What do you want to know
- Google’s latest Pixel Watch apparently lacks some core Fitbit features.
- Blood oxygen tracking is coming in a future update but apparently isn’t available at launch.
- Automatic workout tracking may or may not be available on the Pixel Watch, as it’s listed in some places and not others.
Ever since Google acquired Fitbit in 2021, many tech enthusiasts have been anticipating a smartwatch from the search giant packed full of Fitbit goodies. The day finally arrived this week, and on October 6, Google launched the Pixel Watch with Fitbit integration. It starts at $349 and is available for pre-order.
However, it looks like it’s not exactly a full Fitbit experience. The Fitbit integration on the Pixel Watch isn’t as perfect as one would hope, as the smartwatch is said to be missing some important features.
As Connect The Watts pointed out, the Pixel Watch lacks some nifty features that Fitbit users have grown accustomed to. They include the ability to automatically start, stop, and pause workouts, swim stroke tracking, irregular heartbeat notifications, and guided breathing, to name a few.
The report then compares the Pixel Watch with the Fitbit Sense 2, noting some shortcomings compared to Fitbit’s latest smartwatch. Features like all-day body response tracking, stress management with EDA sensors, and skin temperature sensors are also missing from Google’s new smartwatch.
It is also noted that the Pixel Watch is not compatible with iOS, unlike most top Fitbit devices.
Connect The Watts’ report is further corroborated by the 9to5Google report where they highlighted the feature comparison between Pixel Watch, Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Verse 4 from the Google Store comparison page. The results match the report mentioned above, as Pixel Watchindeedy seems to lack important features such as automatic workout detection and other described features.
On the contrary, however, Fitbit’s website (opens in a new tab) mentions that the Pixel Watch supports automatic exercise tracking. The Pixel Watch support page also points out that Pixel Watch “automatically tracks multiple types of activity”, although to what extent this is unclear. We’ve reached out to Google for clarification, particularly on automatic workout tracking and its availability on the Pixel Watch, and we’ll update it when we get back to you.
In our Pixel Watch first impressions by Chris Wedel, we found a significant number of sensors built into the device. It includes a blood oxygen sensor (which will be available in a future update), a heart rate sensor, and a versatile electrical sensor for health and fitness exercise tracking, among several other important sensors.
It’s unclear at this point if Google deliberately withheld some of these features from the Pixel Watch when they’re already available on Fitbit models, although it seems there’s likely some strategy to that.
In an interview with CNET, Fitbit co-founder James Park explains why some features are missing, saying the team behind the watch focused on the advanced heart rate sensor.
“Then you’ll see other technologies and sensors around health and fitness move into this product line over time,” he told CNET.
He also pointed to the “wallet approach,” where users looking for better battery life and better health tracking might consider a Fitbit device instead. Still, we’re crossing our fingers that the Pixel Watch will receive more health-tracking features with future updates.
Ultimately, there’s apparently a lot to like about the Pixel Watch. And to be fair, it ranks differently compared to Fitbit smartwatches. It’s definitely a device for users looking for a more complete smartwatch experience that just happens to have Fitbit functionality. If that sounds like you, then the Pixel Watch might be worth a look.
Google Pixel Watch
The new Pixel Watch is the latest and possibly the best Wear OS 3 smartwatch money can buy. It has an advanced health sensor and Fitbit integration to help you track your goals.
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