After 6 months with the Google Pixel Watch, all I want is a Pixel Watch 2
As I sit here thinking about how to start this retrospective article, I glance at the Google Pixel Watch on my wrist and realize that its battery is at 13%. I shrug my shoulders; time for daily reload, I guess. So I take it off and put it on the charger knowing that I’ll probably leave it there longer than necessary because I’ll just forget to wear it again after about 90 minutes.
And therein lies my biggest problem with Google’s first smartwatch. It doesn’t matter how much I love the glass dome design and how fluid it is to interact with until I can use it to its full potential. As my colleague Aamir recently expressed, I end up using this smartwatch in all stupid ways because I just want to get to the end of the day without a dead battery. And despite my best efforts, I’ve had many, many dead batteries over the past six months.
Pixel Watch battery life, or lack thereof
Kaitlyn Cimino/Android Authority
I’ve worn Fitbit trackers regularly for over 10 years, but haven’t had to. think actively about charging one of them as much as I do the Pixel Watch. I’ve already purchased a second charging cable and a small portable USB-C charging puck ($11.99 on Amazon) to carry around when I travel. That’s how I’m careful, and yet
Imagine me putting my watch on the puck during a 30 minute drive in Slovenia, all to have enough juice for a short afternoon hike in Bled. I didn’t want to do this, but I had to. Or better yet, imagine me swearing under my breath because I forgot to charge the watch as soon as I woke up and now I have to leave in five minutes with a 20% battery. I guess most of today’s stages will be lost to history. And then the Fitbit app will have the audacity to judge me for not reaching my daily goal! Meanwhile, my husband didn’t even pack his Fitbit Versa charger for our four-day trip and still tracked all of his walks, sleep, and three full hikes.
The irony of a fitness tracker being more problematic to use on active days doesn’t escape me.
Because Fitbit and Google won’t let me link the watch and a regular tracker to the same account, I find myself in a constant when should I charge for this? enigma, even more so on days when I’m very active. The irony of a fitness tracker being more problematic to use on active days doesn’t escape me, believe me. A full charge of 90-120 minutes is not easy to insert, because what do I have to sacrifice? Steps or sleep? Some days it’s this, other days it’s that. So every month I end up with at least two or three days of missed sleep tracking. Look at these screenshots.
Stupid battery life was one of the biggest negatives we mentioned in our first Pixel Watch review, and I’d say it’s a bigger issue than we initially thought. This restriction ends up dictating all my interactions with her. Do I actively track my morning walk to see my live stats on the watch and risk losing 10-20% juice in an hour, or do I let it do its less useful bottom tracking and keep those precious percentages? Do I easily check Todoist or other cool Pixel Watch apps or do I pull out my phone instead? Do I dare to open Spotify on the watch to listen to music or do I stick with my phone, using the watch as a glorified playback remote? Every decision and every use over the past six months has been linked to this single factor.
Restricted battery life dictates all my interactions with the Pixel Watch, preventing me from enjoying everything else I love.
This makes it difficult to take advantage of everything the Pixel Watch does well. It’s beautiful on the wrist more than any picture does it justice and the glass dome is just a fantastic design. Despite the number of good Pixel Watch cases and bands, putting it in a seems almost sacrilege.
I also can’t overstate the importance of not clinging enough to long sleeves and jackets. I often avoided interacting with other smartwatches in the winter because reaching for them under my clothes was annoying. This is not the case at all with the Pixel Watch.
Plus, it’s so much fun to interact with. Sliding on the dome is smoother than some of the best smartwatches I’ve tried and is on par with the Apple Watch. Furthermore, the crown continues to be a pleasure to turn, with perfect scrolling haptics. Google nailed a lot of the design decisions; Too bad he thought 24 hours of longevity was enough.
Google’s Dubious Software Commitment
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
Although Google has rolled out monthly security updates to the Pixel Watch since launch, and a fairly large update in March 2023, most of them have been just bug fixes. Fall detection, which was promised when the watch launched in October, didn’t land until March. And it took Google three months to enable a one-click toggle for Battery Saver (the feature was teased in December and launched in March). None of this is a proper sign of commitment to the watch or the platform.
Most of the updates were just bug fixes. New features are rare, very rare and far between.
This has been very frustrating for a daily Pixel Watch wearer like me. By now, I was expecting a dozen new watch faces, the SpO2 sensor activation that we know it just turned off, and at least an auto-sleep mode. Not to mention adding all the little missing features to Google’s own apps. I don’t understand how Google Maps still doesn’t support transit directions on the watch, or how Google Wallet doesn’t allow me to show my loyalty cards there.
Why I really want a Pixel Watch 2
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
Having worn both a fitness tracker and a Wear OS watch for several years now, I was and still am the perfect target Pixel Watch user. I don’t miss those dual wrist days at all, but I want a more reliable one-stop solution that lasts at least two days on a charge; this is the restriction with which I am ready to work. A second-generation Pixel Watch would hopefully fit this bill.
Pixel Watch 2 rumors have been very rare to non-existent so far. Ideally, this successor would come in two size variants, one of which is larger than the current watch. A bigger screen and bigger battery would also be welcome. Both versions are also expected to have smaller bezels, and a more power-efficient processor-powered Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 wearable chip could be great here. Basically, I want the hardware specs to match the design of the Pixel Watch so I can use it to its full potential and enjoy it.
I want the hardware specs to match the design of the Pixel Watch 2 so I can use it to its full potential and enjoy it.
In that ideal future, the next Pixel Watch would also have most, if not all, of the latest Fitbit Sense 2 sensors and automatic workout detection. Specifically, I expect at least SpO2 and skin temperature sensors to be there. This is Google’s unique selling point for its smartwatch and not taking advantage of it is folly. Who wants to pay $350 for a smarter Fitbit that doesn’t do everything a slightly dumber Fitbit already does?
But I guess the main reason I want a Pixel Watch 2 is because it would reinforce Google’s commitment to wearables, its smartwatch platform, and its burgeoning hardware ecosystem. We’re still a long way from Apple’s clear strategy and solid lineup, but seeing a second Google Watch could signal to developers that it’s worth investing and adapting their apps to the platform. I know we’ve reached it when my local French bank and the Paris transit system appear on the Play Store on my watch.
Google Pixel Watch
Wear OS built-in Play Store voice-to-text support
The Pixel Watch is the first wearable watch with the Big G.
The Google Pixel Watch is a wearable device powered by Wear OS that aims to be the smartwatch for everyone. It has a robust app library, plenty of Fitbit-based health tracking features, and a sleek design.