Google Pixel Watch vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: which is the Wear OS champ?

Google has unveiled its highly-anticipated Pixel Watch, ushering in a new era for Wear OS devices and the company’s expanding Pixel ecosystem. It’s a fitting companion to the new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, which were also announced during this week’s Made by Google event, alongside a new Pixel Tablet.

While it’s encouraging to see more Wear OS smartwatches appearing, the real question is whether Google’s first smartwatch brings enough to the table to topple Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5, a device that’s effectively become the gold standard of Wear OS devices. Read on as we compare their specs and features to answer that question.

Specs

Google Pixel Watch Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Display size 41mm: 1.61 inches 40mm: 1.2 inches
44mm: 1.4 inches
Body size 41 x 41 x 12.3mm (1.61 x 1.61 x 0.48 inches) 40mm: 39.3 x 40.4 x 9.8mm
44mm: 43.3 x 44.4 x 9.8mm
Weight 36 grams 40mm: 28.7 grams
44mm: 33.5 grams
Resolution in pixels 320 pixels per inch (ppi) 40mm: 396 x 396
44mm: 450 x 450
Touchscreen AMOLED Always-on display 40mm: Super AMOLED Always-on display
44mm: Super AMOLED Always-on display
Storage 32GB 16GB
Wireless interface Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4, NFC, LTE Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz, NFC, LTE
Depth 12.3mm 9.8mm
Blood oxygen sensor Yes Yes
Accelerometer Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes Yes
Heart rate sensor Yes Yes
Temperature sensor No Yes
Blood pressure sensor No Yes
Altimeter Yes Yes
GPS GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo
Compass Yes Yes
Water/dust resistant Yes (5 atm ISO standard 22810:2010) Yes (5 atm + IP68)
Battery life 294mAh
Up to 24 hours
40mm: 284mAh

44mm: 410mAh

Up to 50 hours (based on Samsung’s laboratory measurements)

Price From $350 From $280
Availability Google Samsung
Review Hands-on 4 out of 5

Design and display Google Pixel Watch with grey strap.Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

Google has gone with a modern and minimalist design for its first smartwatch. A circular, domed face blends seamlessly into the edges with only a crown and a small button on the side. While the Pixel Watch is still unmistakably a Wear OS device, it has a certain elegance that belies its role as a smartwatch.

While taste is, of course, subjective, the design of Pixel Watch makes Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 appear a bit more utilitarian. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s fair to say they’re unique enough that each will appeal to a different type of customer.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 sitting on a chair.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

That’s a good thing since both smartwatches offer such similar specs in many other areas, starting with the display technology. The Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 5 both sport always-on AMOLED displays, and although Google hasn’t provided the exact screen resolution, it does offer a pixel density of 320 pixels per inch (ppi), on par with Samsung’s two Galaxy Watch 5 models, which come in at 321 ppi and 330 ppi. That’s not a difference anyone will notice with the naked eye.

Likewise, while the Galaxy Watch 5 gained a hardened sapphire crystal screen this year for increased scratch resistance, the Pixel Watch uses 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 that should provide similar protection against bumps and scrapes. Google’s smartwatch also gets an edge for using a stainless steel casing, a finish that generally commands a premium from other smartwatch makers. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 is only available in aluminum. Both the Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 5 offer five atmospheres (5 atm) of water resistance, although Samsung’s is also certified for IP68 dust resistance.

Someone wearing the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
Google Pixel Watch on a wrist.

The Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 5 also differ in their hardware controls, with Google’s smartwatch featuring a single rotating crown versus Samsung’s two physical buttons and capacitative bezels for using swipe gestures. Both watches also have touchscreens and are available in a generous assortment of bands and colors.

Nevertheless, while the aesthetics are a matter of personal taste, we think the Galaxy Watch 5 gets a significant edge by offering a choice of two sizes and a wider selection of bands and accessories.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Battery life and charging Google Pixel Watch charging.Google

Google promises that the Pixel Watch can deliver up to 24 hours of battery life on a single charge, while Samsung claims a staggering 50 hours for the Galaxy Watch 5. We’ll have to wait to see how well the Pixel Watch holds up under real-world conditions, but we can already tell you that the Galaxy Watch 5 gets nowhere near the 50 hours that Samsung advertises.

So, it’s fair to say that both watches need to hit a charger at least once every 24 hours. Thankfully, they also feature similar fast-charging speeds; the Pixel Watch can go from dead to 50% after about a 30-minute charge, while the Galaxy Watch 5 reaches at least 45% in the same amount of time. These faster charging speeds won’t matter much if you don’t wear your watch to bed, but it’s beneficial

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