The Google Pixel Watch is finally here, so you might be wondering: how does the Google Pixel Watch compare to the Apple Watch Series 8?
While you probably won’t find yourself shopping between the two watches – the Pixel Watch only works with Android phones and the Apple Watch only works with iPhones – it’s interesting how they stack up. After all, one might have characteristics that we wish the other had, or vice versa.
As seen in our Apple Watch Series 8 review, it’s the best smartwatch overall, so the Pixel Watch will be held to high standards. We haven’t yet done a full review of Google’s first smartwatch, so we can’t say if it lives up to expectations (or even beats the Apple Watch). While we wait to draw conclusions, here’s what you need to know about the Google Pixel Watch versus the Apple Watch Series 8.
Google Pixel Watch vs. Apple Watch Series 8: Specs
|Apple Watch Series 8||Google Pixel Watch|
|Colors||Midnight, Starlight, Silver, Product Red||Matte black, silver, gold|
|Water resistance||5 ATMs||5 ATMs|
|Battery life (nominal)||18 hours (36 in low power mode)||24 hours|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, LTE (optional)||Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, LTE (optional)|
|Compatibility||iPhone 8 or later, iOS 16 or later||Android 8.0 or later|
|Software||watchOS||Wear the operating system|
|Health sensors||Skin temperature, heart rate, ECG, SpO2||Heart rate, ECG, SpO2|
Google Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch Series 8: Price and availability
The Pixel Watch costs $349 (£339 / AU$549) for a GPS + Bluetooth-only setup, while the LTE-enabled version costs $399 (£379 / AU$649). The Pixel Watch release date is October 13, with pre-orders available now. Here’s our guide to Google Pixel Watch pre-orders, in case you’re interested.
The Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399 (£369 / AU$629), which is $50 more than the Pixel Watch. Its price increases depending on the size, material and cellular connectivity. You can potentially find discounts with the best Apple Watch deals, as the Apple Watch Series 8 has been out since September 16.
This matchup compares the Pixel Watch to the 8th generation Apple Watch, although there are two other Apple Watch models available now: the Apple Watch SE (2022) and the Apple Watch Ultra. The new SE starts at $249 while the Ultra costs $799.
Google Pixel Watch vs. Apple Watch Series 8: Design
The Google Pixel Watch and Apple Watch Series 8 each sport distinct designs. The Pixel Watch is round and rather minimalist, available in only one size: 41 mm. It features a rounded design with a 3D glass dome that creates a raised effect, although you’ll still notice the display has a rather chunky bezel.
On the other hand, the Apple Watch Series 8 has incredibly thin bezels, with a display that goes right to the edges of the circle. It is available in 41mm and 45mm, offering some versatility. The lack of a larger option might come across as a Pixel Watch complaint from those with bigger wrists.
It looks like the Pixel Watch has borrowed the digital crown and single side button from the Apple Watch, with both even having the same navigation features. The only difference may be the placement of the button above the digital crown on the Pixel Watch, while the button below the crown on the Apple Watch.
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Otherwise, the Apple Watch Series 8 and Pixel Watch are both customizable with a variety of watch straps. There are more of the best Apple Watch bands, as the watch has been around for many years, but Google launched a respectable 7-band style with the Pixel Watch.
Google Pixel Watch vs. Apple Watch Series 8: Features
At their core, both smartwatches seem very “smart” with access to third-party app downloads, music streaming, notifications, messaging, calls, mobile payments and more. The biggest difference is that watchOS 9 powers these experiences on the Apple Watch Series 8, while Wear OS 3.5 is the software for Pixel Watch.
Unlike some other Wear OS watches which are the best smartwatches for Android, the Pixel Watch only works with a paired Android smartphone. The Apple Watch has only ever worked with the iPhone, although you can set up and manage an Apple Watch for someone without an iPhone with Family Setup.
Both watches also have a full suite of fitness tracking features for things like workout logging, step counting and sleep analysis. Apple uses its native fitness and health apps, while Google leveraged the Fitbit platform for the Pixel Watch. Apple Fitness Plus and Fitbit Premium are the paid tiers of each brand’s fitness services, unlocking more advanced programming and data.
In terms of health sensors, the Pixel Watch can record ECGs and take blood oxygen (SpO2) measurements from the wrist. It also contains a continuous heart rate sensor. The Apple Watch Series 8 has all of these sensors plus a skin temperature sensor which is used to inform cycle and sleep tracking.
Google Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch Series 8: Battery life
The Google Pixel Watch’s battery life is rated at 24 hours of battery life, although we weren’t able to put those claims to the test. If it lasts 24 hours, that would be the same as our experience with the Apple Watch Series 8. It’s rated for 18 hours, but we’ve found it can usually last up to 24 hours.
This year, Apple introduced Low Power Mode for Apple Watch, so the Series 8 can actually last up to 36 hours with this battery saving feature enabled. Other Wear OS watches have their own type of battery saver settings, so we expect a similar option to be available for Pixel Watch.
Google Pixel Watch vs. Apple Watch Series 8: Perspectives
Since Google Pixel Watch and Apple Watch 8 only work with their compatible software ecosystems, there’s no big question what you’ll want to buy. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or Fitbit Sense 2 might match the new Pixel Watch better, it’s that sense.
We can’t ignore that Apple has the edge in terms of experience and share in the wearable market. Still, if the Pixel Watch lives up to its promise, it will become a real competitor to the Apple Watch as a version 1.0 device. That’s pretty impressive, if you ask us.