Google Pixel Watch 2 unveiled: Release date, price, specs and all the upgrades

Google Pixel Watch 2
(Image credit: Future)

The Google Pixel Watch 2 has officially arrived, introducing upgrades that further solidify Google’s efforts in the wearable market.

While Google Pixel Watch had a lot to offer as a first-generation device, the Pixel Watch 2 looks to build on its success. It once again leverages Fitbit health-tracking features, but now gets the stress-detection sensor featured in the Fitbit Sense 2. An upgraded heart rate sensors and convenient workout tools double down on Google's fitness efforts, too.

What's more, an improved processor promises zippier Wear OS performance and a battery life that can actually last 24 hours with the always-on display mode enabled. The watch is also lighter than before, and although the display bezels are still pretty chunky, the glass is slimmer and the watch therefore sits more flush on the wrist.

In several ways, it seems like the Pixel Watch 2 made key changes to keep up with the best smartwatches. But there still could be ways in which the Pixel Watch still needs to catch up to other Android smartwatches. Either way, now that it's here, this is what you'll want to know. 

Google Pixel Watch 2 price and release date

The Google Pixel Watch 2 is available for pre-order starting October 4, alongside the Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro. The official release date is October 12. 

As for price, the Pixel Watch 2 costs $349 for the Wi-Fi model and $399 for the LTE-compatible version. The latter model lets you stay connected when you're out and about without your phone, though you'll need to set up a plan with your mobile carrier for an additional fee.

For comparison, the Pixel Watch 2 price lands between the Apple Watch Series 9 ($399 starting price) and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 ($299 starting price).

Google Pixel Watch 2 design

Google Pixel Watch 2

(Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel Watch 2 design is very similar to the first-generation Pixel Watch design, just based on initial looks. It still only comes in a single, 41mm size and features a circular display with rather thick bezels.

But now the watch casing is made of 100% recycled aluminum, dropping the weight from 36 grams (1.27 ounces) on the original to 31 grams (1.1 ounces). The glass screen is also thinner, slimming down the watch slightly. Apparently the digital crown is a bit easier to move, too. 

In terms of color options, the Pixel Watch 2 is available in matte black aluminum, polished silver, and gold aluminum. All choices come with an active band with soft-touch coating. Alternatively, you can choose from a new selection of metal slim bands launching alongside the Pixel Watch 2.

Google Pixel Watch 2 health tracking features

Google Pixel Watch 2

(Image credit: Google)

Although the original Pixel Watch launched with a big emphasis on health tracking, Google is doubling-down on its Fitbit integration with a number of wellness-minded upgrades for the Pixel Watch 2. For one, it has a new multi-path heart rate sensor that promises to be up to 40% more accurate thanks to the addition of more LEDs and photodiodes.

There's also new cEDA (continuous electrodermal activity) sensor carried over from the Fitbit Sense 2. The cEDA reader can pick up on subtle changes in your heart rate, skin temperature and even skin moisture to detect when you're having a quick change in mood. You'll (optionally) be prompted to log your feelings and take action if deemed necessary. 

Google Pixel Watch 2

(Image credit: Google)

For workout tracking, there's now greater convenience built-in with automatic workout tracking. The Pixel Watch 2 can identify when you've initiated 7 different workouts types, as well as automatically pause the workout when you're stopped moving. When it thinks you're done exercising, it'll prompt you to end the activity as well. 

Other welcome features include pace training and heart rate zone tracking during workouts. Hopefully these features aren't paywalled by a Fitbit Premium membership. That said, Fitbit Premium does have some worthwhile features such as a Daily Readiness Score and Sleep Profiles. 

Google Pixel Watch 2 performance and software

The second-generation Pixel Watch dropped the Samsung Exynos 9110 in favor of the more modern Qualcomm Snapdragon W5100. This processor promises snappier performance. Some users with the first model complained the watch could be more responsive, so it'll be interesting to see whether the upgraded chipset makes a difference.

The Google Pixel Watch 2 comes loaded with Wear OS 4, the latest software version of Google's Android-compatible smartwatch platform. In addition to basic apps for things like the weather and timers, the watch comes outfitted with more operational Google apps than you'll find on any other smartwatch.

New for the Pixel Watch 2 are upgraded Gmail and Google Calendar apps, while Google Assistant on the wrist can now handle health and fitness prompts. Plus, a new "At a Glance" watch face complication arrives to deliver relevant information at times you need it. 

Google Pixel Watch 2 safety features

The Google Pixel Watch 2 seems to prioritize safety with two new ways to get help when you might need it most. While the watch already had the essential Fall Detection tool (even if it came in a later update) it now has a feature called Safety Check. You can enable Safety Check to track your location In certain scenarios, and if you don't respond when your watch asks you to confirm if you're OK, Emergency Sharing will kick in. This means your emergency contacts will be alerted of your location.

Safety Signal is another new safety feature. It sounds like Emergency SOS on the Apple Watch, where you can connect to emergency services even without an LTE plan should you need help urgently.

Google Pixel Watch 2 battery life

The battery life on the Pixel Watch 2 gets a bump, though it's a bit odd to consider It a true upgrade. The original Pixel Watch could only last 24 hours with the always-on display turned off. Now, Google says you can leave the AOD enabled and still get a day's worth of juice. While it's not quite the boost we hoped for, at least now you'll be able to use the display feature without compromising.

Google Pixel Watch 2 outlook

The Google Pixel Watch 2 seems to make some meaningful upgrades, though it's too soon to say whether they'll truly make the new watch feel like a step up from the original. Some of our key pain points of the first Pixel Watch weren't truly addressed, though the new health and safety features are certainly welcome. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.