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Google today is finally tossing its hat in the smartwatch ring with the Google Pixel Watch. After the launch of Wear OS in 2014, consumers have been waiting for an official smartwatch made by Google -- from the hardware to the software. After much speculation and some short previews, the watch is before us in full glory.
The Pixel Watch comes at a time when there's stiff competition. Just shy of a month ago, Apple unveiled three new members of its line of smartwatches, the Apple Watch Series SE, Series 8, and Ultra, marking its eighth generation of wearables.
So, if you're eyeing a new smartwatch from one of the big tech giants, which exactly should you trust with your hard-earned money to track your time, health, and even sleep? Here are the key reasons why you should opt for one over the other.
It should come as no surprise that Google intends to build an ecosystem of products that's just as competitive as Apple's -- with the Pixel Watch serving as another piece of its centralized puzzle. Unsurprisingly, the new watch is only compatible with Android devices and not iPhones. The Pixel Watch features Wear OS, Google's proprietary smartwatch software that allows users to access a bounty of Android apps and functions -- like Google Maps. Wear OS also integrates the familiar "Hey, Google" command to complete hands-free tasks, send text messages, and even control other Google devices in your home. If you have a Nest thermostat, for example, you can monitor and adjust your house's temperature right from the Pixel Watch.
As an added bonus, Google will bundle three free months of YouTube Music Premium when you purchase a Pixel Watch.
2. You want Fitbit's technology for health tracking
This is Year 1 for Google's fitness watch, but the company's Fitbit acquisition means it's bringing a wealth of exercise and health experiences to the new wearable. By implementing Fitbit's health tracking tech, Google's smartwatch can track your heart rate, active calories, steps, and even sleep cycles. Like the Apple Watch Series 8, the Google Pixel Watch gives you a breakdown of your different stages of sleep and the overall effectiveness for further action. Along with the exercise and resting metrics, customers get a free six-month Fitbit membership with access to a plethora of fitness, breathing, and meditation classes.
3. You want a more traditional watch design
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch Series 8 lies in the hardware design. The Google Pixel Watch has a more traditional circular watch face, rounding out the edges to create a dome-like shape, and capitalizing on every inch of surface area for the display to shine in. For those who want the benefits of a smartwatch without straying from the timeless design, the Google Pixel Watch is the better of the two, with classic colors like Matte Black, Polished Silver, and Champagne Gold.
A key reason for Apple's user loyalty and new customer pull is its flourishing ecosystem -- a walled garden of products that is easy to buy into but hard to put aside. The Apple Watch Series 8 is no exception. If you have an iPhone, you'll gain exclusive access to detailed health reports via the Apple Watch, such as sleep habits and cycle tracking. Have an Android phone? You're better off looking elsewhere. If you're used to using Siri and Apple Maps, sticking with the Apple Watch may be a less jarring transition.
2. You want integrated women's health features
The Apple Watch Series 8 introduced a new suite of health features geared toward women's health. With WatchOS 9, the watch can track menstrual cycle and ovulation patterns for natural family planning purposes and body awareness. If these health features could be of use to you, the tracking is easy to set up and Apple promises your health data is both secure and easy to access for both you and your doctor, provided you choose to share with one.
Besides the distinctive squircle design, the Apple Watch Series 8 comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes, while the Google Pixel Watch only comes in a 41mm model. If you want a larger display for scanning text and swift interaction, the Apple Watch is the bigger and better option.
4. You want crash detection
Another feature that is exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 8 is its crash detection feature. With built-in accelerometers and G force detection, the Apple Watch Series 8 can detect if you've been in a car crash and will even contact emergency services. While the Google Pixel Watch says a fall detection feature is coming this winter, Apple's crash detection is already up and working for more severe instances. If you want your watch to double as a life-alert tool, the Series 8 is the one to buy.