t need a Fitbit Premium subscription for advanced sleep metrics and the Daily Readiness function.
Placing your Pixel phone on the Pixel Stand charger initiates Bedtime Mode for both the phone and the watch, blackening their screens and enabling the Do Not Disturb feature.
The Pixel Watch 2’s health readings – from electrocardiograms to sleep and heart rate metrics – align closely with those from the Apple Watch Series 9 I simultaneously wore. I appreciate Google’s fitness tracking interface, especially the heart rate zone display, which clearly indicates if I can elevate my workout intensity. The watch also capably auto-detects my walks, offering recording options.
The Pixel Watch 2 boasts a new feature termed “Body Response”. It leverages a continuous electrodermal activity sensor (cEDA) and other sensors to detect potential stress incidents, both positive and negative. When stressed, the watch suggests relaxation techniques, like breathing exercises. However, there’s a minor lag between stress detection and notification.
Another innovation is “Safety Check”. If you’re returning home late, this feature allows you to notify emergency contacts if you don’t confirm your safety within a specified duration. An associated feature, “Safety Signal”, enables location sharing without cellular connection, even if the phone isn’t linked to the watch.
The watch’s Achilles heel? Battery longevity. While some reviewers report a full-day battery life, my device, with its 306-mAh battery, clocked in around 18 to 20 hours. Without the continuous display, it barely exceeded a day. Charging every two days would’ve been more convenient.
Lastly, Google introduced a unique charger for the Pixel Watch 2, making its predecessor incompatible. This charger refuels the watch speedily, achieving approximately 80% in just 43 minutes.
- Google Pixel Watch 2: New ways to stay healthy, connected and safe – Google Blog
- Sell your old Apple Watch online – iGotOffer