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Pixel Watch vs Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: Did Google just beat Samsung?

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 offers it all, with Google Wear OS powered by Samsung, Google apps, and more. However, Google may have bested Samsung with its first Pixel Watch, thanks in large part to the deep integration of Fitbit.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer on
Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Image: Google, Samsung

It was only a few weeks ago that I posted a Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review making it clear it was the best smartwatch available for Android phone users.

That may still be the case for Samsung fans and those who need a smartwatch that lasts for at least two days on a charge, but Google's new Pixel Watch may be the best one for most people.

We will soon be evaluating the Pixel Watch in detail for ourselves, alongside the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. For now, based on their specs and features alone, here are the clear and distinct reasons to purchase one wearable over the other.

More: I put the Apple Watch Ultra through a Tough Mudder: Here's how it held up

Specifications


Google Pixel WatchSamsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Display 320-ppi AMOLED touchscreen1.4-inch 450x450-pixel resolution Super AMOLED touchscreen
Processor Samsung Exynos 9110Samsung Exynos W920 dual-core
Materials 80% recycled stainless steel and Gorilla Glass 5Titanium body with Sapphire Crystal glass wtih 29GPa rating
RAM/storage 2GB/32GB1.5GB/16GB
Durability 5 atm5 atm/IP68 and MIL-STD-810H
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS/GLONASS, LTE (optional)802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS/GLONASS, LTE (optional)
Sensors Accelerometer, Altimeter, Compass, Optical Heart Rate, Blood Oxygen Sensor, Gyroscope, Light SensorAccelerometer, Barometer, Samsung BioActive Sensor (Optical Heart Rate + Electrical Heart Signal + Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis), Skin Temperature, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Light Sensor
Battery 294 mAh, up to 24 hours in typical usage590 mAh, up to two days in typical usage
Dimensions 41 x 41 x 12.3 mm and 36 grams (without strap)45.5 x 45.5 x 15 mm and 46.5 grams (without strap)
Colors Matte Black, Polished Silver, Champagne GoldBlack Titanium and Gray Titanium
Price $349.99/$399.99 (LTE)$449.99/$499.99 (LTE)

You should buy the Google Pixel Watch if...

Google Pixel Watch
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

1. You want a full Fitbit experience

While the Samsung Health ecosystem is decent and provides key health and wellness information, Fitbit is much more extensive, cohesive, and understandable. Everything you love about the Fitbit ecosystem is present in the Google Pixel Watch, including support for running reports via the Fitbit website or smartphone application.

Fitbit Premium is a low-cost subscription that provides actionable guidance to help you use all of the data gathered by the Pixel Watch. While Samsung presents it in a decent smartphone app, there is little guidance provided on what to do with that data and how to use it to make your life better. Fitbit has been in the health and wellness game for many years and this refined experience is now present on a modern smartwatch. 

2. You are deeply invested in the Google ecosystem

It's been great to see Samsung move from Tizen OS to Wear OS with support for Google Wallet, Google Maps, and even voice-activated Google Assistant. However, there are still some gaps in what is available on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro that Google's own Pixel Watch fills in. Google Home control from the Pixel Watch is one example of this integration, as well as Google Photos.

The Pixel Watch also supports Google Pixel phones and Pixel Buds, much like the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro offers enhanced experiences with Samsung phones and Samsung Galaxy Buds.

3. You want to save $100

Google's Pixel Watch is available for $100 less than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, in both Wi-Fi and LTE models. It is also quite a bit smaller than the Watch 5 Pro, so it will be more attractive to people with smaller wrists and those looking for a more elegant smartwatch.

Also: Best sports watch: Garmin, Coros, Polar, and more

You should buy the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro if...

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
June Wan/ZDNET

1. You want a watch that can keep a charge for two to three days

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a battery with twice the capacity of the Pixel Watch and in our testing, it has proven to power through at least two full days and two full nights of regular usage. The Watch 5 Pro rivals the Apple Watch Ultra for smartwatch battery champ, and if you want to use your watch to track your sleep and keep going for a couple of days between charges it doesn't look like the Pixel Watch is going to provide that experience.

2. Outdoor adventures are part of your routine

The Google Pixel Watch gets a 5-atm water resistance rating, but it has no rugged durability rating and that dome of Gorilla Glass 5 that stands out proudly above the watch case doesn't look like it could take much of a beating. The Watch 5 Pro also has a 5-atm rating, but also a MIL-STD-810H rating. Its titanium body protects the sapphire glass display and it is clearly built for non-standard activities.

The bands available for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are also built to stay in place even with applied force and there are even more rugged options available.

3. You want trail guidance on your watch

One of the pro features advertised by Samsung is the Route tile that actively guides you on select GPX routes. We've detailed the process for how to use the Route tile, and if you're looking for a watch companion for these kinds of outdoor activities then look to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. There may be some third-party Google Wear OS apps that provide some of this functionality, but Samsung's native support is solid and reliable.

Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: The best wearable for Android phone users

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