Google Pixel Watch 2: Everything we know so far and hope to see

Google Pixel Watch with Lemongrass Google Pixel Watch Active Band on top of a laptop
(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

Google hasn't announced the Pixel Watch 2 as of September 2023, despite unveiling the original Pixel Watch in May 2022. After Google took years to release its first smartwatch, it's fair to question whether it can stick to an annual release cadence. 

Despite that, all signs point to the Pixel Watch 2 being in active development for a fall 2023 release. It's just trying to be more subtle about it this year, after all of last year's Pixel Watch leaks.

The original Pixel Watch is one of our favorite smartwatches, with a sleek design, fast performance, and the perk of Fitbit integration. Now, its successor will have to contend with the reliable (if boring) Galaxy Watch 6, plus the Apple Watch Series 9 rumored to arrive this month. Google will have to make a real push to keep the Pixel Watch 2 relevant.

So far, we've heard that the Pixel Watch 2 could switch brands for both its CPU and display materials while adding new bands, watch faces, and other perks. Now that the watch has made an alleged appearance at the FCC, and Google has announced its fall Pixel event, we firmly believe the Watch 2 will arrive next month.

Here's what we know so far about the Google Pixel Watch 2's design, specs, release date, and more — along with what we hope Google brings to the table with its second-generation watch. 

Google Pixel Watch 2: Price & availability

A Google Pixel Watch resting on the back of the Google Pixel 7 Pro

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

When it comes to pricing, the original Pixel Watch wasn't exactly the cheapest smartwatch out there. Google offered the wearable at a premium, starting at $349 for the Bluetooth/Wi-Fi model. This falls in between the $299 Galaxy Watch 6 and the $399 Apple Watch, or the same mark as the $349 TicWatch Pro 5. 

With last year's pricing already above many other Android smartwatches, Google likely won't raise the price of the next Pixel Watch — though we can't be certain, since Samsung has raised its Galaxy Watch prices over the past couple of generations. 

We also expect the Pixel Watch 2 LTE will cost $50 more, and that Google won't sell a second size variant like Samsung or Apple does.

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We expect the Pixel Watch 2 release date to fall alongside the Pixel 8 series at the fall Pixel event on October 4. Its launch date would likely follow later in October, alongside Google's new flagship phones.

One launch rumor suggests Google will also release a kids' watch around the same time, but that it'll be a Fitbit device rather than a Pixel Watch variant. 

As for availability, the Pixel Watch 2 will likely be available in the same regions as the original: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It may also come to a few new countries like India, but we can't be certain as of yet.

The Pixel Watch 2 Bluetooth/Wi-Fi version arrived at the FCC in mid-August with four band options: plastic active strap, metal mesh strap, metal link strap, and metal slim strap. Two separate LTE versions of the watch also made an appearance, each targeting different cellular bands. This all but confirms that the watch will arrive this fall.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Design

Google Pixel Watch worn on a wrist

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

All signs point to Google sticking to the Pixel Watch's bulbous motif, haptic crown, single display size, proprietary watch band connector, and other design choices for the Pixel Watch 2. A Pixel Watch 2 codenames leak showed just two models: one Wi-Fi and one LTE.

One key change: Google used stainless steel casing for the original Pixel Watch, but it could switch to a lighter aluminum material instead for the Pixel Watch 2. This would make it weigh less than the original's 36g (not including the watch band), possibly closer to the aluminum Galaxy Watch 6's 28.7g weight.

Otherwise, a comprehensive Pixel Watch 2 specs leak in August indicated Google may switch to a "display sourced from Samsung Display instead of the Pixel Watch's BOE panel," but that the display would otherwise keep the same specifications. That would mean, in theory, another 1.2-inch, 384 x 384 OLED display with a noticeably thick bezel.

Later, a Pixel Watch 2 listing appeared on the Google Play Console device catalog, listing the same 384 x 384 resolution, seemingly confirming the previous leak. 

On the other hand, this leak also suggested the Pixel Watch 2 would have Ultra Wideband, something that wasn't present in the FCC models we mentioned above. So we can't be certain yet.

Generally speaking, the Pixel Watch design was one of its strong suits, so we're not asking Google to rock the boat. But the Galaxy Watch 6's ultra-thin display bezels will make an identical Pixel Watch 2 display look a bit outdated. Conversely, the Pixel Watch 2 could have the same dimensions but a larger display by shrinking those bezels.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Hardware & specs

The Pixel Watch still displays the time even when the battery is dead as of the March 2023 update

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Despite the rather old chipset, the original Pixel Watch has an impressive set of specs. 2GB of RAM is more than most Android smartwatches, and the 32GB of storage is double what you'll find on Samsung smartwatches or 4x more than other Wear OS watches.

Google is likely to keep much of this the same for the Pixel Watch 2, but it's been speculated that the company may give the watch a newer chipset. This would provide the Pixel Watch 2 with better efficiency and, hopefully, better battery life.

The aforementioned specs leak suggests the Pixel Watch 2 will use the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1. Unlike the TicWatch Pro 5, which uses the W5+ Gen 1 with a Qualcomm coprocessor, Google's W5 chip will rely on its own custom coprocessor but otherwise have the same performance boost.

An earlier rumor corroborates this claim, saying that Google would ditch Exynos and that its new chip would be much more battery-efficient, helping the Pixel Watch 2 last longer than its predecessor's 24-hour maximum. 

The Google Pixel Watch 2's Play Console appearance detailing specifications.

(Image credit: 9toGoogle)

As we mentioned above, a Pixel Watch 2 entry in the Play Console listed out some key Pixel Watch 2 specs, including referencing the new Qualcomm chip. It also mentions that Android 13 is the default OS, which points to the new Wear OS 4 watch OS out of the box.

Google will also enlarge the battery capacity very slightly, from 294mAh to 306mAh, according to leaks. This isn't enough to noticeably impact battery life, so it'll all depend on how well the Snapdragon W5 performs. 

This new chipset could also help power upgraded health sensors similar to the Fitbit Sense 2 for better stress management, SpO2 and temperature sensing at night, and so on. But we've seen no rumors of this as of yet. 

Google Pixel Watch 2: Software & features

Google Calendar and Gmail apps on Wear OS

Wear OS 4's new Gmail and Calendar apps (Image credit: Google)

With Wear OS 4 already out of the bag, it's all but guaranteed that the Pixel Watch 2 will run the new software out of the box. 

So far, Google has confirmed it'll add Gmail and Google Calendar, with improved text-to-speech to make dictating emails or creating calendar events easier without typing on a tiny screen. 

The update finally enables backup and restore capabilities, something that has only been available on Galaxy Watches up until now.

Wear OS 4 will also be more battery-efficient, thanks in part to its new Wear OS Watch Face Format, and it will offer more accessibility options. 

Beyond the official announcements, the developer preview showed possible Material You theming, meaning Pixel Watch 2 owners may be able to set their preferred color throughout the UI. More recently, leaked Pixel Watch 2 watch faces (see above and below) give us an in-depth glimpse of what to expect, with that trademark Material You look.

Wear OS 4 also brings improvements on the health side, with better support for golf tracking and more through Health Services. And Google recently announced a Fitbit redesign focusing on "Coach" and "You" tabs, repackaging a lot of the same features. No doubt these changes will manifest themselves in the Pixel Watch 2's fitness-themed watch faces

Google Pixel Watch 2: Wishlist

The Pixel Watch is a great first-generation smartwatch, but Google has plenty of areas where it needs to improve, from display and performance to accessories and charging. Here is our Pixel Watch 2 wishlist for where it can get even better.

Better battery life

While the Pixel Watch is a great smartwatch, Wear OS isn't exactly known for being easy on the battery. In our experience, the watch lasts roughly a day on a single charge, maybe a day and a half if we're lucky. It's not exactly known for longevity, which doesn't bode well for Google's first smartwatch.

With Google's next-generation Pixel Watch, the company needs to try to set a standard with battery life. Pixel smartphones have pretty great battery life, so the watch needs to match.

Google was really held back by its 10nm Exynos 9110 chip found in last-gen Galaxy Watches. Google's long development process locked it into using it instead of the newer Exynos models found in the Galaxy Watch 5 and 6. But because it developed the Pixel Watch 2 more recently, with the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 instead, there's reason to hope for battery improvements. 

Refine the design

Google Pixel Watch review

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Having a crown on a smartwatch isn't exactly unique. For watches that don't have capacitive or rotating bezels, à la Galaxy Watch, it's a handy addition that makes navigating menus a little easier. However, the placement of the crown can be an issue for some.

One complaint Fossil smartwatch owners have is that the crown can get in the way when working out because of how one's hand is often positioned when performing certain workouts and exercises. It can cause unwanted button presses, and if your hand is held in place long enough, you can accidentally power your watch off. It's a bit of a hassle when you're trying to use your watch to track your workout.

Google might want to consider moving the crown, so it's not placed at the center. Similar to how Samsung and Mobvoi place two buttons at the top and bottom while keeping the center button-free, Google could place the crown on the bottom while the multitasking button could remain in its place (this would obviously be different for left-handed users that wear their watches on their right arms). This way, the crown isn't digging into your hand during workouts.

And speaking of the button, Google should make it so that it's not so flush with the chassis and consider changing its position so that it protrudes from the side and not from slightly under the watch; that way, it'll be a bit easier to press.

Bigger screen and more sizes

Many of the best Wear OS watches are available in more than one case size. However, for some reason, Google opted for a one-size-fits-all smartwatch. Unfortunately, the 41mm case size is on the smaller end of smartwatches.

Google should introduce a second larger size for the Pixel Watch 2, at somewhere around 43mm or 44mm. It should also come with a larger display for both models. 1.2 inches is pretty small — even the smaller Fossil Gen 6 models have closer to a 1.3-inch display. Smartwatches aren't really where one goes for content, but reading notifications and things would be a lot easier with a larger display.

And on that note, Google needs to do something about those bezels. They're not as bad as we once thought they'd be, and they blend pretty seamlessly with the display, which is a nice touch. But when using the watch, the bezels are quite noticeable.

More (and cheaper) third-party bands

Google Pixel Watch Bands lineup lifestyle

(Image credit: Google)

Part of the Pixel Watch's charm is the fact that, like the Apple Watch, Google went with a proprietary connector for Pixel Watch bands. However, while they may look nice, they can limit the selection for third-party bands as opposed to other Android smartwatches like the Fossil Gen 6 that go with more standard connectors.

One of the biggest complaints among Android Central staff when it comes to the Pixel Watch is that there needs to be a bigger selection of third-party bands. Not only is the current selection of third-party bands small, but many of them look cheap, have loose connections, or just completely fall off.

It doesn't help that Google's first-party bands are very expensive. The company really needs to partner with third-party accessory makers so we can have a larger and better selection of official bands at more affordable prices.

Qi wireless charging

One of the biggest problems with wearables is all the proprietary charging solutions. No two wearables have the same charger, and it can be quite obnoxious for those of us with multiple smartwatches or wearable devices. And while legislation is being put in place for USB-C to become the standard across smartphones and larger devices, smartwatches don't have such rules.

Some smartwatches, like Samsung's Galaxy Watch line, have some form of wireless charging, but you won't find Qi charging support, which has become a standard for smartphones and is even compatible with many wireless earbuds. Fossil states that it did not include Qi with its Gen 6 smartwatch because it's slower and it would make the watches thicker. However, the convenience of wireless charging may outweigh those complaints, especially if you want a relatively quick top-up and you don't have your watch charger around.

Last year, there was a lot of hullabaloo about wireless charging on the Pixel Watch, which isn't officially supported. However, it's a feature we would love to see on the next version, even if it means a slightly thicker device.

More features

Fitbit Sleep Tracking Tile on Pixel Watch

(Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

Google has been gradually adding more features to the Pixel Watch, which is nice. However, there are some features we would like to see the company include with the launch of its next watch.

For starters, we would like the option to customize the buttons. Right now, Pixel Watch users are at the mercy of whatever Google has assigned for the crown and the button, and there's no way to change this. Even on Fossil smartwatches, users are able to customize the double-press of the crown. And while the app switcher function of the button is plenty useful, Google should offer some level of customization for the button.

Other features we would love to see include more ringtone customization, more "classic" style watch faces from Google, and the option to customize the quick settings menu. The watch should also sync modes with a smartphone, so when a Pixel goes into Bedtime Mode, the watch should sync with the phone instead of having to manually turn it on. This should also apply to Do Not Disturb and alarms.

Go further with Fitbit

The Pixel Watch launched in October 2022, but it didn't activate its SpO2 sensor, auto-pausing for workouts, passive irregular heartbeat notifications, fall detection, and other vital tools until May or June 2023. 

We want the Pixel Watch 2 to have a stronger health and fitness launch, without so many features taking over half a year to arrive. If it adds new health sensors like a skin temperature tracker, it should work out of the box. And otherwise, Google should take full advantage of its Fitbit integration and make coaching and health recommendations more easily available on the watch itself. 

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

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