DHRME Wearables Is the Pixel Watch better than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4?

Is the Pixel Watch better than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4?

We know what you’re thinking – why the hell would you compare an older Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to the latest Google Pixel Watch? Well… you’d be surprised!

The Pixel Watch: $350. The Galaxy Watch 4: $150. Let’s go!

What we like about both

So what do we like about both of these smartwatches? They’re both good looking watches! Both have round watch faces and an AMOLED screen. The brightness and vividness does go to the Watch 4. Samsung just knows their displays.

Google’s Pixel Watch with its bright OLED screen

The Pixel Watch ain’t no slouch and gets plenty bright. Let’s not pick on the poor Pixel for the bezels because they ain’t exactly tiny on the Watch 4 either. So on both you forget it’s even there. The decision of Google to go for a button and crown instead of a two button system on the Watch 4, is a clever one. This is because it looks more like a watch – which we like. And that same crown is used to navigate around the UI.

On the Watch 4 you’re stuck with a digital bezel or the good ol’ way of smudging that dirty finger all across the screen. Come to think of it, both options smudge the screen. Both are super comfortable on the wrist. The Pixel Watch is 41mm and this version of the Watch 4 is 40mm. Both sizes make for a compact footprint.

Even though the Pixel watch on paper is ever so slightly larger and 10 grams heavier, it actually wears smaller and lighter on the wrist. This has got to do with the lug-less design, since the watch strap immediately starts wrapping around your wrist. The lugs on the Watch 4 aren’t super long and they help give it a more watch-like aesthetic. The silicone sport band on both feels nice and didn’t give us any allergic reaction. The clasp system on the Watch 4 is easier and more intuitive than the push button thingy on the Pixel watch. Between the two though, we would say the Pixel watch is more comfortable. It almost feels like you don’t have it on your wrist.

Both health & fitness apps are extensive! Fitbit for the Pixel watch and Samsung Health for the Watch 4. You get the basics from food & water intake, to workout stats and health metrics to sleep data as well as following guided workout sessions. The Pixel Watch obviously comes out of the box with Assistant, Google Wallet and the Google keyboard. But thankfully you can download, install and customise the buttons for quick access on the Watch 4 too. In our experience, both work really well. Bixby, Samsung Pay or Samsung keyboard never have to bother you again. Unless you want it to. Measuring the distance on a run was generally very close to what our smartphone measured. Also the step count on a walk was on point and very close to what we measured manually using an old fashioned clicky contraption.

What we miss about both

What do we miss about both of them? Comfortable battery life. It’s been a sort of invisible ceiling most smartwatches at this size are plagued with. You can just about make it to 24 hours. But if you plan on tracking more than an hour of working out or using the GPS for navigation or cranking that display brightness then you can forget about that number. We’ve made two battery-saving videos on both the Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 4. So check those out.

The heart rate monitor gives you a nice indication, but on both watches they’re no match for dedicated chest straps like the Polar H10. And that heart rate measurement is used to calculate many other things, so it creates a domino effect when it comes to accuracy of metrics like calories burnt, for example.

Reasons for getting the Pixel Watch over the Galaxy Watch 4

But what are the reasons for choosing the Pixel Watch over the Galaxy Watch 4? If you’ve been in the Fitbit ecosystem before and you want to continue tracking all your data within the same app without the hassle of switching apps and/or trying to move data. You want the purest WearOS experience there is straight from Google and everything that comes with it. For example, the possibility of receiving the latest additions to WearOS on the Pixel Watch – very similar to Pixel phones. The Galaxy Watches may run the latest WearOS 3.5 but Samsung has its own One UI skin over it. It remains to be seen whether Pixel Watches willindeed do feature drops earlier though.

You want a smartwatch that looks unique and compact on the wrist. But also extremely comfortable. Like we said, the difference isn’t huge but the Samsung design has become pretty mainstream looking in the pool of smartwatches.

Google Assistant and Gboard (Google Keyboard) built-in to Google’s Pixel Watch

Another reason is if you’re completely in the Google ecosystem and appreciate things like Google Home, Wallet, Assistant and Keyboard all being there straight out of the box. You’ll also like the Pixel Watch if you appreciate a more minimal user interface. There’s to-the point settings, and no need to scroll through excessive amounts of options. And speaking of scrolling, if you don’t want to drag your oily finger across the screen every time then you’ll appreciate the rotating crown that does the scrolling for you.

Reasons for choosing the Galaxy Watch 4 over the Pixel Watch

So where does the Galaxy Watch 4 take the cake from the Pixel Watch? The sheer amount of sensors on board the watch is mind blowing. The Pixel Watch only has workout tracking with step counting. It also has a heart rate monitor, ECG and sleep tracking. Curiously it has an SPO2 blood oxygen saturation sensor, but it isn’t active, yet. The Watch 4 has all of that plus a functional SPO2 sensor which gives you a nice indication albeit not super accurate with a large range compared to a pulsoximeter. Check out this video for more details. It has a blood pressure monitor which turned out to be quite accurate for a smartwatch compared to a professional blood pressure monitor. Oh yeah, the ECG and blood pressure monitor only work if you have a Samsung phone.

And finally there is a body composition measurement that will determine things like your skeletal muscle
and body fat percentage which can help in case you’re working on bulking up or cutting. And the Samsung Health app doesn’t cut into your wallet either. Everything is free. With Fitbit on the Pixel Watch – you get the Premium membership for free for the first 6 months after which you need to pay. You get a lot with the free version of Fitbit, but if you want more detailed insights into workout and sleep data then you’re going to have to shell out those 10 bucks every month.
The Pixel Watch doesn’t offer any special integration with a Pixel phone, let alone other Android phones. Samsung has taken an Apple approach, and more power to them. If you own a Samsung phone then certain features will sync across your phone and watch. For example, toggling Do Not Disturb or Bedtime mode on one will enable it on the other.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 featuring the typical push pin strap system found in most common watches for better support of 3rd party watch straps

There’s been a lot of talk about how difficult and unintuitive the new strap system on the Pixel watch is. Once you get the hang of it, it’s not as complicated as people make it sound. Let’s also not ignore the fact that the selection of third party straps is initially very limited due to another proprietary system being introduced. The Watch 4 on the other hand comes with the same push pin system that’s been on watches for decades! So the world of watch straps is your oyster? We were very happy with the silicone oyster straps like we said, but if we needed to swap it out we only needed to get one that’s 20mm and has push pins.

Now when you’re working out, you want your expensive piece of wrist technology to be protected from the elements. The Pixel Watch doesn’t have an official IP rating but does come with 5ATM of water resistance. Now some say this is equivalent to the IP68 on the Watch 4. This might be the case, but an IP rating gives you more assurance on the dust resistance part at least. And since you can do some swimming with both watches, it’s good to know that the Watch 4 has a water lock feature. This blocks the touch screen so the water doesn’t make the touch screen think you’re touching it. And it also makes sure the speaker doesn’t get used underwater, saving it from potential damage. After you’re done swimming you can exit the mode and eject any water from the speaker unit. The Pixel Watch doesn’t have such a feature, except that when you start the Swim workout it will block the touch controls automatically. And then you pray for dear life that the water rating holds up without any speaker damage. We haven’t tested that yet. The final reason why many would choose the Watch 4 over the Pixel Watch is knowing that you saved yourself around $200 dollars!


the Google Pixel Watch on the left and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on the right

And those $200 dollars, dear readers, ain’t nothing. You’re getting so much on a year older Watch 4, and in some areas even more than the Pixel Watch. So unless you’re enamoured by the looks and the thought of a pure Google experience on the Pixel Watch – save your money and go for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Of course, neither is getting you fantastic battery life, so daily charging is something you’ll need to get used to. Or check out one of these other watches in our best android smartwatches video here!

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