With the launch of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Watch 5 smartwatches, we’re curious if it’s upis coming Google Pixel Watch will have a fighting chance. In accordance 9to5Googleits latest foray into the Fitbit APK, the outlook seems bleak, especially if estimates that Pixel Watch’s battery life will be only a fraction of what Samsung advertises turns out to be true.
Last week, 9to5Google decompiled the version 3.65 update into the official one Fitbit Android App to sniff everything that lies next to the Pixel Watch. They found code proving an “evening charge reminder” for the Pixel Watch. Essentially, you turn it on to get a notification to charge your watch before your “bedtime goal” if the battery is too low to make it through the night. This limit is at 30% batterywhich gives us a rough idea that 8 hours might be 30% of the Pixel Watch’s life, though there’s certainly some wiggle room in there.
That’s a hefty amount of juice, especially since most modern smartwatches expecting you to sleep with the clock on to collect calculations. The marketing around Samsung’s Galaxy smartwatches has usually been that you can get through the night with enough juice to monitor your REM cycles. That’s why I relied on the Galaxy Watch Active before it was Wear OS-based in the early weeks of parenthood: to track the quality of my sleep between nightly feedings.
The Fitbit app is an interesting metric to use here. Google bought the company in 2017, and we’ve been expecting to see some of the fitness app’s DNA built into this new wearable hardware. And while the Pixel Watch is rumored to handle up to 24 hours of life before needing a charge, it’s amazing how much less it would be with all the sensors turned on for tracking. The Galaxy Watch 5, for example, promises up to 50 hours of battery life, while a regular Fitbit Charge 5 band can manage up to a week on average, as long as you turn off GPS.
Although it is true that smartwatches and fitness bands often promises more than they deliver, it is also true that battery optimization for such small devices is a big challenge. Anecdotally, I still wonder how much battery my Galaxy Watch 4 with LTE is capable of, since everything depends on factors such as whether I turn on llocation or if an app hangs in the background. I’ve had the watch since it debuted last summer.
It may be that the Pixel Watch is tuned for more casual users than those looking for a smartwatch to suit specific needs. As The Verge pointed out that when the Pixel Watch battery rumors first hit, fitness watches tend to last longer on battery because they’re made for serious tracking. Samsung’s smartwatches are powerful enough to compete at a more palatable price point, but even the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro model has a larger battery to accommodate the person who wants to use it to track physical activity.
We’ll know more about the Pixel Watch in just a month or two, and that’s when we expect Google to have an event to accommodate the launch of Pixel 7 and its accessories. And while you shouldn’t worry about battery life based on anecdotal evidence, consider what it is about the Pixel Watch that would inspire you to buy one, and whether there’s another wearable that would be a better fit.