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Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch 7: Could Google’s watch be a contender?

Google has pulled back the curtain on the long awaited Pixel Watch, and we’ve got the run down over how it compares to Apple’s latest wearable.

It’s no secret around here that the Apple Watch 7 is our favourite smartwatch right now, currently sitting at the top of our list of the best smartwatches, but the question has always remained as to whether another wearable might someday dethrone the Apple Watch. With the Pixel Watch now a reality, we might finally see a true contender that could bring the competition directly to Apple.

While there’s still a lot more we need to learn about the Pixel Watch – we’ll refrain from any definitive verdicts until we’ve had a chance to test it – there are still some interesting points of comparison to lean into. To know how the Pixel Watch is shaping up against the Apple Watch 7, just keep reading on.

Screen

Wear OS watches have rarely wavered from having a circular display that more closely mirrors a more traditional analogue timepiece, and the Pixel Watch is no different. Unlike other Wear OS devices like the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra, the Pixel Watch’s screen sits flush with the bezel to create a seamless look between the display and the rest of the chassis.

Google has yet to reveal the specs to this display, but from an initial glance it doesn’t appear to be as far reaching to the edges as the display on the Apple Watch 7. Of course, that 1.9-inch display adheres to the Apple Watch’s box-like frame, so there will be a good amount of personal preference involved with regards to which style of screen you prefer.

Software

The big allure of the Pixel Watch is its use of Wear OS 3 which, until now, has only featured on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. For the Pixel Watch however, Google is keen on calling the updated software ‘Wear OS by Google’ which hints at a bespoke overlay that can only be found on Google’s first-party wearable.

While the software will make use of Google’s own apps such as Assistant, Google Pay and Maps, there isn’t much known beyond that in terms of how the UI operates, but we anticipate that gap in information to get filled in fairly soon.

The Apple Watch 7 on the other hand currently utilises watchOS 8 – Apple’s exclusive software that can’t be found on any other wearables outside of Apple’s ecosystem. Typically, the battle between watchOS and Wear OS 2 has gone down in Apple’s favour, but this could change depending on how much development goes into the new Wear OS 3, both from Google and third-party app developers.

The debut of the Google Pixel Watch
Credit: Google

Features

Just like everything else, Google has decided to keep the main features of the Pixel Watch close to its chest for now, but it has let slip that Fitbit’s ecosystem will be a huge part of the wearable’s fitness tracking expertise. For starters, Fitbit’s Active Zone Minutes – which calculates your fitness goals on a week by week basis – will be implemented on the Pixel Watch.

This is great news for anyone making their foray into the world of fitness as it’s a far more forgiving system that recognises that certain days are trickier than others for cramming in a quick workout. Continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking will also be making their way over from Fitbit’s devices.

With Fitbit’s expertise under its belt, the Pixel Watch could be a serious thorn in Apple’s side, but there’s still more ground to cover if it wants to beat the Apple Watch on features. From a wide array of curated watch faces and widget integration from a range of popular apps, the Apple Watch benefits from years of developing its app store and interface, and it’s exactly why the watch has remained top dog.

Early verdict

With so much of the Pixel Watch still shrouded in mystery, it’s impossible to paint a definitive comparison against the Apple Watch 7 but from the little we do know, there is a strong base here to deliver a genuine competitor to Apple’s wearable.

Fitbit integration could easily become the Pixel Watch’s killer feature, but the deciding factor will no doubt come down to how well Wear OS 3 performs on the device and if it’s efficient enough to allow for a substantial battery life – one key area where most flagship smartwatches tend to fall short (the Apple Watch included).

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