One size fits all with the Pixel Watch 2

Hands-on with Google's Pixel Watch 2

Ahead of 2023’s Made by Google event in New York City, I went hands-on with the Pixel Watch 2, the successor to the company’s first-ever smartwatch, the Pixel Watch.

While I won’t be reviewing the Pixel Watch 2, I still want to share my overall impressions of Google’s latest smartwatch. My colleague Jon Lamont will share his more detailed thoughts about the Pixel Watch 2 in the coming weeks with his full review.

First and foremost, I should mention a few things about Google’s new smartwatch. If you were hoping the tech giant would launch the device in two sizes, like Samsung’s or Apple’s offerings, you’ll be disappointed. Like last year, the Pixel Watch 2 only comes in one size and is pretty small. I love small smartwatches and hate when they’re too big and gaudy; however, Google should offer a choice. I asked the Mountain View company about this, and it said that it tested out the smartwatch on several peoples’ wrists and the Pixel Watch 2’s 41mm size is the most liked.

Something else I should mention regarding the Pixel Watch 2 is that it’s still not repairable. In September, Google revealed it doesn’t have “any repair option” for the Pixel Watch.

Google’s Pixel Watch 2 also features new strap options, such as sports bands and fancy new metal bands that make the device look more elegant. The sports bands are incredibly light and comfortable, and I could see people using them while running and sleeping. The new metal bands look great, and I’d definitely wear them when attending a nice event.

Google says that it’s added new watch faces to the Pixel Watch 2. I didn’t explore the new watch faces, but one of them allows you to add eight complications, which seems too busy for me. That said, it’s great Google added this option for users who want to see everything at a glance. Further, the device is now made from 100 percent recycled aluminum housing.

The smartwatch features more sensors on the back, allowing it to read your heart rate, track your skin temperature, and sleep more accurately, paired with a continuous electrodermal activity (cEDA) sensor that can better monitor and track your stress. The Pixel Watch 2 can also autodetect certain workouts.

“The Pixel Watch 2 is paired with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 quad-core processor, a chip Google says offers a notable upgrade over the original Pixel Watch’s Exynos processor.”

I often wear a smartwatch for fitness tracking and to help my sleep. The skin temperature sensor will better be able to monitor your sleep better and hopefully provide insight into how the night went. Perhaps you get too hot at night, making your sleep uncomfortable. Hopefully, the Pixel Watch 2 can warn the wearer about this so they can make changes to their sleep habits.

I also go to the gym pretty often and hate when I forget to turn on my exercise tracking, so autodetecting certain workouts is a bonus I’m happy about. There are also more native apps available on the Pixel Watch 2, including Gmail and Google’s Calendar app.

In terms of the user experience, the Pixel Watch 2 features ‘Safety Check,’ which, after a pre-set time, checks your location to see if you’re at home and, if you’re not, contacts your emergency contacts.

I’m not someone who is typically worried about getting home when it’s dark out, but it’s good to know that if something were to happen to me, my emergency contacts would get notified. I also feel features like this are useful for my fem-bodied friends as they can be in danger when coming home from a bar or club late at night. And while I typically like to check in when they get home, sometimes they forget or fall asleep immediately. Knowing they’re home with a ‘Safety Check’ would definitely make me feel better.

The Pixel Watch 2 is paired with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 quad-core processor, a chip Google says offers a notable upgrade over the original Pixel Watch’s Exynos processor. More testing is necessary to make sure Google’s claims are accurate. Finally, Google says the Pixel Watch 2 can get 24 hours of battery life while using the always-on display.

Of course, Jon will go further in-depth when his review comes out next week.

The watch comes in three colours, ‘Black,’ ‘Polished Silver’ and ‘Bay.’ The Pixel Watch 2 is available for pre-order on October 4th and releases on October 12th for $479.99, while the LTE variant will cost $549.99.

Follow this link for all of our content from Google’s Pixel 8 event.