If you’re looking for information on the Apple Watch Series 9 vs Google Pixel Watch 2, chances are you already know these are two of the best smartwatches you can buy today. Google's Pixel Watch series runs on Wear OS, allowing it to be used with Android phones in general and Google Pixel phones in particular.
Apple Watch runs on watchOS and is borderline unusable when paired with Android devices. So, depending on whether you have an Android or an iPhone, you already have an indication of which watch you’re likely to buy.
However, it’s always essential to know how your watch of choice is a good value purchase and whether any of them are good enough that it’s worth switching your phone for. Here is how the two watches compare in all key categories, including price, availability, features, battery life and more.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Google Pixel Watch 2
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Google Pixel Watch 2: specifications
|Header Cell - Column 0||Apple Watch Series 9||Google Pixel Watch 2|
|Sizes||41mm, 45 mm||41mm|
|Weight||32.1g (aluminum, 41mm)||31g|
|Case material||Aluminium or stainless steel||Aluminium|
|Display||Always-On Retina OLED display, up to 2,000 nits brightness||Always-on AMOLED display with DCI-P3 colour, up to 1000 nits brightness|
|Chipset||S9 SiP, 64-bit dual-core||Qualcomm Snapdragon W5|
|Battery life||18 hours||24 hours|
|Storage||64 GB||32 GB|
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Google Pixel Watch 2: price and availbility
Both watches came out in late 2023 and are currently available everywhere, including their respective online stores, Amazon, and all electronics stores, such as Best Buy in the US and Curry’s in the UK.
The Google Pixel Watch 2 retails at $349 in the US, £349 in the UK, and AU$549 in Australia. It comes in just one size – 41mm – and the base price above is for the Wi-Fi-only model. A model with 4G cellular connectivity, able to access the internet remotely without being paired to a phone, costs an extra $50 / £50 / AU$110.
The Apple Watch Series 9, on the other hand, is slightly more expensive and more complicated to buy. It starts at $399 / £399 / AU$649, and there’s far more variety available. For starters, there are two sizes, 41mm and 45mm. Each one is available in a variety of colors, two different metals – the base aluminum and a more expensive stainless steel model – and the option of Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and LTE cellular connectivity. All these upgrades cost money, so a top-end LTE stainless steel 45mm model will cost $799 / £749 / AU$1,279.
That’s a lot of choices to make, and although you could argue the Pixel Watch is not only cheaper, but has a much simpler purchasing journey, the breadth of the Apple Watch range means it’s more likely Apple has a Series 9 watch suited to your needs. If you need a premium metal case, you like a certain color or you want a larger watch, you have the option to choose
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Google Pixel Watch 2: design and build quality
The Google Pixel Watch 2 has an aluminum back, a very elegant teardrop design, a very nice 384 x 384 px always-on AMOLED screen, and it’s just overall a great design. The pebble-like aesthetic, introduced by the original Google Pixel Watch, is attractive and unique-looking, with the rotating digital crown the only thing interrupting its sleek curves. It looks very much the same as the old model, but the innards have been redesigned with a more accurate multi-path heart rate sensor and a new processor for faster clock speeds.
The Apple Watch Series 9 also looks virtually identical to its predecessor (that distinctive squircle again), with a little more going on under the hood than its older model. The only way you could tell it’s not an Apple Watch Series 8 by looking at it is the screen, capable of reaching double the brightness of the Series 8 while still offering that gorgeous, silky-smooth Retina Display technology. The new S9 processor, based on Apple’s A15 Bionic, is also faster, providing access to a few new tricks, including the Double Tap gesture, which allows you to operate your watch without actually touching it at all.
Both watches rate pretty much equally in terms of hardware design and build quality, but what about software? The Apple Watch edges the Pixel out here, as for our money, watchOS 10’s widget stack, impressive in-built Workout app, and iconic Movement rings outstrips Wear OS 4.0’s simple design and reliance on Fitbit connectivity.
Winner: Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Google Pixel Watch 2: features
If you’re a Google user, the Pixel Watch 2 seamlessly integrates with your life thanks to easy access to Gmail, docs, notes, Fitbit and more. I use Google Keepnotes quite a bit for to-do lists, grocery lists, and jotting down ideas for creative projects I’ll never get to. With the Pixel Watch, I can access my grocery lists on my wrist and record a voice-to-text memo.
The Apple Watch has comparable features here, with similar integration into Apple’s network. As hinted at above, I think Apple’s Fitness suite is superior to Fitbit, especially when paired with Apple Fitness+, as you can see your heart rate in real-time while following onscreen workouts.
Cycling workouts turn your iPhone into a working bike computer, so you don’t have to lift your wrist from the handlebars while running workouts offer metrics like running power and vertical oscillation, which Fitbit doesn’t. Apple’s recovery metrics, however, aren’t as good as Fitbit’s Daily Readiness score – but you need Fitbit Premium for that.
Apple also gets a unique way to interact with the Watch Series 9: Double Tap. Simply raise your wrist and pinch your watch hand twice, and you’ll be able to cancel calls, switch off timers, start workouts and more, all without actually touching your watch. Very impressive.
watchOS10 has its widget stack, whereas Pixel Watch 2 uses the older swipe-across slides method of storing your favorite apps. Both watches have ECG heart scanners, sleep tracking (better on the Pixel, thanks to its longer battery life), on-device virtual assistants, and a smorgasbord of third-party apps in their respective stores. It’s close – very close – but Apple just edges it here.
Winner: Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Google Pixel Watch 2: battery life
An easy win for the Pixel Watch 2 here. Whereas the Apple Watch Series 9 has just 18 hours of battery life, the Google Pixel Watch 2 boasts an extra six hours. Neither will win any awards next to the best Garmin watches, which measure battery in weeks, not hours, but the Google Pixel Watch 2’s additional six hours make all the difference when you factor in battery-sucking GPS workouts and sleep tracking capabilities. No need to charge overnight!
Winner: Google Pixel Watch 2
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Google Pixel Watch 2: which is better?
With a score of 2-1, with one draw, the Apple Watch Series 9 just beats out the Google Pixel Watch 2 in our rankings. However, it’s not a decisive enough victory to warrant getting a brand-new phone in order to switch wearables. Both devices are fantastic additions to their respective ecosystems, and if you’re after a companion piece to your Pixel Watch or iPhone, you could certainly do a lot worse than either of these smartwatches.