The best Wear OS watch

Google Pixel Watches on wrist

Google Pixel Watches on wrist

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Should its existence force you to rethink Samsung’s superiority in the Wear OS space? Whether you’re a Galaxy Watch 4 owner pondering an upgrade, or a first-time buyer deciding between the Pixel Watch or the Galaxy Watch 5, read our Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch comparison to better inform your decision.


Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch


Design

There’s no denying the Pixel Watch is an attractive smartwatch. Sure, its bezels could be slimmer, but we’re not against its smooth pebble-like gleam on the wrist. It’s environmentally kind, too, with 80% of its shell using recycled steel. Mated with a choice of pastel body and band finishes and a protruding crown on its right side, the Pixel Watch sure makes a statement. Although it’s among the many circular smartwatches on the market, it’s certainly distinctive enough.

There’s no denying the Pixel Watch is an attractive smartwatch.

The same can’t really be said for the two Samsung Galaxy Watch models. The more reserved Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 are nearly identical in the flesh save for tiny build improvements on the latter. Is this a bad thing? Not really, no. But the Pixel Watch certainly provides a more distinct alternative for those considering upgrading from the Galaxy Watch 4. Of course, there’s also the chunkier Galaxy Watch 5 Pro you may want to consider, but it’s not what we’d call affordable.

Aesthetics are not everything, though. The Galaxy Watch models serve more users as they’re available in two distinct sizes. You can have the Galaxy Watch 4 in 46mm or 42mm options, while its successor comes in 44mm and 40mm guises. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro model lands with a 45mm diameter and is better suited to larger wrists. All Google Pixel Watch models land with a 41mm dial, making it a little more awkward for those with wider arms.

Google Pixel Watch Crown

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Despite its smaller footprint, navigating menus on the Google Pixel Watch should be easier with its rotating crown. While you’ll have to get used to the digital rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 5, you can quickly scale screens by twisting the crown between your fingers. This is a better way to navigate Wear OS’ library of menu items and apps in our book. Of course, the physical bezel on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic still trumps all other solutions available.

Despite its smaller footprint, navigating menus on the Google Pixel Watch should be a little easier thanks to its rotating crown.

In terms of fit and finish, the Galaxy Watch 5 is among the most comfortable smartwatches around, thanks to its protruding sensor array. It’s the smallest improvement that we feel makes the biggest difference. Both Galaxy Watch model lines use standard 20mm watch bands, making them easily swappable. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro goes one step further by providing buyers with a D-buckle strap. I’m not a fan of this uncomfortable and cumbersome strap design, but your taste may vary. It’s still a pretty nice addition to the premium model. Google, meanwhile, has opted for a walled garden approach when it comes to accessories. All Pixel Watch bands are proprietary, so you’ll need to go through Google to find a replacement. Not only is this annoying, but it’ll likely scare away those with an extensive watch band collection.

For those who regularly bash their wrists into solid objects, the Galaxy Watch 5 uses a sapphire glass coating to protect its display. The Pro model uses plenty of titanium in its construction, complete with a protective lip running around the screen. The Pixel Watch employs custom Gorilla Glass 5, and thanks to its largely exposed lens, it’s unclear how it’ll rebuff drops and scrapes. We think Samsung wins the durability battle.

Features

Google Pixel Watch Fitbit apps

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Design is only part of the smartwatch story. Ultimately, the feature list makes or breaks a wearable. So, can Google claim the W with the Pixel Watch?

Let’s first talk about hardware. The Google Pixel Watch wears a 1.4-inch AMOLED screen with a density of 320 pixels per inch. Interestingly, that’s practically identical to the Galaxy Watch 5 series’ screen specs. Both panels also top 1,000 nits of brightness, so there’s more parity. But the Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 pull out a substantial lead in the chipset stakes.

Google opted for Samsung silicon in the form of the 10nm Exynos 9110, a chipset you’ll find in the Galaxy Watch Active 2. The new Galaxy Watch models use the 5nm Exynos W920 SoC. Although the Pixel Watch features a more efficient co-processor, the Galaxy Watch family should be the more efficient devices in practice.

Samsung’s smartwatches also trump the Pixel Watch in terms of battery capacity. The latter settles for a 294mAh cell, that’s good for a quoted 24 hours. The Galaxy Watch 5 lands with an upgraded 410mAh cell in the larger 44mm model. That’s enough juice for just over two days. If you want battery endurance, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro brings a 590mAh battery pack, giving users just over three days per charge. It’s the clear battery champion in this particular head-to-head and the Wear OS world at large.

Samsung’s smartwatches also trump the Pixel Watch in terms of battery capacity.

That said, the Google Pixel Watch does pack more storage and RAM than its Korean counterparts. It gives users 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. The Galaxy Watch lines settle for 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The Pixel Watch is the better option if you love storing music offline.

On first inspection, the Pixel Watch seems the best option for those wanting a Google-first experience. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Watch lineup, you get pure Wear OS 3.5 with official Google apps. These include Maps, Home, Pay, Assistant, Google’s Find My Phone service, and YouTube Music. Notably, the Galaxy Watch series is set to gain Google Maps support, and already plays nice with Google Assistant, so not everything is sacred.

Thanks to Wear OS across the board, you can expect a similar third-party app experience across Google and Samsung smartwatches. Both lines also feature LTE models to stay connected while on the move and without a phone. Notably, the Pixel Watch uses its LTE smarts to power emergency SOS and emergency international calling capabilities. That said, Samsung has a leg up on fall detection, which Google claims is coming to the Pixel Watch this winter.

Fitness tracking duties come courtesy of Fitbit’s software, which Google calls “Fitbit health and fitness.” This suite should include the basics like sleep tracking, daily step and distance counting, heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen metering, and an ECG for heart health. A Fitbit Premium trial is also included, which gives users access to more health data and a bouquet of workouts and guided sessions. It’s a spread that should appease those with modest health tracking needs, but if you want more, the Galaxy Watch line has Google covered.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in graphite black color with black and white strap on wrist showing body composition data

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The standard Galaxy Watch 5 includes all of the above alongside a body composition monitor thanks to its BIA sensor, a blood pressure monitoring system, and a skin temperature sensor. Annoyingly, blood pressure monitoring isn’t available everywhere and requires plenty of prerequisites to set up. Samsung hasn’t yet activated the skin temperature feature, and it’s unclear when it’ll go live. Ultimately, despite these blips, the Galaxy Watch 5 has a more complete health tracking loadout.

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro takes these features a little further. It sports GPX mapping support, which allows users to input preset maps into their watch and follow along from their wrist. It’s great for hikers, trail runners, and cyclists. And if you make a wrong turn somewhere, the watch also includes a Track Back feature, that helps you retrace your steps.

Speaking of navigation, the Pixel Watch comes with GPS baked in. This means you can leave your phone at home when going out for a run. Samsung matches it with the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5. We also applauded the GPS accuracy of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro in our review.

Overall, the Google Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch lines offer similar base features, but the latter has the upper hand regarding health tracking.


Price and colors

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 strap selection

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • Google Pixel Watch (Wi-Fi): $349 / €379 / £349
  • Google Pixel Watch (LTE): $399 / €429 / £379
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (Bluetooth): $249 / £199
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (LTE): $299 / £239
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (Bluetooth): $299 / £349
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (LTE): $349 / £389
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (Bluetooth): $279 / £269
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (LTE): $329 / £319
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (Bluetooth): $449 / £429
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (LTE): $499 / £479

Two versions of the Google Pixel Watch are available: the Wi-Fi-only option and the LTE flavor. The latter will set you back $50 more than the Wi-Fi model. As the Pixel Watch is one of Google’s more exclusive products, it will see limited availability across major markets. Countries in line to see the watch includes Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, and the UK.

Case finishes on offer include Matte Black, Polished Silver, and Champagne Gold. You can have straps finished in Obsidian, Charcoal, Chalk, Lemongrass, or Hazel. For those who want something more sophisticated, Google’s also offering stretch, woven, and leather bands as premium accessories.

Google Pixel Watch

Google Pixel Watch

Wear OS 3 • Fitbit integration • Tons of apps

The Pixel Watch is the first wearable with the Big G.

The Google Pixel Watch is a Wear OS-powered wearable that’s aiming to be the smartwatch for everyone. It has a robust app library, plenty of Fitbit-based health-tracking features, and a classy design.

As for the Galaxy Watch 4, you can have the 44mm model in Black, Silver, and Green, in addition to Pink Gold for the 40mm model. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic only comes in Black and Silver.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Classy, durable designs • Multiple size options • Wear OS 3 is all-around good

Even if you aren’t a huge Samsung fan, you’ll find a lot to like.

Samsung and Google combined forces to improve the software situation with smartwatches on Android. The result is the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, running the new, co-developed Wear OS. The standard Galaxy Watch 4 is for the sportier crowd, while the Watch 4 Classic is for those who’d like a watch they can wear to the office.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has a little more variety regarding official case and strap colors. The 40mm model comes in Silver, Graphite, and Pink Gold, with straps available in Graphite, Pink Gold, and special edition Bora Purple. The 44mm option is available in Sapphire, Silver, and Graphite, with Sapphire, Graphite, and White straps on tap. Finally, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is available in two case and strap colors: Black and Gray.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Up to 2 days battery life
Advanced sleep tracker
Fast Charging

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Supports last Wear OS version to date
Improved battery life
Solid GPS accuracy

As mentioned before, if you’re unhappy with the Galaxy Watch line’s strap color offerings, you can slap on a 20mm watch band of your choice. This isn’t possible with the Pixel Watch.


Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch specs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Google Pixel Watch

Display

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

44mm: 1.36-inch Super AMOLED
450 x 450 resolution
330ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass with DX+

40mm: 1.19-inch Super AMOLED
396 x 396 resolution
330ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass with DX+

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

46mm: 1.36-inch Super AMOLED
450 x 450 resolution
330ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass with DX

42mm: 1.19-inch Super AMOLED
396 x 396 resolution
330ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass with DX

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

44mm: 1.4-inch
Super AMOLED
450 x 450 resolution
Sapphire Crystal

40mm: 1.2-inch
Super AMOLED
396 x 396 resolution
Sapphire Crystal

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

45mm: 1.4-inch
Super AMOLED
450 x 450 resolution
Sapphire Crystal

Google Pixel Watch

41mm
320ppi AMOLED display with DCI-P3 color
Custom 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Brightness boost up to 1000 nits

Dimensions and weight

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

44mm: 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm
30.3g

40mm: 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm
25.9g

Compatible with 20mm straps

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

46mm: 45.5 x 45.5 x 11mm
52g

42mm: 41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2mm
46.5g

Compatible with 20mm straps

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

44mm: 43.3 x 44.4 x 8.9mm
33.5g

40mm: 39.3 x 40.4 x 9.8mm
28.7 g

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

45mm: 45.4 x 45.4 x 10.5mm
46.5g

Google Pixel Watch

41mm diameter
12.3mm height
36g

Colors and materials

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Aluminum case
Black, Silver, Green (44mm only), Pink Gold (40mm only)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Stainless steel case
Black, Silver

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Armor Aluminum case
Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold (40mm only), Sapphire (44mm only)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Titanium case
Black, Gray

Google Pixel Watch

80% recycled stainless steel case
Matte Black case / Obsidian band
Polished Silver case / Charcoal or Chalk band Champagne Gold case / Hazel band

Battery

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

44mm: 361mAh

40mm: 247mAh

WPC-based wireless charging

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

46mm: 361mAh

42mm: 247mAh

WPC-based wireless charging

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

44mm: 410mAh

40mm: 284mAh

WPC-based wireless charging

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

45mm: 590mAh

WPC-based wireless charging

Google Pixel Watch

294mAh
Up to 24 hours
USB-C magnetic charging cable

Processor

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz

Google Pixel Watch

10nm Samsung Exynos 9110
Dual-core 1.15GHz
Arm Cortex M33 co-processor

RAM

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

1.5GB

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

1.5GB

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

1.5GB

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

1.5GB

Google Pixel Watch

2GB

Storage

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

16GB

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

16GB

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

16GB

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

16GB

Google Pixel Watch

32GB

Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

LTE (available in select models)
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, Galileo

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

LTE (available in select models)
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, Galileo

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

LTE (available in select models)
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo

Google Pixel Watch

4G LTE and UMTS
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
NFC
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo

Sensors

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Ambient light sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Ambient light sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Light sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Light sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)

Google Pixel Watch

Compass
Altimeter
Blood oxygen sensor (inactive)
Multipurpose electrical sensor
Optical heart rate sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor

Durability

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G

Google Pixel Watch

5ATM water resistance

Software

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch

Google Pixel Watch

Wear OS 3.5

Compatibility

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Android

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Android

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Android

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Android

Google Pixel Watch

Android 8.0 and newer

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel Watch on wrist

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

It’s difficult to recommend the Google Pixel Watch when the Samsung Galaxy Watch line exists. The latter, especially the Galaxy Watch 5, features everything you could ever want in a smartwatch, from modern silicon and useful health tracking features to battery life that doesn’t limit the experience. Of course, if you’re a Galaxy Watch 4 user looking to upgrade, the Galaxy Watch 5 may seem a bit too similar on paper and in the flesh. Honestly, we agree entirely. But if you were buying your first smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 5 is hard to bet against.

It’s difficult to recommend the Google Pixel Watch when the Samsung Galaxy Watch line exists.

However, the Google Pixel Watch does have some left-field appeal. If you want something truly unique, or want to own Google’s first smartwatch, the Pixel Watch is the ticket. It’ll be the better option for those wanting a more holistic Google experience, as plenty of apps and services work out of the box. You’re also getting a rather attractive piece of kit that will surely stand out in the crowd. For pure Google fans or those simply fishing for novelty, the Pixel Watch is the device you should choose.

Ultimately, money is tight for most of the planet’s inhabitants right now. As a value proposition, the Pixel Watch at $349 doesn’t make sense when the $279 Galaxy Watch 5 is available.

See also: The best smartwatches you can buy


Do you prefer the Google Pixel Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5? Be sure to vote in our poll below.

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