The Google Pixel Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 are two high-end Android watches competing with the Apple Watch. Both run the newest version of Wear OS, feature a circular display, monitor comparable exercises, and have similar health sensors. How do these two Android watches compare when used in the real world, rather than merely on paper?
Price and size may be your initial choices. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 begins at $280 (£269, AU$499) for the 40mm version and $309 for the 44mm version, whereas the Pixel Watch is just 41mm and costs $350 (£339, AU$549) Spend $330 for the Galaxy Watch or $400 for the Pixel Watch to get calls or texts when away from your phone.
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch offers a few capabilities only available with a Galaxy phone, as we’ll discuss later.
Pixel vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Battery
Typical watch battery life can be expected to range from several months to a year or more, depending on usage. I got up to 21 hours of use from the 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 with typical usage, which includes the always-on display, alerts, and a one-hour GPS workout, and up to 20 hours from the Pixel Watch. As the Pixel Watch loses more than 20% of its battery life overnight, you should usually charge both devices before using them to track your sleep.
The Galaxy Watch 5 will last about 24 hours without the always-on display and a GPS exercise, while the Pixel Watch will last about 26 hours. CNET’s reviewer Lisa Eadicicco even managed 28 hours under the same conditions. The 44mm Galaxy Watch 5 has a significantly longer battery life, approaching 30 hours under identical settings with the always-on active display. When I have the LTE test results, I’ll post them here.
If you have a compatible Samsung phone, you may charge your Galaxy Watch 5 simply by placing it on its back. In terms of charging time, the Samsung watch can be brought up from 0% to 45% in less than 30 minutes and from 0% to 100% in roughly 1.5 hours. The Pixel Watch has a similar charging time, needing at least 30 minutes to reach 45% and roughly 1.5 hours to reach 100%. Neither of them includes a USB-C power adapter.
Design and Displays of Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 5
While each of these timepieces is round, there are significant design differences between them. The Google Pixel Watch boasts a curved display and the appearance of a modern timepiece thanks to its digital crown and side button. The screen of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is flat, and there are just two buttons on the device. The crown has been replaced by a virtual touch bezel surrounding the screen. To access the various settings, just rotate the bezel with your finger.
Even while the Pixel Watch fits better on my little 152mm wrist, other people may find it too small. This is especially true for its usefulness in monitoring my sleep. Maybe that’s enough to make you want a bigger watch right away and to tip the scales in favor of the Galaxy Watch 5 (or even the bigger 45mm Galaxy Watch 5 Pro).
Much ado has been made over the Pixel Watch’s screen’s bezel, although it’s only visible against a light background (like some of the default faces). Keep in mind that the Galaxy Watch 5’s touch bezel doesn’t function very well at all if your fingers are damp or wet, so if your hands become sweaty or wet during a workout, the Pixel Watch’s crown will be simpler to use.
Each one features an OLED display with a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits. This implies that they may be seen clearly even in bright sunshine. They can also be set to always-on, which is convenient if you don’t want to have to raise your wrist or tap the screen, but of course, this reduces the battery life.
Both watches are equipped to withstand splashes and rain, however, only the Galaxy Watch 5 has an official rating of IP68. The Pixel Watch can be submerged in water up to 50 meters deep (5ATM).
The Pixel Watch lacks the Galaxy Watch’s extensive selection of third-party watch faces, which is another option for customizing the watch’s appearance. On the other hand, the Play Store is a great place to find and download apps made by third-party developers.
Both devices include a speaker and microphone, allowing you to make and receive calls, dictate messages, and listen to notifications read aloud, but only the Galaxy Watch 5 supports playing music through its speaker. The Galaxy Watch 5’s full-size QWERTY keyboard is somewhat larger than the Pixel Watch’s, making it easier to send messages and type text.
Smart Features Compared Between the Pixel Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5
The Galaxy Watch allows you to transfer your own audio files from a phone, whereas the Pixel Watch only supports downloading from applications like Spotify and YouTube Music. Both support mobile payments using Google Wallet, while the Galaxy Watch 5 further supports Samsung Pay. Both watches have access to the full catalog of third-party apps in the Google Play store.
Both have access to Google Assistant, but the Pixel Watch, especially when connected with a Pixel phone, offers a more refined and natural user experience. The Galaxy Watch 5 also supports Bixby, if you’re interested.
The processors in these timepieces are both rather old. That’s not inherently terrible, but I find that the Pixel Watch isn’t quite as quick as the Galaxy Watch 5. Although it is hardly sluggish, there are times—especially when switching between applications and otherwise multitasking—when the Samsung watch feels snappier.
Pixel Vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Health and Fitness
These two watches can record your basic activity, calories burned, and sleep patterns in addition to a variety of workouts. Due to the Pixel Watch’s reliance on Fitbit’s interface and ecosystem for its workout tracking, your health data will be collected and stored in the Fitbit app. Samsung’s Health app is included in the Galaxy Watch 5. You can use Google Fit on anyone, but the native apps provide far more features and functionality.
For me personally, the Fitbit app is far more intuitive and presents my data in a more attractive way than the Samsung Health app. Metrics like my step count, distance covered in workouts, and hours slept can now be seen and understood with less effort.
However, the Galaxy Watch 5 has the ability to automatically recognise outside activities like walking and running. If I forget to start an exercise, it always reminds me, so it’s quite dependable. Unfortunately, the Pixel Watch doesn’t accomplish this, despite the fact that other Fitbit trackers can.
Some people may find the Galaxy Watch 5’s other sensors useful, such as bioimpedance for tracking their body fat percentage. Another sensor, this one for temperature, is present but not being used in this evaluation. Even if you sideload the Health Monitor app onto a non-Galaxy Android device, you still can’t use the ECG app without a Galaxy phone.
The Pixel Watch also contains an electrocardiogram (ECG), however, it can be used with any Android phone. A blood-oxygen monitor is also included in both watches, however, the Pixel Watch is currently disabled. Unlike the Galaxy Watch 5, it does not monitor your heart rate or notifies you of abnormalities in your rhythm.
Both devices include built-in GPS for monitoring exercises even when your phone isn’t nearby, and they can get a signal in outdoors in under five seconds. When comparing the Pixel Watch to a control phone, it performed better when measuring distance, although the accuracy of its step and pace calculations was comparable.
The Pixel Watch’s heart-rate sensor is also more accurate than that of the Galaxy Watch 5, so if you’re looking for a watch to maximize the effectiveness of your cardio sessions, go with the Pixel.
After numerous nights of wearing both watches on my wrist, I can say that the Pixel Watch’s sleep monitoring is noticeably more accurate. The sleep score is much more representative of the quality of my sleep overall, but the Galaxy Watch 5 still gives me shockingly low blood-oxygen readings in the 70% to 80% range at night, which might be indicators of a sleep disorder (which I don’t have).
Fitbit Premium, a monthly membership service that costs $10 and provides access to workouts, recipes, and in-depth interpretations of your health data (including the daily readiness score and additional sleep data), is an additional expense that may be incurred after purchasing a Pixel Watch. To reiterate, a subscription is not required to utilize the Galaxy Watch 5. The Pixel Watch comes with a complimentary six-month subscription to Fitbit Premium.
Conclusion: The Pixel Watch Vs. The Galaxy Watch 5
They’re both top-notch Android smartwatches, but they shine in different situations. The Pixel Watch, while not as sleek in appearance, does a better job of monitoring your heart rate, location, and other vitals, as well as analyzing your sleep and other health data. However, there is just one size available and the battery life is far shorter than it should be considering the cost.
Since the Galaxy Watch 5 is just marginally less expensive than the Galaxy S8, it may be the better option for those who already own a Galaxy phone because of the latter’s superior compatibility with the Galaxy Wearable app. It’s available in more than one size, and it contains sensors like a bioimpedance reader and a temperature gauge that the Pixel Watch doesn’t have (if the latter is ever activated).