Google really wants you to just use Fitbit, but Google Fit is there for anyone who prefers it. If you opt for Fitbit, you’ll be able to track the usual health metrics such as heart rate, blood oxygen level, electro-cardio activity and sleep activity, and you’ll also be able to access your score Daily Readiness, a Fitbit feature that suggests the type of exercise your body can do for the day.
To access a more comprehensive set of fitness features, you’ll need to upgrade to a Fitbit Premium membership, which unlocks fitness and health data analysis, lifestyle advice, access to over 1,000 workouts and over 400 mindfulness sessions. The service costs $10 per month ($80 per year), though Google offers a six-month subscription with every Pixel Watch purchase.
The heart rate sensor is the basis of these health tracking features. Waraich pointed out here that the Pixel Watch’s sensor is allegedly very accurate thanks to some optimization work done by Google and Fitbit with the Samsung chipset powering the watch. The heart rate tracking process has been changed so that it relies solely on the chip’s co-processor, which consumes significantly less battery power than the main processor. This makes the sensor much more efficient and, according to Waraich, able to deliver “very accurate” results 24/7 without consuming battery life. Again, I haven’t tested the watch yet, so I’m not sure if the sensor performance matches up with these claims.
The Pixel Watch can dial 911 or alert your trusted contacts with Emergency SOS, though you’ll need to activate it manually – it’s not like Apple’s new Emergency SOS which will automatically detect if you’ve been the victim of a accident. (Google Is do have collision detection in its Pixel phones, though.) That said, Google says it will bring fall detection later this year, which will automatically dial emergency responders if you don’t respond. Considering how long this smartwatch has been in development, it’s odd that this feature isn’t available at launch.
You will be disappointed to learn that the Pixel Watch is only launching in nine countries: the United States, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Australia and Taiwan. These are markets where Google has had success with its Pixel phones, and they are potential safe bets for the Pixel Watch. Pre-orders are live now and go on sale October 13. In addition to six months of Fitbit Premium, Google also bundles three months of YouTube Music Premium with every purchase.
So far, the Pixel Watch feels like it’s catching up with the rest of the industry, and there isn’t a single feature that sets it apart from the rest, unless you’re deep into Fitbit and you been expecting a good smartwatch powered by Fitbit. Still, it looks pretty, and that might be why you need to slap it on your wrist.
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