Choosing the right smartwatch can be tricky with all the options out there. Right now, the Google Pixel Watch 2 and the Fitbit Charge 6 are two hot picks. They’re both top-notch, but tackle health tracking and user experience in their own ways.
The Google Pixel Watch 2, with its sleek integration into the Google ecosystem, offers users a harmonious blend of form and function, positioning itself as a smart companion for the Android devotee. Meanwhile, the Fitbit Charge 6 emerges as a fitness-first device that prioritizes comprehensive health monitoring and long battery life. Both aim to cater to a broad user base, but their differences carve distinct niches. This article delves into a head-to-head comparison of these two models.
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Fitbit Charge 6: Hardware and design
Look & feel
The Pixel Watch 2, released in October 2023, embodies a high-end aesthetic with a 100% recycled aluminum body and stainless steel back, giving it a sleek and sustainable edge. It sports a circular 1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen, protected by Corning Glass 5, boasting a resolution of 450 x 450 pixels. This display is designed to offer crisp visuals and a brightness of up to 1000 nits for clear visibility even in direct sunlight. The watch’s interface is navigated via a unique bottle cap-shaped crown and an additional button, contributing to its classic watch-like appearance.
In contrast, the Fitbit Charge 6, which appeared on the market in August 2023, sticks to a more traditional fitness tracker design. It features a slimmer and lighter rectangular screen at 1.04 inches, with an AMOLED touchscreen delivering a resolution of 260 x 170 pixels. This shape is often preferred for its subtlety and straightforward fitness tracking data presentation. On the left is a capacitive button, which you can utilise for user interaction in addition to the touchscreen.
Both devices are comparable in water resistance, with a rating of 5 ATM, indicating that they can withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters, making them suitable for activities such as swimming or showering.
Worth a mention is that the Pixel Watch 2 is slightly lighter than the Charge 6, weighing in at 31 grams compared to the Charge 6’s 38 grams. This difference, while minimal, may be noticeable to users who wear their devices throughout the day and during sleep.
Under the hood
Under the hood in terms of health and fitness sensors, the Google Pixel Watch 2 and Fitbit Charge 6 share many similarities, but with a notable difference in altitude tracking.
Both devices feature an optical heart rate tracker, a 3-axis accelerometer, a gyroscope, skin temperature sensor and an electrical sensor to measure skin conductance (cEDA). This combination supports detailed tracking of various health metrics such as heart rate, activity levels, stress, and more. Additionally, the heart rate module can take SpO2 readings for monitoring blood oxygen levels.
However, the Google Pixel Watch 2 includes an altimeter, which is absent in the Fitbit Charge 6. An altimeter is particularly beneficial for those who engage in activities such as hiking, climbing, or any sports where elevation change is significant. It is also used for counting floors climbed. In addition to that, the Google device has a compass.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Both wearables have NFC capabilities enabling contactless payments. This feature allows for convenient transactions without the need for carrying a wallet or phone, which is especially useful during workouts or when on the go.
Satellite connectivity, memory and storage
The Pixel Watch 2 boasts built-in GPS with support for GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo satellite systems, which means it can track your location and movements accurately without the need for a connected smartphone. This is ideal for runners, cyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts who require precise location tracking. The Charge 6 is just as good, on this count.
As far as memory, the Pixel Watch 2 packs a generous 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. The ample storage allows for music and app downloads directly on the device, while the RAM ensures smooth multitasking and responsive app performance.
Fitbit Charge 6 doesn’t focus on storage for media or apps, as it’s designed primarily as a fitness tracker. It stores your fitness data for 7 days, which involves less data than a full-fledged smartwatch would handle, and is consistent with Fitbit’s cloud-based data management approach.
When it comes to battery life, the Google Pixel Watch 2 and the Fitbit Charge 6 present a stark contrast. The Pixel Watch 2 offers a battery life of about 24 hours, positioning it within the typical range for smartwatches with extensive features but necessitating daily charging. This can be a drawback for users who engage in extensive fitness tracking or who prefer not to be tethered to a charger.
The Fitbit Charge 6, on the other hand, boasts up to 7 days of battery life or up to 5 hours with continuous GPS usage, which means less frequent charging and potentially more convenience for the user. However, employing the always-on display and SpO2 features on the Charge 6 may increase power consumption, requiring more regular charging than the standard use case.
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Fitbit Charge 6: Technical specs
Google Pixel Watch 2
Fitbit Charge 6
100% recycled aluminium body; Stainless steel back
AMOLED touchscreen (up to 1000 nits). Corning Glass 5 display.
450 x 450 pixels
260 x 170 pixels
up to 7 days or up to 5 hours with GPS. Use of the always-on display and SpO2 features will require more frequent charging.
Bottle cap-shaped crown plus button
Haptic button on left
Optical heart rate tracker, 3-axis accelerometer, Electrical sensor to measure skin conductance (cEDA), gyroscope, altimeter, compass, SpO2, vibration motor, temperature sensor, ambient light sensor
Optical heart rate tracker,
multipurpose electrical sensors compatible with ECG app & EDA Scan app,
3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, SpO2 sensor, skin temperature sensor
Microphone & speaker
Built-in satellite connectivity
Yes (GPS, GLONAS, BeiDou, Galileo)
Yes (GPS, GLONAS, BeiDou, Galileo)
32GB storage, 2GB RAM
Stores your fitness data for 7 days
$349 (Wifi-only); $399 (cellular)
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Fitbit Charge 6: Features
Fitness and health tracking
When comparing the health and fitness tracking capabilities of the Google Pixel Watch 2 and the Fitbit Charge 6, it’s notable that both these devices mirror the features of the Fitbit Sense 2 closely.
The Pixel Watch 2 and Charge 6 showcase the latest advancements in heart rate monitoring technology from Fitbit, promising highly accurate measurements at one-second intervals, continuously throughout the day and night. This innovation is expected to hold its ground even without the support for external heart rate straps, thanks to Google’s enhanced heart rate tracking algorithms.
A differentiator for the Pixel Watch 2 is the, above mentioned, inclusion of an always-on altimeter. Its compass further augments its navigation capabilities, which could be particularly beneficial for outdoor lovers.
Moreover, the Pixel Watch 2 extends its functionality with the ability to export heart rate data to third-party devices via Bluetooth, enhancing its utility for those who incorporate a variety of equipment in their fitness regime. It also introduces features like Pace Training, allowing users to set performance goals and receive real-time feedback with visual cues and alerts, helping to maintain or improve workout intensity.
The Charge 6’s strength lies in its unobtrusive design and much longer battery life. These could be pivotal for users who prioritise simplicity and endurance. The Pixel Watch 2, on the other hand, brings to the table a much larger display. This makes it easier to check on your stats during exercise or when you are out and about.
The Pixel Watch 2 significantly outperforms the Fitbit Charge 6, as far as smartwatch-type features. The Google device is powered by WearOS 4.0, granting it a broad spectrum of third-party applications and watch faces that vastly enhance its utility and customisation options. This open ecosystem allows for a more traditional smartwatch experience with a variety of functionalities at the user’s fingertips.
The Fitbit Charge 6 does not offer nearly the same level of smart features due to its proprietary operating system. It lacks the ability to install third-party apps and watch faces. Also, unlike the Pixel Watch 2, it lacks onboard music storage. Charge 6 owners will need to take comfort in the knowledge they have the ability to control YouTube Music directly from the device.
Cellular connectivity is another significant feature exclusive to the Pixel Watch 2, providing the convenience of staying connected even when the phone is not nearby. This capability allows the watch to receive notifications and use data-dependent apps independently, which is not something the Fitbit Charge 6 can do, as it lacks LTE options.
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Fitbit Charge 6: The bottom line
The Google Pixel Watch 2, priced at $349 for the WiFi-only model and $399 for the cellular model, serves as a compelling choice for those deeply entrenched in the Android ecosystem and seeking a device that bridges the gap between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. Its integration with WearOS 4.0, comprehensive health and fitness tracking, on-board music storage, and optional cellular connectivity make it a versatile device that can operate independently of a smartphone.
The Fitbit Charge 6, is quite a different animal. With its significantly lower price point of $159, it offers substantial value for those focused primarily on health and fitness tracking. Its lack of smartwatch capabilities like third-party app support and cellular connectivity is offset by its strengths: a lightweight design, an impressive battery life that promises up to 7 days, and robust fitness tracking features.
For the fitness-minded individual who values endurance and simplicity in a device, the Charge 6 is an attractive option that won’t break the bank. It is also something for those with an iPhone as the Google device only works on Android phones. Meanwhile, users looking for a richer, more connected smartwatch experience with an array of features beyond fitness tracking might find the Pixel Watch 2 to be worth the extra investment.
Like this article? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss out!