Google Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch: how do these flagship wearables compare?

Google Pixel 7 event
A Google Pixel Watch (Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel Watch is finally here - or at least it's now been unveiled, and once it hits stores it will find itself competing with the Apple Watch line.

Or, well, in a sense it won’t, as the Pixel Watch only works with Android devices, just as the Apple Watch line only works with iPhones. That said, with the Apple Watch line being the biggest player in the space, it’s worth seeing how Google’s first smartwatch stacks up against them.

And while we haven't put the Pixel Watch to the test yet, we do now know all of its core specs and features. So based on that, how does the Pixel Watch compare to the Apple Watch line?

Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch: price and availability

The Google Pixel Watch is available to pre-order now and it's hitting stores in the US, UK, Australia and elsewhere on October 13.

It costs $350 / £339 / AU$549 for a Bluetooth model, with the price rising to $400 / £379 / AU$649 for a cellular version. You'll also get six months of Fitbit Premium and three months of YouTube Music Premium with the purchase of either model.

The latest Apple Watch models – including the Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch SE 2 and Apple Watch Ultra are all available now, and the Pixel Watch is set to slot between the two more affordable entries in that trio.

Image of the new Apple Watch SE 2

The Apple Watch SE 2 is the cheapest (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Apple Watch SE 2 starts at $249 / £259 / AU$399, so less than the Google Pixel Watch costs, but the Apple Watch 8 is more, at $399 / £419 / AU$629, and the Apple Watch Ultra is far, far more at $799 / £849 / AU$1,229.

So at least in terms of price then Google’s wearable is something of a mid-range device rather than a high-end one.

Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch: design and display

The Pixel Watch has a circular screen, a domed design, a fluoroelastomer proprietary strap, and a case made of at least 80% recycled stainless steel.

There’s a crown and a physical button on the side, and the wearable comes with a choice of a matte black, polished silver or champagne gold case, and an obsidian, hazel, chalk, or charcoal band - though only in certain combinations. It's also water resistant to 5 ATM.

As for the Apple Watch line, all of these wearables have squarish screens, and they’re more customizable than the Pixel Watch, coming in multiple sizes and with a vast array of first and third-party strap options. Like the Pixel Watch you get significant water resistance.

Google Pixel 7 event

The Google Pixel Watch has a circular screen (Image credit: Google)

In the case of the Apple Watch Ultra you get quite a chunky, rugged design, while the other models remain fairly sleek. It's also got the greatest level of water resistance of any of these watches.

As for the screen, the Google Pixel Watch has an OLED display with 320 pixels per inch and up to 1000 nits of brightness.

The three Apple Watch models we're looking at also have OLED screens, and in the case of the Apple Watch 8 and Apple Watch SE 2 they have a very similar 326 pixels per inch and a peak brightness of 1000 nits. The Apple Watch Ultra ups the pixels per inch to 338 and the peak brightness to 2000 nits.

The Apple WAtch 8 on a blue desk and wrist

The Apple Watch 8's squared form looks very different to the Pixel Watch (Image credit: TechRadar)

Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch: fitness and features

The Google Pixel Watch is powered by Fitbit tech, so this could be a good choice for fans of health and fitness. There's sleep tracking, GPS, heart rate monitoring, personalized fitness goals, a blood oxygen sensor and more. There are numerous workout modes too and even an ECG (electrocardiogram).

The Apple Watch 8 and Ultra both also offer an ECG, along with all the core health and fitness features you’d expect from a flagship smartwatch, like GPS, a heart rate monitor, and sleep tracking.

The Apple Watch Ultra additionally gives you features like a depth sensor which will be useful to divers.

Apple Watch Ultra in use on wrist and on table

The Apple Watch Ultra is feature-packed (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Apple Watch SE 2 is a little less adept, with no ECG for example, but it still has the basics covered, including GPS and heart rate monitoring.

Away from fitness, the Apple Watch Ultra stands out through its Action Button, which is a customizable hardware shortcut, while all three of these Apple Watch models have Car Crash Detection – a potentially life-saving feature which alerts the emergency services when you’re in a serious crash.

The Pixel Watch doesn't have these features, though it does have an Emergency SOS feature that you can use to quickly contact the emergency services or trusted contacts when you feel unsafe.

Pixel Watch vs Apple Watch: OS, power, and battery

The Google Pixel Watch uses the Exynos 9110 chipset. This is a capable chipset but not a new one, as it was last used on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

It also has 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, as well as both Wi-Fi and cellular versions being offered.

As for the Apple Watch line, you’re getting an Apple S8 chipset in the current models, which is powerful enough for smooth performance. That’s coupled with 32GB of storage and 1GB of RAM.

Google Pixel 7 event

The Google Pixel Watch might rival the Apple Watch 8 in some key hardware areas. (Image credit: Google)

The battery capacities are largely similar, with Google including a 294mAh cell in the Pixel Watch, while the Apple Watch SE 2 has a 296mAh battery and the Apple Watch 8 has a 308mAh power source; though the Apple Watch Ultra’s is a lot bigger, at 542mAh. It’s the longest-lasting Apple Watch and is likely to outlast the Pixel Watch too, given the capacity of its battery.

For what it's worth, Google claims you'll get up to 24 hours of life from the Pixel Watch, while Apple claims up to 18 hours on the Watch 8 and the SE 2, but up to 36 hours on the Apple Watch Ultra.

The biggest difference in this section though is the operating system, with the Pixel Watch running the latest iteration of Wear OS (version 3.5), while the Apple Watch line runs watchOS 9 out the box. The two operating systems do have largely similar functionality, but the look, layout, available apps, and certain features – such as Complications on the Apple Watch – differ.

There’s not really a clear winner though – it’s a very subjective thing. And we're yet to put the Pixel Watch through a review anyway.


The Google Pixel Watch isn’t really competing with the Apple Watch Ultra, given its much lower price, but it could be seen as a rival to both the Apple Watch 8 and the Apple Watch SE 2.

With a price that sits between the two, it could be considered a lower end device than the Apple Watch 8, but other than its dated chipset it seems to compare well on paper - even having high-end features like an ECG.

However, due to its differently-shaped screen and different operating system, the experience of using the Pixel Watch will probably be far from similar. Whether it will join the Apple Watch 8 as one of the best smartwatches remains to be seen.

James Rogerson

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, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.