Apple Watch Series 9 or Google Pixel Watch 2? – Connect

The second generation of Google’s connected watch is more responsive and better built than its predecessor. The Apple Watch Series 9 is a slight improvement over the previous generation. Is one better than the other?

In any case, one is cheaper than the other. Google describes the $480 Pixel Watch on its website. This price includes a colored silicone band and a six-month subscription to the Fitbit Premium physical activity service. (Google gives it to you if you buy a Pixel 8 Pro). The LTE connection version of the Pixel Watch costs $550 instead.

The Apple Watch Series 9 in the 41mm dial version costs $550. A silicone strap is also included in the box, but for the same price you can opt for a fabric or polymer strap made from recycled materials, which Apple says is the first connected watch on the market that is “carbon neutral.”

The LTE antenna version of the Apple Watch S9 costs $680. There’s also a version with a 45mm dial that costs $590. Note, in case you haven’t seen them yet, the Pixel Watch 2 has a round watch face, while the Apple Watch has a rectangular watch face.

Question of religion?

The first reason that should motivate your purchasing decision is simple: what phone do you have in your pocket? The Pixel Watch 2 is based on the Wear OS system and is therefore basically compatible with all Android phones and even an iPhone via the Wear OS phone app. However, let’s say that it is optimized, above all, to work fully with a Pixel phone. It is slightly smaller and lighter than the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is designed exclusively to pair with an iPhone.

Of course, if you are in the process of changing phones, the versatility of the watch that carries the same colors can be the deciding factor.

Increased mobility

The two watches work in roughly the same way: once paired, they play notifications received on your phone on your wrist. Both displays are bright, but the Apple Watch’s square format allows for better viewing of text or even the small keyboard that sometimes appears on the screen.

The Pixel Watch’s Canadian-French keyboard looks crooked, it’s even missing the first line of characters. We believe that the rounded format of the screen also deprives other applications of certain visual elements.

However, in both cases you can stay connected via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. However, this requires somewhat high monthly fees. Regardless of provider, neither watch offers roaming outside of Canada.

Questionable autonomy

Apple says its watch is suitable for a “full 18-hour day,” while Google predicts “a full 24-hour day.” Last time we checked, a real day had 24 hours, so both robot parts go to Google on that day.

In real life, on the other hand, the autonomy of the two watches drops to less than 16 hours if you decide to closely track physical activities, listen to music or carry out tasks directly on the screen that require more energy than in simple sleep mode.

The Pixel Watch 2 needed to be charged at dinnertime after storing a day’s worth of information during a 6.5km mountain run. The Apple Watch only lasted slightly longer under the same circumstances.

In both cases, we listened to music through Bluetooth headphones from the same brand.

Uneven applications

On the app side, the Apple Watch has a clear advantage. Almost all basic apps are available on both watches. Like the Apple Watch, the Pixel Watch offers contactless mobile payments. Both can store music, receive emails or text messages, and both offer access to hiking, running, skiing, and other apps, all of about the same level of detail.

Thanks to the tradition of Wear OS, the Pixel Watch 2 offers thousands of different watch faces with numerous widgets and complications. They don’t all display perfectly on the screen, but the variety is impressive. On the Apple Watch side, it’s more limited.

However, Google encounters obvious limitations when it comes to incorporating certain content. The music embedded in YouTube Music Premium isn’t as well organized as Apple Music. You have to resort to Spotify Premium, which costs more.

Lots of health data

To stand out, both watches rely heavily on health data. The Apple Watch Series 9 has sensors for blood oxygen, heart and breathing. It can track the menstrual cycle and has some cool sleep tracking features.

The Pixel Watch also has the most modern sensors. It can know skin temperature and track its wearer’s stress levels. It automatically detects sporting activities, like the Apple Watch. Integration with the Fitbit application gives it a certain advantage in this regard.

Gesture interface

You can tap the screen of both watches or talk to them. Siri and the Google Assistant understand what you say to them about equally well in Quebec French. The on-screen keyboards are small and clunky in both cases, but the Apple Watch has a screen better suited to this interface.

Apple is also adding a new gesture interface called Double Tap. Simply double-tap your thumb on the index finger of the hand where the watch is located to execute certain commands on the watch. It’s not perfect, but it’s a big plus. Wear OS watches have had half a dozen such gestures in the past, but we don’t find them on the Pixel Watch 2. Who knows why. This is a big loss because Apple suddenly has the upper hand in this area.