- Source: GoogleSimply elegant$307 $350 Save $43
The original Pixel Watch was disappointing, with poor battery life and some performance issues. The Pixel Watch 2 looks to resolve that, but is playing catch up enough to go against Samsung's best?Pros
- Small enough for any wrist
- Wear OS without Samsung's skin
- No larger option
- Poor battery life
- Source: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 ClassicClassically handsome$381 $400 Save $19
The Galaxy Watch 6 series has brought back the Classic after a year's absence. With a physical rotating bezel that's as stylish as it is practical and has superb battery life, this is one of the best watches so far.Pros
- Great battery life
- Multiple size options
- Smallest model isn't small enough
- More expensive
The original Pixel Watch was a good first attempt from Google, but it was let down by poor battery life and missing features. The Pixel Watch 2 aims to improve things, providing 24 hours of battery life with AOD on rather than off and finally providing automatic workout tracking.
Improvements are always appreciated, but Google is still playing catch up, which raises the question: can the Pixel Watch 2 compete with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and rank among the best smartwatches around?
Price, availability, and specs
The Pixel Watch 2 costs $350 for the Bluetooth model and $400 for LTE connectivity. It's available from the Google Store and some major retailers in the following nine countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland (Wi-Fi only), Japan, and Taiwan.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is available almost worldwide from Samsung and most retailers. Unlike the Pixel Watch, it comes in two sizes, and both can be had with or without LTE. The 43mm costs $400 for Bluetooth and $450 for LTE, and the 47mm comes in at $430 for Bluetooth and $480 for LTE.
Google Pixel Watch 2 Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Case size 41mm 43mm and 47mm Colors Matte Black; Polished Silver; Champagne Gold Black and Silver Display 1.2" 450 x 450 AMOLED 43mm: 1.3-inch 432 x 432 Super AMOLED, Always On Display; 47mm 1.5-inch 480 x 480 Super AMOLED Always On Display CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 with Cortex M33 co-processor Exynos W930 Dual-Core 1.4GHz RAM 2GB 2GB Storage 32GB 16GB Battery 306mAh 43mm: 300mAh 47mm: 425mAh Software Wear OS 4 Wear OS 4 / One UI 5 Watch Health sensors Optical heart rate, SpO2, ECG, continuous EDA, skin temperature Samsung BioActive Sensor, Temperature Sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Light Sensor, 3D Hall Sensor Price Starting at $350 43mm: $400 47mm: $430 Weight 31g (without strap) 43mm: 52g 47mm: 59g
The Pixel Watch looks mostly the same as it did last year. It's a simple, curved watch that looks beautiful. The left side is blank, while the right has two buttons and a digital crown for scrolling through content. The watch bands are, unfortunately, proprietary, so if you want to replace them with something from a third party, you'll need to find one designed with the Pixel Watch 2 in mind.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is also a round watch but looks more like a traditional timepiece. Both watches look fantastic: the Pixel Watch 2 for its simple elegance and the Watch 6 Classic for its classical style. There are two buttons on the right, and instead of a digital crown, we have a rotating bezel around the display. Both do the same thing, but the mechanical-feeling clicks from the Watch 6 Classic are more satisfying, and it's more easily accessible regardless of which wrist you wear the watch on.
Samsung earned a lot of praise for the new release mechanism for the straps this year, and one of the best things about them is that they're standard 20mm bands, unlike the Pixel Watch 2 straps. Samsung's new straps can attach to any old Galaxy Watch or any smartwatch from other companies that use 20mm bands.
Something you'll notice as soon as you try these watches on is the size difference. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes in 43mm and 47mm options, and both feel big, thanks to the chunky design. The Pixel Watch 2 comes in one size — 41mm. It's a petite watch. This will be a major factor in which device you decide to get. People with small wrists likely won't be able to handle the sheer size of the Watch 6 Classic, while those who prefer larger watches will dislike the Pixel Watch 2.
The display is one of the most important parts of any device, but especially on a smartwatch. The display needs to be sharp enough to render text, bright enough to be seen outdoors properly, and have great viewing angles, so you can glance at your wrist.
The Pixel Watch 2 has a 1.2-inch AMOLED display that can reach 1,000 nits peak brightness. That's pretty good, but it only places it on the same level as the Galaxy Watch 4 from 2021. In contrast, the Watch 6 Classic comes with a 1.3 or 1.5-inch AMOLED display that can crank up to 2,000 nits. The Pixel Watch isn't dim, but the brightness difference is noticeable, with the Watch 6 Classic battling sunlight like it isn't even there.
Both watches run Wear OS 4.0, with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic overlaying it with One UI Watch 5.0. Features are pretty much the same, but the design and layout are different. The Pixel Watch has you swipe up from the bottom for notifications, while the Galaxy Watch has them to the left.
The Pixel Watch comes with Google Fit and can also use Fitbit features. Unfortunately, quite a few things are locked behind a Fitbit Premium subscription on the Pixel Watch 2, and you only get a 6-month free trial with the watch.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic uses Samsung Health, and the features are extensive, with all the usual tracking data and analysis and group challenges. There is only one thing locked behind a subscription: advanced snoring analysis through Sleep Cycle. Without the subscription, the watch can still monitor everything about your sleep and record snoring; it just won't analyze the snoring data.
One weird limitation of Samsung's health suite is that ECG and blood pressure monitoring is only available when the watch is paired with a Samsung phone.
Battery life and charging
The Pixel Watch has a 306mAh battery, while the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has either a 300mAh or 425mAh battery, depending on which size you get. The Pixel Watch 2 can last about 24 hours with AOD switched on and with a night of sleep tracking. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic can last almost two days with two sleep tracking sessions and AOD switched on, while the larger model lasts just over two days.
It takes just over an hour to charge to 100% for both watches, but you'll have a better time with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. Google has decided to use pin charging on the Pixel Watch 2, so you'll need to line them up to ensure it charges, and you can't place it down on a wireless charging pad.
Meanwhile, all Galaxy Watch 6 models use wireless charging, but it isn't the same Qi charging from your phone. Instead, it uses the WPC standard. The bad news is that it rules out a lot of Qi chargers you already have. The good news is that there are plenty of WPC-compatible chargers available, including Samsung's excellent Wireless Charger Duo, which has a magnet to hold the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic in place and can charge your phone at the same time.
Which should you buy?
We waited so long for Google to make its own smartwatch, but even with this improved second generation, it's a hard watch to recommend. The battery life, charging, and features locked behind Fitbit Premium are hard to look past compared to the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, which only limits snoring analysis behind a subscription and can outlast the Pixel by more than a day.
Price is also an important factor here. The smaller Watch 6 Classic is only $50 more than the Pixel Watch, but you have to remember that these are the premium versions of the Watch 6. If that's too expensive, the regular Watch 6 models have the same benefits, sans the physical bezel, and start at the same price as the Pixel Watch 2.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
The Galaxy Watch 6 series has brought back the Classic after a year's absence. With a physical rotating bezel that's as stylish as it is practical and superb battery life, this is one of the best watches to come from 2023.
That aside, One UI Watch isn't for everyone, and Pixel purists will appreciate the simple software and hardware design, maybe enough to outweigh the negatives. In that case, the Pixel Watch 2 is still a good smartwatch, and people who get one will enjoy it.
The original Pixel Watch was disappointing, with poor battery life and some performance issues. The Pixel Watch 2 looks to resolve that, but is playing catch up enough to go against Samsung's best?