If you’re looking for a great Android smartwatch, then these two options will certainly be on your radar.
The Google Pixel Watch was launched back in October 2022 and is the company’s first-ever smartwatch.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 uses a reskinned version of Google’s Wear OS 4 operating system, so has the same access to apps and services.
But there are so many differences between the two. Read on for the key buying decisions and find out which is best for you.
On test: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 full review
In depth: Google Pixel Watch full review
The Google Pixel Watch costs around $299/£249 down from an MSRP of $399/£339– but a word of warning: we’re expecting a much-improved Pixel Watch 2 to land this October.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 comes in at $429/£319 for the 44mm and $299/£289 for the 40mm version.
So the Pixel Watch is much cheaper, but that doesn't necessarily make it a smart purchase with a newer version possibly weeks away.
Design and sizes
The Google Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 are both good-looking smartwatches, and the Pixel is especially sleek. But there are big differences.
The Galaxy Watch 6 comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes, while the Pixel Watch only comes in 41mm. In our review, we criticized it for being too small on chunky male wrists, and while that is refreshing for women, a larger size is near the top of our wishlist for a Pixel Watch 2.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic also comes in 43mm and 47mm sizes, if you want to go even bigger.
The screen tech is an even fight here, with a 1.5-inch 480x480 AMOLED display on the 44mm version. The 40mm uses a 1.3-inch screen.
The Pixel Watch features a 1.2-inch AMOLED display, with a 450x450 resolution. So the display is bigger on either Samsung model.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is a better fit for most men, and gets the edge on the screen specs too. The Pixel Watch is small and light if that’s what you prefer, but as we'll find out, suffers in other departments.
It’s fair to say the battery life on the Google Pixel Watch is a bit of a disaster, and it’s the major mark against its name.
In our testing, it barely made it through a full day and often required a bout of charging to ensure a night of sleep tracking. In 2023, that’s just not good enough.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 does perform better – but only just. With the always-on display enabled we found that Samsung’s estimate of 30 hours was generally correct, but given an hour of GPS-tracked running can deplete the battery by 20%, you can still suffer battery anxiety.
And there’s no difference in battery life between the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic. You’ll need to buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to get three days away from the charger.
The problem is that the Pixel Watch uses an old Samsung Exynos 9110 processor, which isn't as efficient as the newer Exynos 930 on the Galaxy Watch 6.
A note on operating systems: The Pixel Watch runs on Wear OS 3.5, but the Galaxy Watch 6 gets Wear OS 4. So the Google smartwatch actually runs on an older version. Make it make sense.
Fitbit and fitness tracking
The trick the Pixel Watch has up its sleeve is Fitbit-powered activity tracking. The Pixel Watch is a Fitbit smartwatch in all but name, and you can use the Fitbit app just like any of its first-party devices.
That means top sleep tracking, sleep chronotypes, active zone minutes, and the Health Metrics Dashboard, which is a fantastic look at your overall wellness. It also packs ECG, as well as Fitbit’s heart rhythm features from the PPG sensor.
The Fitbit experience is a little basic without the $9.99/£7.99 per month Premium subscription. This is where you get features such as Daily Readiness, advanced sleep tracking, and nighttime breathing.
It also has GPS on board for run tracking, which can be done within the Fitbit app, or you can download the Strava app, which we’d heartily recommend.
The Galaxy Watch 6 also excels in terms of health features, and with ECG and blood pressure spot checks on board, it’s an excellent health watch.
The ecosystem isn’t quite as analytical as Fitbit in terms of core wellness and heart rate metrics, but sleep tracking on the Galaxy Watch 6 is as good, if not better than Fitbit. And there’s sleep coaching on board too, with no extra subscriptions.
We found solid performance in terms of heart rate accuracy, and the new heart rate zone training on board is also well implemented.
The Pixel Watch nails the fitness and health experience, but only if you pay for Fitbit Premium. If that’s not an option, then it’s advantage Samsung.
Which is best for you?
With a new Pixel Watch 2 on the horizon and the shortcomings in terms of battery life, the Pixel Watch isn’t recommendable right now.
That leaves the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, which isn’t perfect, but is a solid smartwatch.
It would be worth reading our Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Watch 5 comparison to see if you can save money by opting for the last-gen version.
Galaxy Watch 6 vs Pixel Watch specs
|Specs||Galaxy Watch 6||Pixel Watch|
|OS||Wear OS 4||Wear OS 3.5|
|Processor||Exynos W930||Exynos 9110|
|Case size||40mm, 44mm||41mm|
|Screen tech||Super AMOLED||AMOLED|
|Battery life||Up to 40-hours||Up to 24 hours|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Altimeter, Compass, Heart rate, Blood Oxygen||Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Altimeter, Compass, Heart rate, Blood Oxygen|
|GPS||Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou||Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou|
How we test