The Google Pixel Watch 2 Is Good, but There’s Still a Ways to Go

The Google Pixel Watch 2 Is Good, but There’s Still a Ways to Go

There’s a lot to like about the Pixel Watch 2, Google’s latest Android smartwatch. For starters, the battery finally lasts all day, even when using the always-on display. It also runs Wear OS 4 out the box, giving it the snappiest version of the Android wearable OS we’ve seen yet (and is what helped make the Galaxy Watch 6 feel so good). But for all the plusses here, there are still some things about the newest Google watch I don’t particularly love.

It’s not that there are any major issues with Pixel Watch 2, but there’s nothing mind-blowing about what Google is doing here. Like most of the smartwatches and smartphones released these days, upgrades are minor, and there’s a lack of real innovation striking the market right now. But that isn’t a reason to mark Google off. The Pixel Watch 2 is still a great device, just one Google should have delivered last year.

Same watch, better battery life

Photo: Joshua Hawkins

There’s something … familiar here. Sure, Google has changed the material the case is made of from stainless to aluminum, delivering a slightly lighter device that isn’t quite as durable. It still offers the same pebble-like bubble display, which I’m honestly happy about. It helps the Pixel Watch 2 stand out in a world where smartwatches have started to blend together.

Google has also improved the battery life on the new Pixel Watch 2, offering up to 24 hours of juice even while using the always-on display. Sure, the original Pixel Watch could hit that 24-hour mark, but you couldn’t make use of the always-on display, something I think all smartwatches should offer. Still, these changes are significant, and not something to be ignored, especially the battery life. (A dead smartwatch is a paperweight on your wrist, after all.)

But there’s a lot about the Pixel Watch 2 that is still the same as the original—not that that’s a bad thing. The Pixel Watch stood out because it offered the cleanest version of Wear OS that money could buy. And now, with the Pixel Watch 2, Google paired the latest version of its operating system with a snappier chip.

The company also threw in a new charging system that relies on a proprietary charger. Typical wireless charging is gone, replaced by a connector system that requires you to charge the watch by connecting four charging pins to their slots in the back. It’s kind of annoying because now you can’t use your old wireless charging pads. Still, it brings about some faster charging capabilities that weren’t possible on the wireless charging setup that the first-gen Pixel Watch offered.

Survival of the Fitbit

The inclusion of Wear OS 4 also brings another big change for the Pixel Watch 2: better Fitbit integration. Google is working hard to blur the line between its more robust fitness trackers, like the Fitbit Charge 6, and the company’s smartwatch options. The Pixel Watch 2 integrates seamlessly with many of the functions offered in the Fitbit app, making it easy to track all your fitness stats and goals.

It’s honestly one of the most endearing things about the Pixel Watch 2, and one reason that I’d recommend people with the original Pixel Watch upgrade, especially if they rely on it heavily for their fitness tracking. The second-gen Pixel Watch also offers more accurate tracking than the original, and it comes with a way to track stress, sleep—including naps—and a new Safety Check function, which allows you to use updated emergency features.

It’s still quirky

Photo: Joshua Hawkins

Despite all the advancements the Pixel Watch 2 offers, it isn’t perfect yet. If the Pixel Watch was the rough draft, the Pixel Watch 2 is more akin to the third or fourth. It’s a great advancement on what Google made with the Pixel Watch, but it doesn’t quite hit those same levels as we see in other smartwatches, like the Galaxy Watch 6 or the Apple Watch Series 9. Of course, Samsung has been at this a lot longer, and that really shows with the differences between its smartwatch and Google’s.

One of those areas is sizing. There’s only one size option for the Pixel Watch 2, and while I love the pebble-like display, 41mm is just too small for someone with a wrist like mine. I’m definitely more at home with the larger display of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro or the Apple Watch Ultra 2, which I previously reviewed.

Lacking those size options means that smartwatch users who want a larger display have no choice but to ignore the Pixel Watch 2, because there aren’t any other sizes available. It’s a one-size-fits-all deal, but one size doesn’t work for everyone.

There’s also a lot to be said for the lack of repairability offered in the Pixel Watch 2. Not only is it locked to just three or four years of support, it also comes with only a one-year warranty. If anything breaks that Google Support can’t fix, that warranty means you get a replacement and have to start over completely with a new device. There’s no repairability here, which seems a bit strange considering how repairable Google is trying to make the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

We also have to talk about the change that Google made to the charger for the Pixel Watch 2. Moving from a more universal charging system to one that requires a proprietary charger is a huge kick in the teeth, to be honest, especially after all this humbug about Apple being forced to offer USB-C in its products. Sure, it does charge a bit faster, but you’re limited to the one proprietary charger. Any wireless chargers you had before are no longer useful, which means more devices to recycle, thus adding to the electronic waste companies like Google are fighting so hard to cut down on.

It’s a strange move, and one that doesn’t feel like it was needed. Still, it isn’t worth completely ignoring the Pixel Watch 2. There’s a lot that Google has done right here, and if I had a smaller wrist, I’d probably be more willing to ditch the larger design of my Apple Watch Ultra 2 for the Pixel Watch 2. But the lack of any variety in size means I’m not willing to make that sacrifice yet.

Concluding thoughts on the Pixel Watch 2

The Pixel Watch 2 is a fantastic addition to Google’s Android line-up, and has fixed a lot of the problems most of us had with the OG Pixel Watch. Twenty-four-hour battery life is a huge improvement, and the fact that it runs as smoothly as it does, and offers tracking as accurate as it does are all reasons to praise what Google is doing. Now all the company needs to do is continue that upward trend, and the Pixel Watch has the opportunity to become the best Android smartwatch on the market.


  • 24-hour battery life
  • Better fitness tracking and features
  • WearOS 4 makes it easier to move devices


  • Only one size option
  • New proprietary charger

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