Android fans had a lot to like about the Google Pixel Watch when it landed in October 2022: a minimal design, slick Fitbit integration, and the best version of the firm’s Wear OS software to date. Google’s first wearable effort wasn’t perfect, though. Battery life was a real downer, and the “one size fits all” approach was off-kilter with the rest of the smartwatch world. That leaves plenty of areas for a Pixel Watch 2 to improve upon.
Google has now set a date for its next ‘Pixel portfolio’ reveal event – which we’re betting will include a second-gen Pixel Watch. What new hardware will make the grade – and will it include any of our wish list items listed below? Here’s everything we know so far.
Will there be a Pixel Watch 2?
Google hasn’t said anything official about a second Pixel Watch. At the annual I/O event in May 2023, it quickly breezed over WearOS to leave more time to focus on AI, coding and other upcoming hardware like the Pixel Fold smartphone. That changed when a single image was posted to a Google Store product page, showing what could be a second-gen watch alongside the upcoming Pixel 8 Pro smartphone.
Until recently, the info we had to go on was a single tweet from prolific phone leaker EVleaks. Simply reading “Pixel Watch 2” in an official-looking font, it’s unclear if it was taken from an internal Google source, or is simply a mock-up. The tweet was posted on the 9th of May, potentially hinting at an I/O reveal (the keynote took place the next day) but one never came.
Google Pixel Watch 2 likely release date
The first-gen Pixel Watch is nearing its first birthday, and while Google has yet to confirm if it’ll see annual updates like its Pixel smartphones, the safe bet is on a sequel appearing alongside the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro at the firm’s October 4th launch event. The in-person event is being held in New York, at 10AM local time (3PM UK).
Pricing is more of an unknown. You could pick up a Pixel Watch for $350/£339 at launch, but prices quickly dropped and now you can get one for $300/£300 with a bit of shopping around. Would a successor land at a more modest price to drum up interest? And while Google managed to match the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro‘s prices to their predecessors, the Pixel 7a arrived with a $50/£50 increase over the outgoing Pixel 6a.
General cost of living increases over the next twelve months might a price match impossible. Estimating the cost of a larger model, should the firm offer one, would also be a total shot in the dark. But once the first leaks and rumours start appearing, we’ll be sure to bring them to you here.
Google Pixel Watch 2 software changes
With the OG Pixel Watch running Wear OS 3, you can bet any features that debut on the second-gen watch will also make their way backwards – eventually. Google has already set a precedent, adding fall detection to the Pixel Watch post-launch to help it keep pace with rivals from Samsung and Apple. The deactivated SpO2 sensor has been put into use, and several own-brand watch apps have been updated to be easier to use.
If the new Watch has a more powerful CPU, though, Google could be forced to keep certain goodies for the newer model. Improved health tracking sensors could also give it an edge, although everything is still very much in the rumours stage for now.
WearOS 4 seems to be a lock for the new model, at least. Google showed it off briefly at I/O, with Material You colours and a revised backup/reset process being the major changes. It will apparently be much more energy efficient than previous versions, helping extend battery life. Samsung beat everyone to the punch with the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic, which both ran the latest software, but Google surely won’t be far behind.
Google Pixel Watch 2 hardware rumours
Currently the strongest info comes via 9to5Google, which claims Google will swap from Exynos power to a Qualcomm Snapdragon W5. A more efficient chip should hopefully mean much better battery life than the original, with the source suggesting more than a day of use (even with always-on display active) should be possible. It’s not clear right now if the battery will be any bigger, though.
Other snippets include a suite of sensors inherited from the Fitbit Sense 2, including one dedicated to skin temperature and another for continuous electrodermal activity (cEDA), which helps track stress levels.
A subsequent mention of Pixel Watch 2 in the Google Play Store console device catalogue backed up the use of a Snapdragon W5 CPU, and seemingly confirmed it will ship with 2GB of RAM – the same as the original Pixel Watch. Screen resolution and pixel density appear to be unchanged too.
It’s expected that Pixel Watch 2 will make the swap from stainless steel to aluminium construction, but keep the same size screen as before. The move should reduce weight, which is a big deal in a fitness-focused device or when tracking your sleep at night. The screen itself will reportedly be sourced from Samsung now, instead of BOE. There’s no indication it’ll come with a skinnier bezel.
Ultra-wide band (UWB) support may also make the grade, letting you use the Pixel Watch 2 to unlock compatible car doors.
Google Pixel Watch 2 feature wish list
We gave the Pixel Watch four stars in our review, praising its appearance and fitness tracking abilities but noting it fell short of more established rivals. Wondering what could have bumped it up to a full five stars? A few of the following making an appearance for the sequel should do the trick….
Two screen size options
With a 41mm screen, there’s no question the Pixel Watch can look a little… dainty on larger wrists. It’s perfect for smaller ones, though, so we wouldn’t want to see Google simply increase the size for 2023 and call it a day. Better to follow Apple and Samsung in offering a second, larger screen option. That’ll let customers decide which works best for them, and should make it possible to squeeze a bigger battery inside (more on that below).
If that means having to pay a little more, so be it – the 45mm Apple Watch Series 8 carries a £40 premium over the 41mm version, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt Apple’s sales numbers.
(Much) better battery life
Longevity is easily the Pixel Watch’s biggest weakness. It can barely last a full day on a single charge once you do a bit of exercise tracking, and using the always-on display can sometimes mean having to top up twice to make it through the night. The Apple Watch fares a lot better, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 can now manage two to three days without much trouble. Google needs to do better for the next-gen version.
Whether that’s by using a more efficient processor (the one it uses right now is several years behind the latest Qualcomm 4100, which itself is due an upgrade within the next year or so), or by increasing battery size won’t really matter to customers. As long as they aren’t tethered to a plug socket at least once a day, that’ll count as a win.
Banish the bezels
We’re big fans of circular smartwatches, and the Pixel Watch’s glass dome face is a real peach – until you spot just how thick its bezel is. The black ring is usually disguised by the WearOS interface using mostly black backgrounds, and the OLED screen being a perfect colour match – but it still cheapens the look of what’s otherwise a premium gadget. Skinnier bezels are a must if Google wants to go toe-to-toe with Apple and Samsung in the design stakes.