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Pixel Watch test: what we liked, what disappointed us

Note published on 10/26/2022

Google Pixel Watch WiFi test

Long awaited, the Pixel Watch Wifi is the first connected watch of the giant Google which integrates the fitbit services.

The manufacturer highlights its rounded and slightly curved design, the presence of its voice assistant and numerous health measures.

The Watch Pixel is available in Wi-Fi or 4G version (+50 €) and operates with the Wear OS 3 operating system.5. It is only compatible with Android smartphones (from the Android 8 version).

It has a 30 mm AMOLED screen with a resolution of 450 × 450 pixels, 32 GB of internal memory and a battery with a capacity of 294 mAh.

This waterproof watch has many sensors (cardiofrequency meter, podometer) allowing a large amount of measurements to be made.

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Pixel Watch test: what we liked, what disappointed us

Google Pixel Watch

It’s been a few weeks since we wear the first connected watch from Google to the wrist. A new category of important equipment for the American giant, which comes to interfere on an ultra -dominated market by Apple. What to think of this first effort ? Response elements.

01net’s opinion.com

Google Pixel Watch LTE

  • + The design, very successful
  • + A fluid, simple and pleasant interface
  • + Fitbit’s expertise, including sleep monitoring
  • – Far too low autonomy
  • – The screen would have deserved to be a bigger
  • – The price is far too high

Writing note

Note published on 10/26/2022

Technical sheet

Google Pixel Watch LTE

System Wear OS 3.5
Compatible systems Android 8
Processor Samsung Exynos 9110
RAM 2 GB
Available storage capacity 32 MB

See the full file

It is an understatement to say that Google’s first connected watch was expected: almost ten years that the American company has been interested in this market. So far she was content to provide a bone to her manufacturers’ bone, without ever being able to offer a product as convincing as that of Apple. The reasons are multiple … But Google is the first responsible for it, as he quickly disinterested in his successive platforms (Android Wear, then Wear OS) too rarely updated.

But everything changed in 2020, with the buyout of Fitbit, specialist in connected sports objects and fitness. By taking hold of its know-how and technologies, Google has crossed a CAP which allows it today to offer a monitoring of very solid physical activities. At the same time, he united his strengths with Samsung, who has never dropped the connected watch market, and managed, alone in his corner, to offer the best watches for Android with his Tizen OS.

Fruit of all this, the Pixel Watch has been on our wrist for a few weeks. And it’s time to share with you the strengths and weaknesses we have spotted.

Google Pixel Watch at the best price basic price: € 379

What we liked

A design that has nothing to envy to the Apple Watch

We start with the right points. And the first jump. The Pixel Watch is indeed a beautiful watch, which is not so frequent on the market of connected objects. She doesn’t even have much to envy the Apple Watch, which is a reference in the matter. She pays in particular the luxury of offering a round screen, which Apple has always refused to make, despite the insistent requests of certain customers. We particularly like the way the screen blends into the case, it is very organic and particularly successful.

Google Pixel Watch

This elegant, minimalist little pebble, goes everywhere and testifies to Google’s choices: we are here far from connected sports watches, with design very often much more marked and male. It must be said that the Pixel Watch is also a small watch. Unlike her competitor from Apple, she is only available in 41 mm. It thus has the advantage of adapting perfectly to most wrists, including the finest. Its low weight (36 g without the bracelet) also means that we forget it very quickly, and that it is possible to wear it without any problem all day … and all night.

We will only regret one thing: the bracelet supplied, in silicone, is not the most attractive and clearly contrasts with the charm that the watch releases. Other more successful bracelets are available, but they represent an additional cost of at least 59 euros to pay.

Google Pixel Watch

The fluidity and simplicity of the interface

Let’s be frank, when reading his technical sheet, we had some doubts about the general fluidity of the interface and the comfort of using this watch. It is indeed animated by an old Samsung Exynos 9110 chip, marketed at the end of 2018, almost an eternity in the world of new technologies.

It is an understatement to say that we were therefore surprised by the performance of the device. The machine responds to the finger and the eye, and it is pleasant to walk in your menus. Like that of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, the Wear OS 3 interface.5 may seem confusing at first … but we get ready. Especially since, as on its smartphones, Google has chosen the purity: from the dial, it only takes a swipe downwards to access the rapid settings, of a swipe upwards for notifications and sweeping on the right and on the left for the same effect: revealing “cards”, ie widgets giving access to the main functions of an application installed.

Google Pixel Watch

All this is rather intuitive and simple, but we still regret some ergonomic quirks. Admittedly, the rotary crown is very practical and allows, as on the Apple Watch, a finer control of certain parameters (adjustment of an alarm, scrolling in a long menu…) dragging your finger there. But also to access your apps for finger pressure, as well as your Google Pay cards of a quick double tap. The secondary button is on the other hand poorly placed – in the lower part of the case, close to the wrist – and not very useful, except to invoke Assistant. We would have liked it to be able to serve, for example, to interrupt an exercise, or to other contextual actions in the applications.

Sleep, not, cardiac activity: Fitbit to controllers

Google is far from having bought Fitbit for nothing ! During the configuration, you will be invited not only to use your Google account, but also to create or connect to a Fitbit account for the collection and analysis of your health data.

Pixel Watch does a great job to capture your physical activity. His GPS proved to be precise in racing or hiking, even if we have experienced various fortunes depending on the outings we have carried out. In addition, it is rather energy efficient during a sports session: we counted 15 % less battery during a 12 km exit, which is excellent.

And it is all the more notable since for the rest, the overall autonomy of the device is frankly not terrible (see below). Pixel Watch also has something unique: second monitoring per second of cardiac activity, especially useful during recovery phases. It is almost fascinating to see the device tracking in real time the heartbeat !

Google Pixel Watch

But what really amazed us is the sleep tracking. Fitbit has made it a specialty over the years, and he is particularly successful here. The Watch pixel and the Fitbit application offer you a very precise summary of your night each morning, detailing minute by minute the phases of awakening and deep sleep, paradoxical or light. Better yet, the Pixel Watch surprised us by even detecting our slight satisfactions in front of a boring episode of Power rings. Not bad.

What disappointed us

A screen too small !

The Watch pixel is certainly pretty, but it is small, maybe too small. We do not necessarily realize it right away, because his screen seems to grab the whole front panel. But it is not: Google has skillfully concealed its thick border by its choice of design and interface. All the dials offered by default are dark, and therefore do not suggest the limits of the screen. But just consult your notifications to understand: the display surface is limited and leaves little room to display information on the screen.

Google Pixel Watch

The smallness of the screen does not help either when you have to enter text on a keyboard (prefer the vocal dictation with assistant) or select a dialog box, they are in some low cases. It is not unacceptable to use, but a few tenths of additional inches would not have been refusal. No doubt we will be entitled to a 44 or 45 mm version next year to fill this defect.

Insufficient autonomy

This is the biggest problem in the Watch pixel and it is also partly due to its reduced dimensions: the autonomy of the watch is frankly not good. Google promises 24 hours of use. Sometimes we reach them, sometimes, we go beyond them, even. But more often than not, the Pixel Watch will abandon you before having toured the dial. This is particularly the case if you use it during the day to make two or three calls, and of course when you activate the GPS and your Bluetooth headphones to jog half an hour.

This is very frustrating, especially if you use your watch at night, to follow your sleep. Because you have to find the right time to recharge it: in the morning, during the shower ? It’s a bit short, even if it recharges rather quickly (an hour, about). In the evening, coming back from work ? Ok, but that prevents you from using it if you want to jog. A real headache.

Admittedly, most connected watches, including the Apple Watch, have a very limited autonomy. But we could have hoped that Google is doing better in the matter, and this is not the case. Too bad.

An integration far from being complete

So, yes, we take advantage of the health data know-how in terms of health data. But by dint of using the Pixel Watch, it is said that the services would have deserved to be better integrated into the watch and to Android. We often have the impression that two different universes coexist within the watch. Symbol of this: the Fitbit application, which must obviously be downloaded to synchronize the watch … while Google already offers an integrated application to Android (FIT) which could have perfectly made this office. The Fitbit app, a little ugly, is far from responding to the modern design cannons of Android: Fit is both prettier and more ergonomic.

Google Pixel Watch

Another symptom of this problem: if you have a Nest Hub, equipped with the “sleep” function, and use it already to monitor your nights, do not hop the data of the two devices. Nest Hub will send its data on fit, the Pixel Watch on Fitbit. Not practical.

The impression of using a product on which Fitbit was “stuck in a hurry” is frequent. It sometimes causes fun situations. For example, the Fitbit App of the watch will continue to encourage you to get up regularly … Even if you are driving on the highway, after launching a long journey on Google Maps !

Google Pixel Watch test: the most attractive option for Android users

Google Pixel Watch test: the most attractive option for Android users

Announced alongside Pixel 7 And Pixel 7 Pro, The Watch Pixel is the big new product 2022 at Google. A Connected watch thought and optimized for Android, which benefits from the advanced integration of fitness and fitbit health functions, a brand now belonging to Google.

Design: a classic and elegant watchmaking style

Google did not try to reinvent the wheel by drawing its Pixel Watch and that’s good. With its very refined circular design, its notched crown and its curved screen, the watch has a classic style largely inspired by analog tocantes. It gives off a discreet elegance but which attracts the eye. Indeed, during our test, many people questioned us on the origin of this watch which poses an aesthetic signature recognizable and distinctive compared to the square format of the Apple Watch and the more common style of the Galaxy Watch 5.

The Watch Pixel is only available in 41 mm stainless steel boxes. An intermediate size that will suit most female and male wrists. But it could be a little just for the big templates.

A comfortable watch to wear

This Very homogeneous design gives off an impression of sweetness that we experience physically when we wear the watch. From the first moments at our wrist, it appeared to us Comfortable and surprisingly familiar. A few minutes were enough to forget that we wore the Pixel Watch, which testifies to a successful design.

Our test copy was delivered with a silicone bracelet identical to that of the Fitbit Sense 2 But with a slightly different fast fixing system. The widest end of the bracelet comes to get into the edge of the case, perfectly marrying its circular shape. It stands out by pressing a flush button to the case that we barely distinguish.

Whether it is the materials used or assembly, Pixel Watch has an excellent finish level. We have only one small inconvenience to deplore with the silicone bracelet which retains perspiration, which can cause a slightly unpleasant feeling. But this is a problem that we find on all watches using this type of bracelet.

Screen and interface: Fitbit to Google sauce

The Pixel Watch uses an AMOLED screen which displays 320 points per inch with a brightness of 1000 Nits. It is protected against scratches and shocks by a reinforced glass Gorilla. Overall, he is bright and perfectly readable whatever the lighting conditions. Some criticisms have deplored the sometimes visible presence of a fairly thick screen edge. It is true that it is distinguished in some cases, especially when you scroll the notifications, consult the weather or google maps. Some clear -free dials also highlight these borders. But we did not find that it bothered the experience because the display surface is always proportionate to uses.

The Pixel Watch offers a large choice of dials distributed in 19 themes. There are many utility dials, with customizable complications to choose the choice number, heart rate, agenda, calories consumed, battery level … There are many analog dials, dials dedicated to health monitoring /Fitness (calories, distance, minutes in active zone, stages, etc.). The most original are undoubtedly the Vista dials, but there are only three for the moment. We like the dial which allows you to display in slideshow up to 30 personal photos from Google Photos that can be selected manually. We find these content in the Watch application and we can also personalize the dials directly from the watch.

The dial which allows you to display a slideshow of 30 personal photos from Google Photo. © Marc Zaffagni

Pixel Watch works under Wear OS 3.5 and incorporates the main health and fitbit fitness features. Those who are familiar with the Fitbit watches and bracelets will not be disoriented . Moreover, the Pixel Watch communicates with the Fitbit application to which it transmits data relating to daily, sports activities as well as the monitoring of sleep and heart rate.

Navigation in the watch interface combines sliding gestures to the left or right to scroll through cards (number of steps, physical exercises, heart rate, sleep, hand washing, etc.). The order of the cards can be changed by resting on one of them and then moving it by means of the arrows.

Vertical scrolling, which can be done on the finger or with the crown, allows you to open the control panel and consult the notifications. The physical button located next to the crown is used to return to recently used applications and functions. By pressing the crown, we access the complete list of applications. A double support launches the Google Pay contactless payment service. General ergonomics are clear and effective, intuitive handling.

The watch allows you to receive and make phone calls. Our interlocutors found the conversation clear when the calls were made in a relatively calm environment. On the other hand, the audio quality of the speaker is a little disappointing, with a significant effect and saturation and sizzle when the volume is pushed to the maximum. Also a shame that we cannot add an access card to contacts to facilitate calls.

Effective cardiac sensor

The Pixel Watch has the panoply of sensors to which high -end connected watches have accustomed us: heart rate, ECG, GPS, compass, altimeter, accelerometer and gyroscope. Unfortunately, The integration of Fitbit features is not as advanced as you would expect. Thus, the Google watch does not automatically detect training and does not emit high and low heart rate alerts. So many functions that are found on the Fitbit bracelets and watches. As with the latter, it is necessary to have a subscription to the Fitbit Premium service to benefit from the most advanced statistics and analyzes, in particular on sleep, heart health and stress. Google has planned to add the measurement of the oxygen level in the blood (SPO2) as well as the fall of the falls.

Let us underline a good point for the Precision of the cardiac rhythm sensor. According to our comparative test with a thoracic heart belt (considered the most reliable monitoring tool for sport), the Pixel Watch delivers very close measurements. In general, the use of the Google watch for monitoring health and sports activities is similar to the Fitbit experience. But by adding more expanded connected functions and integrated services like Google Pay, Google Maps and the Google Assistant, Pixel Watch offers greater versatility for daily use.

Moreover, Pixel smartphone owners benefit from exclusive functions that extend the possibilities of the Google watch : Express association to quickly switch between pixel devices, multimedia reading control, location of your smartphone or pixel headphones, control of home automation equipment via the Google Home application. We particularly appreciated the function which allows you to control the camera of the smartphone to take remote shots. You can switch between the rear module and the front camera, program a delay and use the crown to zoom. The whole thing is impeccable fluidity.

Autonomy and performance

Google announces up to 24 hours of autonomy. In use, by contenting oneself with consulting the notifications, to take some short telephone calls, to follow a night of sleep and without using the permanent display, we can easily exceed this duration. Under these conditions, we were generally about 30% battery after 24 hours. It goes without saying that more intensive use involving GPS for training or guided navigation and permanent display, will have a much greater impact on the life of the battery life. In all, the cases, a daily extra recharge is essential. This is undoubtedly the main point of frustration of this Pixel Watch.

The Watch pixel uses an induction charger which is tackled on the back of the case. © Marc Zaffagni

The performances are satisfactory, the combination of the Exynos 9110 SOC from Samsung with a Coprocessor Cortex M33 ensuring What is necessary for reactivity and fluidity for all functions.

Against competition

Compare the Pixel Watch to the Apple Watch does not make much sense insofar as these watches serve different ecosystems. If we stick to the Android universe, the Galaxy Watch 5 arises as the main rival of the Pixel Watch. It has the advantage of being available in two box sizes (40 and 44mm) and of being more affordable from € 279. But his style is less attractive and his autonomy more or less similar does not give him more on the Google watch. Athletes who are looking for more advanced follow -up functions will prefer to turn to specialized smartwatch such as the Garmin Epix (Gen 2) or the latest models from Polar and Suunto. There is also the Fitbit option with the Sense 2 (which we are currently testing) which has for her an autonomy of several days, an advanced follow -up, but less elaborate connected functions.

Conclusion

At the time of the balance sheet, we can say that Pixel Watch is generally a success. Google was able to give it a style that is both distinctive and passout that makes it a very pleasant watch to wear and use daily. The balance between connected functions and health and fitness applications will be suitable for users who are looking for versatility above all. Pixel Watch is to date the most attractive option available to Android users.

Read the full test

  • Writing note