Google Pixel Watch 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch: One PureWow Editor’s Honest Thoughts on These Popular Gadgets

Tested by PureWow’s resident running coach

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google pixel watch 2 vs samsung galaxy watch UNIVERSAL
Abby Hepworth for PureWow

So, you’re in the market for a new smart watch. But which watch is going to give you the most bang for your buck, with all the coolest specs to fit your lifestyle? In the competition of the Google Pixel Watch 2 vs. the Samsung Galaxy Watch, I’ll admit there are no losers. Both watches are incredibly popular for a reason—they’re chic, easy to use and come with all the bells and whistles a gal could want. But there are some notable differences worth considering, which is why I set out to test both over a multi-week period, with particular focus on the new running tools each watch launched in fall 2023. Read on for my thoughts and a definitive rating of the Google Pixel Watch 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch.

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google pixel watch 2 vs samsung galaxy watch review
Abby Hepworth

How We Tested the Google Pixel Watch 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch

To really ensure I got a true feel for both the Google Pixel Watch 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch, I tested both over a multi-week period. I wore them both for working out (specifically running, HIIT, hiking and walking) and during a regular workday to gauge how they function as fitness trackers in the moment and as general health trackers/smart watches. For this review, I rated the watches based on the following factors:

  • Value: Is the watch worth the cost considering its quality and capabilities?
  • Ease of Use: Are the watch and any compatible apps easy to use? Is the watch easy to set up as well?
  • Quality: Is the watch made with high-quality materials? Can it withstand everyday use and tough workouts?
  • Aesthetics: Does the watch have an attractive appearance?
  • Battery Life: How long does the watch last before needing to be recharged? Does it recharge quickly?

Google Pixel Watch 2

What We Like

  • sends lots of notifications (this can be turned off)
  • watch face is easy to navigate
  • sleek, minimalist design

What We Don’t Like

  • requires a Fitbit account
  • only one watch face size available
  • pause feature on workout tracking isn’t great


  • Value: 16/20
  • Ease of Use: 18/20
  • Quality: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Battery Life: 18/20
  • TOTAL: 89/100

I was required to use two different apps to set up both the Google Pixel Watch 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch, which I found pretty annoying, but as it was required for both, I won’t necessarily count it against either. For the Google Pixel Watch 2, as soon as I was able to ID which apps I needed—the Google Watch app and the Fitbit app—set up was a breeze and I found the watch face itself to be very intuitive to use. You can use the Google Watch app to easily manage what tiles are on the main screen of the watch, what face you prefer and set up emergency SOS contacts. You can also use it to set what types of notifications you want sent to your watch, and you will absolutely want to go through them because the Google Pixel Watch 2 will send you many more notifications that the Samsung. I found this to be a major positive—I got all my text messages, notifications on important Slack communication and the expected health tracker pings when I hit various goals. But if you prefer a quieter user experience, you can absolutely choose to turn any and all of those notifications off.

Once you have your watch face and tiles set, the Google Pixel Watch 2 is super easy to navigate, and I was able to set off on a run within half an hour of connecting it with my phone. While on the run I found the watch face easy to read, although someone with worse eyesight may find the information too small, as it displays your pace, time, distance and heartrate all on one screen. Pausing the workout was a little annoying as you have to swipe and then tap the screen. For comparison, the Garmin I typically use to track runs pauses and unpauses with the click of one button the side. There was more than one instance in which I didn’t actually pause (or unpause) my run and it took me a little while to get into the habit of slowing down and ensuring tracking was starting and stopping as needed.

That said, the workout data collected was easy to read and accurate as compared to my Garmin watch and independent phone tracking (either with Strava or the Nike apps). The daily health tracking was also very easy to analyze and I appreciated that my goals adjusted and changed as my weeks went on and the watch and Fitbit learned what my regular days looked like. I’ll admit I didn’t use the sleep tracker (I find it too uncomfortable to sleep while wearing a watch), but according to other reviewers it provides details not just on how long you slept, but what stage of sleep you were in at any given point. And, as might be expected, the more often you wear it, the better the watch and app get at analyzing your rest and offering advice to improve your bedtime, wakeup time and sleep conditions.

One very important thing to note here, is that while you can use the Google Pixel Watch 2 with a basic (i.e., free) Fitbit account, in order to really get the most out of your smart watch you will likely want to upgrade to a Fitbit Premium membership, which costs $10 per month. The watch does come with a free six-month trial so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth the monthly payments, just be sure to set a reminder to unsubscribe before you’re charged if you do indeed decide not to upgrade.

All in all, I loved how clean and simple the watch face is and appreciated that the vast majority of the features are very intuitively designed. The battery needed to be charged roughly once a day (occasionally once every two days if I didn’t track a workout in that time), and reached full battery fairly quickly. But I don’t love the fact that I’d need to pay an additional $10 a month to really get the most out of the Google Pixel Watch 2, and there are definitely some improvements that could be made.


  • Watch Face Size: 41 mm
  • Necessary Apps: requires Google Pixel Watch app and Fitbit app
  • Connectivity: LTE or WiFi
  • Storage: 16GB

Samsung Galaxy Watch

What We Like

  • two watch face sizes available
  • watch face is highly customizable
  • running/workout data displayed more clearly

What We Don’t Like

  • too many apps/tiles available
  • works best when paired with a Samsung phone
  • sends fewer notifications (this can be adjusted)


  • Value: 19/20
  • Ease of Use: 17/20
  • Quality: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 18/20
  • Battery Life: 18/20
  • TOTAL: 91/100

Much like the Google Pixel Watch 2, the Samsung Galaxy Watch required two apps to set up, the Samsung Wearables app and the Samsung Health app. Otherwise, set up was a breeze and I was up and exploring all the features of the watch incredibly quickly—and there are a lot of features to explore. The Samsung Galaxy offers more customization than the Pixel, and can fit many more apps onto the watch itself as it has double the storage space. In reality, I thought it perhaps had too many apps, but I am someone who prefers a more minimalist tech experience. If the idea of having a watch that’s nearly as versatile as a smartphone, you’ll be delighted with all that the Samsung Galaxy watch can do.

For tracking workouts, starting and stopping was incredibly easy. Similar to the Pixel, pausing mid-workout was a two-step process, but with a physical button to press, it was much harder for me to mess up with the Samsung Galaxy watch. While you’re running, the screen displays duration, distance, pace and heartrate, and again it took me a run or two to get used to how the data is displayed on the screen, but overall I found it easier to analyze at a glance mid-stride, which is a major plus.

As for the other health tracking features, the tiles on the watch were not just easy to read but also incredibly pretty. (There are a ton of different watch faces you can use, but all definitely put a big emphasis on aesthetics as well as ease of use.) I found myself more regularly checking my data on the Samsung Galaxy watch simply because it was more appealing to look at than the Google Pixel 2. I may also have been checking it more because the Samsung watch defaults to sending far fewer notifications than the Google watch, so I wasn’t being pinged nearly so often, and found myself therefore curious about what was happening on my wrist. Much like the Google watch, however, you can adjust those notification settings as needed.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the Samsung Galaxy watch works better if you also have a Samsung phone, as they’re designed to work seamlessly together. And while it is cheaper than the Google watch, that’s only true if you opt for the most basic version (which is what I tested). The price can go up if you want more storage, LTE connectivity or other added features. I also found the battery life to be, generally speaking, a little bit better than the Google watch, but only marginally so. I still had to charge the Samsung Galaxy watch every 24 to 36 hours, but found it lasted a few hours more than the Google Pixel Watch 2 with a full charge.


  • Watch Face Size: 40 mm or 44 mm
  • Necessary Apps: Requires Samsung Health app
  • Connectivity: LTE or WiFi
  • Storage: 32GB

Google Pixel Watch 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch: What Are the Main Differences?

Despite their many similarities, these two watches have a few key differences:

smart watch review
Abby Hepworth

Can the Google Pixel Watch 2 or Samsung Galaxy Watch Measure Blood Pressure?

Unfortunately, neither watch is currently capable of measuring blood pressure. However, both watches do have blood oxygen sensors and heartrate sensors to help give you other important heart health data.

How Long Is the Battery Life on the Google Pixel Watch 2 Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Watch?

The battery life of each watch varies depending on exactly how you’re using it, but in my testing I found that both models made it a little more than 24 hours before needing to be recharged. That time frame shrank if the watch had been used to track a particularly long run (over an hour), but could also be extended on rest days when I didn’t have any workouts to do. In general, the Samsung Galaxy Watch appeared to have a slightly longer battery life, but only marginally so.

Does the Google Pixel Watch 2 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch Work with Samsung? What About Apple?

Both the Google Pixel watch and the Samsung Galaxy watch work with Google, Samsung and other Android phones. However, neither watch is compatible with Apple products, including AirPods and other apple earphones.

The Bottom Line

If your goal is to buy the best running GPS watch for training, then you are better off looking for a simpler model, but if you’re looking for a smart watch that can do it all—health, sleep and workout tracking, listening to music, texting with friends, etc.—then both the Google Pixel Watch 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch are great options to consider. In the end, I’d say it comes down to how much you want to spend (the Samsung is slightly less expensive) and whether you prefer to use Fitbit’s or Samsung’s health tracking systems. Either way, you’ll end up with a sleek, chic smart watch that will look good and give you tons of data to pore over.

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Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...

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