Google’s Pixel Watch 2 and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 are two of the best smartwatches on the market right now. But when it comes down to it, you’re likely only going to choose one to buy, and that decision begs questions: How exactly are these two watches different? Are there features that make one stand out over the over?
Design and size
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The Galaxy Watch 6 is the newest option in Samsung’s long-standing smartwatch lineup. After all this time, the company has almost perfected that sports-like watch look, and has come a long way by offering great features and performance in such a small device. The Pixel Watch 2, on the other hand, is only Google’s second foray into the smartwatch world, and while it is doing a great job with what it has created, Samsung still edges ahead in a few key areas.
One of the most notable ways Samsung stays ahead of Google’s offerings is in design and size. The Galaxy Watch 6 offers two different sizes, including a smaller 40mm option and a larger 44mm variant. Both displays are crisp and clean, and offer plenty of room and pixels-per-inch for what you need them to do, but if you prefer a larger device, it’s nice to have the option of the 44mm Galaxy Watch 6.
In Google world, the Pixel Watch 2 sports that distinctive pebble design Google introduced on the first Pixel Watch. Nothing about the general design has changed from the first generation, except that the Watch 2 is made of aluminum instead of stainless steel. It’s still plenty durable, but it is lighter, too. The Pixel Watch 2 only comes in one size, though, and while I love the design of this particular smartwatch, I did talk about how it feels small in my Pixel Watch 2 review. People who prefer larger watches will feel more at home and comfortable wearing the Galaxy Watch 6. If you like the smaller design, you can choose which style you prefer: the more bubbly Pixel Watch 2 or the flatter display of the Galaxy Watch 6.
Software and performance
Both smartwatches are top-of-the-line when it comes to performance and software, and ship with Wear OS 4 right out the box. The major difference between the two is Google runs an unmodified version of Wear OS 4 on the Pixel Watch 2, while Samsung has overlaid its One UI 5 Watch design on top of the operating system. That means more Samsung fluff, which folks within the Samsung ecosystem might love.
If you don’t have a Samsung phone, though, the Pixel Watch 2 offers the cleanest option for Wear OS 4 that you can get on a smartwatch right now, a common reason to go with a Google-made device over another leading Android. That said, Google put a lot of Fitbit pieces into the Pixel Watch 2, so it integrates well with the fitness-tracking capabilities of the Fitbit app. As one of the oldest fitness apps on the app store, Fitbit has a long and storied history, and a ton of customers are willing to stick within that ecosystem. So, if you like what Fitbit does with its fitness trackers, the Pixel Watch 2 is probably going to be a better option here.
Overall, though, both devices will offer similar software experiences and app access. You just need to decide whether you want to rely on Samsung apps or the Pixel’s Fitbit integrations for keeping up with everything.
When it comes to cost, it’s pretty close: The Galaxy Watch 6 starts at $300 for the smaller option, while the Pixel Watch 2 lists for $350. On the other hand, the larger 44mm Galaxy Watch 6 is only $330, so you’re still saving a little even with the larger model. Still, it’s not a huge difference in cost, so unless your budget is strict, this probably won’t be the defining element of your decision.
You’ll also find various other factors relating to the price tag of the Watch 6, including what connectivity model you choose. Both watches are also available on different carriers, so if you need 4G LTE connectivity, you can also pick it up with your carrier, most likely.
The bottom line is this: These watches are solid. The Pixel Watch 2 is the best option for those looking for stock Android and all the Google-features possible, while the Galaxy Watch offers the Samsung-equivalent with flexibility in sizing.