Fitbit Sense 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: Comparing Google's flagship smartwatches

2022 has been an incredible year for the world of smartwatches, and we're expecting it to only get better over the course of the next few months. As we near the end of the year, Google has released not one but two (okay, actually three) new smartwatches for you to consider. The Fitbit Sense 2 arrived in September 2022, while the Pixel Watch became available in October. While the former is the first successor to the original Fitbit Sense from 2020, the latter represents Google's first official foray into the world of smartwatches.

Given that Google now owns Fitbit integrating the best that the former standalone wearable company has to offer makes a lot of sense. But when you compare the Fitbit Sense 2 vs. Pixel Watch, it becomes immediately apparent that questionable decisions were made with both of these smartwatches. Let's dive a bit deeper to help you decide which of the best smartwatches is worthy of your hard-earned cash.

Fitbit Sense 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: Design

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Fitbit Sense 2 hero image 16x9

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Right from the get-go, there's an immediate difference between the Fitbit Sense 2 vs. Google Pixel Watch. The former features a squared-off design, complete with a larger 1.58-inch AMOLED display covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Meanwhile, the Pixel Watch is noticeably smaller with its 1.2-inch AMOLED display, not to mention the rounded design.

As for interacting with these wearables, there are some differences on that front as well, with the Fitbit Sense 2 sporting a single button on the left side to go along with the touchscreen. Google's Pixel Watch features a rotating crown on the right, which doubles as a button to open your list of installed apps. There's also another button placed above the crown on the right side that is somewhat hidden and shows your list of recently-open apps or activates Google Assistant with a long press.

Google Pixel Watch review

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It should come as little surprise that the Sense 2 is lighter, given that it uses an Aluminum frame, despite being a larger wearable overall. Google definitely went for a fashionable look on the Pixel Watch with its Stainless Steel that looks stunning regardless of whether you picked up the shiny silver or matte black colors. But what might not come as a surprise is that both of these smartwatches rely on proprietary connections for the bands, which might be frustrating if you wanted to find the best Pixel Watch bands that aren't the one included in the box.

Fitbit and Google both have quite a few different first-party band options available, but the Sense 2 has the added benefit of using the same connector as its predecessor, meaning that it's easier to find third-party options if you want something other than what Fitbit offers. Considering that the Pixel Watch is the first of its kind from Google, we'll have to wait and hope that some non-Google bands become available in the near future.

Fitbit Sense 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: Specs and software features

Google Pixel Watch hands-on

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Much like comparing the overall design, both of these wearables might be branded as smartwatches, but the Pixel Watch is definitely the actual smartwatch here. With the Sense 2, either Fitbit, Google, or both made the decision to "nerf" this new wearable, removing some useful features such as the ability to use Google Assistant. Additionally, you can no longer download and install third-party apps from Fitbit's store, nor are you able to download music directly to the Sense 2 for offline listening.

Really this is a shame, as Fitbit overhauled the UI with the Sense 2, giving it more of a Wear OS 3 look and feel. The company even plans to bring Google Wallet support along with Google Maps, but neither of those apps are available for Fitbit's latest wearable. Instead, they are expected to arrive in a future software update, but we aren't exactly sure when that will be.

Fitbit Sense 2 weather cards

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On the other hand, the Pixel Watch is a fully-fledged smartwatch through and through. It's running the latest version of Wear OS, version 3.5, and gives you access to all of the compatible smartwatch apps that you can find on the Play Store. Plus, you don't even need to use your Android phone to download apps, as you can do so from the Play Store right on your wrist.

With the release of the Pixel Watch with Wear OS 3.5, Google also introduced an all-new Google Home app for smartwatches, something that won't be arriving on the Sense 2. Simply having access to the Play Store gives the Pixel Watch a huge advantage over the Fitbit Sense 2, leaving us wondering why Fitbit removed the option to install apps from the Fitbit App Store.

There's not much to compare when it comes to processing power, as details of the Sense 2's processor have not been revealed, with Fitbit only stating that it's faster than its predecessor. Considering that it's an actual smartwatch, the Pixel Watch is powered by the Exynos 9110 chipset paired with the Cortex M33 co-processor to do some of the more monotonous tasks. This is paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, both of which are the most that have ever been used with any of the best Wear OS smartwatches.

Google Pixel Watch with Google Assistant

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

But if there's one area where the Sense 2 excels, it's definitely in the battery life department. According to Fitbit, its flagship wearable is capable of lasting for at least six days on a single charge, dependent upon whether you're regularly tracking workouts or not. Meanwhile, the Pixel Watch and its 294mAh cell is only rated to last for up to 24 hours before you'll need to reach for the included charger. We do wish that the Pixel Watch could have at least matched up with the Galaxy Watch 5's battery life, but it really points out how the Sense 2 is more of a supercharged fitness tracker as opposed to a true smartwatch.

Fitbit Sense 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: Health and fitness tracking

Fitbit Sense 2 stress tracking

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Let's get this out of the way first. No matter which of these smartwatches you choose, you'll eventually have to decide whether paying for a Fitbit Premium subscription is worth it. Both the Sense 2 vs. Pixel Watch include six months of Fitbit Premium for free, giving you access to things such as your Daily Readiness Score, Sleep Score, Wellness Report, and more. We've already taken a look at whether you should subscribe to Fitbit Premium and all of the benefits that brings with it, so if you want to know more about that, check it out.

Where the differences lie between these two wearables is in what metrics can be tracked or monitored with either option. Putting it simply, while the Pixel Watch may be more robust in terms of being a smartwatch, it still falls a bit short of what the Fitbit Sense 2 can offer when it comes to fitness tracking and health monitoring.

Google Pixel Watch review

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There are a few notable sensors that the Pixel Watch either cannot use yet or doesn't include altogether, such as the SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen tracking, which is expected to be enabled in the near future but is not currently available. Another sensor "missing" is the Body Response sensor, which means that you can't use the Pixel Watch to track your stress levels. Lastly, you won't find a body temperature sensor on the Pixel Watch, something that we've recently seen both Apple and Samsung implement in its latest smartwatches.

All of these sensors are available and enabled on the Fitbit Sense 2, providing just about as much in-depth information as you could want from a wearable device. Suffice it to say, if you're looking for a smartwatch with more robust fitness and health tracking features, the Sense 2 is the way to go.

Fitbit Sense 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel Watch review

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If you've made it this far, you've likely noticed that we haven't really mentioned the price. That's because unless you plan on getting LTE on the Pixel Watch, it's almost negligible. The Sense 2 retails for $299, while the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth version of the Pixel Watch is $349. When you start getting into this pricing tier for smartwatches, an extra $50 is unlikely to make or break your decision, especially given the benefits that Google's first smartwatch has to offer.

Making a final decision between the Fitbit Sense 2 vs. Pixel Watch is actually more cut and dry than you might think. If you want a wearable that offers more fitness and health tracking features, then the Sense 2 is definitely the way to go. It offers much longer battery life, and while you can't install apps or download music, the redesigned interface is much more enjoyable compared to the original Sense.

But if you want an actual smartwatch, one that is a true extension of your smartphone, you really can't go wrong with the Pixel Watch. There are some definite caveats to be mindful of, such as the fact that it's missing a couple of health monitoring sensors and the (comparatively) poor battery life. However, the Pixel Watch makes up for those pitfalls with the fact that it's running Wear OS 3 with access to the Play Store. And if you've used the best Fitbits of yesteryear, you'll be right at home using the Fitbit app to keep track of your various health and fitness metrics.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.