With the design fully leaked, questions about Google’s Pixel Watch turn to the software and internal hardware specs. One clue about the health capabilities is how the Pixel Watch’s rear sensors are very similar, if not identical, to ones found on the Fitbit Charge 5 and Luxe.

The health sensor on the Pixel Watch consists of four cutouts. The rectangle second from the left is white, has two squares at the bottom, and is ever so slightly narrower than the other three. This configuration matches the sensor used by Fitbit on its latest non-smartwatch fitness trackers. 

The Charge 5 and Luxe feature an optical heart rate monitor, red and infrared sensors for oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring, and temperature sensor for overnight skin tracking. It allow for features like 24/7 heart rate tracking and variability, cardio fitness level (VO2 max), and more

Meanwhile, the separate semicircles surrounding the centered sensor could be the back crystal electrodes needed to read your electrical heart impulses for electrocardiogram (ECG). Other watches that offer ECG also require you to make contact with another point on the watch case to take a reading. That second sensor could be part of the sole top button or the bottle cap-shaped crown.

L-R: Pixel Watch, Fitbit Charge 5, Luxe

If Google is indeed reusing a Fitbit sensor for the Pixel Watch, that could result in cost-savings as the Fitbit Luxe is $129 and the Charge 5 $149. That’d make for a nice synergy from the 2021 acquisition, and could suggest that development on the Pixel Watch was very much still active last January when the deal closed.

Both trackers offer a good health-monitoring experience, while Fitbit gets to preserve and maintain the quality of data that goes into its app (and is shown on the watch) by using existing hardware. After all, we already know that the Fitbit dashboard UI found on the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 will make its way to Wear OS 3.

The Pixel Watch hardware that leaked over the weekend looks near final, but it’s possible that the Fitbit sensor was just used for that prototype. That said, component reuse between Google and Fitbit makes a lot of sense.

  • Wear OS 3
  • Wear OS 3 screenshots

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com