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Google Pixel Watch is official, but can it take Wear OS back from Samsung?

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Last updated: October 7th, 2022 at 17:51 UTC+02:00

Earlier this week and more than eight years after Google released its first OS for wearable devices (previously known as Android Wear), the software giant unveiled its first-ever smartwatch, the Pixel Watch. It runs Wear OS 3.5, just like the Galaxy Watch 5 series from Samsung, and it's powered by a chipset designed and manufactured by the aforementioned Korean company.

In that sense, the Google Pixel Watch has some Samsung DNA. But how exactly does it compare to the Galaxy Watch 5 series? Can Google take control over Wear OS back from Samsung? Let's find out.

Google Pixel Watch specs overview

The Pixel Watch is comparable in size to the smallest, 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 variant. Google's wearable has a 1.2-inch circular AMOLED display similar to Samsung's smartwatch. However, it has the same resolution as the larger 44mm Samsung models, i.e., 450 x 450 pixels.

In terms of raw processing power, the Google Pixel Watch falls short of the Galaxy Watch 5 series. Samsung uses a newer Exynos W920 5nm chipset designed specifically for wearables, whereas Google has employed the Exynos 9110 10nm SoC, which isn't as power-efficient or powerful as the W920. But it is worth noting that Google's smartwatch sports 32GB of built-in storage as opposed to 16GB and ships with 2GB of RAM instead of 1.5GB.

As far as the exterior design goes, the Pixel Watch admittedly looks more refined than the Galaxy Watch 5. Or, at the very least, Google's smartwatch is arguably compatible with a wider variety of clothing styles. However, in terms of build quality, Samsung once again takes the cake thanks to a titanium frame (for the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro variant) and its use of sapphire crystal display protection instead of Gorilla Glass.

Can the Pixel Watch outshine the best Wear OS smartwatch?

Samsung became the face of Wear OS ever since the company abandoned Tizen in favor of Google's platform. Now the question is whether or not Google can take the reins of its operating system for wearables, and pricing will play a big role.

Google has priced the Pixel Watch between the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Watch 5 Pro. It costs $349 and up, whereas the Galaxy Watch 5 and Pro models start at $279 and $449, respectively. In other words, Google won't win this battle through competitive pricing strategies. And, unfortunately, there's no way around the fact that the Pixel Watch is powered by old hardware — as old as the Galaxy Watch 3, which Samsung released in 2020.

The Galaxy Watch 5 series offers more battery life than the Pixel Watch, while the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, in particular, has some exclusive outdoors features to which Google's smartwatch doesn't have an answer.

At the end of the day, the Pixel Watch appears to be a decent addition to the Wear OS 3.5 lineup, especially for fans of the Google ecosystem. Nevertheless, the Galaxy Watch 5 series is superior on multiple fronts and should offer a better overall user experience, even though it's powered by the same Wear OS 3.5 platform as the Pixel Watch.

Image of Galaxy Watch 5

SamsungGalaxy Watch 5


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