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Key Takeaways

  • The Pixel Watch 2 has new health features including an electrical sensor to track stress levels and a multi-path heart rate sensor for more accurate readings.
  • The watch has improved safety features like a Safety Check timer and Emergency Sharing to notify contacts of your location in real-time.
  • There's a new processor platform, better battery life, and a recycled aluminium casing, but it maintains the same design and colour options as the previous model.

Alongside its next range of flagship Pixel smartphones, Google has unveiled its second-generation smartwatch: the Pixel Watch 2. It might look just like the first model, but there are plenty of new additions under the hood, including an ambition to be your whole health companion on your wrist.

The fitness and health advancements are implemented in both hardware and software, and aim to give you deeper insights into things that might be stressors, and help you to build in routines to help alleviate those or - even - proactively keep them at bay.

Using a new electrical sensor on the underside of the case, the Pixel Watch 2 will track the electrical conductance of your skin by measuring something called 'cEDA', which stands for 'Continuous Electrodermal Activity' or - essentially - microscopic changes in the tiny beads of sweat which are produced in your outer skin layers.

pixel watch body response-1
Google / Pocket-lint

By measuring these tiny changes, the Fitbit sensors - and the app on the watch and phone - can learn when you're stressed or excited, and then deliver pop-up prompts and reminders to take steps to help. It'll suggest things like guided breathing and going for a walk if you're showing signs of stress. Over time these patterns and stressors are learned, and it can then help you build healthy strategies into your routine to help avoid over-stressing yourself in the first place.

This electrical conductance sensor is joined by a revamped optical heart rate sensor - called a multi-path heart rate sensor - which has been designed to improve the detection of heart rate, improving the quality of the signal and - therefore - the accuracy and speed of readings. When you dive into an intense activity, it ramps up into 'multi-path' mode, reading signals from multiple angles at once, giving it more data to work with and the ability to approximate your heart rate more accurately.

body responses fitbit
Google / Pocket-lint

Safety features have been improved too. There's a feature called Safety Check that lets you set a timer in set situations to ping a little prompt onscreen to check that you're alright, and check if you want to send your location to your closest contacts.

If it gets no response, it then activates the Emergency Sharing feature that automatically notifies your emergency contacts of your location in real-time, or can enable medical information to share with emergency services. With Safety Signal - which is part of the Fitbit Premium subscription - you can even get connectivity for this specific set of features without your phone needing to be nearby, or even if you don't have an LTE plan for your watch.

You do - of course - get all the usual advanced fitness tracking abilities too. There are GPS, SpO2 and skin temperature sensors alongside the usual motion sensors for detecting workouts and tracking your routes.

pixel watch 2 health sensors
Google / Pocket-lint

Alongside the dedicated health hardware is a new processor platform. Rather than go with the Samsung-made Exynos processor, Google switched it out for the Qualcomm SW5100 CPU, which is the same brain that's in the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 (featured in the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro and TicWatch Pro 5).

The change in hardware has led - crucially - to much better battery life. The new Pixel Watch 2 can get 24 hours from a full charge even with the always-on display enabled. The previous model struggled to get through a day even with that switched off. Plus, it can fully charge wirelessly from empty in 75 minutes.

pixel watch 2 card
Google/ Pocket-lint
Google Pixel Watch 2

All of these health, safety and smart everyday abilities are packed into a device which looks virtually identical to the first Pixel Watch. It's the same width and thickness, but Google has swapped out the stainless steel casing for one made from recycled aluminium, and made the 3D custom Corning Gorilla Glass 5 display thinner, without weakening it.

Just like the last model, it's going to be available in Matte Black, Champagne Gold and Polished silver, with similar silicon Active Bands. And if you purchase one you'll get six months of Fitbit Premium at no additional cost, to give you a full experience of what the Fitbit platform has to offer.