If you own a Pixel phone and you’re looking for the best smartwatch to pair with it, there are only two real choices: the Google Pixel Watch 2 or Google Pixel Watch. The two watches are very similar in many respects, as you might expect from two in the same series - but very different in others.
Below, we’ll break down how the two watches compare in terms of cost, design, features and battery life so you can make an informed decision. Is it worth picking up a cheaper watch to save money, or should you splash out on a newer and more expensive model? Find out below.
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Google Pixel Watch
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: specifications
|Header Cell - Column 0||Google Pixel Watch 2||Google Pixel Watch|
|Case material||Aluminium||Stainless Steel|
|Display||450 x 450 px always-on AMOLED 320 ppi||450 x 450 px always-on AMOLED 320 ppi|
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon W5||Exynos 9110|
|Battery life||24 hours with AOD enabled||Up to 24 hours|
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: price and availbility
The Google Pixel Watch 2, which was released in October 2023, is available now at Google, priced at $349 in the US, £349 in the UK, and AU$549 in Australia for the Wi-Fi-only model. To get a watch with cellular connectivity, it costs an extra $49 / £49 / AU$110. It comes in just one size, 41mm, but it does offer four color combinations: Polished Silver and Porcelain, Polished Silver and Bay, Matte Black and Obsidian, and Champagne Gold with Hazel.
The original Google Pixel Watch debuted in 2022, and now its sequel is out, it has been discounted to $279.99 / £279.99 / AU$449.99 on Google's website. The LTE versions cost $329.99 / £329.99 / AU$329.99. It’s available in Charcoal and Polished Silver, Matte Black and Obsidian, Champagne Gold with Hazel, and Chalk and Polished Silver. All models are also sized at 41mm.
Given that the Pixel Watch 2 and the original are so similar in size and colorway availability, the real difference is that the older model is cheaper. You can also grab significant discounts on the older model during major sales events, such as the Black Friday deals, while deals on the Pixel Watch 2 are harder to find.
Winner: Google Pixel Watch
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: design and build quality
The older Google Pixel Watch is comprised of a 450 x 450 px screen with Corning Gorilla Glass, a case of premium stainless steel (one of the reasons it weighs more, at 36g), an Exynos 9110 processor, a rear sensor array and slender silicone straps. A digital crown assists in navigating Wear OS.
The newer Pixel Watch 2 may look the same, but lots of little changes are under the hood. The Corning Gorilla Glass is thinner (although Google insists the Pixel Watch 2’s glass is just as strong as its predecessor), and the back of the case is comprised not of stainless steel but aluminum. Although aluminum isn’t quite as strong, it does help the watch weigh five grams lighter. It’s swapped out the processor for a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 chipset, and the new multi-path heart rate sensor is said to be up to 40% more accurate during vigorous exercise.
Stainless steel is considered a tough, high-quality material, rather than slender, softer aluminum, so there’s a good argument that the original Pixel Watch has a better outer shell build quality. Both watches are extremely similar from an aesthetic perspective too, making this category difficult to judge.
However, thanks to all the changes under the hood to make the Google Pixel Watch 2 lighter and faster than its predecessor, we’re voting the more recent model as the winner here.
Winner: Google Pixel Watch 2
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: features
Many of the Google Pixel Watch and Pixel Watch 2’s key features come from the Wear OS 4 operating system and Fitbit integration that both devices share. Both offer Fitbit features such as ECG scans, Daily Readiness scores, sleep tracking and comprehensive workout metrics for all sorts of activities, such as running, cycling, swimming, strength training, skiing, and loads more. Integration with Gmail, Google Assistant, Keep Notes, and practically the entire Google suite of features are available on both watches.
However, the Google Pixel Watch 2 builds on this with additional features. A new skin temperature sensor means more accurate sleep tracking, and the Pixel Watch 2 gets automatic workout recognition. All you have to do is start running or walking, and the Pixel Watch will present an option to start tracking it as a workout.
A new Personal Safety Check allows you to set a timer, which, once it goes off, will present an option to be disabled. If it is not disabled, the Personal Safety Check will send your location to an emergency contact or emergency services, ideal for alerting loved ones if you’re out on the trails and you trip and fall. Other new workout features include a sweat detector, which can help gauge your stress levels.
Overall, it’s easy to rate the Google Pixel Watch 2 as technically superior and more feature-stuffed than its predecessor. It’s packing everything the original Pixel Watch has, with plenty of extras as an added bonus.
Winner: Google Pixel Watch 2
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: battery life
The original Google Pixel Watch has a 24-hour battery life, but when the always-on display is enabled and you perform a battery-sucking GPS workout, it’s not unusual to get significantly less: perhaps 18 or even 16 hours a day. To have to charge it at least once a day, occasionally twice, was considered a continual frustration for original Pixel Watch owners.
The Pixel Watch 2 still has 24 hours of battery life, but it can reach this goal with the always-on display, which is enabled as standard. This increased battery life means you can take advantage of the Pixel Watch 2’s improved sleep tracking, and the old magnetic charger has been switched to a four-pin model, which reduces the risk of overheating and charges the watch much faster as a result.
Winner: Google Pixel Watch 2
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: verdict
It’s an easy win for the Google Pixel Watch 2. While the original is an exemplary device, the many improvements mean that the Pixel Watch 2 outstrips its predecessor in almost every way, and we’d recommend getting it over the original unless you find the first Pixel Watch at a very heavily discounted price.