Google’s first Pixel Watch with Fitbit: Too little, too late

Google Pixel watch.

Sophie Pitt

Three years after acquiring Fitbit, Alphabet sells its first Google-branded watch with fitness tracking technology. It’s called Pixel Watch, and consumers can find it on store shelves starting Thursday.

I’ve been testing Google’s new Pixel products for several days. In addition to the Pixel Watch, there are the new phones, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, which go on sale at the same time.

Most upgrades to the Pixel 7 phone are minor over the last-gen Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Last year’s phones were the first to debut Google’s Tensor processor and an all-new design. The $600 Pixel 7 and $900 Pixel 7 Pro run on Google’s new Tensor G2 chip and are the company’s latest effort to gain a foothold in the global smartphone market, which Apple and Samsung dominate.

The heart of this review focuses on the Pixel Watch since it’s the first time we’ve seen how Google integrates Fitbit, which it bought in 2019 to approximately $2.1 billion.

The Pixel Watch starts at $350 for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and $400 for 4G LTE. For smartwatch users, there’s not much new here. Heart rate tracking, fitness tracking, and sleep tracking have been available for years in products from Fitbit and other companies, including Apple.

I was hoping Google’s first Fitbit Link would bring more groundbreaking innovations to handheld gaming, especially for the price. The new Apple Watch SE costs just $250 and has the same main features as the Pixel Watch. The same goes for Samsung’s Galaxy Watch5, which costs $280.

Google’s Pixel Watch is the company’s top-of-the-line watch, while the Apple Watch SE and Galaxy Watch 5 are entry-level models. But the features that each offers are quite similar.

The main advantage I can see in the Pixel Watch is its beautiful and understated design. The round face and curved glass design make the Pixel Watch more luxurious. It’s also made of stainless steel, which is more expensive than cheaper aluminum smartwatch base models.

All in all, it’s too little, too late for Google. There aren’t enough great features to justify the price, and all the important stuff is available on other cheaper smartwatches.

Here’s what you need to know before buying the new Pixel Watch and what I noticed about the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro phones.

Pixel Watch: what’s good?

The Pixel Watch is lightweight with a nice design. The watch face is only 41mm wide and emulates a drop of water, making it feel like a watch and not a computer on your wrist.

I was concerned that the smaller size would result in a less powerful battery. Google promises 24-hour battery life, and I was able to enjoy a full 24 hours of the Pixel Watch, even though I didn’t use it to track my sleep.

During my first day of testing the Pixel Watch, I did a workout, kept the display on full power, checked my emails, and controlled my Google Home from my wrist without needing to charge it until the next morning.

Seamless integrations with other Google products are another bonus. I was able to use my Pixel Watch to broadcast a message to my Google Home telling my husband I was on my way home. I was also able to turn lights on and off and play music.

As a Google Calendar user, I also appreciated having these reminders on my watch.

Another benefit of the Pixel Watch is high-frequency heart rate monitoring. Most watches only frequently measure heart rate when you’re in the middle of a workout, so they don’t drain the battery. Google says the Pixel Watch is constantly tracking your heart rate.

There’s also a cool camera feature. You can position your phone’s camera to take a photo and control the camera app with your watch. You can even see what the camera is capturing.

Google Pixel Watch lets you remotely control your phone’s camera.

Sophie Pitt

What is the problem ?

None of its alluring features sets the Pixel Watch apart from smartwatches that have been around for a long time.

I was hoping for Google’s first integration with Fitbit software that there would be some new technology or that the device would be more affordable.

Also, fall detection won’t be immediately available on the Pixel Watch. Google says it’s coming this winter. That’s disappointing, considering it’s already available on other smartwatches.

Pixel 7 and 7 Pro updates

Google’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro phones.

Sophie Pitt

The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro have some nice updates, especially to the camera. The coolest feature is Photo Blur Removal, which, thanks to Google’s new Tensor 2 chip, lets you take any blurry photo and clear it up. Even better, you can blur any photo, not just the ones you’ve taken with the Pixel phone. I tried it on a blurry photo of my husband and me. Here are the results:

Here’s a photo of Sofia Pitt and her husband before using Pixel 7’s new “Unblur” photo technology.

Sophie Pitt

Here is a photo of Sofia Pitt and her husband after using Pixel 7’s new “Unblur” technology.

Sophie Pitt

Like unblur, most updates to new Pixel phones are software related. As for the camera, Google has updated night vision, which means nighttime images are even clearer. Again, you have the new Tensor chip to thank for that. There is also a cinematic blur on the videos, which makes the subject clear and the background blurred to give the videos a professional quality. Improvements have been made to the actual tone so that photos of people of different races better represent their skin color.

Google is also making it easier for us when we need to call an 800 number. When dialing 1-800 on the Pixel 7, you no longer have to wait for “Press 1 for help” or “Press 2 to book”. The options simply pop up on your screen, saving you time and allowing you to automatically log in to the relevant service instead of talking to a bot.

The phone also transcribes audio messages, but only if they are sent from another Android device.

Overall, the camera is great on the new Pixel, but the updates aren’t enough to get me from iOS to Android.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *