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Google Pixel Watch 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 6: Has Google done it?

Renders of the Google Pixel Watch 2 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 next to each other.
Google Pixel Watch 2 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Digital Trends

The Google Pixel Watch 2 has been announced, and while the design may be almost identical to the much-maligned Google Pixel Watch, Google’s new smartwatch is very much a different beast. The Pixel Watch 2 has received significant upgrades under the hood, including a powerful processor, more storage, and much faster charging. Add in Fitbit’s excellent fitness tracking and some impressive new features for personal wellness, and you’ve got an impressive new smartwatch that’s set to blow away the largely negative reception of the first Pixel Watch.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch range has long been a stalwart of the smartwatch sector, and the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is one of the best smartwatches you can buy right now — and the best around where Android is concerned. So, it’s clearly the biggest and baddest competition for potential Pixel Watch 2 buyers.

How does Google’s latest smartwatch compare to Samsung’s latest? We compared the two smartwatches to find out, so you know which is worth your money.

Pixel Watch 2 vs. Galaxy Watch 6: specs

Google Pixel Watch 2 Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Display size 1.2 inches 40mm: 1.3 inches

44mm: 1.53 inches

Body size 41mm 40mm


Resolution in pixels 384 x 384 (320 pixels-per-inch) 40mm: 432 x 432 (453 ppi)

44mm: 480 x 480 (453 ppi)

Touchscreen AMOLED, always-on display Super AMOLED, always-on display
Storage 32GB 16GB
Wireless interface Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC, LTE Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band, NFC, LTE
Depth 0.48 inches (12.3mm) 0.35 inches (9mm)
Blood oxygen sensor
Yes Yes
Accelerometer Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes Yes
Heart rate sensor Yes Yes
Barometer Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Compass Yes Yes
Water/dust resistant IP68 IP68
Battery life Up to 24 hours Up to 24 hours
Price From $349 From $300
DT review News 4.5 out of 5 stars

Pixel Watch 2 vs. Galaxy Watch 6: design and display

Google Pixel Watch 2 in coral color.
Google Pixel Watch 2 Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

Google hasn’t changed the design of the Pixel Watch 2, and since it spent years cooking up the Pixel Watch, you can see why it might be reluctant to change things up after one generation. As a result, if you weren’t keen on the first Pixel Watch’s look, you aren’t going to like the Pixel Watch 2. It sports a unique design, with a smooth glass dome matched by a gently curved aluminum body, broken only by a haptic crown and a side button. There are slight differences between the new and first Pixel Watch, though, as the Pixel Watch 2’s dome is slightly thinner, and the frame is a little lighter. It’s still a thick watch, though, with a depth of 12.3mm.

Someone wearing the silver Samsung Galaxy Watch 6.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Joe Maring / Digital Trends

By comparison, the Galaxy Watch 6 is much slimmer, measuring just 9mm deep. While 3.3mm may not seem like a lot, a difference of whole millimeters can mean a lot when it’s jutting out from your wrist, and the much slimmer profile of the Galaxy Watch 6 wins it some serious points here. The Samsung watch also looks a lot more like a traditional wristwatch and has different-sized frames for larger and smaller wrists — something the Pixel Watch 2 still doesn’t offer.

Google Pixel Watch 2 AMOLED display.
Google Pixel Watch 2 Google

The Galaxy Watch 6 continues to rack up wins when we look at the displays on offer. The Pixel Watch 2’s 1.2-inch AMOLED display is clear and bright, and the 384 x 384 resolution comes in at a nice 320 pixels per inch (ppi). It’s no match for the Galaxy Watch 6’s Super AMOLED display, though, as you’re looking at a crisp 453 ppi whether you opt for the 1.2-inch display or the 1.53-inch display. The Pixel Watch 2 also inherits its predecessor’s chunky bezels, which look incredibly dated next to the slim bezels on the Galaxy Watch 6.

While the Pixel Watch 2 isn’t bad-looking, it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Pixel Watch 2 vs. Galaxy Watch 6: performance, battery life, and charging

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 on its charger.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Pixel Watch 2 has received a significant upgrade in processing power. The dated Exynos 9110 used in the first Pixel Watch has been replaced by the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 processor, and while we haven’t had the chance to fully test it, we expect this change will give the Pixel Watch 2 a noticeable bump in performance. It’s hard to say how the performance will compare to the Galaxy Watch 6’s Exynos W930 dual-core processor, but the likelihood is that the two will both have smooth performance across the board.

Battery life is likely to be a bigger decider here than performance, so it’s unfortunate we don’t yet know how this will shake down. The Galaxy Watch 6 has a solid battery life, and we found we were able to squeeze almost two days out of a single charge. We haven’t fully reviewed the Pixel Watch 2 yet, and while it does have a larger cell than the first Pixel Watch, we’ll have to wait and see whether the Pixel Watch 2 can match the Samsung watch.

The Pixel Watch 2 has a dramatically upgraded charging speed too. Google claims it can go from zero to 100% in 75 minutes, vastly outstripping the 2.5 hours it took the first Pixel Watch to do so. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 charges up to full in just over an hour, so the two devices are likely to be similar in this regard.

It’s all even here for the moment — but only until we get some hands-on time with the Pixel Watch 2. We suspect the battery life will be the crucial difference maker here, but until we’re sure, this is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Pixel Watch 2 vs. Galaxy Watch 6: fitness and health-tracking features

The back of the Google Pixel Watch 2.
Google Pixel Watch 2 Joe Maring / Digital Trends

There’s no shortage of health and fitness tracking features on either of these watches. Google has leaned on its ownership of Fitbit to push some of that brand’s excellent tracking to its smartwatch, and so the Pixel Watch 2 has some new toys. Those include the new, more accurate heart rate tracker from the Fitbit Charge 6, a new electrical sensor to measure stress, and a sensor to record your body temperature.

The Galaxy Watch 6 has a heart rate tracker, regular stress tracking, and a skin temperature sensor. It also has Samsung’s own Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) sensor, which can measure your skeletal muscle, fat mass, body water, body fat, body mass index (BMI), and basal metabolic rate (BMR). Is it better? Possibly, though it’s not likely that the extra data from the BIA sensor will mean much to you unless you’re really deep into your fitness.

Samsung Health widget on the Galaxy Watch 6.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Those sensors power the fitness tracking, and here there’s a larger gap. The Pixel Watch 2 has 40 workout modes, with automatic tracking for a number of them. But this pales next to Samsung’s 90 workouts and similar automatic tracking. If you’re a fitness buff, Samsung’s broader range of exercises will surely appeal. The original Pixel Watch had some basic workouts missing, including indoor cycling, and while it’s likely Google can add these workouts with updates, it illustrates an odd approach to fitness.

Despite Fitbit’s involvement, fitness tracking on the original Pixel Watch wasn’t the best, and while the Pixel Watch 2 seems to have improved, it doesn’t look to be at Samsung’s level yet. We’re giving this to the Galaxy Watch 6 until we’ve had a chance to play with the Pixel Watch 2 some more.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Pixel Watch 2 vs. Galaxy Watch 6: software and features

Apps page on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6.
Galaxy Watch 6 Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Both of these watches run Google Wear OS 4, but the Galaxy Watch has Samsung’s One UI interface layered on top, adding more customization for users. It’s not an enormous difference, and choosing between them is going to be a matter of preference. While the extra elements added by One UI are likely to be welcomed by most people, the differences aren’t something you’re going to feel like you’re missing out on.

The most important parts of Wear OS are available on both devices, including Google’s services like Google Maps, Assistant, YouTube Music, and more. Expect to see Samsung’s apps on the Galaxy Watch, and both watches also have access to a bunch of third-party apps like Spotify — though keep in mind that your choice of apps still isn’t the best on Wear OS.

Google Pixel Watch 2 Safety Check.

Both watches also have some useful additional features built in. Both have skin temperature sensors, as mentioned earlier, as well as emergency SOS services. Google has taken this a little further with the Pixel Watch 2 by including Safety Check, which alerts people if you take longer than planned to reach a destination, and Safety Signal, which can trigger an alert even without an LTE connectivity plan.

There aren’t too many differences in software here to really set the two apart, but we’re suckers for personal safety features. The Pixel Watch 2 takes this.

Winner: Google Pixel Watch 2

Pixel Watch 2 vs. Galaxy Watch 6: price and availability

Google Pixel Watch 2 with several different band styles.
Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is currently available, and prices start from $300 for the 40mm frame with Wi-Fi connectivity. You’ll pay more for the larger size, adding an LTE connection, or pairing your purchase with some rather snazzy watch straps.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 is now available, having launched on October 12. Prices start from $349, making it a whole $49 more than the Samsung smartwatch. It only comes in the one frame size. An LTE model is also available for $50 more.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Side view of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

While a lot is still to be decided for sure, it seems that Google hasn’t managed to topple its major competitor in the Android smartwatch space. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is a gorgeous device that’s clever, useful, and pretty much everything you can want out of a smartwatch. While the Google Pixel Watch 2 is likely a big improvement over last year’s Pixel Watch, it doesn’t quite have what it takes to supplant Samsung’s place at the top of the tree.

Some of this is based on assumption, however, and our final verdict hinges on how well the Pixel Watch 2 does in our review. If it excels in certain areas, it could end up clawing some points back, but at the moment, we can’t see it overturning the final result here. However, it’s clear Samsung can’t be content to rest on its laurels, as the next Pixel Watch could end up being the one that upends the market.

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