Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Pixel Watch 1: What's changed?

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Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Pixel Watch 1


What's new in the Google Pixel Watch 2 compared to the first-gen Pixel Watch? And are there even enough reasons to upgrade?

The new Pixel Watch 2 is expected to arrive in October, but even months before the official announcement, leaked details reveal a lot about the upcoming watch.

First, Google is expected to address the biggest pain point of the original watch: the battery life. The new Pixel Watch 2 has only slightly larger battery, but the bigger difference maker is the new Snapdragon W5 chip which is far more efficient.

So far, it seems like Google will stick with just one size of the watch, so those hoping for a bigger Pixel Watch are in for a disappointment.

But let's explore what else has changed and whether the Pixel Watch 2 has fixed all of the flaws of the original.

Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Pixel Watch 1: differences
  • Very similar design
  • One size
  • Pixel Watch 2 has newer processor
  • Pixel Watch 2 uses aluminum instead of stainless steel body
  • Slightly larger battery size
  • "Coach" workouts
  • cEDA sensor for stress tracking
  • New watch faces

Table of Contents:

Google Pixel Watch, LTE, at Amazon

The Google Pixel Watch is available at a discounted price on Amazon. The device currently comes at 20% off its regular price. This is the configuration with cellular connectivity.

Google Pixel Watch, Wi-Fi, at Amazon

The Google Pixel Watch with Wi-Fi only is also available at Amazon. This wearable is also available at a lower price right now, allowing you to get it for a 12% cheaper price than usual. Keep in mind that not all color variants are available at the retailer.

Design & Sizes

Same look, slight differences

The Pixel Watch 2 is expected to look extremely similar to the first-gen Pixel Watch, with a round body and the same, smallish 41mm size.

Unfortunately, Google is expected to release only one size of the Pixel Watch 2, and just turn a blind eye to all those people who wanted to see a bigger sized version. Maybe next year.

One other change comes in materials: Google used stainless steel for the body of the first-gen Pixel Watch, but it's now switching to aluminum for the Pixel Watch 2. This counts as a downgrade as stainless steel is the more durable material, but on the flip side, aluminum is lighter.

The overall design remains unchanged: you have a digital crown and above it one button that shows you recently used apps with one press, while holding it starts the Google Assistant. You also have a speaker, so the Google Assistant will voice its replies using it. That speaker, however, will not play music.

On the bottom of both watches you have the optical heart rate sensor, which we found to do an excellent job on the first-gen Pixel Watch. We are glad to see that Google has added the missing skin temperature sensor on the second generation model, but measuring temperature will only work in select countries. 


New bands expected

Another thing that remains unchanged in the second gen Pixel Watch is the band swap system.

Google introduced its own quick swap system where you kind of press and turn a hidden button on the side of the watch to insert bands, and this system has received mixed reviews. We don't mind it, but some other people find it hard to get used to. At the end of the day, it's not changing.

Google, however, is expected to add a few new bands to the mix, and since there is already a good variety of first-party bands, we are happy that the choice is even bigger now.

Software & Features

Slight improvements, new Coach feature

So Google relies on a tight Fitbit integration to give you a bunch of health and fitness data, but it locks a few features behind a monthly subscription.

Most of those are really advanced features, so a Fitbit Premium subscription just does not make a lot of sense for most people at the moment.

One new feature coming to the Pixel Watch 2 is coaching, which will help you hit your workout goals. We still don't know whether this will be a Fitbit Premium feature, or whether it will be free for everyone to access, but we will keep you posted when we learn more.

One new sensor is also coming to the Pixel Watch 2 and that is a cEDA (continuous electrodermal activity) sensor for stress tracking. 

This one is interesting and it's already present on some Fitbit devices like the Sense 2. What it does is examine sweat levels, heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), skin temperature and sleep data and then running all that data through an algorithm, which looks for sudden changes in these measurements. If it detects such a change, you get a prompt so you can know when you are stressed and possibly take action such as breathe or take a walks. You also have a Fitbit Stress Management Score if you want to see a number.

One feature we were hoping to see, but will ultimately not make it to the Pixel Watch 2 is a UWB (ultra wide band) chip. This is used for precision finding devices and is already included in the Pixel phones.

We are yet to learn about changes to workout and sleep tracking, and we will be updating this article with more information as it comes in.

Battery and Charging

New chip and slightly larger battery make the difference

The battery life of the original Pixel Watch was definitely one of its weak sides and many users complained about it.

The new Pixel Watch 2 makes some changes with the big difference maker being the more power efficient Snapdragon W5 chip, but also a small 4% increase in battery size. Here are the numbers:

  • Pixel Watch 2 41mm battery size: 306 mAh (+4%)
  • Pixel Watch 1 41mm battery size: 294 mAh
  • Galaxy Watch 6 40mm battery size: 300 mAh (+5.6%)
  • Galaxy Watch 5 40mm battery size: 284 mAh
  • Apple Watch Series 8 41mm battery size: 282 mAh

What does this mean in real life? Well, too early to tell.

The first-gen Pixel Watch was rated for 24 hours in smartwatch mode and 12 hours in GPS mode, but in real life use it barely lasted a full day when you work out.

We would not expect miracles out of the second-gen, but you should at least be able to go through a full day easier.

The Pixel Watch 2 uses a redesigned magnetic charging puck, which is good news as that old one was a bit of a pain. The magnetic connection was just too weak and it was almost impossible to have the watch laying flat when charging. The new charging puck holds the watch more strongly. However, during our quick look at the watch we noticed it could only be attached with the cable below the crown. 

Models and Prices

Google does not seem to be changing the pricing of the Pixel Watch 2, and just like the original you should expect to pay $350 for the Wi-Fi version and $400 for the cellular model.

Google gave away a lot of watches with new Pixels last year, and we would not be surprised to see similar give-aways this year too.

At this price, the Pixel Watch is more expensive than a Galaxy Watch 6 of a similar size, and is just a bit cheaper than an Apple Watch. It has to improve significantly in order to justify that price.

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Voice Calls and Haptics

Both the Pixel Watch 2 and the first-gen model can make and take calls, which is a nice convenience to have.

Haptics were quite pleasant on the first generation, so we don't expect much to change.


Here is an overview of the Pixel Watch 2 vs Pixel Watch 1 specs:
The noticeable changes here are the new processor and slightly larger battery size.


At the end of the day, the Pixel Watch 2 definitely shapes up to be that mature Google watch that the first generation wasn't.

It aims to fix the battery life issue, and it improves upon of number of other features, but with no larger version, it's still held back by its own design.

Would you finally jump on the Pixel Watch band wagon with the second generation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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