Google Pixel Watch 2 review: More than just a pretty face

Google Pixel Watch 2




Ease of use


Use of information


Value for money



  • Beautiful, lightweight design
  • Accurate Fitbit-powered health tracking
  • Upgraded sensors
  • Seamless Google integration
  • Wide app selection


  • Short battery life
  • Lack of size options
  • Only works with Android phones


Smartwatches aren’t just accessories anymore – they’re powerful tools extending our digital lives to our wrists. Google understands this, and the Pixel Watch 2 boldly demonstrates their commitment to this space. Building upon the foundation of the original October 2022 launch, this new iteration is lighter, runs longer, and is crafted with sustainability in mind. It retains the beloved health and fitness features of the first Pixel Watch while introducing new capabilities like skin temperature and more detailed stress monitoring.

As a tech reviewer with past Fitbit experience, I was particularly excited to try the Pixel Watch 2, knowing Google leverages Fitbit’s expertise. I wasn’t disappointed – the device delivers a remarkably well-rounded experience.

But let’s face it – the smartwatch market is overflowing with options. This review will cut through the noise to determine if the Google Pixel Watch 2 truly lives up to the hype. I’ll delve into its sleek design, snappy performance, and whether those new health features really deliver.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 can be purchased from Amazon.*

Jump to

Design, hardware
Health & fitness tracking
Sports tracking
Smartwatch features
The bottom line

Google Pixel Watch 2 review: Design, hardware

Look & feel: A stylish refinement with room to grow

As someone who typically favors bulky sports watches, I wasn’t sure if the Pixel Watch 2’s sleek design would feel right on my wrist. However, I was pleasantly surprised – it wears incredibly well. Available in matte black, polished silver, and champagne gold, this smartwatch truly embodies a modern aesthetic. Its undeniable beauty and incredibly lightweight design transcend mere tech gadgetry.

The Pixel Watch 2 maintains the elegant domed glass look and dimensions (41 x 41 x 12.3 mm) of its predecessor, effortlessly blending the appeal of a classic timepiece with all the functionality of a smartwatch. The shift to an aluminum case, from the previous stainless steel, makes it remarkably light at just 31 grams, ensuring all-day comfort and a barely-there feel.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review

Navigating the Pixel Watch 2 is a satisfying blend of physical and touch-based interaction. The rotating crown has seen some improvements over the first generation. I found it offers a delightful tactile response, and doubles as a button to quickly access your app list. Swiping through the vibrant 1.2-inch touchscreen is fluid, allowing for easy access to notifications, customizable tiles, and settings. The quick-release mechanism for the watch bands is a user-friendly touch, enabling you to change your look in seconds.

Style success, but size matters

Those are all positives, but I can’t help but feel that Google is missing a trick by not introducing multiple size options. The Pixel Watch 2’s clearly has a visual appeal. But its single 41mm size option might feel restrictive for users who prefer larger, more traditional watches. This sleek and minimalistic profile caters well to smaller wrists but might lack the masculine presence sought by some.

The display, is exceptionally bright and legible indoors. What surprised me that its visibility didn’t deteriorate very much in direct sunlight. AMOLED technology is advancing and it shows. Having said that, Google has done nothing to reduce the thick display bezel. Not a deal-breaker but it reduces usable screen space. Hopefully, the company will consider both larger size options and thinner display bezels to enhance style and readability.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review

Overall, the Google Pixel Watch 2 is a beautifully crafted timepiece. Its stylish design and comfortable fit make it a wearable you’ll want to keep on. The 5 ATM water resistance means you never have to worry about everyday activities, from a sudden downpour to swimming in the pool.

Under the hood: Upgrades & capabilities

The Google Pixel Watch 2 represents a nice upgrade, with a clear focus on boosting performance, health tracking, and the overall user experience. At its heart lies the Qualcomm SW5100 chipset. This updated hardware translates to faster performance, smoother navigation, and improved power efficiency. The generous 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage allow you to comfortably load your essential apps and keep track of important data.

The device runs on the refined Wear OS 4, offering a sleek interface and the latest Google software benefits. This ensures expanded app compatibility, seamless interactions, and access to a wider array of Google services right on your wrist.

Health tracking receives a slight boost with the Pixel Watch 2. New additions include a skin temperature sensor and continuous electrodermal activity (EDA) monitoring, offering deeper insights into your well-being. These abilities complement the existing features like optical heart rate tracking, SpO2 measurements, and ECG. Now the device is on par with Fitbit’s most high-spec wearable – Sense 2.

Connectivity options include both Wi-Fi and optional LTE. The latter gives you the freedom to stay connected even when your phone isn’t in range.

Google Pixel Watch 2 review

Battery life: A mixed bag

Battery life is crucial for any wearable device, and the Pixel Watch 2 delivers improvements in this area. Google designed the 306mAh battery to last up to 24 hours, even with the always-on display enabled. This stands in contrast to its predecessor, which could technically reach the 24-hour mark but required sacrificing the convenience of an always-on display. A major inconvenience.

The Pixel Watch 2’s extended battery life owes much to the more energy-efficient chipset and software refinements that prioritize power management without hindering performance. As a result, you can confidently use features like fitness tracking and notifications throughout the day without the constant anxiety of needing a recharge.

Google has also addressed the charging experience, replacing the previous wireless system with a new four-pin mechanism. This change offers faster charging times and helps keep the device cooler during the process. Expect the Pixel Watch 2 to go from empty to almost full in just over an hour, minimizing your wait time so you can get back to enjoying the full benefits of your smartwatch.

Now a day between charges is nothing to brag about, but it is typical of Wear OS watches. In the morning I would take it off, do a quick charge (less than an hour) and would be set until the next morning. After a few days, it just became part of my routine.

Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Google Pixel Watch

Here’s a table showing the main differences between the original Pixel Watch and gen 2. As you can see the upgraded edition is an iterative upgrade rather than something entirely new. It delivers improvements in a number of different areas. But the new features are probably not reason enough to upgrade. Having said that – if you are in the market for a new watch, the second generation is clearly the one to go for.

Pixel Watch 2
Pixel Watch
31 grams
36 grams
Case material
100% Recycled Aluminum
80% Recycled Stainless Steel
Battery life
Up to 24 hours (Always-on Display on). 306 mAh battery.
Up to 24 hours (Always-on Display off). 294 mAh battery.
Health and fitness features
Includes all Pixel Watch 1 features plus advanced health metrics like skin temperature tracking and continuous electrodermal activity (cEDA)
Tracks steps, heart rate, sleep stages, etc.
Heart health
Includes all Pixel Watch 1 features plus irregular heart rhythm notifications
ECG, high and low heart rate alerts
Emergency features
Includes all Pixel Watch 1 features plus Safety Signal
Safety Check, emergency sharing, fall detection, medical information, emergency SOS, emergency international calling
Qualcomm SW5100 (quad core)
Exynos 9110 SoC (dual core)

Google Pixel Watch 2 review: Health & fitness tracking

A Fitbit-powered experience

Google’s choice to harness Fitbit’s expertise in health and fitness tracking pays dividends with the Pixel Watch 2. When it comes to the sheer number of onboard sensors and features, the device is top of the line.

Expect the ability to monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep patterns, stress levels, and even skin temperature – a comprehensive toolkit for understanding your overall well-being. This arsenal of sensors highlights Fitbit’s established reputation for providing accurate and actionable health data for everyday users.

While you’ll initially set up your watch using the Google Watch app, your primary destination for all health and fitness insights is the Fitbit app. This software recently received a visual overhaul and some structural changes. These updates have been met with mixed reactions – some users prefer the fresh look, while others favor the older style. But regardless of your aesthetic preference, the core strength of the Fitbit platform remains intact, ensuring the metrics tracked by your Pixel Watch 2 stay consistent and reliable.

Google Pixel Watch 2 review

It should come as no surprise that you get all the basics, and more. Activity, floor count, calorites. Its all there. Plus there are features like Active Zone Minutes for tracking activity intensity and Sleep Profiles for deeper insights into rest patterns.

Excels in stress and sleep tracking

Thanks to the watch’s electrodermal sensor, you’ll gain insights into how your body reacts to the day’s ups and downs. This analysis extends beyond simple heart rate monitoring, giving you a more nuanced understanding of your stress patterns. These “Body Responses” can be hit and miss – and you might get some unnecessary high stress event notifications. But in general it is quite accurate. Sometimes you just need to take a minute to chill, and it is a satisfying experience to get a nudge towards that.

The attention-to-detail continues with sleep tracking – the watch diligently analyzes your sleep cycles, including those quick naps, and assigns a handy ‘Sleep Score.’ This metric makes it easy to gauge your sleep quality at a glance.



Worth noting is a heart health extra over the first generation device. In addition to ECG, high and low heart rate alerts, you now get irregular heart rhythm notifications. This sort of information can be a life-saver for someone with undiagnosed Afib. Of course, you shouldn’t blindly trust the data. But if you do get a warning, it is worth doing some additional tests.

The Fitbit Premium question

One of the perks of owning a new Google Pixel Watch 2 is the included 6-month trial of Fitbit Premium, which opens up additional features and more in-depth analysis within the Fitbit app. However, once that trial ends, you’ll need to decide if the extra insights are worth the subscription cost for your specific needs. While the free version of the Fitbit app provides ample tracking capabilities for most users, you would miss out on some deeper analysis if you decided against upgrading to Premium.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets

Specifically, without Fitbit Premium you’ll lose detailed breakdowns of your Sleep Score, along with the Sleep Profile. The helpful ‘Daily Readiness Score’, which assesses your sleep, activity levels, and heart rate variability to tell you if your body is primed for an intense workout, will also be unavailable. Additionally, you’ll no longer see Stress Management details Score or receive insights into your long-term stress trends and how well different stress-reduction practices work for you. Finally, the option to generate comprehensive health and fitness reports for sharing with healthcare providers or trainers requires a Premium subscription.

While the loss of these features may seem significant, the Pixel Watch 2 still offers a robust set of functionalities with the free version. For many users, the basic health tracking, fitness monitoring, and insights provided without a Premium subscription will be more than enough.

Google Pixel Watch 2 review: Sports tracking

Google’s partnership with Fitbit has resulted in a smartwatch with surprisingly robust sports tracking capabilities. The Pixel Watch 2 supports over 40 exercise types, ensuring that whether you’re a runner, a yogi, a weightlifter, or a dancer, there’s a mode to track your workouts. This versatility sets it apart from some competitors that may focus on only a handful of popular activities.

The device also brings automatic workout detection for some activities (for example, walking, running, rowing), which I found works rather well. They appear in the Fitbit smartphone app timeline without you having to lift a finger. This ability has recently been ported over to the first generation timepiece.

Accurate tracking for runners

My personal focus as a runner led me to put the Pixel Watch 2 through its paces in that department. I found the watch excels in a few key areas. The display, while smaller than many dedicated running watches, is surprisingly legible on the go thanks to its vibrancy and clarity. This feature is particularly appreciated during running, where monitoring pace, distance, and heart rate in real-time can significantly impact training effectiveness.

The GPS also performed remarkably well, locking in quickly before every run and demonstrating impressive accuracy, even in the GPS-unfriendly environment of Central London where tall buildings abound.

In comparison tests with a high-end Garmin Forerunner on my other. wrist, the Pixel Watch 2’s distance measurements on a 10K run only diverged by an average of up to 200 meters, a minor discrepancy given the complexities of GPS tracking in densely built areas. This level of accuracy ensures that runners can rely on the Pixel Watch 2 for precise distance and pace tracking.



The Pixel Watch 2 also shines in its heart rate tracking accuracy. No doubt, that’s a result of a new heart rate sensor with multiple points of contacts. Also, the fact that the device is so lightweight means that it sits snug against your wrist.

The readings reliably matched, or came within a few beats, of the Garmin – both for average and max heart rate during a run. This level of precision provides valuable data for tracking heart rate zones and training intensity.

Would benefit from more in-depth performance metrics

Fitbit’s inclusion of the Daily Readiness Score, while perhaps too simplistic for some, nonetheless offers a quick measure of whether your body is ready for a tough session or if rest might be a better choice. It is a welcome addition, even though it sits behind a paywall.

However, athletes heavily focused on performance analysis and data might find the Pixel Watch 2 leaves something to be desired. Sure you get all the basics, such has pace, heart rate, distance and more. But beyond the Readiness Score and Cardiovascular Fitness, you won’t find in-depth breakdowns of metrics like recovery time, training effect, or advanced running dynamics typically found on specialized sports watches. Fitbit’s focus prioritizes accurate tracking of the essentials over catering to niche needs for detailed data. So that’s something to be aware of.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Review

Google Pixel Watch 2 review: Smartwatch features

Where Google Shines

The Pixel Watch 2 fully embraces its smartwatch identity as a powerful extension of your Android smartphone. So before you ask, no it does not work with iPhones.

The timepiece is powered by Wear OS 4 and it offers seamless integration with Google services. Whether it’s managing notifications, getting turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps, or controlling your smart home devices, the Pixel Watch 2 streamlines daily interactions. The included microphone lets you issue voice commands thanks to Google Assistant, meaning you can check the weather, set reminders, or send texts without ever lifting your phone.

Moreover, the device’s ability to make phone calls and send SMS texts directly from the watch, provided it’s connected to your smartphone or via LTE (for models with cellular connectivity), underscores its capability as a standalone communication tool.

Contactless payments are made easy with Google Pay support, allowing you to tap and pay at stores with a flick of your wrist. The built-in speaker also enables you to take phone calls with clear quality, transforming your watch into a convenient hands-free device.

The Google Play Store offers a wealth of apps for additional customization. You can find well-known apps like Spotify for music streaming, Strava for detailed workout tracking, or Calm for mindfulness sessions to further enhance the smartwatch experience.

The caveat is battery life. While the Pixel Watch 2 shines with its array of smartwatch features, users should be mindful of how these capabilities impact the time between charges. Features like LTE connectivity, frequent use of Google Assistant, and active use of third-party apps can lead to increased battery consumption.

Keeping you safe

The Pixel Watch 2 also includes features designed for user safety in potentially critical situations. Fall detection, if enabled, will attempt to detect sudden falls and trigger a countdown, giving you time to respond or letting the watch automatically contact emergency services. This might be especially useful for elderly people.

Additionally, Emergency SOS allows you to quickly initiate a call for help with a simple sequence of button presses. It’s important to note that these features have limitations and might not always respond perfectly to real-world scenarios. So they shouldn’t be relied upon exclusively for safety.

Google Pixel Watch 2 review: The bottom line

The Google Pixel Watch 2 (view on Amazon) makes a bold fashion statement while serving as a powerful health-tracking companion. New features like skin temperature and comprehensive stress monitoring help to enhance its well-being focus. The lightweight, sustainable build demonstrates Google’s commitment to both design and responsible practices.

Deep integration with Google services and the power of Wear OS 4 make the Pixel Watch 2 a true extension of your Android smartphone experience. Notifications flow seamlessly, and Google Assistant awaits your every command. Thanks to its partnership with Fitbit, the timepiece goes way beyond simple step counting, transforming into a comprehensive fitness coach that rivals high-end wearables with its in-depth health insights.

However, be mindful of its limitations. While battery life sees improvement over its predecessor, heavy usage and the always-on display can still impact longevity. Dedicated athletes might also crave more advanced sports analytics, and the smaller form factor might not suit everyone’s preferences.

Ultimately, the device showcases the company’s vision for wearable tech: a timepiece that seamlessly blends style, utility, and health monitoring. If this Google Pixel Watch 2 review has piqued your interest, its refined design, comprehensive features, and focus on well-being might make it the right choice for you.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 can be purchased from Amazon.*

*We are a review site that receives a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. Purchasing items by clicking on links in this article allows us to run this website. We are independently owned and all opinions expressed here are our own. See our affiliate disclosure page for more details.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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