The original Pixel Watch was long awaited, and while it fell short on a couple of features like battery life and some fitness tracking, it was still one of the best Wear OS options available. 12 months after the launch, the Pixel Watch 2 is now available, bringing with it more features and more battery life. 

The Pixel Watch 2 brings a new processor and coprocessor enabling improvements in battery life to include a full day of use with Always-on-Display, as well as new temperature and stress sensors and heart-rate monitor but keeps the clean water droplet look of the original.

The price remains the same as the original, $549 for the base Wifi/Bluetooth device or $649 for LTE connectivity. 

Despite the shortcomings I loved the original Pixel Watch with its Fitbit integration, enough that I purchased one for my wife as well. I’ve been keen to see what the latest hardware can offer, and whether it’s worth an upgrade. I’ve been using the Pixel Watch 2 for a week now and here’s how it went. 


The Pixel Watch and Pixel Watch 2 are almost identical when you look at them. The Pixel Watch 2 again comes with three case colour options – Polished Silver Aluminium, Matte Black Aluminium and a Champagne Gold Aluminium – which are all now made from 100% recycled Aluminium making it lighter. Google has sent over a Matte Black case option with a black band to review and black is classic for a reason, it just looks good.

The same size and design is both a good and a bad thing. The water-droplet look still looks great, however the 41mm case size with the one-size fits all approach, doesn’t. My wrist is larger and I find the watch looks a little small, whereas my wife’s wrist is smaller and the watch looks great. 

While the clean pebble look is apparently popular according to Google, I and others do prefer a chunkier look like the Casio G-Shock or Diesel line of watches – perhaps we’ll see some more size and design options in future releases.

To address at least part of the size issue, there’s a spare larger band in the box to ensure it fits most wrists and any previous bands you purchased for the Pixel Watch will also connect to the Pixel Watch 2 using the same connection method. 

The connection method for the bands is still a little odd with the press and twist method, but again, once you’ve done it a couple of times it’s easy to swap them on and off as you need.

Google has introduced a couple of new bands for the Pixel Watch 2, the ‘Metal Slim’, a slimmer version of the metal link option from last year and ‘Active Sport’ band which is a more breathable (has holes in it) version of the standard band you get with the Pixel Watch 2.

The default band is again fairly comfortable to wear, though it can get a little sweaty when working out, so that Active Sport option may be a little more breathable for you.


The Pixel Watch 2 includes a faster Qualcomm SW5100 processor this year, with a coprocessor included to offload some of the less processor intensive tasks and save battery life. There’s 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage on-board – the same as last year. 

The new processor and coprocessor make the Pixel Watch 2 buttery smooth to scroll around, or load apps. I found the original Pixel Watch had similar smooth performance, so the additional grunt from the new processor means the Pixel Watch 2 will likely offer smoother performance down the track as the software takes more advantage of the hardware. 

The display is also the same as last year, with a 1.2-inch, 450 x 450 resolution touch display with Custom 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 over the top to protect it.  The display has a peak brightness of 1000 nits which makes it good for viewing inside and out, with the ambient light sensor offering a brightness boost when required. 

I suffered only one small scratch on the display of the original Pixel Watch in the 12 months I’ve been using it, so the same Gorilla Glass covering should be fine for most people. 

There is a little controversy with the Pixel Watch (both generations) not having an option for a screen repair, so if there are issues, contact Google Support to see what they can offer you in terms of refurb or replacement – depending on the circumstances.

What has been updated this year is the new sensors with a new skin temperature sensor, cEDA (Continuous Electrodermal Activity) sensor for detecting stress responses and a newly improved heart rate sensor which uses a multi-mode pathway to get a more accurate heart-rate. 

The new heart rate sensor ups the ante for heart-rate tracking by using a multi-path sensor that uses multiple photodiodes across your wrist to take your heart rate, giving you a more accurate reading overall. 

The Skin Temperature sensor is handy, though there’s no real ‘take a temperature’ option, though you can get a view of your average in the Fitbit app. Likewise there’s no ‘heart-rate’ option, but you can also view your data in Fitbit.

Battery and Charging

There’s a slightly larger battery included in the Pixel Watch 2 and a new charger which now uses POGO pins instead of a wireless connection. 

The jump from 294mAh on the original Pixel Watch to a 306mAh battery in the Pixel Watch 2 may not seem like a huge jump, but combined with the newer more efficient processor setup it works. 

I was able to quite easily get through 24 hours of use with AoD, with some workouts and step tracking used throughout the day. It’s a big jump from the babying I was doing with the original – especially if I wanted to do sleep tracking.

Scott’s first day was a shocking 8 hours before it died, however after a restart and recharge he grabbed 24 hours the next day including two nights of sleep tracking. We both found overnight only dropped the battery around 10%

With 24 hours of use, there is still some fluffing about with charging – mainly when you’ll be stationary enough to charge the watch so you can still track your movement. I found a combination of charging my watch while I got ready in the morning and getting ready for bed at night, was the key to getting me through the full day with enough to track my activity through the day, as well as my sleep.

The new charging puck provided in the box is smaller than the original and now uses POGO pins for charging – so the two chargers aren’t compatible. This new contact based charging (the original was wireless) now lets you get a full-day charge in 75 minutes or 50% charge in 30 minutes.  

The new puck will only charge one way, meaning you need to really make sure it’s aligned perfectly. I had only one instance where it didn’t align properly, while Scott had a couple of instances.

While we’re not quite at Garmin or Huawei Watch levels of battery life yet, it’s still an improvement on the last generation Pixel Watch, and for me that’s quite a good step up.

LTE and Connectivity

The Pixel Watch 2 has Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity for connecting to Bluetooth devices including earbuds and like the Pixel Watch before it, the Pixel Watch 2 has an LTE model though there’s limited connectivity options. There’s only support for Telstra on both generations of the Pixel Watch with their ‘One Number’ service for an additional $5 per month on top of your monthly plan. 

If you’re with Vodafone or Optus, unfortunately there’s no options at this time – but we really hope this gets changed.

Connecting to the Telstra One Number service is very simple though if you’re a customer, with the Pixel Watch app able to get you up and running easily.

Once connected, using the Pixel Watch 2 on LTE is fantastic.  With your mobile connectivity now constant, you can receive phone calls and SMS on your watch, as well as remain connected through apps including WhatsApp, and the new Gmail app, or listen to podcasts on Pocket Casts, or music in Spotify or YouTube Music once you pair some bluetooth headphones. 

You do also get a free month of YouTube Music Premium with the Pixel Watch 2 to try that out if you want.


Like the original, the story of the Pixel Watch 2 is a combination of the latest version of Wear OS (Wear OS 4) and the integration of Fitibit for fitness, sleep and ‘wellness’ tracking. 

To pair the watch with your phone you’ll need the Pixel Watch app from the Play Store. Setup is easy, a simple matter of following the bouncing ball. You’ll need Fitbit to access some features including ECG, heart-rate etc. so install Fitbit  from Google Play

Wear OS 4

Wear OS 4 itself brings a host of new features covering health, fitness, safety and productivity, as well as new apps from Google, and new partners. 

There’s not a lot visually different in Wear OS 4, but it does bring more features and improvements including better battery life, a new backup and restore method using Google One, new watch face categories and safety features.

There’s also new apps from Google including Gmail and Calendar which are a delight to finally have on your wrist, and also apps including AllTrails, Audible and WhatsApp.

Using Wear OS 4 is a little easier to use with improved notifications including image and GIF previews, and you can also get directions, start calls or messages from notifications as well.

Wear OS 4 is also more friendly to use with improvements in customisation and accessibility. Google has included features including ‘bold text and better text-to-speech for faster screen reading’. 


The Pixel Watch 2 and Wear OS 4 include a number of new features including Medical ID, as well as Emergency Sharing and Safety Check, though these last two require LTE connectivity.

The Medical ID addition is handy. Once you enter your medical information into the Personal Safety App on your phone including emergency contacts, it syncs with the watch and your Medical Info can be displayed even from a locked screen.

The Emergency Sharing feature lets you share your real-time location and updates with emergency contacts. 

The most interesting feature for some people is the Safety Check option  which lets you set a check-in timer to respond to contacts that you’re safe. Handy for anyone wanting to check in after a night out, going hiking or running or just need to check in with a friend to make sure they know you got home safely.

If you don’t respond to the Safety Check alert on your watch you’ll share your location with your emergency contacts. 


The Pixel Watch 2 of course features Fitbit integration, with the new Fitbit app on your phone syncing your heart rate, SpO2, stress responses, and more from the watch. The Fitbit app on your watch and phone can offer insights into sleep, health and even stress with the new eCDA sensor. 

To use the features you’ll need to install the Fitbit mobile app, then spend time allowing permissions for things like Body Response, Heart Rate Monitoring

Just like last year, Google has included 6 months of Fitbit Premium with each Pixel Watch 2 for both new and returning members. The Fitbit Premium plan costs A$14.99 monthly or A$129.99 annually normally, so make sure you set a reminder to cancel if you don’t plan to take advantage of the premium features. 

Fitbit Premium isn’t required to use basic health tracking functionality,  but you will get more features in the form of Daily Readiness Score, Sleep Profile, Sleep Score and tracking for Active Zone Minutes.

Fitbit App

The Fitbit watch app will show a lot of your data, but you will need to dig into the Fitbit phone app for more insights. The app was recently updated with a new look, now using three tabs: Today, Coach and You. You can access all the data on the Today tab, with the Coach tab offering workouts and the You tab offering insights into your goals, as well as viewing heart-rate history.

The new layout is somewhat simplified, so it’s good for newer users who want basic functionality to view health information, however it makes it a little difficult to dig into some of the more relevant data for more advanced users. 

Heart Rate 

The new heart-rate sensor uses a multi-path input for tracking your heart rate. This means using a single LED to emit a pulse with multiple receptors registering the response for an improved reading from Google’s ‘improved AI heart rate algorithm’.

Google says the new heart-rate monitor is up to 40% more accurate for vigorous activities, which means it gives more accurate results for things including calories burnt and tracking your Activity Zone minutes in Fitbit. 

While I had no issues with the heart-rate tracking on the first gen Pixel Watch, the improved accuracy from the multi-path sensor can only be good. 

Workout Tracking

While the watch can track 40 workouts, seven types of workout can be tracked automatically. Google says that workouts including running – outdoor and on a treadmill, elliptical,  rowing, outdoor biking, spinning and walking will all automatically notify you when it detects those workouts and offers to start tracking them if you forget – because if you don’t track it, it doesn’t count right?!

I tried out the automatic detection using the elliptical, as well as jumping on the bike (Hello magpie swooping!) and going for a walk and the auto tracking worked well. After starting the activity, a notification appeared to initiate the workout tracking, taking about 5 minutes on the cross-trainer and bike, while walking took about 10-15 minutes to detect. GPS tracking is excellent, with the workout appearing in your Fitbit app.


I did attempt to use the new Stress detection which uses data from the continuous electrodermal activity (cEDA) sensor on the Pixel Watch 2. The Body Response feature uses the cEDA sensor as well as your heart rate, heart rate variability and skin temperature.

The Body Response feature is turned off by default in the Fitbit app – but after driving through Sydney peak hour traffic arguing with the GPS, I still haven’t been able to trigger an alert for it – and neither has Scott. Perhaps we’re too chill?

The alerts, should you trigger one, will pop up at a later time asking you to reflect on the time period when the watch detected a stress response.

Should you buy it?

The Pixel Watch 2 most importantly offers improved battery life over last years model with the addition of Always-on-Display and also includes improved heart rate monitoring, as well as the cEDA and skin temperature sensors. 

Google has included a lot of updates in Wear OS 4 which offer improvements across the board. The Fitbit integration is good, though the Fitbit Premium can be a little expensive after the 6-month trial is up, though most features including ECG, heart rate, step tracking and more are available in their free tier. 

Overall it’s the improvements in battery life and speed that make using the Pixel Watch 2 better. The watch is super smooth to use and not having to worry about charging as often was most welcome.

If you own the first generation Pixel Watch there’s probably no need to update yet, or if you’re looking for Garmin levels of battery life you’ll be disappointed. For everyone else looking for a good everyday smartwatch which looks good and has excellent health tracking, the Pixel Watch 2 is a great option.