Google Pixel Watch 2: Specs, new Fitbit tools, and everything you need to know

Pixel Watch 2 sitting atop OnePlus Open camera module
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

The original Pixel Watch was weighed down by a years-long production process that saddled it with some last-gen touches, undercutting an otherwise high-quality smartwatch with plenty of magical Google touches. Now, the Pixel Watch 2 has arrived with (mostly) the same look while shedding a lot of that baggage. 

With a new Snapdragon processor, improved battery life, four new or improved health sensors, and faster charging, the Pixel Watch 2 has made enough changes from the Pixel Watch 1 to help it compete against the best Android watches from Samsung and other brands — as well as against popular fitness brands thanks to its Fitbit Premium link.

You can check out our Pixel Watch 2 review to see our hands-on impressions of the watch. Thus far, it's certainly among our favorites, competing with the Galaxy Watch 6 for the top spot. 

Otherwise, here's what you need to know about the Google Pixel Watch 2's design, specs, release date, and more!

Google Pixel Watch 2: Release date and price

Google announced pre-orders for the Pixel Watch 2 on October 4. It officially launches and ships on October 12. 

Depending on where you buy the Pixel Watch 2, you'll get one or two years of warranty. Buyers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and India get one year of support. The United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Australia, and the general EEA get two years.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 Wi-Fi ships in one 41mm case size and costs $349.99 in the United States, while starting at £349 in the UK, €399 in Europe, and AU$549 in Australia. For the 4G LTE Pixel Watch 2, you pay $50 extra ($399). You also receive 6 free months of Fitbit Premium (a $60 value) with purchase, so long as you're not already subscribed. 

Google Pixel Watch 2: Design and display

Google Pixel Watch 2 on keyboard angled view

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

The Pixel Watch 2 ships in four colors (though some aren't available depending on where you live):

  • Matte Black Aluminum Case / Obsidian Active Band
  • Polished Silver Aluminum Case / Bay Active Band
  • Polished Silver Aluminum Case / Porcelain Active Band
  • Champagne Gold Aluminum Case / Hazel Active Band

Google says that the Pixel Watch 2 is made of "100% recycled aluminum," a switch from the "80% stainless steel" of the original Pixel Watch. While some may prefer steel for its high-class look, the new model is 5g lighter despite sporting the same dimensions and new sensors, so you may prefer this trade-off for better comfort.

Like the original Pixel Watch, the Pixel Watch 2 has a haptic crown and a separate side button for navigation and shortcuts, respectively. The crown was one of our favorite elements of the first-gen model, with its "subtle and satisfying" bumps that give you a tactile grip and a feel for how far you're turning it. We're glad to see it return. 

Although the Pixel Watch uses a proprietary attachment mechanism, all of your Pixel Watch 1 bands will transfer to the newer model. Attaching or detaching a band is as simple as pushing a button and sliding the band out or in. 

Band adapter for Pixel Watch 2 with Samsung watch band

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

With the standard Active band, the Small and Large variants fit wrist sizes of 130–175mm or 165–210mm, respectively. Other official bands have one-size-fits-all designs or wider wrist sizes, if yours is especially petite or wide. 

As for the display, things are mostly unchanged from last year. Like before, you get a 1.2-inch AMOLED display with 320 pixels per inch and 1,000 nits of brightness. It has Gorilla Glass 5 scratch protection and DCI-P3 color range, though Google doesn't specify a percentage. The only key difference is that Google says it has a thinner domed cover glass than before.

If you're someone who prefers a larger display size, you'll have to go with a Galaxy Watch 6 or another Android watch option. Although we really like Google's rounded edge-to-edge design, the Pixel Watch 2 does bring back a fairly large display border when other brands have cut down on that wasted space to maximize room for text and apps. 

Google Pixel Watch 2: Hardware & sensors

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Google Pixel Watch 2Specifications
Dimensions41 x 41 x 12.3mm
Weight (w/out strap)31g
Display1.2-inch (384 x 384) AMOLED touchscreen; 1,000 nits
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100; Cortex M33 co-processor
DurabilityCorning Gorilla Glass 5; 5ATM; IP68
Battery306mAh; 24 hours with AOD
ChargingUSB-C proprietary cable; 30 minutes to 50%; 43 minutes to 80%; 75 minutes to 100%
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0; Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz; NFC; 4G LTE and UMTS (optional)
Operating systemWear OS 4; Android 9+ phone required
SensorsAccelerometer, altimeter, ambient light, cEDA, compass, ECG, gyroscope, magnetometer, optical heart rate, skin temperature, SpO2
AudioBuilt-in microphone and speaker

The Pixel Watch 2 matches the Pixel Watch in its size, memory, storage, display, and connectivity standards. 

What's new? For starters, it trades out the old Exynos 9110 chip — found in the original Samsung Galaxy Watch — for a new Snapdragon Wear 5100 chip also used by the excellent TicWatch Pro 5. Specifically, Mobvoi uses the 5100+ with a Qualcomm coprocessor, while Google uses its own Cortex co-processor instead.

Not only does this updated chip deliver faster performance, but it also makes the Pixel Watch 2 more efficient. The Pixel Watch and Watch 2 share a 5ATM water resistance rating, but only the latter has an official IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. 

Google Pixel Watch 2 on wrist while typing

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Google redesigned its optical heart rate monitor so that it can use multiple LEDs and photodiodes to measure your pulse from different angles while sticking to battery-saving single LED mode outside of workouts. The key here is that the Pixel Watch 2 is better at registering your heart rate during fast-paced workouts, whereas the Pixel Watch 1 might struggle to properly track them.

In terms of new sensors, the Pixel Watch 2 steals some tricks from the Fitbit Sense 2. It has an electrical sensor to measure skin conductance for body response tracking, or cEDA; in plainer terms, it continuously tracks your stress levels for Fitbit to analyze. It also adds a skin temperature sensor to measure your health and sleep quality at night and separate electrical sensors for electrocardiograms (ECG).

Rounding out the list, the Pixel Watch 2 adds a magnetometer and a barometer separate from its altimeter. It also adds QZSS tracking for the first time, likely as a perk for Japanese buyers. 

Google Pixel Watch 2: Battery life and charging

Google Pixel Watch 2 charging animation

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Because it retains the same design as the original Pixel Watch, don't expect a drastic difference in terms of battery life. This is apparent as last year's model packs a 294mAh cell, while the Pixel Watch 2 gets a miniscule bump up to 306mAh. Google even states that both smartwatches are rated for up to 24 hours, albeit with a bit of an asterisk.

Out of the box, the Pixel Watch 2 has its Always-on Display enabled by default, while still managing to meet the claim of 24-hour battery life. Meanwhile, the original Pixel Watch does not come with the AOD enabled, meaning that you'll be able to squeeze some extra juice out of the Watch 2 if you turn this feature off.

Google Pixel Watch 2 review

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Where these two wearables differ greatly is in how they are charged, as Google ditched the wireless charging puck that was introduced with the Pixel Watch. Instead, the Pixel Watch 2 relies on an array of four pogo pins, removing any hopes of using reverse wireless charging from your phone if you need to top it off.

In fact, it's possible to use the same charger from something like the Fitbit Sense 2 or Versa 4 to recharge the Pixel Watch 2. Google stated that this was done in an effort to improve charging speeds while reducing the amount of heat.  

Plus, charging the Pixel Watch 2 is now slightly faster: it takes 43 minutes instead of 55 to hit 80%, or 75 minutes instead of 80 to hit 100%. And it's worth noting that even when using a Fitbit charger, the Pixel Watch 2 is able to meet the quoted charging speeds.

Google Pixel Watch 2: New features

Pixel Watch 2 with Fitbit app on OnePlus Open

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Armed with Wear OS 4, the Pixel Watch 2 will have plenty of new apps and tools, such as the new Gmail and Google Calendar apps. It'll use improved text-to-speech to make dictating emails or creating calendar events easier without typing on a tiny screen. 

Google Assistant has also gotten smarter with this iteration, allowing you to ask questions about your Fitbit health stats and receive contextual answers. Of course, you'll need a Fitbit Premium account to make the most of this. 

Wear OS 4 also enables backup and restore capabilities, something that has only been available on Galaxy Watches up until now. Plus, you'll get an expedited Watch Unlock tool to access your Android phone more quickly by bypassing your passcode. 

In terms of the Pixel Watch 2 specifically, it's getting new safety features like Safety Check, which checks in with you after a prearranged time to see if you're all right; if you don't respond, the watch will automatically share your real-time location, medical info, and context to your emergency contacts or emergency services. 

If you buy the 4G LTE Pixel Watch 2 and subscribe to Fitbit Premium, then you can use Safety Signal: it lets you make phone-free emergency calls or texts without having subscribed to a service plan. 

Although Fitbit Premium was available with the last generation, you can more properly get a sense of your Daily Readiness and overall health because of the new multi-path HRM, ECG, cEDA, and skin temperature sensors, properly judging your workout effort, heart health, and sleep recovery. 

You also have access to automatic workout detection, personalized heart rate zones, and Pace Training to keep you on track with a specific time and effort in mind. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.

With contributions from