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Google unveils the Pixel Watch, its first-ever smartwatch

Google’s inaugural smartwatch promises: “Help by Google, Health by Fitbit”

Eight years after revealing Android Wear – the old name for what is now Wear OS – Google finally has first-party hardware to demonstrate what it can do. After nearly a decade of letting other manufacturers including Samsung, Huawei, LG and Sony take care of the hardware, Google has taken matters into its own hands with the upcoming Pixel Watch.

Of course, its own hands also include the experienced wearable makers at Fitbit, acquired by Google for $2.1 billion back in 2019. And the company isn’t shy about accepting its new acquisition’s contribution, either, saying that the watch offers “Help by Google” but “Health by Fitbit.”

This will be the first Wear OS device to come with Fitbit built-in, with the company’s familiar UI available right there on the watch. Leaning on Fitbit’s fitness tracking credentials, the Google Watch comes with support for 40 exercises, active zone minute tracking, daily readiness scores and Fitbit’s “most accurate heart rate tracking yet”. Emergency SOS will be on hand to instantly alert friends and family if you’re in trouble, and fall detection will be added to this at some point in the future.

It will also come with six months’ worth of Fitbit Premium free of charge. This unlocks things like wellness reports, breathing rate health metrics and 400 pieces of mindfulness content.

With Fitbit handling the fitness side of things, the watch also provides “Help by Google”, which largely translates to built-in support for Google’s growing range of essential apps. Google Maps, for example, is visible on the Pixel Watch, complete with haptic feedback to guide you. Google Wallet is also included for NFC payments directly from the watch, and there’s a three-month trial of YouTube Music Premium thrown in for good measure.

Otherwise, all the familiar Google apps and services are well integrated: Calendar, Gmail and Google Assistant are all baked in to provide notifications as and when required, and you can also make your watch face show snaps from Google Photos.

Google first teased the Pixel Watch back at Google I/O in May, so we had a good idea of what it would look like: a chunky, circular watch with a crown on the right-hand side. Straps connect via a unique system that Google describes as like swapping a lens in a DSLR camera, and will have a selection of first-party straps available at launch, with metal bands coming in the Spring.

Google quotes a 24-hour battery life, though it’s not clear if that’s with or without the always-on display enabled. If it’s not, Google says that the fast charging will provide nine hours’ worth of battery off a 45-minute charge, which should mean you’re not caught out just before a run.

Unfortunately, all of this comes at a surprisingly high price of entry, with the Pixel Watch eclipsing the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in its pricing. The Wi-Fi version will set you back £339, while the LTE model comes in at £379, which is honing in on Apple Watch territory.

If you’re sold, then preorders are open right now with deliveries arriving on October 13. If you prefer to wait, we should have a full review with you soon.

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