The Pixel Watch 2 is finally official and goes head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 with Wear OS 4 and powerful internals.
Both feature the latest Wear OS features but are very different smartwatches. And while Samsung and Garmin have been partners with Wear – they go head-to-head here.
The Pixel Watch 2 starts at $349/£349 for a Bluetooth model – and there’s an LTE version. You also get a 6-month Fitbit Premium membership.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 starts at $299 for the 40mm Galaxy Watch 6. There are two versions, 40mm and 44mm and each has an LTE option. Likewise, there’s the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic model, with a more watch-like design, again with LTE options.
You can see a full breakdown of Galaxy Watch prices below:
Galaxy Watch 6 40 mm: From $299/£289
Galaxy Watch 6 44 mm: From $329/£319
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic 43 mm: From $399/£369
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic 47 mm: From $429£399
Opting for sustainability and lightweight design, the Pixel Watch 2 is crafted with 100% recycled aluminum, available in a solitary 41mm size, and weighs a mere 22g. That means the material is downgraded from the Pixel Watch, which used stainless steel, but in our review time, we found the Pixel Watch 2 lighter, and much better suited for working out.
It features a 1.2-inch AMOLED, 1,000nit display. We'd like a bigger case size option, and find the 41mm a little small for our wrists. But it's a good-looking smartwatch and very unisex.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (below), on the other side, comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes with a 1.3-inch or 1.5-inch AMOLED display respectively. So it's better suited for larger wrists, and there's an even smaller case size if you want to keep things small.
It's also really comfortable to wear during workouts – but doesn't have any sustainability credentials.
It also brings back the beloved rotating bezel in its Galaxy Watch 6 Classic model, which comes in 43mm and 47mm – and looks more like a classic analog watch.
So while Pixel Watch 2 shines with its sustainable and minimalistic design, the Galaxy Watch 6 appeals with its varied design choices and nostalgic rotating bezel.
With Fitbit in the driving seat, the Pixel Watch 2 is a powerful health package. It boasts a new multi-path heart rate sensor which has been developed with with Google AI, which aims to offer heightened accuracy in heart rate tracking.
The Pixel Watch 2 also offers real-time stress management features through Fitbit’s cEDA and skin temperature sensor. It retains the ECG sensor, and Fitbit heart rate tracking from the Pixel Watch.
Sleep tracking was really strong, as you'd expect from the Fitbit algorithms on board.
The Galaxy Watch 6 is not far behind with its improved sleep-tracking capabilities. It also features ECG, but also adds blood pressure tracking and body composition analysis. The body composition will analyze your body fat and muscle mass (as well as other metrics) with a single test.
But these features are only available if you use a Samsung smartphone, which may be a deal breaker.
We found the sleep tracking features – which landed with the new Wear OS 4 – to be really strong, and it's one of the best systems out there.
The Pixel Watch 2, with its Fitbit-driven fitness tracking, is a real proposition, and a promised 40% enhanced performance at varied exertion levels is an attractive proposition. It also includes the heart rate zone training from Wear OS 4.
In our review time, we found the heart rate performance one of the best we've seen on a smartwatch – with top accuracy side-by-side with a chest strap, and the latest Garmin Fenix 7 Pro.
There's also the Active Zone Minutes from the Fitbit suite of features on board.
You have GPS on board, and we found run tracking to be well within the margin for error next to multiband GNSS smartwatches such as the Fenix 7 Pro.
The Galaxy Watch 6 follows suit with a robust offering for runners in the form of running track support and a wholesome fitness approach with detailed heart rate zone analysis. There's also tons of data on running form, which can be viewed in real-time, or as part of your post-workout digest.
There are stacks of workout profiles, and it's also a top performer in the pool.
It has GPS built-in, but we did find accuracy left a little to be desired in our testing.
It’s a tie in this domain, with the preferred choice potentially boiling down to whether the user prioritizes running-specific features or a broader palette of fitness data.
The Pixel Watch 2 boasts the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ platform and offers a 24-hour battery life with a fast, 75-minute full charge.
The Pixel Watch 2 performed far better than its predecessor in our testing, and generally lived up to its 24 hour billing, which meant we were able to get a full day, a tracked workout, and track our sleep. Just.
Conversely, the Galaxy Watch 6 not only provides an improved Samsung Wallet but also boasts up to 40 hours of battery life (30 hours with the always-on display), backed by a next-gen the Exynos W930 chipset.
We didn't have any battery life anxiety getting through the day and night, but it will need charging when you wake up the next day.
There's not much to pick here in terms of battery life, and the Pixel Watch 2 has done just enough to catch up.
Which is right for you?
The Pixel Watch 2 isn’t a huge update – but it’s the device the original should have been. Google has fixed the battery life woes of the Gen 1, although it's still a single day at best.
The new Snapdragon W5+ processor the new heart rate algorithms, and Fitbit functionality, plus Wear OS 4, means the Pixel Watch 2 offers a robust smartwatch experience.
However, the 41mm case might be too small on some wrists.
The Galaxy Watch 6 got a great review in our testing, although battery life was just good enough – plus there's a plethora of styles and sizes, with the Galaxy Watch Classic particularly strong.
The crucial factor is that many of Samsung's best health features require a Samsung phone to use – so not everyone is equipped to get the most out of the Galaxy Watch 6. That might be a deciding factor, as the Pixel Watch 2's Fitbit features are really impressive.
Key specs compared
|Specs||Google Pixel Watch 2||Samsung Galaxy Watch 6|
|OS||Wear OS 4||Wear OS 4|
|Processor||Snapdragon Wear W5+||Exynos W930|
|Case size||41mm||40mm, 44mm|
|Screen tech||Super AMOLED||Super AMOLED|
|Battery life||24 hours||Up to 40-hours|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, altimeter, compass, SpO2, thermometer, skin conductance||Gyro, accelerometer, heart rate, compass, barometer, thermometer|
|GPS||Yes||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BDS|
How we test