The Pixel Watch 2 was one of the worst-kept secrets in wearables this year, with the device both leaking extensively and even being partially shown off by Google long before it was fully launched. But it has arrived now, alongside the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro, and as such we now officially know everything about it.
(Incidentally, you can find all the details of the October Google Pixel launch event as it happened here, along with our early Google Pixel 8 review, Google Pixel 8 Pro review, and yes our first-impressions Google Pixel Watch 2 review.)
The final details are a mix of what was leaked and a few things that stayed secret, but while there might not be as many surprises here as Google would have hoped, the good news is that this is a very promising smartwatch.
While you’ll find our initial impressions of the wearable in our hands-on Pixel Watch 2 review, below we’ve listed five of the most interesting new and improved features this watch has to offer.
1. Advanced heart rate tracking
With the Pixel Watch 2, Google has put a major focus on health and fitness, and at the heart of that (no pun intended) there’s a new multi-path heart rate sensor which is part of a completely redesigned sensor array.
The company claims this allows for its most advanced heart rate tracking, offering up to 40% better accuracy than the heart rate monitor in the original Pixel Watch.
This in turn helps enable and improve additional features, such as sleep tracking, a daily readiness score, and more.
2. Safety Check
As well as health and fitness, the Google Pixel Watch 2 is also concerned with safety, so on top of existing safety features like Emergency SOS and Fall Detection, the Pixel Watch 2 has a new Safety Check feature.
This allows you to set a timer which will prompt you to confirm you’re okay once it has ended. It will also give you the option to share your location with friends or family, or contact the emergency services, and if you don’t respond to the prompt then your location and situation will automatically be shared with pre-selected emergency contacts.
This then is a useful and potentially life-saving feature for when you find yourself in dangerous or uncertain situations, or even for just when you’re returning home late at night, are out jogging, or in any other situation where you or your loved ones want some reassurance.
3. Better battery life
Good battery life is a near-essential smartwatch feature, and while the original Pixel Watch’s battery life isn’t bad, Google is promising big improvements for the Pixel Watch 2.
The company claims that you will get 24 hours of life even when using the always-on display. For comparison, in our original Pixel Watch review we found that it would get around 26 hours without the always-on display, but when using this feature it cut the life down to less than a day.
So while we’ll have to see how Google’s claims pan out, this sounds promising, and it’s joined by faster charging, with the Pixel Watch 2 capable of getting a full day’s worth of charge in just 75 minutes according to Google, thanks to the new four-pin charger.
4. Stress management and detection
One highlight on the health monitoring front is that the Pixel Watch 2 offers what sounds like quite advanced stress management and detection skills.
This is powered by tracking sweat levels, heart rate variability, heart rate, and skin temperature, which can all show signs of stress, or potentially illness.
If it identifies that these levels are abnormal enough you’ll receive an alert, along with the option to log your current mood, and suggestions of what to do if you are feeling stressed or under the weather. It bears an uncanny resemblance to watchOS 10's improved mental health features, which debuted this year along with the Apple Watch Series 9.
5. Built for comfort
The Pixel Watch 2 is designed to be worn all day and all night, so it’s important that it’s comfortable, and that’s something Google seems to have paid attention to.
Notably, it’s slightly lighter than the original model, thanks both to the 100% recycled aluminum housing being lighter, and the domed cover glass being thinner – with the latter having been achieved without making it any less durable according to Google.
So you get mostly the same design as the original Pixel Watch, just with less weight, so it won't feel as heavy on your wrist even after an exhausting day.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.