Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Google’s Pixel Watch 2 sees updated tech in same compact design

Google’s take on a sleek wearable has hit round two, and while it’s not a total update, it does score some changes here and there.

The announcement of a new Google phone or two this week arrived with exactly what we expected: a new wearable to match.

While last year’s Pixel Watch came as a bit of a surprise, this year’s Pixel Watch 2 feels like a given. You’ll find it looks very much the same but yet comes with changes inside and slightly on the out, improving the performance and assortment of sensors, as Google aims to make its wearable better.

Frankly, we’re just hoping the battery life is better than the last generation, which showed off a lovely compact modern design but was offset by mediocre runtime. To help with that this year, there’s a new chip under the hood aimed at improving performance across the board, which includes the battery, even though the size of the battery has stayed the same, Google confirmed.

Google also notes the outside has changed slightly, adopting a 100 percent recycled aluminium case which is apparently a little lighter than last year’s generation.

You’d never tell by looking at it, what with the domed glass exterior looking much the same, with most of the changes on the inside for your health.

In fact, there are three new sensors there specifically for that purpose, with a new heart-rate sensor, the continuous electrodermal activity sensor from the Fitbit Sense 2 which works with algorithms to monitors changes in your body related to stress and excitement, and a skin temperature setting used during sleep and changes into your wellness.

Overall, it sounds like Google has learned quite a bit from its acquisition of Fitbit, with this whole health approach to the wearable more or less giving the Pixel Watch 2 a focus on health.

That should come as no surprise, though; wearable on the whole are typically about health, with the Apple Watch models including this year’s Series 9 amping up the health monitoring.

So too will the Pixel Watch 2, except it’ll do it for Android owners of any Android, provided they have a supported handset, of course. This will include sleep monitoring, activity tracking, and alerts for when your heart rate hits different zones, too.

And you’ll get much the same tech as you might have seen on last year’s Pixel Watch 1, including Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, NFC for Google Pay, and some of those remaining sensors, including an accelerometer, barometer, and an SpO2 blood oxygen sensor, all sitting underneath a 41mm AMOLED screen topped with Corning’s 3D scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass.

Google is also chiming into safety features, adding a “Safety Check” timer that’ll see your phone automatically send out an emergency message to contacts if you don’t turn off the timer. The idea seems interesting, and there’s a further version of the tech that will work with LTE 4G versions of the Pixel Watch 2 to send out a message even if you don’t have a carrier for the watch, though it will require a Fitbit Premium account, it seems.

It’s still Google’s Wear OS running on the wearable, a platform you can find on other smartwatches including this year’s Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, with changes to Wear OS 4 including more notifications, new Gmail and Calendar apps made for the wrist, and support for podcasts coming shortly on YouTube Music on the wearable.

As for pricing and availability, Australians can expect to find the Google Pixel Watch 2 alongside the release of the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, available from $549 for the Bluetooth/WiFi version, while the 4G LTE model will cost $649, both released on October 12.

Read next