Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs. Google Pixel Watch 2

So, you’re in the market for a premium smartwatch. Two models you might be considering are the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs. Google Pixel Watch 2. The former was just introduced summer 2024 and the latter in October 2023, making them both fairly recent devices and the latest in their respective brand line-ups. But which one is better? We’re here to help break it down for you.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs. Google Pixel Watch 2: How they look

A detailed informational watch face on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra is the new headlining model in the Galaxy Watch line-up. It comes in a 47mm size and in Titanium Gray, Titanium White, or Titanium Silver, so it’s built to last. The 1.5-inch Sapphire Crystal screen is a 480 x 480 Super AMOLED full-color always-on display.

Employing a new cushion design, it has a Dynamic Lug System that affords better comfort while wearing it all day. But keep in mind that this is a proprietary design made specifically for the Watch Ultra, so you won’t be able to use other standard bands and lugs.

It comes with a standard band in the box, but if you purchase one through, you can choose a Bespoke model to customize the band, opting for the Marine, Trail, or PeakForm options. For a limited time, Samsung is offering those who pre-order the device an additional band in the box.

This is an extremely durable smartwatch boasting a Titanium Grade 4 frame and an impressive 10ATM water resistance, which means you can swim as deep as down to 100 meters for up to 10 minutes. It also has an IP68 rating (up to six feet for up to 30 minutes) and meets the MIL-STD-810H rating for durability.

One of the preinstalled digital watch faces on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Additionally, this smartwatch can operate at a wider range of altitudes, from 500 meters below sea level to 9,000 meters high. This is ideal for serious swimmers, cyclers, hikers, climbers, and other outdoor adventurers.

There are dedicated watch faces so you can see the stats you want at a glance. It can also automatically switch to Night Mode for better reading in the dark. Outdoors, meanwhile, peak brightness is an incredible 3,000 nits, so you can be confident you’ll be able to view the screen in just about any setting.

Battery life from the 590mAh battery is up to 48 hours in Exercise Power Saving mode but you can extend this to up to 100 hours in Power Saving mode, which will presumably limit functions to keep the watch going for longer. The watch also supports WPC-based fast charging (so you’ll only be able to use WPC wireless chargers).

Compatible with Android devices running Android 11 OS or higher, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra comes with Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, NFC for tap payments, built-in GPS, and an LTE option.

Google Pixel Watch 2 while charging

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

The Google Pixel Watch 2 employs a round face and resembles more of a wristwatch than a smartwatch, making it a stylish versus rugged-looking option. It’s much smaller at 41mm in size as well as about half the weight, so it looks daintier on the wrist. 

It comes in a Polished Silver Aluminum case with a Bay Active or Porcelain Active Band, Matte Black with Obsidian Active band, or Champagne Gold with Hazel Active band. The bands are easily interchangeable. 

The AMOLED screen, made of Corning Gorilla Glass 5, is smaller at 1.2 inches and slightly lower resolution at 450 x 450. The most notable difference, however, is that peak brightness is just 1,000 nits, so you might not have as great an experience viewing this smartwatch in direct sunlight. The screen is complemented by a side button and haptic crown, along with a built-in mic and speaker. 

Boasting a standard 5ATM rating, you can shower, wash dishes, run in the rain, even swim with this smartwatch (in freshwater sources). But it’s not nearly as durable as the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra. So, keep this in mind if you’re a swimmer, hiker, or engage in other extreme or demanding sports and activities. 

There’s a large collection of not only bands but also custom watch faces so you can personalize the look. The battery is smaller at just 306mAh, but it lasts for 24 hours. As a huge improvement over the original Google Pixel Watch, this battery life rating also pertains to when the always-on screen is active, so you can rest assured it will get you through a day. Still, considering the watch doesn’t have any major advanced features, you’d expect it to last much longer than a day. 

You can, however, charge the Google Pixel Watch 2 to half in about 30 minutes and full in 75 minutes, so you can be back up and running quickly. It charges using a USB-C cable and magnetic PIN and does not support wireless charging. 

Use the Google Pixel Watch 2 with Android devices running Android 9 and higher, permitting use with a wider range of phones, including older models. Along with Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi, you also get NFC and built-in GPS with this smartwatch, and there’s a 4G/LTE option as well.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs. Google Pixel Watch 2: Specs

Google Pixel Watch 2 hands-on

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

How do these two smartwatches compare head-to-head in specs? Let’s take a look.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy Ultra 2Google Pixel Watch 2
CompatibilityAndroid 11.0 or higherAndroid 9.0 or higher
OSWearOS 5 powered by Samsung, One UI Watch 6WearOS 4
ColorsTitanium Silver, Titanium Gray, Titanium WhitePolished Silver/Bay Active, Polished Silver/Porcelain Active, Matte Black/Obsidian, Champagne Gold/Hazel Active
Swappable BandYes (proprietary)Yes
Battery LifeUp to 48 Hours in Exercise Power Saving Mode, 100 Hours in Power Saving ModeUp to 24 Hours
AppGalaxy Wearable appGoogle/Fitbit
Heart Rate TrackingYesYes
Stress TrackingYesYes
Sleep MonitoringYesYes
Swimproof10ATM, IP685ATM, IP68
Blood OxygenYesYes
Mobile PaySamsung WalletGoogle Wallet
Screen Size1.5 inches1.2 inches
Screen Resolution480 x 480450 x 450
Dimensions47 x 47.1 x 12.1mm41 x 12.3 mm
Weight60.5 grams31 grams

As you can see, there are notable differences between these two smartwatches, with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra being the much larger, heavier, more rugged of the two.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs. Google Pixel Watch 2: How they operate

The underside of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty: how do these two watches compare when it comes to fitness and activity tracking, sensors, and other useful features? 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra runs on an Exynos W1000 five-core processor and WearOS 5, powered by Samsung, along with One UI 6 Watch. As the first smartwatch to be powered by Wear OS 5 (alongside the new Galaxy Watch 7 as well), you’ll get advanced performance and power efficiency along with smoother interactions, says Samsung. WearOS 5 also affords access to plenty of apps, including Google apps, Galaxy services, and other compatible third-party apps. 

Along with tracking numerous workouts, you can also track multi-course workouts if you’ve signed up for a triathlon, for example, using the new Multi-sports tile. There’s also a new Functional Threshold Power (FTP) measurement for cyclers that measures maximum cycling power in four minutes using AI-powered FTP metrics. 

For runners, cardio exercises, and other high-impact workouts, you can leverage advanced Personalized HR Zone readings to help you maximize your intensity (and scale down as needed). Use the new Quick Button to instantly initiate a workout and map other functions as needed. 

The Samsung Galaxy Ultra has some wonderful safety features as well, great for those who might explore the outdoors on their own and want extra peace-of-mind. There’s an Emergency Siren, for example, along with emergency alerts. 

As with other Samsung devices, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra works most seamlessly with Samsung Galaxy devices, though you can pair it with other Android phones. It also works in unison with the new Samsung Galaxy Ring, which together can help provide more precise and accurate tracking during both the day and night, mostly pertaining to sleep. When the Galaxy Ring is paired with the Galaxy Watch, its battery life extends another 30 percent. 

The watch has 2GB memory and 32GB storage for apps, music, and more. Along with Samsung’s BioActive sensor, found in its other smartwatches, you’ll also find a temperature sensor.

Google Pixel Watch 2 hands-on

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Running on the previous gen WearOS 4 with a Qualcomm 5100 Cortex M33 co-processor, you can access Google apps on the Google Pixel Watch 2, including Google Assistant along with third-party apps and access to the Fitbit app (which is transitioning to Google but with the power of Fitbit tracking behind it). In his review, Android Central’s Andrew Myrick says that while he downloaded apps like Gmail and Calendar to the Watch, he found them too difficult to use since the display is so small. 

You can track tons of workout types with an auto workout mode as well that automatically starts and stops a workout, checks things like pace and laps for runners, and calculates real-time heart rate data as well as time in heart rate zones. You can get pace goals and real-time feedback and motivation to help you along with your journey. 

The Google Pixel Watch 2 comes with a six-month trial to Fitbit Premium, which includes access to workouts with expert trainers, mindfulness sessions, and advanced tracking and metrics. You also get a one-month trial to YouTube Music Premium to add tunes to your workout regimen. 

There are advanced safety features with the Google Pixel Watch 2 as well, including a timer you can set up to share your location with chosen contacts that will notify them if the timer has expired and you haven’t checked in. It can also notify others of your watch battery life and share pertinent details with specified contacts in the event of a medical emergency. It can even alert first responders if you have had a hard fall. 

You’ll get all the same sensors, including heart rate, skin temperature, stress, blood oxygen, and detailed sleep tracking with a Sleep Score, Sleep Stages, and a Sleep Profile with monthly analysis. Some features, however, require a Fitbit Premium subscription, so if you want to keep enjoying them once the trial is over, you’ll need to pay a recurring fee. 

Overall, Myrick says the experience with the Google Pixel Watch 2 is much snappier than with the Google Pixel Watch. “Being able to open an app or check notifications without much of a delay has been quite nice,” he adds.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs. Google Pixel Watch 2: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel Watch 2 review

When it comes down to the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs. Google Pixel Watch 2, the decision really hinges on how you’ll use it and what types of activities you engage in. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra is a rugged, durable, athlete’s smartwatch that is great for adventurers, swimmers, and those undergoing serious training. By contrast, the Google Pixel Watch 2 can track plenty of workouts and activities, even affords access to workouts from expert trainers. But it’s designed more to be an everyday watch for casual athletes or those who exercise regularly at a gym or indoors. 

You’ll find that the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra might be more than you need if you aren’t into extreme sports. The Google Pixel Watch 2, however, isn’t as durable and it’s more stylish than screams “athlete.” If you want something bigger, especially if you have thicker wrists and bigger hands, you might appreciate the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra instead. 

A downside with the Google Pixel Watch 2 is that while it is cheaper, if you want to enjoy a comparable level of tracking and detailed metrics, you’ll have to pay a recurring subscription fee, which will cost more in the long run. With the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra, however, if you aren’t a swimmer or aren’t training in a triathlon, some of the new features and durability ratings won’t matter to you anyway. 

Bottom line: if you want a nice, everyday smartwatch for tracking activities and receiving notifications from your phone as well as about your health, wellness, and safety, the Google Pixel Watch 2 will suffice. If you’re more serious about a sport, working out, swimming, and other outdoor activities, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra is a top-line model built for athletes. 

If you want to stick within the Samsung Galaxy camp, especially if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, but you don’t need everything the Galaxy Watch Ultra has to offer, consider the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 instead. While the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 currently ranks as our top overall Android smartwatch, we’re confident the Galaxy Watch Ultra will make the list as well in the rugged category for serious athletes. It has many of the same features as the Galaxy Watch Ultra but in a smaller, less rugged chassis. And it’s worth noting that we name the Google Pixel Watch 2 as the best for WearOS on that same list. So you’ll be happy whichever way you go.

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.