Google gives us a closer look at the Pixel Watch 2, hints at new features and specs

Google Pixel Watch 2 teaser
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google released a sneak-peek video officially showing off the Pixel Watch 2.
  • A look at the rear sensors shows a total redesign, with a new EDA sensor and possibly other upgrades.
  • The Pixel Watch 2 display and band mechanism appears unchanged.
  • Google will launch the watch alongside the Pixel 8 on October 4.

The Google Pixel launch event takes place on October 4, but you don't have to wait until next month to see what the Pixel Watch 2 looks like. Google released a 15-second "sneak peek" video that, if you slow down and look closely, reveals a lot about everything new (or unchanged) from the original Pixel Watch.

Most of the changes are visible from the brief glimpse of the watch's bottom: instead of four rectangular LEDs, it has five green circular LEDs and four other circles that aren't lit in the video. And if you pause near the end of the video, you can see "EDA" etched on the side.

Short for electrodermal activity, EDA is used by a few Fitbit trackers and watches to monitor your stress levels. The Google-owned Fitbit Sense 2 (which has a continuous EDA sensor) also has nine rear sensors with a similar layout, so we're curious if its other readings — skin temperature and ECG — will come to the Pixel Watch 2. Neither is written on the Pixel Watch 2 that we can see.

Other labeled Pixel Watch 2 features include "IP68" and "SpO2." The original Pixel Watch had SpO2 but took about eight months to activate it, and only uses it passively during sleep tracking, so perhaps this model will allow for spot checks. Additionally, the first-gen model has a 5ATM water resistance rating but no official IP rating, so this should bring some assurance for dust protection.

The Pixel Watch 2 sneak peek video focuses closely on the rotating crown. It's difficult to say from a marketing video, but it looks like the ridges are slightly wider or softer than the last model's dial. 

Beyond any subtle changes, Pixel Watch owners will look at the Pixel Watch 2 and see very little difference on the surface. It reuses the same proprietary band mechanism — so your Pixel Watch bands should be reusable — and has the same soft-edged display with painfully large bezels.

A Pixel Watch 2 specs leak pointed to the same 1.2-inch display with 384 x 384 resolution, so this isn't a surprise. But given Samsung shrunk the Galaxy Watch 6 display border down to nearly nothing, it's still a bit disappointing that Google couldn't find a visual use for this extra space, but we'll learn more at the full unveiling.

A video screenshot of the Pixel Watch 2 crown

(Image credit: Google)

Most of the Pixel Watch 2 upgrades relate to its internals. We've heard several credible leaks that it will use the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 instead of the old Exynos 9110 chip from last year, paired with the same 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It's virtually the same as the excellent TicWatch Pro 5's W5+ chip, except Google will likely use its own coprocessor instead of the one that comes with Qualcomm's "Plus" option.

Also, thanks to another Google teaser video focusing on both the Pixel Watch 2 and Pixel 8, we know you'll need an Android phone running version 9.0 or newer to sync the new model. Last year's Pixel Watch could work with Android 8.0 phones, but Wear OS 4 must change that.

Preorders will open for the Pixel Watch 2 on October 4, the day of the launch event in New York City. By then, we'll know how Google plans to compete against the best Android watches — and the upcoming Apple Watch Series 9.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.