Can the Google Pixel Watch Keep Up With the Apple Watch?

Can the Google Pixel Watch Keep Up With the Apple Watch?

The Pixel Watch is Google's version of the Apple Watch, but it's still missing some things.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
A photo of the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I wrote earlier that I’m still getting to know the Pixel Watch after being stuck on Samsung watches for so long. But I’m concurrently learning the Apple Watch Series 8. I’ve had the Apple Watch for only a few weeks, but it’s already given me an idea of how Google can improve the Pixel Watch.

The two smartwatches are from different ecosystems, but the Pixel Watch is supposed to be a carrot on a stick for anyone deciding between Android and iOS. But for all the ways it might mirror the Apple Watch, it’s still missing some features. Here’s a look at some similarities and differences between Google’s Pixel Watch and Apple Watch Series 8.

Advertisement

2 / 10

The Pixel Watch has some sensors, but not all

The Pixel Watch has some sensors, but not all

A photo of the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

When I looked at the specification sheet for the Pixel Watch, I noticed it was missing some of the sensors of the Apple Watch. I’m mainly referring to the body temperature sensor, which is new to the Apple Watch Series 8 to help facilitate fertility tracking. And while there is an Sp02 blood oxygen monitor on the Pixel Watch, it’s currently dormant.

Advertisement

3 / 10

Hope you like bezels

Hope you like bezels

A photo of the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Pixel Watch has a bezel. I didn’t want to admit it at first, but it’s very clearly there, and it feels a bit more pronounced than the one on the Apple Watch. Despite the Pixel Watch’s cool domed screen effect, I like that the Apple Watch Series 8 uses the whole square.

Advertisement

4 / 10

Smooth scrolling

Smooth scrolling

Gif: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I didn’t think I’d miss it, but when I put down the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch to return to my Samsung Galaxy Watch, I realized I missed the digital crown. It helps the interface move faster when the software allows it and makes it easier to scroll through dense information on the tiny watch screens.

Advertisement

5 / 10

For the Pixel, one size fits all

For the Pixel, one size fits all

A photo of the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Unlike the Apple Watch, the Pixel Watch only comes in one size. It’s a 41mm watch face or nothing with Google’s smartwatch. Apple offers 41mm and 45mm sizes for different wrists.

Advertisement

6 / 10

A pox on proprietary watchbands

A pox on proprietary watchbands

A photo of the Pixel Watch's clasping mechanism
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Pixel Watch and Apple Watch use a proprietary clasping mechanism for their watchbands. If you’re coming to one of these watches from another brand, you might find this annoying, as it means buying a new set of watch bands.

Advertisement

7 / 10

Fitbit Premium or Apple Fitness+?

Fitbit Premium or Apple Fitness+?

A photo of the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Both Google and Apple have paid tiers for fitness help, costing $10/month. On the Pixel Watch, it’s called Fitbit Premium. It includes features like a daily readiness score, advanced sleep tracking, and access to on-demand exercise and meditation programs. Weirdly, there’s no native casting ability to throw the Fitbit video content on a bigger screen.

Apple Fitness+ is similar, but it’s more focused on offering content than unlocking health-tracking features. Apple Fitness+ offers a catalog of audio and video workouts, plus playlists. It also works with Apple TV and AirPlay, so that you can work out on the big screen at home.

Advertisement

8 / 10

Magnets—How do they charge (the watches)?

Magnets—How do they charge (the watches)?

A photo of the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Pixel and Apple Watch are chargeable via USB-C-connected magnetic charging docks. You will not want to leave the house without them, because they are proprietary charging cables, and it’s hard to find an alternative if you need to charge your watch.

I tried to be a little cheeky to see if the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch could charge with each other’s bases. While the Pixel Watch works with the Apple Watch’s charger—with some force, as they have opposing magnets—it won’t take the other way around. Bring your charging cable!

Advertisement

9 / 10

The Apple Watch can help in an emergency

The Apple Watch can help in an emergency

Image for article titled Can the Google Pixel Watch Keep Up With the Apple Watch?
Image: Apple

I know we’ve been dealing with some false positives on the iPhone 14's car crash detection features, but it’s good to know the Apple Watch Series 8 has all of Apple’s latest emergency features built-in. This includes automatic car crash detection and Emergency SOS. If you spring for the Apple Watch Ultra, there’s even satellite connectivity. Though if you have an iPhone 14, it has the same technology built into it, and you can use your Apple Watch to start the call.

The Pixel Watch also has emergency capabilities. You can set it up to alert trusted contacts in case of an accident or if you’re feeling unsafe. Google has also promised built-in fall detection, though it’s not available until later this year.

Advertisement

10 / 10