Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: What’s new?

  • pixel watch 2 square

    Google Pixel Watch 2

    The second generation Pixel Watch replaces stainless steel with fully recycled aluminium for the case, upgrades battery life, and adds more capable fitness and health sensors on the underside. It may look identical, but it’s better in the ways that matter. 

  • pixel watch 1 square


    Google Pixel Watch

    $279.99 $349.99 Save $70

    With its combination of great design, fluid software and comprehensive fitness tracking, the Pixel Watch is a great first home-made option from Google.

Look at it from the outside; you might just think the Pixel Watch 2 is identical to the original. But is there more to it than that?

Price and availability

Pixel Watch launched in 2022, with a retail price of $349 for the Bluetooth-only model or $399 for the version with LTE built-in. Now that it’s a year old, that model is under $300 at most retailers that stock it.

  • Google Pixel Watch 2 Google Pixel Watch
    Battery Life Up to 24 hours (with AOD enabled) Up to 24 hours use
    Operating System Wear OS 4.0 Wear OS 3.5
    Lens Material Custom 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Custom 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5
    Case Material 100% recycled aluminum Stainless Steel
    Case size 41mm 41mm
    Colors Champagne Gold, Matte Black and Polished Silver Champagne Gold, Matte Black and Polished Silver
    Display 450 x 450 AMOLED 450 x 450 AMOLED
    CPU Qualcomm W5100 with Cortex M33 co-processor Exynos 9110 processor with Cortex M33 co-processor
    RAM 2GB 2GB
    Storage 32GB 32GB
    Battery 306mAh 294mAh
    Connectivity 4G LTE available, Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 2.4GHz 4G LTE available, Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 2.4GHz
    Health sensors Compass, Altimeter, SpO2monitoring, Multipurpose electrical sensors, Multi-path optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor, Electrical cEDA sensor, Skin temperature sensor, Barometer, Magnetometer Optical heart-rate, Altimeter, Accelerometer, Blood oxygen sensor, Gyroscope, Multipurpose electrical sensor, ambient light sensor, compass
    Dimensions 41 x 41 x 12.3mm 41 x 41 x 12.3 mm
    Weight 31g 36g

Design and build

The biggest change on the design front with the Pixel Watch 2 is the switch from stainless steel to aluminium. Google has also improved its environmental credentials with the latest model. Where the first generation metal case was made of 80 per cent recycled stainless steel, the new version has a case made from 100 per cent recycled aluminium.

That change in materials also means a slight difference in weight. Google has shaved about five grams from the weight of the watch body. However, the shape and size have remained identical, with it measuring 41 mm in diameter and 12.3mm thick.

Despite the materials’ differences, the finishes and colour combinations are similar to those launched on the first-generation model. Both series come with a choice of Matte Black, Polished Silver and Champagne Gold case finishes. Of course, there is a subtle difference in how those finishes look on the two different metals, but they are largely the same.

There’s a slight difference in the band colours that come as standard with some of these watch colours. The all-new Bay blue Active Band replaces the Charcoal, while Porcelain replaces the Chalk Active Band. Obsidian, as does Hazel on the Champagne Gold, remains on the black version.

You can, of course, buy all manner of other strap colours and materials, all of which click into place using Google’s innovative proprietary sliding mechanism in the watch case.

The top of the watch is coated in the same custom-developed 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which gives the Pixel Watch its unique, seamless, curved look, helping it stand out against its flat-screened competitors.

They’re both similarly durable then, and both feature water-proofing up to 5ATM levels. That means taking them swimming isn’t out of the question, and they’ll survive just about any regular daily contact with water (providing it’s not a high-pressure jet).

pixel watch 2 strap option

Google/ Pocket-lint

Display and software

If there’s one area that’s seen virtually no change, it’s in the display and general software side of things. The Pixel Watch 2 has the same round 320 pixel-per-inch AMOLED display as the Pixel Watch.

Just like the original Pixel Watch, it’s a relatively small 1.2-inch panel with quite chunky bezels. However, the beauty of the display and watch face design is that it’s hard to see where the display ends and the bezel begins. They blend into each other with the right watch face and dark background.

The display can reach peaks of up to 1000 nits, too, so it can be viewed quite clearly in most conditions. Even outdoors in the summer. Although, being as small as it is, it won’t give you that easy-reading experience you might get on something like the Huawei Watch GT 4 or Garmin Venu 3.

Beyond a few additional fitness features – which we get into later – the Pixel Watch 2 and Pixel Watch have much the same software. It’s Wear OS and has all of Google’s popular services baked in as standard. That means Maps, Google Wallet, Play Store and Messages (among other staples).

pixel watch 2 black leather

Google/ Pocket-lint

Hardware, performance and battery

What’s interesting about the new Pixel Watch’s internals is that Google opted to switch out the main CPU (Central Processing Unit) but kept the same low-energy co-processor. In the first model, Google used a Samsung-made Exynos processing unit. The Pixel Watch 2 uses the Qualcomm SW5100.

This SW5100 chip is the main processing brain that both the Snapdragon Wear 5 Gen 1 and the Wear 5+ Gen 1 are built around. Both of which are really smooth, fast and efficient platforms. The only difference between this Pixel Watch platform and the Wear 5+ Gen 1 is that it uses the Cortex M33 co-processor alongside it and not the Cortex M55 co-processor.

If there was one area that really needed improving from the first Pixel Watch, it was the battery. A fully charged first-gen Pixel Watch just about made it through 24 hours, but only with light use and with the always-on display switched off. Google improved on that with the second-generation version.

The capacity has increased (but only slightly) to 306mAh – from 294mAh – but the change in CPU has delivered a more power-efficient system that should mean 24 hours of use with the always-on display enabled.

Charging speeds have improved too, but – again – only slightly. A full charge from empty now takes about 75 minutes, not 80 minutes. Similarly, going from zero to 80 per cent only takes 43 minutes now, whereas the first Pixel Watch took 50 minutes.

As for storage and memory, nothing has changed. Both the old and new Pixel Watches feature a generous 32GB flash storage for storing apps and music, plus 2GB RAM, which should mean the watch retains its fluidity and smoothness.

pixel watch 2 back sensors

Google/ Pocket-lint

Fitness and health

The original Pixel Watch was the first WearOS watch to launch with Fitbit’s health platform built in as standard. That’s a key feature for the newer Pixel Watch 2 as well, but there is an improvement in the actual hardware used to measure your fitness and health metrics.

There’s a new optical heart-rate sensor on the bottom of the Pixel Watch 2. It’s called a multi-path optical heart-rate sensor, which can light up and measure using more LEDs and sensors from different angles – backed up by advanced AI – to deliver more accurate heart-rate readings even during intense workouts.

Pixel Watch 2 also features an electrical signal sensor which measures your skin conductance. It can detect tiny skin changes, measuring your body’s response to different stressors.

These signals can be signs of stress, or your body reacting to things like drinking caffeine or alcohol, or a sign of being unwell. When the sensor detects a response, you’ll get a prompt on the screen to log your mood and take steps to alleviate the symptoms you might be feeling. That could be going for a walk or doing some mindfulness exercises and breathing techniques.

Over time, it can learn your patterns and habits and help you make proactive choices to reduce those parts of your routine if they affect your body/stress levels.


There’s no doubt that if the battery improvements make a significant difference to the levels of battery anxiety on the Pixel Watch 2, this is definitely the one worth coughing up your cold, hard cash for.

pixel watch 2 card

Google/ Pocket-lint

The first was difficult to live with for people who do a lot of activity and interact a lot with their watches. Being able to go 24 hours between charges with the always-on display enabled is the bare minimum we’d hope for in a smartwatch.

Google’s first model still offers a great software and fitness tracking experience. And, now that it’s older, you should be able to find it cheaper, making it a decent purchase even now.

Pixel watch on wrist

Google/ Pocket-lint

Google Pixel Watch

$279.99 $349.99 Save $70

With its combination of great design, fluid software and comprehensive fitness tracking, the Pixel Watch is a great first home-made option from Google.

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