Google’s first smartwatch is highly anticipated to the point that it likely won’t be able to live up to unbearable expectations. After almost nothing for months, the Pixel Watch leaks have come thick and fast. Here’s everything you need to know.
Delays, false dawns, and more have led to the first Google-made wearable finally getting its debut alongside the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. Thanks to a mountain of last-minute leaks, we have a fairly solid picture of what to expect, and it’ll be interesting, to say the least.
Table of contents
Design and accessories
The earliest leak of the Pixel Watch basically confirmed the design so early it was almost a shock that it looked so similar when it eventually broke cover in the first half of 2022. It’s not often that designs are set in stone at such an early phase, but with the Pixel watch rumored for so long, this could explain the design consistency.
Google is sticking with a simple circular shape with a curved edge-to-edge design that certainly borrows from the likes of the Ressence Type 3 luxury mechanical watch but without the extortionate entry cost. A rotating beveled crown is also on the right side with a button just above. It hasn’t been explicitly confirmed but it seems that you can use this to scroll through on-screen menus as you can on many other Wear OS watches.
A major point of contention looks like the 1.4-inch screen. Even though renders have shown fairly slim bezels, leaks of unboxed Pixel Watch demo units show that the bezels will be quite noticeable in the right lighting. Unlike many OEMs, Google is only going to offer its first wearable in one 40mm size, but with a 30mm actual workable screen space according to early hands-on leaks.
Only three chassis colors are set to be available. Black, gray, and gold cases are set to be available, which will pair with the Pixel 7 series device frames of the Obsidian, Snow, and Hazel finishes respectively. This will be great for cohesion if you do pick up the latest smartphone, but there is set to be a large selection of first-party straps and bands to choose from.
A proprietary connector is set to be used, which was briefly teased during the I/O unveiling. It seems that Pixel Watch bands will slide into place and can be detached with a release button on the outer bezel of the actual watch.
One recent leak has confirmed that a 20mm silicone band will be the default in-the-box accessory for the Pixel Watch. Positioned as the “Active” band, it seems that the Fitbit-style Infinity strap will start at $49. Leaked images of the Pixel Watch strap collection show that Google is going to offer fabric mesh bands, multiple silicone options, leather straps, plus some high-end metal bracelets.
The reported internals for the Pixel Watch could leave a lot to be desired as our own leak indicates that it’ll utilize the Exynos 9110 chipset. This four-year-old processor was used on the original Galaxy Watch. It’s hard not to be concerned, but it is worth noting that a co-processor is set to be used which could help alleviate any major slowdowns and performance bottlenecks.
Another rumor suggests that the Pixel Watch was planned to launch back in 2018, which has led to the usage of an old processor. That could very well be the case, but we do not know if that is true. Given that Google has used less powerful processors for flagship devices in the past, there could be another reason entirely.
A saving grace could be the other internals. The Pixel Watch is set to come with over 1.5GB of RAM, which means that it should surpass what’s offered on any other Wear OS watch today. Adding to that, 32GB of storage is set to be offered. That is double that of existing devices and allows users to store content for offline playback and hopefully more as applications are updated.
Battery and charging
One of the most worrying aspects of the Pixel Watch has been the projected battery life. An early rumor suggests that the battery capacity will be capped just under the 300mAh threshold. Google has since confirmed “all-day battery life” with leaked marketing materials. It’s not actually clear if that means when using the Always-on display function or not though.
Twenty-four hours of lifespan seems to be average at least for a new wearable. The 40mm size means a larger battery might have been harder to successfully add without increasing thickness, but we’ll save judgment until we have tried the Pixel Watch ourselves.
The Pixel Watch will charge via a magnetic puck in a similar manner to the Galaxy Watch series. It isn’t clear if you can wirelessly charge using a Qi charger or reverse wireless charging. The actual charge cable has a USB-C connector rather than USB-A, but this should mean it will be compatible with existing Pixel chargers.
Software and features
We know that Google has reinvigorated Wear OS with the help of Samsung, so it’s high time that a first-party wearable hits store shelves with the latest build pre-installed. A recent leak of retail packaging shows that Wear OS 3.5 is set to come pre-loaded on the Pixel Watch. That’s great news as it matches the recently released Galaxy Watch 5 series. Until recently Samsung has been the flag bearer for Wear OS as there are only four watches on the market with this particular build.
Back at I/O a number of apps were teased including a new Google Home app for Wear OS, plus some further integration with Fitbit for fitness and health tracking. Google Fit can still be used but it looks like you will be able to track workouts and more using Fitbit. A leak of marketing material indicates that you will need a Fitbit Premium subscription to access in-depth Pixel Watch tracking features. However, we simply do not know at this stage.
The Google Assistant will certainly be a big focus, while there’s Google Pay/Wallet tap-to-pay and Maps navigation. Your Pixel Watch can unlock your Android device and Chromebook, while there will be a “Google Pixel Watch” companion app. Fast Pair should also be available to speed up connecting and switching Bluetooth headphones.
A number of exclusive watch faces have been detailed with some that are familiar if you have ever used a Nest Hub. We already previewed some of these watch faces that Google is working on. The designs span digital and analog with most offering complication slots, like for Fitbit.
Fast Pair will make the process of pairing the Pixel Watch to your Android phone pretty seamless. A recent leak has shown that the process of linking will prompt you to download a dedicated app from the Google Play Store. We don’t yet know what the app will be like but if it’s anything like the Galaxy Wearable application then it will likely offer extra controls and customization options.
At the end of August, we reported that Google is pricing the cellular Pixel Watch with LTE at $399 in the US. Since then, we learned that the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth model costs $349.99. Additionally, it will be available in the Black case with Obsidian (black) band, Silver/Chalk (white-beige), and Gold/Hazel (green-ish). The default LTE case/band configurations are almost the same except for Silver/Charcoal (gray).
We do know that courtesy of a leak if you pre-order the Pixel 7 Pro in the UK, the Pixel Watch will be offered as a free gift. This would be a substantial pre-release incentive for anyone wanting to get the latest handset and wearable directly from the Google Store. Other regions are offering free access to Fitbit Premium with a purchase. Offers will likely vary from region to region.
Release date and availability
Google will fully detail and unveil the Pixel 7, 7 Pro, and Pixel Watch at an in-person launch event in NYC on October 6. In previous years, the end of the livestream coincided with pre-orders opening. We’d wager that this will be the case once again, but there has been no explicit leak on when the Pixel Watch will begin shipping. However, with the Pixel 7 expected to go on sale from October 13, it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect the Pixel Watch to be available at the same time.
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