There’s a lot to be said about the Pixel Watch, but one thing nearly everyone agrees on is that the battery life isn’t great. Google pushed the line that the Pixel Watch offered 24-hour battery life, but reviewers (including myself) generally found that figure to be off base without some significant concessions.
Now, Google has updated a Pixel Watch support document about battery life with how it came to the 24-hour figure. According to the search giant, the 24-hour battery life is based on the below usage:
- 240 notifications
- 280 time checks
- A five-minute LTE phone call
- 45 min LTE and GPS workout with downloaded YouTube Music playback
- 50 minutes of navigation via Google Maps while connected to a phone via Bluetooth
- The watch configured with the default settings, including the always-on display set to off
There are a few notable things here, particularly the bit about the always-on display being set to off. The Pixel Watch pushes users to enable the always-on display, and it’s arguably a core feature of the smartwatch. However, in my experience, the always-on display made it difficult to hit the 24-hour mark.
Moreover, I’d argue my Pixel Watch use is significantly less than what Google describes. According to the Digital Wellbeing app on my smartphone, I average about 100 notifications per day, most (but not all) of which come across to the Pixel Watch. I’m not sure how often I check the time, but I can say I typically don’t take calls on the Pixel Watch, nor do I use GPS for workouts or navigate via Google Maps. Plus, I keep the always-on display turned off.
With that usage, the Pixel Watch still barely gets past 24 hours of battery life. Although I’ve fallen into a routine of charging the Pixel Watch when I sit down at my desk to start work in the morning, I’d peg its battery life at maybe 26 or 27 hours, which gives a nice little cushion if my morning charge routine gets disrupted.
With all that said, I’d be less bothered by the Pixel Watch’s battery life if it weren’t for sleep tracking, which requires wearing the watch overnight. Those who don’t care about sleep tracking can charge the watch overnight, resolving most battery issues.
Putting battery life in perspective
For all the complaints about the Pixel Watch battery life, it’s worth noting that it stacks up well to the arguable king of smartwatches: the Apple Watch. Per Apple’s own smartwatch battery page, the company targets 18 hours of battery life after an overnight charge, billed as “all-day battery life.” Apple describes it as:
“All-day battery life is based on the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 60-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours; Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS) usage includes connection to iPhone via Bluetooth during the entire 18-hour test; Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS + Cellular) usage includes a total of 4 hours of LTE connection and 14 hours of connection to iPhone via Bluetooth over the course of 18 hours.”
As interesting as these numbers are, most people likely don’t use their smartwatches like this. In other words, whatever promises manufacturers make about smartwatch battery life likely won’t match up with actual user experience.