Now that Google owns Fitbit, buying something like the Charge 6 officially puts you in the company’s ecosystem. But that doesn’t mean the Fitbit Charge 6 is the same as the Pixel Watch 2. In fact, the experience you’ll get on both of these wearables will be completely different. If you find yourself stuck choosing between one of Google’s latest wearables, it’s important to know the distinctions to make the best decision for you.
Specs and price
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The Fitbit Charge 6 currently lists for $159.95 on Amazon, while the Pixel Watch 2 is relatively more expensive at $399.99. That might make the Fitbit immediately more appealing, but that price difference also brings some pretty steep spec differences:
Fitbit Charge 6 specs:
- Dimensions: 1.52″ x 0.73″ x 0.46″
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
- Compatibility: Android 9.0 or newer, iOS 15 or newer
- Display: 1.04-inch AMOLED
- Battery: Up to 7 days
- Sensors: Optical heart rate monitor, 3-axis accelerometer, red and infrared sensors for oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring, device temperature sensor, vibration motor, ambient light sensor, multipurpose electrical sensors compatible with ECG app & EDA Scan app, AFib monitoring, sleep tracking
Google Pixel Watch 2 specs:
- Dimensions: 41 mm x 12.3 mm
- Weight: 31 grams (without band)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz, NFC, LTE
- GPS: GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, Quasi-Zenith Satellite
- Compatibility: Android 9.0 or newer
- Display: 320 ppi AMOLED display with DCI-P3 color
- Battery: Up to 24 hours with always-on display
- Sensors: Compass, altimeter, red and infrared sensors, multipurpose electrical sensors, multi-path optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, barometer, magnetometer
This is one particular area the Fitbit Charge 6 shines, especially when compared to the Pixel Watch 2. The Charge 6 might not have as many smartwatch features, but that simplicity helps it deliver up to seven days of battery life on a single charge. You can count on it to keep up with your fitness goals, while also tracking sleep, monitoring for AFib, etc., all without having to charge it every day.
The Pixel Watch 2, unfortunately, tops out at 24 hours of battery life when using the smartwatch’s always-on-display. It’s one of the things I talked about most in my Pixel Watch 2 review, and while it’s a huge improvement over the original Pixel Watch’s battery life, it still means you’re going to be charging your smartwatch every day.
Software and features
I spent a good deal of time with both the Pixel Watch 2 and Fitbit Charge 6, and the experiences they offer are vastly different, especially when it comes to operating systems, feel, and their builds.
While the Fitbit Charge 6 does offer more parts of the Google ecosystem than any Fitbit before it, those additions are mostly tied to YouTube Music, Google Pay, Google’s Find My Phone system, and Google Maps integration. However, these aren’t as easily integrated into the Charge 6 as they are with the Pixel Watch 2. For instance, the Charge 6 won’t let you activate Google Maps on the device. It requires you to activate it on your phone first, and then it will transfer over to the wearable. That’s fine, but it removes the convenience of having access to Maps right on your wrist. While testing the Charge 6, I found it inconvenient to need my smartphone with me at all times in order to access all the features that Fitbit offers here.
The other Google functions, like YouTube Music and Google Pay, both work well on the Charge 6, and they don’t require any kind of outside interaction from your phone to use them. But that’s where the smartwatch features on the Charge 6 mostly end. Sure, it’ll tell you the time and notify you about things, but aside from that, you aren’t going to be making use of other apps like Spotify.
That’s why it’s hard to recommend the Fitbit Charge 6 as the perfect tracker for those who want a true smartwatch experience. The Pixel Watch 2, on the other hand, is a dedicated smartwatch, offering full access to your smartphone’s various features, including messaging, phone calls, and more. It does all that, plus it blends in many of Fitbit’s fitness tracking features and options, too (the perks of Google owning Fitbit, I guess). And, because it’s running the latest version of WearOS, you can expect a really snappy and responsive system.
Fitness and build
When it comes to fitness tracking, Fitbit has been in the game longer, and the company is well-known for offering solid fitness tracking products. The Charge 6 offers a more streamlined fitness-tracking experience, and it comes with longer-lasting battery life, which makes it easy to take advantage of functions like sleep-tracking. Aside from that, though, both wearables are pretty evenly matched. (It helps that Google baked a lot of Fitbit stuff into the Pixel Watch 2.)
Both devices are excellent at keeping up with your daily activity, and I never experienced an issue getting either of them to clock my workouts using the automatic workout-tracker setting. I could leave the system on and just start walking or running, and didn’t have to sweat that my watch wasn’t going to pick up on things.
Fitbit says the sensors in the Charge 6 are the most accurate the company has offered yet, and that claim definitely stands. The Pixel Watch 2 comes in close, too, though I did notice a slight deviation between how many steps my Pixel Watch 2 counted one day versus the Charge 6. That could have been tied to the way these devices track steps, so it’s impossible to say what might have caused the discrepancy. Either way, both are going to offer you accurate and accessible fitness-tracking.
Both devices also heavily rely on Fitbit’s app to do most of the heavy lifting, so you’ll need to get Fitbit Premium if you want access to the most important and useful tidbits. That’s a bit of a bummer on both accounts, but you could always go without and just use the free version if you don’t want to pay. You’ll still get basic tracking features either way.
Both the Pixel Watch 2 and the Charge 6 offer solid builds, though the Charge 6 feels like it could take more of a beating since you don’t have to worry about the display as much as you do on the Pixel Watch 2. Neither device feels cheap or weak, though, which is good, given how expensive the Pixel Watch 2 can get.
Smartwatch or fitness tracker?
Ultimately, it comes down to this: Do you want a smartwatch or a fitness tracker?
If you want a smartwatch that offers more features, as well as the option to take advantage of Fitbit’s various tracking options, the Pixel Watch 2 is a clear winner. But for a fitness-focused device that offers some smart features, the Fitbit Charge 6 is still a fantastic option. It takes away the extra complexity that comes with most smartwatches, and it stands out among the other fitness trackers that have been released in recent months. Much of that also comes down to how well it incorporates more of the Google ecosystem into Fitbit’s framework, which I discussed more extensively in my review of the Charge 6.
No matter which device you choose, both offer excellent fitness tracking capabilities, as well as access to basic smartwatch functions like music control, GPS, and messages. But if you want more than that, I suggest spending more for the Pixel Watch 2.