Google is a brand that we all know and either love or hate. Aside from being the company behind many web services, Google has done quite well with its Pixel smartphones — the latest being the Google Pixel 7 family. In 2022, Google also released its first smartwatch, the Google Pixel Watch, though it received mixed reviews overall.
We’re expecting Google to release a follow-up to the Pixel Watch sometime this year in the form of the Pixel Watch 2, and hopefully, it will improve upon what was already established with the original.
Though there haven’t been a lot of leaked reports about the Pixel Watch 2, here’s what we know so far about the upcoming smartwatch.
The Google Pixel Watch launched with a unique modern, and minimalistic aesthetic. With that in mind, we should expect the Google Pixel Watch 2 to have the same kind of design, with a domed display, rotating digital crown, and unobtrusive band mechanisms. However, if Google could improve anything with the design here, it should start with thinner bezels on the round display.
Durability should be around the same as the first Pixel Watch, and it’s expected to run a version of Wear OS, possibly Wear OS 4. This would mean a clean, Google-focused user experience with customizable tiles, Fitbit integration, and third-party app support.
Health, fitness tracking, and sensors
Since the original Google Pixel Watch had Fitbit integration, that should continue with the Google Pixel Watch 2. With Fitbit’s toolkit and companion app, the Pixel Watch 2 should be able to track basic data like steps, floors, distance, Active Zone minutes, calories, heart rate, and more. And since it’s Fitbit, there is also detailed sleep-tracking and even more features if you’re a Fitbit Premium user.
Regarding the Pixel Watch 2 sensors, it’s likely to keep the traditional GPS, accelerometer, altimeter, compass, gyroscope, optical heart rate sensor, the Fitbit ECG app, and a SpO2 sensor. Though the first Pixel Watch had the SpO2 sensor, it was not available from the start; hopefully, that will be different with the Pixel Watch 2.
On the specs front, the Google Pixel Watch 2 sounds like it may improve on battery life. That’s because Google is reportedly ditching the Samsung Exynos chip in favor of a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset from the latest W5 generation. For perspective, the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 was initially announced in July 2022, and it has only just arrived on the market with the TicWatch Pro 5. There is also the standard Snapdragon W5 Gen 1, without Qualcomm’s coprocessor, but this one has mainly been used in wearables from Chinese manufacturers, like the Oppo Watch 3.
The W5 chip would feature 4nm technology with four A53 cores at 1.7GHz, complete with a dual Adreno 702 GPU that clocks in at 1GHz. In comparison, the original Pixel Watch’s Exynos 9110 chip was built with a 10nm process and had two Cortex-A53s.
The upcoming Pixel Watch could also have ultra-wideband (UWB) capabilities due to an NXP UWB module. The software features triggered by this new technology have not yet been disclosed. However, according to Android Authority, some possible uses include precise device finding, unlocking your car using Digital Car Key, and seamlessly transferring media playback to a docked Google Pixel Tablet or UWB-enabled Nest speaker. Unfortunately, a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing (see below) suggests UWB might not be available on the Pixel Watch 2, so stay tuned.
The chip used in the Pixel Watch 2 will have a major impact on the battery life of the wearable, as well as Wear OS itself. Right now, the Pixel Watch is rated for 24 hours with the always-on display turned off. Though the battery won’t be much larger than it currently is, the Pixel Watch 2 could go for almost two days if settings are adjusted to conserve battery.
We could also see better sensors on the Pixel Watch 2, as it may have similar sensors to those found on the Fitbit Sense 2. This includes continuous electrodermal activity (cEDA), which is used for all-day stress management tracking, and a skin temperature sensor.
The first-generation Pixel Watch costs $350 for the Bluetooth/Wi-Fi model, with the LTE version costing $50 more at $400. This price puts the Google Pixel Watch pretty much in line with competitors like the Apple Watch Series 8 and Galaxy Watch 5.
If we are indeed getting significant improvements with the second-generation wearable, then the $350 starting price could be a good value, especially for Pixel smartphone users.
Competitors like Apple and Samsung release updates to the Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch annually alongside the flagship smartphones, and it looks like Google is following that same path. If Google goes that route, then we should expect to see the Google Pixel Watch 2 launch alongside the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro later this year.
Specifically, Google tends to launch its next-generation Pixel phones in October. So, if all goes well, we can probably see the Pixel Watch 2 launch in October 2023.
This release window has all but been confirmed, with three models arriving for FCC certification. The filing suggests the watch may launch with four strap options: plastic active, metal mesh, metal link, and metal slim. The three models are the G4TSL, GC3G8, and GD2WG. The first is the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth model, while the others are cellular models.
So far, that’s what we expect from the Google Pixel Watch 2. However, there’s more that we want to see with Pixel Watch 2, which may or may not come to fruition.
One of the biggest problems with the current Pixel Watch is that it only comes in one size. Not all wrists are the same — while the 41mm case size can look great on some wrists, it doesn’t work for everyone. Competitors like Apple and Samsung know this, and that’s why there are two sizes for both the main Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Hopefully, Google can do the same with Pixel Watch 2.
The other big issue was the bezel. We’d love to see a thinner bezel on the Pixel Watch 2, one that isn’t so noticeable. Because right now, the bezel on the Pixel Watch is rather thick and wastes precious screen space.
Another thing we’re hoping to see is better battery life, which is very likely considering the upgraded chip. In our original Pixel Watch review, battery life was one of our biggest cons about the wearable. Our reviewer, Andy Boxall, could barely make it through a single day (with a 30-minute workout) before having to charge it up again to track sleep — and even then, he wasn’t sure it was going to make it through the night, considering how power-hungry the wearable is. Hopefully, the Pixel Watch 2 handles this much better.