After a very, very long wait, Google has finally made the Google Watch official at their hardware event in New York, and I am so excited to tell you about my early thoughts on it thus far. I’ve had the watch on my wrist for a few days at this point and my early impressions are very, very favorable. It’s early, sure, but I’m so excited to let you in on my impressions so far, so let’s get into it.
We watched the same presentation on the Pixel Watch that most of you have likely viewed at this point and the details that were unveiled weren’t much of a surprise if you’ve been keeping up with the Pixel Watch saga over the past handful of months. The look of the watch, the bands, the general aesthetic has been quite public for a while just like it has been with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
Google’s round, gorgeous watch is largely what we were expecting, but no presentations or specs can tell you what it actually feels like, so let me try and do that for you. As I fully expected, the Pixel Watch oozes quality. The digital crown feels fantastic, the screen is sharp and vibrant, the look on the wrist is attractive and subtle, and there’s no denying the simple beauty of this device. Seriously, in-person I truly think it looks better than it does in photos – and the photos are already beautiful.
The early selection of bands Google has on-hand is nice and there will be a little of something for everyone right out of the gate. Google’s unique turn and lock band attachment system works as advertised and after you get the hang of it, putting on a new band is a pretty simple process. The upcoming metal bracelet band looks way better on this watch than expected, too, and the ease of moving from one band to another will easily make the Pixel Watch the right accessory for any outfit or event.
While Google didn’t go into detail on the processor, RAM or storage, the official spec sheet reads 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM that flank an Exynos 9110 processor with a custom Cortex M-33 co-processor. Again, this isn’t anything we didn’t already know, and the truth of the matter is most people aren’t really that interested in specs for a watch like they might be for a phone. Instead, it comes down to the look, feel and performance, and so far, I like what I’m seeing.
The UI has been really smooth in all facets of the Pixel Watch thus far. Moving through tiles, settings, and watch faces is smooth and looks fantastic, and the crown navigation just makes it feel refined and tight all around. The slight haptic feedback when scrolling from the crown and the gentle, satisfying click of the watch buttons all deliver a feel of confident quality, and I’m already loving it.
Google spent a good bit of time discussing the full Fitbit integration, and as a former Fitbit guy, I’m generally happy with it. I can quickly see my steps, heart rate, and sleep numbers with the built-in tiles, but I do miss the auto exercise detection you get on a standard Fitbit watch. I assume this could show up down the road, but the fact that they left this and the new auto AFib detection algorithm off the Pixel Watch for now is a little strange to me.
I’ve been very happy with the Google Assistant so far on the Pixel Watch, too. Sending messages, answering a few questions, and controlling connected devices is just a voice command away and I’ve already found myself reaching for my Pixel Watch first to pull off Assistant-related tasks more and more frequently each day. Additionally, having my Google Home controls on my wrist is a nice touch, too, letting me control lights without needing to pull out my phone.
One feature I was hoping for in the Pixel Watch is the ability to control your Pixel’s camera right from the Pixel Watch, and Google delivered it. Yes, I know Apple Watch has had this for years, but I’ve been wildly envious of it and I love that I now have this ability on my wrist moving forward. It even has the zoom in/out feature via the digital crown right out of the box and will make for a very useful tool towards the end of the year during all the upcoming holiday celebrations.
At the end of the day, a smartwatch needs to be great at providing useful info at a glance and simply getting out of the way otherwise. I still need more real-life time to test out how well it all works day-to-day after the initial honeymoon period, but I can absolutely tell you that the build quality, fit and finish of this thing is totally legit and worth the wait. You never quite know how renders will translate, but this one – at least for me – is delivering on everything I was hoping for. I can’t wait to spend more time with it to really get a sense of whether or not the software fully lines up with this absolutely beautiful hardware, but so far, so good.