Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Google Pixel Watch

When deciding on a nice, classic-looking round-faced smartwatch, there are a few options from which to choose. Among them is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Google Pixel Watch, both relatively recent entries into the space.

They look similar, though the Google Pixel Watch is available for much cheaper nowadays. There’s a good reason for that: it has been replaced by the Google Pixel Watch 2, which means the fair fight is between those two. But if you’re wondering if it's worth saving a few bucks by going for that original version over Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6, we’re here to help with this comparison.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Google Pixel Watch: The aesthetics

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A custom watch face showing the author's cat above custom Complications on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

First, let’s consider how these two smartwatches look. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, released this summer, comes in Graphite or Gold in a 40mm size or Graphite or Silver in a larger 44mm size. It’s made of aluminum with sapphire crystal glass, which also makes it ultra-durable. Indeed, it meets 5ATM and IP68 ratings for both water and dust resistance.

Featuring the largest screen yet for a Samsung Galaxy smartwatch, the AMOLED screen is 1.3 inches at 432 x 432 resolution for the smaller version and 1.5 inches at 480 x 480 for the larger one. If you have larger, thicker wrists, you might prefer the option of being able to use a much bigger watch.

It’s also designed to be slimmer and sleeker than its predecessor, featuring the rotating bezel versus the Galaxy Watch 5, which didn’t have one at all. If you prefer that more tactile option, it’s worth considering for this reason alone. The screen, meanwhile, is also ultra-bright, offering up to 2,000 nits brightness. In his review, Android Central’s Michael Hicks says the screen nicely adapts to your surroundings, making it easily readable. In fact, he even says the “pleasantly skinny border…puts the Pixel Watch to shame.”

You can choose from a variety of watch faces to personalize the look, with some interesting ones that let you showcase complications that are most important to you. This might be daily activity numbers, sleep coaching, or even cute, funny faces to brighten your day. The band, meanwhile, is a superlight fabric, so you’ll barely notice it around your wrist.

It has a 300mAh battery (425mAh for the larger version), and battery life is rated at about 40 hours, or a day and a half, which drops to about 30 hours with the always-on display. This, it should be noted, is actually less than the 50 hours cited with the previous generation Galaxy Watch 5. In any case, you’ll need to charge it daily or at least by midday.

pixel watch sleep analytics

(Image credit: @tshakaarmstrong)

The Google Pixel Watch, introduced in October 2022, also has a round face with a digital crown on the side for adjusting menu options manually without using the touchscreen. In his review, Android Central’s Andrew Myrick says he loves the haptic feedback you get from it. The AMOLED screen is 1.24 inches in size and 450 x 450 resolution, which is slightly higher than the smaller version of the Galaxy Watch 6. Myrick says the screen is “quite vibrant and pleasing to look at.”

It’s an always-on display, but using this feature seriously impacts battery life. This is one of the areas, in fact, that Google most improved upon with the Pixel Watch 2. While both promise up to 24 hours, the Pixel Watch 2 confirms this with the always-on display, while the Pixel Watch battery depletes much more quickly if you keep this on.

The Pixel Watch screen is customizable, too, with eight options from which to choose, along with the ability to add your preferred complications from what’s available. You can also adjust the accent colors in each watch face option. There isn’t a rotating bezel with this model, but you can swipe left and right to go through various Tiles of information. There’s also a hidden button for opening recently used apps, or press and hold to trigger Google Assistant.

Made of recycled stainless steel, it has a scratch- and splash-resistant screen, and it does meet a 5ATM rating as well, so you can safely swim with it on. The Pixel Watch comes in Champagne Gold with a Hazel Active band, Matte Black with an Obsidian Active band, Polished Silver with a Chalk Active band, or Polished Silver with a Charcoal Active band.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Google Pixel Watch: The specs

Let’s see how these two smartwatches compare when it comes to the core specs.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy Watch 6Google Pixel Watch
CompatibilityAndroid 10 or higherAndroid 8.0 or higher
OSWear OS 4.0Wear OS 3.5
ColorsGraphite, Gold (40mm), Graphite, Silver (44mm)Champagne gold/Hazel, matte black/Obsidian, polished silver/Chalk, polished silver/Charcoal
Swappable BandYesYes
Battery LifeUp to 40 Hours (30 Hours with always-on display)Up to 24 hours (Less with always-on display)
AppGalaxy Wear appFitbit app, Google Home app
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
Stress TrackingYesNo
Sleep MonitoringYesYes
Swimproof5ATM, IP685ATM
Phone NotificationsYesYes
Blood OxygenYesYes
Mobile PayYesYes
Screen Size1.3 inches (40mm), 1.5 inches (44mm)1.24 inches
Screen Resolution432 x 432 (40mm), 480 x 480 (44mm)450 x 450
Peak Brightness2,000 nits1,000 nits
Dimensions1.52 x 1.59 x 0.35 inches (40mm), 1.68 x 1.74 x 0.35 inches (44mm)1.61 x 1.61 x 0.48 inches
Weight28.7 grams (40mm), 33.3 grams (44mm)36 grams

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Google Pixel Watch: Comparing features

Closed activity rings on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

What about the features of these two smartwatches? The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 can do all the usual, including tracking your workouts and daily activity, heart rate, calorie burn, steps taken, active minutes, and so on. It can even automatically recognize more than 90 popular activities, from running to rowing.

When tracking workouts, it can look at duration, distance, calorie burn, and more. The Galaxy Watch 6 can also track your progress in personalized heart rate zones so you can set targets to reach goals while doing a workout. Meanwhile, it can detect irregular heartbeat patterns, a potential sign of AFib, and send an alert. It can also take skin temperature readings. You can take an ECG reading, but you can only do this through the Samsung Health Monitor app, which is only available on a Samsung Galaxy phone.

There’s also an advanced BIA sensor that can track body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, body mass index (BMI), and more to help paint an accurate picture of your overall health and wellness. However, Hicks found that the watch wildly exaggerated figures like his BMI when compared to other devices he uses, like a Withings smart scale. Even if smart scales can sometimes underestimate this data, he still found that the readings he got varied by a percent even when taken minutes apart.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, however, really focuses on sleep coaching with advanced features to help you develop better sleep habits. This includes not only detailed sleep tracking, with stages for light, deep, REM, and restlessness, but even snore detection. The Watch will track patterns over time and then provide insights to help you improve.

Finally, it has safety features, too, including fall detection to notify predefined contacts if a fall is detected and there might be an emergency.

All these features are powered by the ultra-fast Samsung Exynos W930 processor, which Samsung says is 18% faster than its previous generation Galaxy Watch 5. However, in his review, Hicks didn’t notice much of a difference in speed with this model versus its predecessor, though he does say apps open slightly more quickly and scrolling through them looks less jittery.

You can also download tons of apps to the watch, from Google Maps to Spotify, running apps like Strava, and more. There’s also an LTE cellular version of the Watch if desired.

Google Pixel Watch worn on a wrist

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

Running Google Wear OS 3.5, the Pixel Watch adds the ability to access tons of Google apps, like Maps, Wallet, Assistant, Gmail, and Calendar, as well as other popular apps from the Google Play Store, like Spotify and Runtastic. It should be noted that Google has added support for even more apps in the Pixel Watch 2. The Pixel Watch also comes with three months of YouTube Music Premium.

Also available in an LTE version, the Google Pixel Watch runs on an Exynos 9110 SoC Cortex M33 co-processor. It, too, has fall detection as well as emergency SOS. Google has added a ton more safety features to the Pixel Watch 2, so if this is a priority, you might want to look at that model instead.

When it comes to tracking workouts, the Google Pixel Watch leverages Fitbit technology. In fact, you can pair it with the Fitbit app and enjoy the same experience (though recently enhanced/updated) you are used to with Fitbit devices. This means you get all the usual details, including steps, active minutes, calories burned, workout tracking, and more.

You can also choose to sign up for a Fitbit Premium subscription for more details, like a Readiness Score that tells you when you should push your limits or take a rest day, detailed sleep tracking and analysis, access to workouts, nutrition information, and more. But this comes at a cost (a trial is included).

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Google Pixel Watch: Which should you buy?

Selecting a workout on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

There are a few factors to consider when choosing between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Google Pixel Watch. First off is design. Both have round faces, but you get the option for a bigger one with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, which will appeal to those with larger, thicker wrists or who just prefer a bigger screen. There’s also the rotating bezel design of the Galaxy Watch 6, which is a neat option for seamlessly interacting with the screen.

Then, you need to look at features. They can both track all the basics, so they are fairly even in this respect. If a priority for you is sleep tracking, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 excels in this department with advanced analysis and sleep coaching. Keep in mind you can get something similar with the Google Pixel Watch. However, you would need to pay for the Fitbit Premium subscription to get it. With Samsung, it’s included out of the gate.

Battery life is better on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, especially with the always-on display, which is a useful feature to keep activated. You get a similarly robust app experience and the ability to personalize the watch face to your liking.

Taking into consideration that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is the newer watch of the two, it’s obviously the better choice. If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, it’s the perfect marriage. If you have an Android phone from another brand, you might prefer something else among the best Android smartwatches. Even if you think the Google Pixel Watch is the way to go, save up a few extra bucks and go with the new Google Pixel Watch 2 instead. There are enough upgrades, most notably pertaining to battery life, that make it the better option. You can see our comparison of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Google Pixel Watch 2 here to help you make that decision.

The only real reason to stick with the Google Pixel Watch is if you’re looking to pay much less. But chances are that by the holiday season and during other sales periods, you’ll be able to get either of these watches for a good deal.

Between these two, however, you’re better off with the newer, more feature-rich and sensor-heavy Samsung Galaxy Watch 6.

Christine Persaud

Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.