Google Pixel Watch 2
The original Pixel Watch was a disappointment, with poor battery life and some performance issues. The Pixel Watch 2 looks to solve that, but is it playing catch-up enough to go against Samsung’s best?Benefits
- Small enough for any wrist
- Wear OS without Samsung’s skin
- No major alternative
- Bad battery life
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
The Galaxy Watch 6 series has brought back the classic after a year’s absence. With a physical rotating bezel that’s as stylish as it is practical, and has outstanding battery life, this is one of the best watches to date.Benefits
- Good battery life
- Several size options
- The smallest model is not small enough
- More expensive
The original Pixel Watch was a good first attempt from Google, but it was let down by poor battery life and a lack of features. The Pixel Watch 2 aims to improve things, providing 24 hours of battery life with AOD on instead of off, and finally providing automatic fitness tracking.
Improvements are always appreciated, but Google is still playing catch-up, which begs the question: can the Pixel Watch 2 compete with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and rank among the best smartwatches out there?
Price, availability and specifications
The Pixel Watch 2 costs $350 for the Bluetooth model and $400 for LTE connectivity. It is available from the Google Store and some major retailers in the following nine countries: US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland (Wi-Fi only), Japan and Taiwan.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is available almost worldwide from Samsung and most retailers. Unlike the Pixel Watch, it comes in two sizes, and both can be had with or without LTE. The 43mm costs $400 for Bluetooth and $450 for LTE, and the 47mm comes in at $430 for Bluetooth and $480 for LTE.
Google Pixel Watch 2 Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Housing size 41 mm 43 mm and 47 mm Colors Matte black; Polished silver; Champagne gold Black and Silver Show 1.2″ 450 x 450 AMOLED 43 mm: 1.3-inch 432 x 432 Super AMOLED, always on display; 47 mm 1.5 inch 480 x 480 Super AMOLED always on screen CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 with Cortex M33 co-processor Exynos W930 Dual-Core 1.4 GHz Ram 2 GB 2 GB Storage 32GB 16 GB Battery 306mAh 43mm: 300mAh 47mm: 425mAh software Wear OS 4 Wear OS 4 / One UI 5 Watch Health sensors Optical heart rate, SpO2, ECG, continuous EDA, skin temperature Samsung BioActive Sensor, Temperature Sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Light Sensor, 3D Hall Sensor Award Starting at $350 43mm: $400 47mm: $430 Weight 31g (without strap) 43mm: 52g 47mm: 59g
The Pixel Watch looks pretty much the same as last year. It’s a simple, curved watch that looks beautiful. The left side is blank, while the right has two buttons and a digital crown for scrolling through content. The watchbands are unfortunately proprietary, so if you want to replace them with something from a third party, you’ll need to find one designed with the Pixel Watch 2 in mind.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is also a round watch but looks more like a traditional watch. Both watches look great: the Pixel Watch 2 for its simple elegance and the Watch 6 Classic for its classic style. There are two buttons on the right, and instead of a digital crown we have a rotating bezel around the screen. Both do the same thing, but the mechanical clicks of the Watch 6 Classic are more satisfying, and it’s more accessible no matter which wrist you wear the watch on.
Samsung got a lot of praise for the new release mechanism for the straps this year, and one of the best things about them is that they’re standard 20mm bands, unlike the Pixel Watch 2 straps. Samsung’s new straps can be attached to any old Galaxy Watch or any smartwatch from other companies that uses 20mm bands.
Something you will notice as soon as you try these watches on is the size difference. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes in 43mm and 47mm options, and both feel large thanks to the thick design. The Pixel Watch 2 comes in one size – 41mm. It’s a small clock. This will be an important factor in which device you choose to get. People with small wrists likely won’t be able to handle the size of the Watch 6 Classic, while those who prefer larger watches will dislike the Pixel Watch 2.
The display is one of the most important parts of any device, but especially on a smartwatch. The screen needs to be sharp enough to display text, bright enough to be seen outdoors properly, and have good viewing angles so you can look at your wrist.
The Pixel Watch 2 has a 1.2-inch AMOLED display that can reach a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits. That’s pretty good, but it only puts it on par with the Galaxy Watch 4 from 2021. In contrast, the Watch 6 Classic comes with a 1.3- or 1.5-inch AMOLED display that can pull up to 2,000 nits. The Pixel Watch isn’t dim, but the difference in brightness is noticeable, with the Watch 6 Classic fighting sunlight like it’s not even there.
Both watches run Wear OS 4.0, with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic overlaid with One UI Watch 5.0. The features are quite similar, but the design and layout are different. The Pixel Watch lets you swipe up from the bottom for notifications, while the Galaxy Watch has them on the left.
The Pixel Watch comes with Google Fit and can also use Fitbit features. Unfortunately, a lot of things are locked behind a Fitbit Premium subscription on the Pixel Watch 2, and you only get a 6-month free trial with the watch.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic uses Samsung Health, and the features are extensive, with all the usual tracking data and analytics and group challenges. There is only one thing locked behind a subscription: advanced snoring analysis through Sleep Cycle. Without the subscription, the watch can still monitor everything about your sleep and record snoring; it just won’t analyze snoring data.
One strange limitation of Samsung’s health suite is that EKG and blood pressure monitoring are only available when the watch is paired with a Samsung phone.
Battery life and charging
The Pixel Watch has a 306mAh battery, while the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has either a 300mAh or 425mAh battery, depending on which size you get. The Pixel Watch 2 can last around 24 hours with AOD on and with a night of sleep tracking. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic can last almost two days with two sleep tracking sessions and AOD on, while the larger model lasts just over two days.
Both watches take just over an hour to charge to 100%, but you’ll have a better time with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. Google has decided to use pin charging on the Pixel Watch 2, so you have to line them up to ensure it charges, and you can’t place it on a wireless charging pad.
Meanwhile, all Galaxy Watch 6 models use wireless charging, but it’s not the same Qi charging from your phone. Instead, it uses the WPC standard. The bad news is that it rules out many Qi chargers you already have. The good news is that there are plenty of WPC-compatible chargers available, including Samsung’s excellent Wireless Charger Duo, which has a magnet to hold the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic in place and can charge your phone at the same time.
Which one should you buy?
We waited so long for Google to make its own smartwatch, but even with this improved second generation, it’s a hard watch to recommend. The battery life, charging and features locked behind the Fitbit Premium are hard to overlook compared to the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, which only limits snoring analysis behind a subscription and can outlast the Pixel by more than a day.
Price is also an important factor here. The smaller Watch 6 Classic is only $50 more than the Pixel Watch, but you have to remember that these are the premium versions of the Watch 6. If that’s too expensive, the regular Watch 6 models have the same benefits, without the physical bezel, and start at same price as Pixel Watch 2.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
The Galaxy Watch 6 series has brought back the classic after a year’s absence. With a physical rotating bezel that’s as stylish as it is practical, and outstanding battery life, this is one of the best watches to come out of 2023.
That aside, the One UI Watch isn’t for everyone, and Pixel purists will appreciate the simple software and hardware design, perhaps enough to outweigh the negatives. In that case, the Pixel Watch 2 is still a great smartwatch, and people who get one will enjoy it.
Google Pixel Watch 2
The original Pixel Watch was a disappointment, with poor battery life and some performance issues. The Pixel Watch 2 looks to solve that, but is it playing catch-up enough to go against Samsung’s best?
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