Smartwatch Showdown: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Google Pixel Watch

Smartwatch Showdown: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Google Pixel Watch

Samsung in August announced its new Galaxy Watch 5 range, which came boasting the standard model and a more pro version called the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

We handed down our initial thoughts of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 back in August, basically declaring it was a nice little upgrade to the best Android smartwatch on the market. That was, of course, before the Google Pixel Watch (finally) dropped. A few months in, and we wanted to know: does the Samsung Galaxy Watch still reign supreme?

Here’s how they both compare (for the purpose of this exercise, we won’t be including the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro).

Which is better, the Google Pixel Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch 5?

Google Pixel Watch VS Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Specs

Google Pixel Watch

  • Diameter: 41 mm
  • Weight:36 grams (without band)
  • Battery: up to 24 hours
  • Compatibility: Android 8.0 or newer
  • Display: 3D Corning Gorilla Glass, 320 ppi AMOLED, always-on
  • Colours: Matte Black, Polished Silver, Champagne Gold

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

  • Diameter: 40mm and 44mm
  • Weight: 33.5 grams (without band)
  • Battery: up to 40 hours
  • Compatibility: Android 8.0 or newer
  • Display: 450×450 resolution, Super AMOLED, always-on

Pixel Watch vs Watch 5: The larger watch face option is enough to grant Samsung the winner here, the Galaxy Watch 5 is also victorious because of its incredible battery life.

Google Pixel Watch VS Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Compatibility

Neither watches are compatible with non-Android operating systems. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and below can connect to iOS, however.

Pixel Watch vs Watch 5: They each get minus points here for not working with iOS.

Google Pixel Watch VS Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Looks

The Google Pixel Watch looks like you’ve carefully poured a thick liquid onto the table and the surface tension is giving a beautifully raised liquid blob. The Galaxy Watch 5, however, is sharper around the edges. On the Samsung watch, you can also see more of the device’s frame. Colour options for the bands are great for both watches and there is no harm using an after-market option for these, either.

The user interface on the Google Pixel far surpasses that of the Samsung, but I personally have never been a fan of how Samsung renders Android.

Pixel Watch vs Watch 5: Google wins this one with the look and feel of the watch face, as well as the UI.

samsung galaxy google pixel watch
The Google Pixel Watch is much prettier than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Google Pixel Watch VS Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Price

The Google Pixel Watch will set you back RRP $549, while the graphite/pink gold Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (40mm) with Bluetooth will cost RRP $440.

Pixel Watch vs Watch 5: For its killer capabilities, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 wins in price.

Google Pixel Watch VS Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: In fitness and in health

The Google Pixel Watch provides a daily summary of your sleep, but Samsung also has sleep-tracking with the Galaxy Watch 5. The Samsung watch has a dashboard that provides all of your sleep stats, such as your calories burned in bed. It also has the things you’d expect, such as snore detection, but it’s introduced Sleep Coaching, which is a way to actually help you be better at sleeping. If you enable Sleep Coaching and you wear your Watch 5 during sleep for seven days (and finish two sleep surveys) you’ll be allocated a ‘sleep animal’. You’ll then get a month of sleep coaching, customised according to your unique animal sleep type. It’s bulk cute. It also integrates with smart home kit, such as lights, to help with your sleep. The Google Pixel Watch does not have this.

Both are annoying to wear to bed, but the Watch 5 actually bruised my hand.

Fitness-wise, things only get better for Samsung.

Thanks of course to the combination of Fitbit’s wearables tenure and Google’s own smarts, the Pixel Watch boasts some pretty impressive fitness capabilities. If you subscribe to Fitbit Premium (I dislike you have to subscribe to get the most out of it, but I like you get 12 months for free), you get features like a daily readiness score, advanced sleep-tracking and access to on-demand exercise and meditation programs. Weirdly, there’s no native casting ability to throw the Fitbit video content on a bigger screen.

But, you get solid general health tracking including steps, calories, sedentary alerts, all-day heart rate and ECGs. Being able to break down all of the raw health data over a 90-day period is awesome.

Meanwhile, Samsung Health’s new GPX import feature works best with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, since it can offer turn-by-turn directions depending on the hiking or biking route you want to take. But everything else about Samsung Health is still as helpful as it was on the Galaxy Watch 4. There are periodic movement reminders, plus immediate confetti when you get your arse up out of your chair and walk to get yourself a glass of water. Workouts are still automatically tracked and if you’ve ever used a Galaxy Watch before, you’ll know how good it is for fitness tracking.

Pixel Watch vs Watch 5: The fitness tracking and sleep smarts the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 boasts mean it has to win yet again.

samsung galaxy google pixel watch
The fitness smarts on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 beat out those of the Google Pixel Watch. Image: Florence Ion/Gizmodo Australia

The verdict

The Google Pixel Watch is the prettiest of the two, but that’s probably the only thing that’s better. The fitness/sleep capabilities of the Galaxy Watch 5 make it unsurpassable as the best Android smartwatch out there.

There’s also its cheaper price point and the fact it has almost double the battery life the Google watch has. The Google Pixel Watch was the company’s first attempt. Maybe one day Google will lap Samsung as the best Android smartwatch, but today is not that day.

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