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Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (2023): Which Wear OS Watch Should You Buy?

Ever since Google acquired Fitbit, the idea of the US multinational tech company developing its own smartwatch has played with the consumer’s imagination. In October 2022, imagination finally turned into reality. The release of the Google Pixel Watch completes Google’s tech trinity β€” smartphone, wireless earbuds, and smartwatch.

But like its Pixel phones invited comparisons with Android models, the Pixel Watch, which runs on Google’s Wear OS, is already being pitted with other WearOS watches. And with its circular form, it’s easy to wonder how it fares with a similar flagship wearable like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.

Released just two months before the Pixel Watch, the latest Galaxy Watch rivals the Apple Watch in terms of features. It’s no surprise, having been around for years. So how does the Google Pixel Watch compare with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5? Read below to find out.

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Comparison Chart

ModelGoogle Pixel WatchSamsung Galaxy Watch 5
 
Price
Sizes41mm44mm, 40mm
Material & BuildGorilla Glass 5 display, 80% recycled stainless steel frameSapphire crystal glass front, armor aluminum case
BandFluoroelastomer with soft-touch coatingFluoroelastomer
Display AMOLED always-on display, 1000 nits peak brightnessSuper AMOLED always-on display
OSWear OS 3.5Wear OS 3.5, One UI Watch4.5
ChipExynos 9110 SoCExynos W920 Dual-Core 1.18GHz
MicrophoneYesYes
SpeakerYesYes
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
SpO2 SensorYesYes
ECGYesYes
Skin Temperature SensorNoYes
Workout Auto-DetectionNoYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Call, Text & App NotificationsYesYes
DurabilityIP68, 5ATM water resistanceIP68, 5ATM water resistance
Battery Life24 hours50 hours

Design

The Google Pixel Watch offers a minimalist design over the sportier aesthetic of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Design Comparison
The Google Pixel Watch in matte black (left) and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in graphite (right)

Unlike Fitbit’s squircle smartwatches, the Google Pixel Watch features a round display. While this draws comparisons to the Samsung Galaxy Watch, Google’s wearable is more minimalist. In fact, its no-fuss design calls to mind the Apple Watch if it were round, too.

It helps that Google uses a proprietary connector for its watch bands, allowing the straps to sit flush against the watch’s screen. Moreover, the Pixel Watch sports a 3D dome glass for a raised effect. Although the bezels are thick, Google’s wearable succeeds in the illusion of a seamless body.

The Pixel Watch uses a haptic crown and a side button for interaction. For the display, you get an AMOLED screen with up to 1000 nits at peak brightness. For a newcomer, the Pixel Watch is well-built and well-designed.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 offers a sportier aesthetic. It also comes in two sizes: 44mm and 40mm. In contrast, you’re stuck to 41mm on the Pixel Watch.

The Galaxy Watch 5 isn’t a huge leap in design from its predecessor. However, it does boast a re-designed bottom curvature, increasing surface contact with your skin. Samsung also says the display is also made from sapphire glass, which should make it more scratch resistant.

If you like third-party bands, the Galaxy Watch 5 is for you. The device supports quick-release straps and comes in a variety of materials. As for interaction, Samsung opts for two physical buttons.

Health & Fitness Tracking

Google’s Pixel Watch fitness and health features are powered by Fitbit, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 relies on the feature-packed Samsung Health.

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Health & Fitness Features
Fitbit features on the Google Pixel Watch (left); health and wellness monitoring on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (right)

The Pixel Watch has the usual health and fitness features, from heart rate monitoring to sleep tracking. What makes it unique is that it has Fitbit as its primary tracking platform. You can download and install Google Fit, but it’s hard to beat the convenience of the Fitbit built-in integration.

In contrast, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 is primarily designed for its smartphones. As such, you’re getting Samsung Health by default. The platform does track more workouts β€” over 90 of them β€” than Fitbit. With the Pixel Watch, you can only access 40 exercise modes. Both platforms cover the basics. So if you only care about daily steps and calories burned, any of the two will do.

There’s another caveat for the Pixel Watch. Not all Fitbit features are available. A notable capability left out is automatic exercise recognition. Alerts for abnormal heart rates, along with workout-specific metrics like swim strokes, have also been omitted. For female users, there’s no cycle tracking either.

On the other hand, Samsung is trying to rival the Apple Watch with hardware and features. The Galaxy Watch 5 has bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) sensors from last year. With these, you can monitor body composition, including BMI and weight. In addition, the Galaxy Watch 5 boasts a new skin temperature sensor.

Smart Features

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 is more fluid and responsive than Google’s Pixel Watch – an advantage when using their smart features.

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Smart Features
Users can receive and reply to messages on the Pixel Watch (left) and Galaxy Watch 5 (right)

Although both the Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 run on Google’s Wear OS, there are differences in execution.

For one thing, the Pixel Watch has almost all the Google apps you expect from a wearable built-in. Google Maps, Wallet, and Assistant are present. You also get YouTube Music, Google Wallet, Gmail, and Calendar. So while it builds on Fitbit for health and fitness, it feels smarter than a standalone Fitbit device. Plus, the Pixel Watch offers a smoother experience paired with a Pixel phone.

With the Galaxy Watch 5, Samsung follows its approach with its Android phones. On top of the Wear OS, you get the One UI Watch4.5 skin for the interface. You still get built-in apps like Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Gmail. You can also opt for Samsung Pay over Google Wallet. For everything else, you can simply download the app you need from PlayStore.

Samsung also allows users to store their music files on the Galaxy Watch 5. In contrast, the Pixel Watch only lets you download from Spotify and YouTube Music.

Neither of the wearables runs on the latest processor, though. Nonetheless, the Galaxy Watch 5 is more responsive with its Exynos W920 chip β€” the same chip on the Galaxy Watch 4. Google, on the other hand, opts for an older Exynos 9110, the same processor on the Galaxy Watch 3. If you want a snappier device, then the Galaxy Watch 5 has the edge.

Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has a better battery life than the Google Pixel Watch.

Google Pixel Watch vs Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Battery Life and Contents
Here’s a look at the contents of the Google Pixel Watch (left) and the charging adapter for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (right)

Just like our phones, we want our smartwatches to last the day. Here, both Wear OS devices meet expectations, although not necessarily the way they’re marketed. For instance, the Google Pixel Watch is supposed to last 24 hours on a single charge. Based on actual usage with the always-on display, the watch delivers about 20 hours of battery life.

Samsung makes a bolder claim that the Galaxy Watch 5 can last up to 50 hours. That’s 10 hours more than the Galaxy Watch 4. Like the Pixel Watch, these numbers come with the caveat that battery life will vary based on usage patterns. Early reviews from users say they get about 21 hours or more with the always-on display. Without GPS and always-on display, battery life is closer to 24 hours.

While it’s disappointing that both devices are far from their claimed battery life, the Google Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 fare better than the Apple Watch. With these Wear OS devices, you shouldn’t worry about losing power mid-day, especially if you’re not a power user.

As for charging, the Pixel Watch takes 80 minutes to reach 100%. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is faster at 70 minutes. The only downside is that Samsung doesn’t include a charging brick in the box.

Verdict

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 is a more feature-packed Wear OS watch, but one that works best with a Galaxy phone. Similarly, the Google Pixel Watch is a great option if you own a Pixel smartphone.

Looking at the specs alone, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is a better Wear OS watch. It boasts a better processor, enjoys a longer battery life, tracks more workouts, and offers third-party band compatibility.

Still, the Google Pixel Watch isn’t too far behind. For a new flagship smartwatch, it ticks the right boxes, especially when it comes to staple features. Its health and fitness features are also powered by Fitbit, which feels more solid and comprehensive than Google Fit or Samsung Health.

Choosing between the two depends on your preferred ecosystem. With years of experience, the Galaxy Watch 5 has the edge in seamless integration with other Galaxy devices. If you’re on a Pixel phone, then the Pixel Watch integrates better β€” and does more β€” than non-Pixel wearables, including Fitbit devices.

FAQs

πŸ“Œ What are the available colors for the Google Pixel Watch?

The Google Pixel Watch comes in Champagne Gold, Matte Black, and Polished Silver.

πŸ“Œ How much storage does the Samsung Galaxy Watch offer?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has 16GB of internal storage.

πŸ“Œ Can I store music on the Google Pixel Watch?

While you can’t transfer music files on the Google Pixel Watch, you can download music from Spotify or YouTube Music and store it locally.

πŸ“Œ How long is the warranty of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5?

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 comes with a one-year warranty.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.