Spending two months with a device is more than enough time to learn its quirks, what you may like or dislike about it, that sort of thing. I’m at that point with the Google Pixel Watch, which has been on my wrist since the day it was released and has only come off for a brief few days where I tested some of the old waters I used to enjoy before returning.
To finish off the year, I thought I’d give you an update on how life with the Pixel Watch has been, since we are well beyond the honeymoon stage and into an area where it might be tough to separate from it. In fact, I think the Pixel Watch is indeed here to stay.
The size is so right
There’s a part of me that still believes Google should have shipped the Pixel Watch in two sizes, because some people would certainly opt for a bigger watch for style reasons and because it would likely mean a bigger internal battery. But they didn’t and instead gave us a watch case that measures in at around 41mm. This is a perfect watch size for me, which is something I can’t say for most smartwatches. Most are far too big.
When the Pixel Watch first arrived, I saw a lot of reactions to it that involved its size. A number of our readers considered it too small for their manly wrists and that it just couldn’t work for them. My guess is that they were simply used to an oversized watch and didn’t give it enough run to truly appreciate it. Wearing a watch that properly fits on your wrist is almost unheard of in the smartwatch space.
The Pixel Watch sits on your wrist the way a classic timepiece does. It doesn’t hang off the sides, add an inch of bulk that can be banged on door frames or other objects, and it won’t get in the way.
I actually tossed on my Garmin 955, Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and Apple Watch Ultra within the past two weeks to see if the Pixel Watch was still for me or if it was time to return to my former favorites. All of them are massive watches and I couldn’t do it. There are other reasons I came sprinting back that I’ll get into in a second, but size was up there as a major reason.
I tried to get away and came back
As I’ve said dozens of times now, I get bored easily and like to switch devices or watches on a regular basis. My wife complains about my Google Maps not showing my location quite often because I tend to grab a different phone every few days and forget to “fix” my sharing on that new device. It’s a problem – I admit.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to give the Pixel Watch a break and run an Apple Watch for a while. I lasted a couple of days, mostly because I got sick of my iPhone again (the notifications and keyboard will forever piss me off) and because I think Apple’s activity tracking or fitness app sucks. I then went with my Garmin Forerunner 955, the love of my active summer life. That lasted most of a week, but something about its not-pretty-UI bugged me, I couldn’t fall back in love with all of the physical buttons, and it’s also huge.
I think mostly, though, I came back to the Pixel Watch because I just like it. I like the size, which I already explained. I like the Fitbit integration. I like the way it presents notifications for the most part. It looks sharp on the wrist. It’s a gadget, yet also a watch – and your boy loves a clean watch. It compliments my Pixel 7 and almost gives me the feels of a bro who is all-in on the Samsung or Apple ecosystems. It’s working for me.
Battery life is fine and the same
I feel like every Pixel Watch update needs a mention of battery, so here we go. The battery life on my Pixel Watch has not changed. It still gets me easily through an entire day that includes a workout and sleep tracking. I’m used to taking it off every morning around 9AM or 10AM to charge it for 45 minutes or so before putting it back on.
Do I wish it lasted for 3-4 days? Yeah, of course. I knew going into it that it wouldn’t and have now adapted to life that includes charging a watch in addition to my phone. It’s not the best situation ever, but it is one I’m willing to accept (for now) since I enjoy the rest of what the watch offers.
Band situation improves with magical adaptor connectors
In my 30-day write-up, I talked about how the band situation really needed some help. Google used a proprietary band connection system on the Pixel Watch that severely limited band options. I bought all of Google’s bands to try them all and really only like the Active Band, but the most important band I grabbed was the $80 leather option because it included adaptor connectors that let me attach any 20mm band of my choosing.
A week ago, I shared a handful of separately sold adaptor connectors that can now be found on Amazon and have received a few. The arrival of these connectors is big, since you can get a set for around $12 and then attach any band of your choosing as well. Instead of spending $80 like I did, you don’t even have to spend $20 now and then your own 20mm band can be attached.
I don’t have a deep review to share on the connectors I received, but I will say that both the silver and black versions I bought all have a bit of wiggle or play in them. The connection is solid and they look super nice, but they don’t quite have the same snug fit you find from Google’s. That’s not to say I’m worried they’ll come off or they wiggle excessively, I’m just pointing out that the maker of these needs to tighten things up. Overall, I’m pretty impressed by them. The two options I bought can be found here and here.
I still need some software changes
All of that said, I still need some changes from Google. I may write this up separately, but I have some complaints about missing features that are often found on other watches that would really make for improvements to overall quality of life.
For one, I need Google to add a feature to the Pixel Watch app that pings my phone when the watch has finished charging. I can’t believe this isn’t already included, but it isn’t. The idea here is that since I have to charge my watch every morning, and that charging process is kind of slow, it would be nice to get a notification that it has finished if I were to leave the watch charging in another room.
I still need an option to have notifications wake the watch when they come in. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been in the middle of something, felt a buzz on my wrist, couldn’t quite turn my wrist over enough to properly wake the watch, and then missed the notification by the time I did get it to wake. Instead, Google should give me an option to have notifications wake the screen, just like Samsung does.
When a notification rolls in that does appear on my watch, I need to be able to take action on it easier. The best example I can give is of an email that arrives through Gmail. If you see a notification, it expands the entire email and forces you to scroll through the entire thing before being able to hit “Archive.” Instead, I should see a condensed version or have the option to archive first or tap-in to see the full thing. This should be a customizable thing for everyone depending on their preferences.
And finally, I’d like to check for updates and initiate them through the Pixel Watch app on my phone. On top of that, if I’m updating while the watch is on its charger, it should tell me on my phone when the update has completed.
Alright, we’ll check back in a few weeks down the road, unless something changes.
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