Pixel Watch 2: 8 things we want to see in the sequel to Google’s smartwatch

A round smartwatch body on a pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Google’s first self-branded wearable, the Google Pixel Watch, launched in 2022 to mixed reception. While we appreciate its unique looks and fast performance, its mediocre battery life and high MSRP keep it from being an unqualified success. With that in mind, we look to the future. Google hasn’t confirmed that it’s working on a sequel to the Pixel Watch, but we can assume that it is. Here’s how we hope it will play out and what we can glean from the company’s silence so far.

For a first try, the Pixel Watch is a great fit. The watch features a unique and eye-catching design, plus surprisingly nimble performance, given that Google opted for an older Samsung chipset to power the thing. If style is high on your priority list, this is one of your better Wear OS options. Still, we would change a lot about the watch if we could.



1 Better battery life

With few exceptions, you can expect current Wear OS smartwatches to last a day or two on a charge. The current Pixel Watch falls on the low end of that scale, managing about 24 hours of moderate use on a charge. Given the device’s premium price and apparent focus on 24/7 health monitoring, this isn’t ideal. Many traditional health trackers can last up to a week without recharging.

The biggest thing the Pixel Watch 2 needs to address is battery performance, either through a physically bigger battery or smarter power management, if not both. Even being able to disable constant heart rate monitoring would probably go a long way here.

2 Smaller frames

Plastic hand with smart watch.

Given Wear OS’ tendency to use a dark UI wherever possible, and the OLED nature of the Pixel Watch’s display, there may be some noise around the thickness of the bezels little overblown. Still, they are prominent given the size of the screen. Smaller bezels on the Pixel Watch 2 would mean more usable screen real estate in the same size device – an easy win.

3 Finer display

Person changing watch face on smart watch.

While we’re talking about the Pixel Watch display, it’s not just the massive bezels that Google has to deal with in the sequel. While many of the top Wear OS devices offer 60Hz displays, the first generation Pixel Watch is limited to 30Hz.

The smooth 60Hz screen is one of the best things about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, and future watches from Google’s competitors are sure to offer the same high refresh rate. A higher refresh rate means smoother on-screen animations. It still looks good at 30Hz, but the slower refresh rate is a bummer on a $350 watch. Assuming the Pixel Watch 2 will be priced similarly, it needs a smoother screen (hopefully not at the expense of battery life).

4 Larger size option

A large smart watch on a human wrist.

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the current king of large Wear OS watches.

The existing Pixel Watch is available in one size: 41mm. That’s a fine medium watch size, but it might look a little weird on people with thicker wrists. Watches from competitors like Apple and Samsung are available in several sizes. You can get the Apple Watch Series 8 in 41mm and 45mm flavors, and the Galaxy Watch 5 is available in both 40mm and 42mm (not to mention the 45mm Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro).

If Google wants to appeal to the Big Watch crowd — a group that includes many Android fans — it needs to offer a larger size option in the Pixel Watch 2.

5 Newer chipset

Another minor controversy surrounding the first generation Pixel Watch saw Google criticized for using Samsung’s age-old chipset, the Exynos 9110, paired with a Cortex-M33 co-processor. Given that the 9110 was used in the Tizen-powered Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 in 2020, it’s little wonder that the Pixel Watch’s performance is reasonably comparable to other modern smartwatches.

But a newer chipset in the Pixel Watch sequel could provide the power needed to smoothly deliver a higher refresh rate while delivering better battery life thanks to generational gains in energy efficiency. This looks like a safe query. It would be surprising to see Google promoting the same aging hardware two generations in a row.

6 Band options available

Close-up photo of the smartwatch strap mechanism.

The Pixel Watch’s proprietary strap connector, apparently inspired by how lenses twist into place on camera bodies, is one of the new things about their hardware. But it also means that the existing straps do not fit the watch. While many Wear OS watches can take standard watch bands, only specially made bands will fit the Pixel Watch. And the ones sold by Google are expensive. Google charges a staggering $50 for additional silicone bands like the one the Pixel Watch comes with, with leather and metal options going for even more. That’s steep, especially considering a recent BOM analysis found that Pixel Watch silicone bands cost about four dollars a piece to make.

As unlikely as it may be, it would be great to see more affordable band options from Google for the Pixel Watch 2. Otherwise, an adapter for standard watch bands would work fine. Sure, third parties eventually added adapters to use standard bands, but Google would be smart to embrace that option right out of the gate.

7 Improved durability

The Pixel Watch’s domed glass helps it stand out from other Wear OS watches, but it’s also subtle. The edges of the display glass are unprotected, which means that a sharp bump on a table could shatter your screen. We didn’t experience it firsthand at AP, but reports of defective display glass began before the Pixel Watch was even available for purchase.

Whether Google can address this shortcoming in a potential Pixel Watch 2 without compromising the Pixel Watch aesthetic is unclear, but we can hope.

8 Functional Qi charging

A smart watch that charges on the table next to the smartphone.

The first generation Pixel Watch will recognize when placed on a standard wireless charger. It even plays its normal charging animation. Not the watch actually however, charge this way. Google has confirmed that the Pixel Watch does not officially support Qi charging. This is especially pleasing given that the Google Pixel 7 supports reverse wireless charging for accessories such as headphones. Still, you can’t use it to charge a Pixel-branded watch like you can with watches from Samsung and others.

The design of many of the original Pixel Watch straps means that you would have to remove them in order to lay the watch flat on the charging surface. This, too, is something Google could address in its own hardware, which it designs from the ground up.

Google Pixel Watch 2: Price and availability

We don’t have any concrete information on when the Pixel Watch 2 will arrive or how much it will cost. Google hasn’t said anything publicly about the new smartwatch since the launch of the first generation, and we haven’t seen any leaks either. With new leaks surrounding many of Google’s upcoming devices appearing on a seemingly daily basis lately, this could indicate that development on the Pixel Watch 2 is still in its early stages.

The original Pixel Watch launched in October 2022, and we started seeing leaks that turned out to be accurate as early as late 2021. It makes sense that the second generation will have a shorter development cycle. Still, if Google intended to have the Pixel Watch 2 ready for launch in fall 2023, the device would have to be in development by now. Unless Google does an uncharacteristically good job of suppressing leaks surrounding the Pixel Watch sequel, it seems unlikely we’ll get one this year. The first Pixel Watch may end up being a one-off, but given that they are selling relatively well, a more likely explanation is that the Google Pixel Watch 2 will be released sometime in 2024.

A smart watch sitting on a pile of coins.

Manufacturers like Samsung and Apple have set a precedent for annual watch hardware updates. Since 2018, there is a new Galaxy Watch series every year. But the 2021 Galaxy Watch 4 series and the 2022 Galaxy Watch 5 series are really similar. So much so that it can be hard to tell them apart. If Samsung struggles to innovate year after year, it’s possible that Google, new to the smartwatch game, may not have the wherewithal to get a significantly better product on store shelves this year. However, this is speculation.

We expect the second-generation Pixel Watch to come in at a similar price point to the first, which retails for $350. That’s a competitive price with the latest Apple Watch (the Series 8 starts at $399). Considering Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 starts at $280, that’s a lot to ask compared to other Wear OS options that, despite Google’s aspirations, are the Pixel Watch’s only direct competition. But again, without any official information, this is just our best guess so far.

Other future Google hardware

While the Pixel Watch 2 may or may not be in the works (we certainly expect they are), Google has some exciting hardware to drop this year. We are closely following developments around the Google Pixel multifunction tablet and the as yet unannounced Google Pixel 7a. Follow our news feed for all the latest.

Google Pixel Watch

Google Pixel Watch

We’ve been waiting for Google to make a watch for the better part of a decade, and the Google Pixel Watch has finally arrived. The Pixel Watch, the first Android smartwatch with Fitbit health tracking, helps you stay fit or get in shape easily, while Wear OS 3.5 brings us Google’s vision for a wearable user interface and exclusive Wear OS apps for Google services like Google Home .

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