2022 is a huge year for Wear OS smartwatches, because we saw the first smartwatch from Google – the Google Pixel Watch, and the best wearables Samsung has ever released: the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
So if you’re after a smartwatch and don’t have an iPhone, you’d probably consider one of these three — but with its premium price and focus on outdoor activity, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro stands apart from the other two.
With that in mind, we chose to focus on the two most closely related in style, intended user, and price. Here we walk you through how the Pixel Watch compares to the Galaxy Watch 5, so you can decide which one to buy.
Pixel Watch vs. Galaxy Watch 5: Price and availability
The Google Pixel Watch costs $350 / £340 / AU$550 for the Wi-Fi model, or $400 / £380 / AU$650 if you want to add LTE to the mix, and it hits stores in October 2022.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 landed in August 2022 and comes in a few other configurations, but the starting price is $279.99 / £269 / AU$499. This is for the 40mm Wi-Fi model.
For the 40mm LTE version you’ll pay $329.99 / £319 / AU$ 599, going up to 44mm costs $299 / £289 / AU$549 for the Wi-Fi version, and the 44mm LTE model costs $349 / 339 £ / AU $ 649.
Samsung’s smartwatch is a bit cheaper — the higher-end model costs about the same as the base Pixel Watch in most regions — though, as mentioned above, Samsung does have a more expensive smartwatch in the form of the Watch 5 Pro, which sits above the Pixel Watch by where the price.
Pixel Watch vs Galaxy Watch 5: Design
It might be hard for a smartwatch to stand out visually, but the Google Pixel Watch manages it, with a domed circular display protected by Gorilla Glass 5, stainless steel chassis, and 50m water resistance.
It measures 41 x 41 x 12.3 mm (not including the bracelet), and weighs 36 grams. Available colors, meanwhile, include matte black, brushed silver, and champagne gold.
We noted in our review that the sensor-filled back can make sleeping a little uncomfortable, and that the special straps can be a little tricky to switch. There’s also a surprisingly large bezel around the screen, but this isn’t overly noticeable in general use, and the watch as a whole has an attractive, contemporary design.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 also has a circular screen, but this screen is flat and protected by a sapphire crystal. It has an aluminum frame, and the same level of water resistance as the Pixel Watch.
Get the 40mm model and you’ll be looking at dimensions of 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm and a weight of 28.7g, while the 44mm version is 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm and 33.5g. So it’s thinner and lighter than the Pixel Watch, with other dimensions on either side of Google’s wearable, depending on whether you choose the 40mm or 44mm model.
It comes in a choice of graphite, silver, or rose gold for the 40mm version, and graphite, silver, or sapphire for the 44mm. It’s a less visually distinctive wearable than the Pixel Watch, but it’s not unsightly, and the choice of which looks better will be subjective.
Pixel Watch vs Galaxy Watch 5: Display
The Google Pixel Watch has a 1.2-inch circular AMOLED display of 450 x 450 pixels with 320ppi and 1000nits brightness.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 comes with either a 1.2-inch 396 x 396 circular AMOLED display with 330ppi, or a 1.4-inch 450 x 450ppi screen with 321ppi, in both cases it can reach 1,000 nits of brightness. Square. Brightness too.
The smaller size is very similar to the Pixel watch, but you have an option with the Samsung wearable. This is useful, as we noted in our Google Pixel Watch review that the screen can feel claustrophobic at times. But for anyone who wants a small screen, either wearable will work, and the overall screen specs are similar, too.
Pixel Watch vs. Galaxy Watch 5: Fitness and features
The Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 5 have pretty similar features, but with some differences. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 includes heart rate monitoring, ECG, blood oxygen measurement, GPS, sleep tracking, and more.
The Google Pixel Watch can match the Galaxy Watch 5 on almost every point here, but at the time of writing, it can’t monitor blood oxygen. However, it theoretically has the hardware to do so, and it’s likely that this feature will be turned on at some point. Plus, with the Pixel Watch, you can take advantage of Fitbit apps that aren’t available for the Galaxy Watch 5.
Beyond fitness, both wearables check all the boxes of a typical smartwatch, including notifications, contactless payments, alarms, timers, and all sorts of other things.
In the case of the Galaxy Watch 5, you’ll get things like Samsung Pay and Bixby by default, the Pixel Watch gets Google Wallet and Google Assistant, but you can switch to Google’s offerings on the Samsung Watch if you prefer.
Pixel Watch vs. Galaxy Watch 5: Software, power, and battery
Both wearables run on Wear OS 3, so the underlying OS is the same, but Samsung has stuck its One UI Watch interface on top, so the look and aspects of how you interact with it will differ.
We were pleased with both of our reviews, so this is a little subjective, but if we had to choose, we’d probably give the Pixel Watch the edge here, because the Galaxy Watch 5 requires you to install several smartphone apps — and to use a Samsung Galaxy phone — to access all its features.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 should have an edge when it comes to power, as it uses the Exynos W920 chipset (introduced in 2021), while the Pixel Watch has an older Exynos 9110 (introduced in 2018). However, the Pixel Watch has slightly more RAM at 2GB instead of 1.5GB, and both wearables delivered smooth performance in our tests.
The Pixel Watch also has twice the storage, at 32GB, but its battery capacity can’t match a Samsung wearable, or at least not the 44mm version of a Samsung wearable.
The Google Pixel Watch has a 294mAh battery, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has either a very similar 284mAh cell (if you get the 40mm version), or a larger 410mAh battery if you opt for the 44mm model. .
In practice, we found that we got about 26 hours out of the Pixel Watch’s life when not using the always-on display. So daily charging is really necessary.
We found the Galaxy Watch 5 to offer a similar lifespan — although we only tested one model, but Samsung for its part claims both versions have up to 40 hours of life.
There are a lot of differences between these two smartwatches and there is no clear winner, as they both earned four stars in our reviews.
The Galaxy Watch 5 is much more customizable, in terms of device size, screen, and battery — so you can choose what works best for you and your wallet. Even on the pricing end, though, the Galaxy Watch 5 is only as low as the Pixel Watch in most regions, so Google’s wearable is more expensive.
So far, so good for Samsung, and the gains continue when you look at the chipset, which is newer and better in the Samsung watch, while the OS is the same, battery life, and screen specs and features are pretty much the same.
However, the Pixel Watch has a more premium and attractive design, along with more RAM and more storage. Nor does it depend on your Samsung phone to get the most out of it; With features like an ECG and blood pressure monitor locked in for non-Samsung phone users who have a Galaxy Watch.
While they both rank among the best smartwatches and certainly the best Wear OS watches, there is a lot to consider when choosing which one to buy, which features are most important to you.