By | December 19, 2023
4 reasons to upgrade to the Pixel Watch 2 (and 3 reasons to wait)

quick links

  • Why you should upgrade to the Pixel Watch 2
  • Why you should skip the Pixel Watch 2

Important takeaways

  • The Pixel Watch 2 features Fitbit integration, a standard Wear OS 4 experience, and advanced emergency features such as a safety alert.
  • Unlike the competition, the Pixel Watch 2 lacks wireless charging and larger size options. You cannot repair it or have the battery replaced if you need to.

Wondering how the Google Pixel Watch 2 differs from other Android smartwatches on the market? While not perfect, this generation of Google’s wearable gets a lot of things right. Let’s look at the pros and cons of buying a Pixel Watch 2.

Why you should upgrade to the Pixel Watch 2

There’s a lot to like about the Pixel Watch 2, with its Fitbit integration and pure Wear OS 4 experience helping it deliver an experience you won’t find on any other Wear OS watch.

1. Fitbit Integration

There are plenty of Wear OS watches on the market. But aside from the Pixel Watch 2 (and its predecessors), you won’t find another smartwatch with Fitbit integration. This helps Google’s laptops stand out from the competition.

The Fitbit app does a much better job of analyzing the collected data to highlight important health metrics. Along with the Pixel Watch 2’s improved health sensors, it can capture much more accurate data for better analysis. Google claims its latest smartwatch is up to 40% more accurate at tracking your heart rate and other key health metrics during rigorous activities like HIIT.

You can also subscribe to Fitbit Premium for additional health insights, including access to guided workouts and conditioning, wellness reports with monthly trends, a detailed breakdown of your sleep performance, and more. If the Pixel Watch is your first Fitbit device, you can enjoy the premium subscription for free for six months to start.

Thanks to the Fitbit integration, the Pixel Watch 2 is a great alternative to Fitbit wearables. If you don’t like the Fitbit experience, you can use the best AI training apps to push your limits and improve your fitness level.

2. Pure Wear OS 4 Experience

You can find plenty of Wear OS watches on the market, but none of them will offer the same experience as the Pixel Watch or Pixel Watch 2. Just like Pixel phones, you get a clean, unspoiled OS on Google smartwatches. Because of this, the animations on the watch feel much smoother, and you won’t encounter any weird bugs or issues.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch lineup may have more features, thanks to One UI Watch, but it can’t beat the overall experience offered by Wear OS 4.

Another benefit of Wear OS 4 on the Pixel Watch is monthly security patches. Like Pixel phones, it gets an update every month to fix any security exploits or vulnerabilities.

3. Heart rate zones when you exercise

The best Wear OS watches can track your heart rate while you exercise. However, the data is only good if it is properly analyzed or displayed at the right time. On the Pixel Watch 2, you get an alert when your heart rate zone changes during a HIIT session.

Wondering why this is important? If you’re serious about your fitness goals, you may want to target a certain heart rate intensity based on your workout.

A low-intensity zone works when you want to burn calories without stressing the body. The moderate zone is a good middle ground for most people, while the aerobic zone – preferred for athletes – helps you burn calories quickly. In the peak zone, your heart beats at almost its maximum capacity. Each zone is based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate, so the data is adapted to your body and age.

Likewise, if you’re training for a marathon, the Pixel Watch 2 will let you know if you’re falling behind your pace goals. As someone who regularly trains for 10K timed runs, this helps me stay motivated.

4. Safety signal

Security features on a Pixel Watch 2

Pixel Watch 2 comes with several security features like Emergency SOS, fall detection, security check and more. The one that stands out among them is Safety Signal. Available exclusively on the LTE variant of the Pixel Watch 2, it allows the smartwatch to connect to emergency services even when there is no active data plan.

You must be a Fitbit Premium subscriber to use Safety Signal, and it’s only available in select countries. Still, the feature can be extremely useful in emergency situations, especially when you’re stuck in an area with little or no cellular coverage. This is also a security feature that you won’t find on any other Android watch.

To set up safety signal, open the Pixel Watch app on your phone and navigate to Safety & emergency > Safety signal. Sign in with your Google account to activate the feature.

In addition to security signal, you should also set up and use the security and emergency features on your Google Pixel phone.

Why you should skip the Pixel Watch 2

Like almost every other phone or smartwatch on the market, the Pixel Watch isn’t perfect; it has some annoyingly frustrating flaws. Consider the points below before buying one.

1. Small size

Google Pixel Watch 2 resting on leaves
Rajesh Pandey/MakeUseOf

The Pixel Watch and its successor, the Pixel Watch 2, only come in one size: 41mm. It is on the smaller side, and if you have large wrists, the watch may look odd on you. Another disadvantage of the small chassis is the display size. The Pixel Watch’s circular screen measures 1.24 inches, while you can get the Apple Watch with a screen as large as 1.92 inches.

Apple and Samsung both offer their smartwatches in at least two different sizes. So that the Pixel Watch is available in only one size is puzzling. Even worse, Google opted for a smaller shell size, which isn’t ideal for those with larger wrists.

2. Lack of repair options

Companies are increasingly designing their products with sustainability in mind… and then there’s Google. Cracked the screen of your Pixel Watch? You cannot get it repaired. Instead, as Google’s support page makes clear, you’ll have to pay for a replacement device.

Similarly, Google does not provide a battery replacement service for its smartwatch. Downside, if the battery powering your portable device loses its ability to hold juice, you’ll need to buy a new device.

Given that the Pixel Watch costs $349, you’d expect Google to think about repair and durability when designing its smartwatch.

3. No wireless charging

Pixel Watch 2 with charger

The Pixel Watch 2 can be charged from zero to 50 percent in 30 minutes, while an 80 percent charge takes 43 minutes. While this is impressive, there is one big problem with how the Pixel Watch 2 charges.

Unlike its predecessor, the Pixel Watch 2 does not use magnetic charging. Instead, it uses a pin-based charging mechanism, as seen on the Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 2. The solution itself is good, especially since it allows for fast charging without generating much heat.

But since there’s no wireless charging, you can’t reverse charge the Pixel Watch 2 wirelessly with your Pixel phone when you’re out and about and don’t have the charger with you. In comparison, you can use Wireless PowerShare on Samsung phones to reverse wireless charging of Galaxy smartwatches.

Admittedly, the lack of wireless charging on the Pixel Watch 2 won’t bother you in daily use. But it can be frustrating, especially when you’re traveling.

Samsung’s Wear OS watches can last longer on a charge than the Pixel Watch 2, while also having more features. Despite this, Google’s smartwatch provides a better experience, even if the device itself is far from perfect. The standard Wear OS 4 experience, along with Fitbit integration, is enough to make most people appreciate how the Pixel Watch 2 outperforms its competition.

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