Google Pixel Watch vs. Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition: Which should you buy?

Google was rumored to be working on a smartwatch for years, but it wasn't until 2022 that the Pixel Watch was introduced. Meanwhile, Fossil has been in the smartwatch game for years, and the Gen 6 Wellness Edition was the company's first wearable to ship with Wear OS 3 out of the box. But there's more to the story when comparing the Google Pixel Watch vs. Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition.

Google Pixel Watch vs. Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition: Design and specs

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

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Despite being Google's first attempt at a smartwatch, the Pixel Watch is easily one of the most well-designed smartwatches on the market. It's sleek, and looks great, provided that you use one of Google's pre-loaded watch faces.

This is because the Pixel Watch "features" one of the biggest bezels you'll find on any smartwatch. So to combat the complaints, Google had to think outside of the box a bit so that its first wearable wasn't just laughed out the door.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Google Pixel WatchFossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition
Display1.2-inch AMOLED (320ppi)1.28-inch AMOLED (326ppi)
MaterialStainless steelStainless steel
NavigationTouchscreen, rotating crown, one buttonTouchscreen, rotating crown, two buttons
ProcessorExynos 9110 SoC with Cortex M33 co-processorQualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+
Battery294 mAh; Up to 24 hours590mAh; Up to 80 hours
Wireless ChargingYes (proprietary)Yes (proprietary)
SensorsAccelerometer, altimeter, ambient light, blood oxygen, compass, ECG, gyroscope, heart rate monitorAccelerometer, Altimeter, Ambient Light, Compass, Gyroscope, Off-body IR, PPG Heart Rate, SPO2
ConnectivityLTE (optional), GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BeiDou, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFCBluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, Wi-Fi
Case sizing41mm44mm
SoftwareWear OS 3.5Wear OS 3

On the other hand, Fossil has more than enough experience in this space, and the Gen 6 Wellness Edition provides proof. Instead of a curved and rounded display, Fossil opted to go with the same flat screen found on the regular Gen 6 and nearly all of its previous smartwatches.

The actual case size is worth remembering when it comes to the Pixel Watch vs. Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition. The Pixel Watch, with its 1.24-inch display, sports a 41mm case diameter and is only available in one size. With the Gen 6 Wellness Edition, you only have one size, with a 44mm case housing the 1.28-inch AMOLED display.

Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition on a tree branch

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The Gen 6 Wellness edition also gains an advantage when it comes to changing out the bands. You can use all of your favorite 20mm watch bands, easily swapping between them regardless of whether you picked one up directly from Amazon or Fossil.

Meanwhile, Google attempted to go with an Apple Watch-like approach, offering a variety of first-party bands and it seemed there would be no third-party band support. That is until it was discovered that you could just remove the strap from the band connector. Then, just use any of the best Pixel Watch bands, and if you don't want to go through the trouble, there are third-party adapters to pair with different bands.

In terms of interacting with these Wear OS 3 smartwatches, the Pixel Watch has a rotating digital crown on the side, along with a button right above it. Fossil's Gen 6 Wellness Edition sports a rotating crown on the right side flanked by buttons above and below.

The Pacific watch face on a Google Pixel Watch

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Coming as little surprise is the hardware powering both of these smartwatches. With the Pixel Watch, Google relies on Samsung's Exynos 9110 paired with a Cortex M33 co-processor along with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage.

This gives you plenty of room for all of your favorite apps, music, and podcasts, while also being the most storage that you'll find on a Wear OS-powered smartwatch. The Gen 6 Wellness Edition is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 4100+ SoC, paired with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. While this isn't meant to be extremely robust, we can't help but feel as though Fossil is doing the bare minimum here.

Google Pixel Watch vs. Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition: Software and health

Google Pixel Watch next to an Android phone showing a Fitbit Daily Readiness Score.

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

It's no secret that the rollout of Wear OS 3 has been frustrating. Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4 series were the first smartwatches to launch with the latest version, followed by the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro. On the bright side, Fossil was able to ship the Gen 6 Wellness Edition with Wear OS 3 out of the box, but it's not quite the same experience.

For one, you aren't able to use Google Assistant on Fossil's wearable, and instead, you are relegated to using Amazon Alexa. It's definitely a surprising omission, but perhaps it's for the best considering that Assistant has been known to chew up some battery life on wearables.

Google's Pixel Watch also runs Wear OS 3.5, while the Gen 6 Wellness is "stuck" with Wear OS 3. The slight upgrade for Google's own hardware pays big dividends in terms of fluidity and optimization when using the Pixel Watch.

The heart rate monitor on the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition

(Image credit: Android Central)

Pivoting over to health tracking, comparing these two smartwatches is a bit of a mixed bag. Google is taking full advantage of its Fitbit acquisition offering "deep Fitbit integration" with the Pixel Watch. This means your health and fitness metrics are collected and stored within the Fitbit app.

Both of these smartwatches are capable of tracking SpO2, VO2 Max, heart rate, activity, and sleep. Fossil also implemented automatic workout detection as it's happening, compared to the Pixel Watch which will try (sometimes) to identify a workout after the fact.

But your biggest problem likely won't be the actual health tracking with the Fossil. Instead, it's the companion app which is new for Wear OS 3 and is a bit more barebones than what you might expect. However, if you're okay with just being able to glance at your metrics for the day, it'll likely be just fine.

Google Pixel Watch vs. Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition: Battery woes

Charging the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Moving over to the battery, both the Pixel Watch vs. Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition are rated for up to 24 hours on a single charge. Unfortunately, you'll probably find yourself having a hard time reaching those "rated times" on either wearable.

But Fossil continues to make use of its pin-based charger, allowing the Gen 6 Wellness Edition to go from 0-80% in about 30 minutes. Whereas Google's wireless charging puck is inefficient at best, but won't work with other Qi wireless chargers. So we're looking at a battle of proprietary chargers where nobody wins.

Google Pixel Watch charging on the included magnetic dock

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

As you might suspect, if you plan on using either of these smartwatches with the Always-on Display enabled, you'll be lucky to get 12 hours on a single charge. Fossil has implemented a few battery-saving modes, but your best bet is still to leave AOD turned off, which is definitely a bit of a compromise.

The same sentiment rings true for the Pixel Watch, even with Google's Wear OS 3.5 which offers dedicated optimization for its own hardware. Even still, the only way to make the wearable last as long as possible was to turn off AOD, which is just disappointing.

Google Pixel Watch vs. Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel Watch hazel/gold colorway with the Pacific watch face

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

One aspect of these smartwatches that we haven't mentioned yet is the price. The Pixel Watch (Wi-Fi-only) retails for $349, while the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition comes in at $299. Since their respective launches, we've seen various deals and sales which knock off a few bucks here and there.

With that in mind, we'd still find the extra $50 to spring for the Pixel Watch over what Fossil is currently offering. You'll get a more fluid experience, more storage, and a more enjoyable software experience compared to the Gen 6 Wellness Edition.

Perhaps things will change once Qualcomm's latest wearable processor actually starts making its way into Fossil wearables. But, we're still waiting for the Snapdragon Wear 5+ to actually launch, despite being announced in June 2022. Until that happens, you're still better off going with the Pixel Watch or the Galaxy Watch 5.

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.