Google's Pixel Watch is finally coming to India and Android users will now have another option to choose from when buying a smartwatch. The first Pixel Watch didn't launch in India, and we're only getting the Pixel Watch 2, which I believe was a good decision from Google. The Pixel Watch 2 is expected to launch alongside the Pixel 8 series at the upcoming Made by Google event scheduled for October 4. The first Pixel Watch, although a great looking smartwatch and a decent first attempt, has a couple of kinks. I've been using the Pixel Watch for a good part of a year and here's why I think Google didn't bring it to India.
The Pixel Watch was announced last year at the Made by Google event alongside the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro. Google's smartwatch has been a long time in the making, and when they finally unveiled it, most people loved the design, including me. It has a very distinctive design with a dome glass and a round dial with a digital crown. It easily stands out from the rest of the smartwatches and looks gorgeous. I honestly believe that it's the best looking smartwatch currently available in the market.
It's also a decent first attempt by Google. The Pixel Watch isn't the best when it comes to health tracking, but it kept up with the latest Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 lineup and even the latest Apple Watch. I compared my Pixel Watch' health tracking data such as steps, exercise tracking, sleep monitoring, and heart rate, and a couple of other metrics with a Galaxy Watch 5 (Review) and an Apple Watch SE (2nd gen), and the accuracy was spot on.
In terms of software, I found the Pixel Watch's interface, which is stock Wear OS 3.5, to be much smoother than the Galaxy Watch 5. The battery life was its weakest point though. On a full charge, the Pixel Watch lasted less than 16 hours with AOD turned on. With AOD turned off and other battery saving features enabled, I did get a day's worth of battery life, but throw in a workout or two, and you'll need to charge it at night.
A lot of users also weren't happy with the size of the display, which compared to the Galaxy Watch 5 or the 40mm Apple Watch, was kind of small. Let's also not forget the bezels on the Pixel Watch, which makes the screen look even smaller. However, I did not mind the small dial size or the bezels, as Google did a good job with hiding the bezels with clever software. Almost all of the watch faces on the Pixel Watch have black borders, which blend in with that thick bezel.
The Pixel Watch is also not particularly robust. The dome glass with glossy finish meant that any small scratches were clearly visible, and there's also the huge problem with the glass just cracking if you were to bang the sides to a table or a wall. There was also no glass replacement, which meant that you had to be very careful or slap on a glass protector, which is what I immediately did as soon as I got the watch.
Google priced the Pixel Watch at $349.99 (roughly Rs. 28,700) for the non-LTE variant, whereas the LTE version was priced at $399.99 (roughly Rs. 32,800). At this price range, the Pixel Watch actually offered less compared to its competition.
Meanwhile, the smartwatch market in India is led by brands such as BoAt, Fire-Boltt, and Noise, who make affordable smartwatches. Therefore, with all the flaws with the Pixel Watch, I believe it was a good call by Google to not launch in India. The search giant also hadn't had a great presence in India since it had only launched the Pixel 6a in India since the Pixel 3. With the launch of the Pixel 7 series in India, Google probably wanted to test the markets. And now, Google believes that users in India are ready for a Pixel Watch. That's probably why the Pixel Watch 2 is being brought to India.
With the Pixel Watch 2, Google probably has had more time to refine and make its smartwatch better. Recent leaks have suggested that the new smartwatch from Google will more or less look the same as the predecessor. However, it is expected to offer improved health tracking, better performance with a newer chipset, more bands, and longer battery life. The Pixel Watch 2 is confirmed to be available on Flipkart starting October 5.