I will start with my thoughts about the smartwatch – so we get to the “recipe” before the backstory. Toward the end, of course, you will find a bit more of a background story of me and wristwatches and me and Google etc.
The cute round gorilla glass face, the blue strap and the multiple digital watch-face variations that you can use, depending on what you’re primarily using the watch for. I’ve dinged the watch, lightly, on more than a few metal surfaces and so far, not even a scratch. The powder blue band that you see in these images, came with the watch that was given to me by Google India. There are other watch bands that you can purchase but, as usual, most of the pretty ones are not available to purchase in India. The bands are easy to slide off from the magnetic snap on the metal body and you can wash them with soap under regular tap water. You can even wear a band where you swap one half for a different colour!
I love how it looks on my wrist. Just the right amount of bulk and size.
It’s ANNOYING if you don’t control it
If you don’t quickly learn how to control notifications ( as a n00b smartwatch user like me ), you will soon go absolutely batshit insane. The watch will ding with every single conceivable notification. I have notifications turned off for pretty much everything except WhatsApp and the usual phone call notification and alarms, on my smartphone. You can control the smartwatch within the watch itself but for even more control, do so on the Pixel Watch app on your Pixel or Android smartphones.
This is probably my biggest draw toward the Pixel Watch 2. It has FitBit! Google bought FitBit. Now the founders are leaving. The app is great nonetheless. I geeked out on the things it can now tell me – as opposed to pretty much just step count from some years ago.
I keep a track of my heart rate.
I wish I could get rid of the step counter though because it records several non-steppy things as steps. Driving the car, for example. Or even when I’m painting. I hold the canvas with my left hand, and I wear the Pixel Watch 2 on my left hand as well. When I paint, the canvas trembles ever so slightly and the watch thinks I’m walking or something. The Google Fit app on the Pixel 8 Pro is FAR more accurate as a step counter but I have yet to figure out how to put that data into FitBit instead of whatever the watch is measuring.
Wearing it on my left wrist also means that the button on the watch gets pressed accidentally if I’m trying to do so push-ups ( not that I can do any push ups, but as an example ). It hasn’t led to any silly things yet but I thought I’d share FYI.
You get a 6-month pro FitBit membership for free with the watch. After that, you need to subscribe. And I plan to subscribe.
Snoring & coughing
Yup. It tracks those too and I appreciate it. When you don’t have a partner to tell you how badly you’re snoring in your sleep, this is a huge help. I like staying as healthy and fit as I can and being able to monitor these things, helps immensely. I use a Bedtime Mode via the Pixel phone, which shows this data daily and tells you how many minutes you snored and at what times in the night.
Which brings me to, sleep tracking. This data is shown in the FitBit app and I appreciate being able to look at a comprehensive chart telling me whether I’ve been sleeping well or not. I know that the nights I’m out in the winters, coupled with Delhi pollution, I will snore more and hence not sleep as well. But, if I do a session of steam just before sleeping, my snoring and restlessness drop significantly! It is nice to see a direct correlation like this.
When I paint and drive, i.e. when the watch mistakenly measures that as “steps”, charge can run out by the time I am ready to go to bed. This is highly inconvenient because I want it to track my sleep. I’m not militant about it – I’ve missed about 3 nights since I got the watch – but I do like keeping track. I do not receive or make too many phone calls – so those notifications are also minimal. The maximum I will receive are about 10 text messages on WhatsApp, where the notification dings on my watch. On average, the watch charge shows about 30% remaining when I get to bed, which lasts all night. As soon as I wake up, I put the watch on charge. I also charge it when I go for a shower – even though the watch is water resistant – I mean, when else am I going to charge it! I wish the battery charge would last for DAYS like it did on the FitBit but then the FitBit did not have so many features. I don’t use a lot of the features though, so, you have to decide where you want to compromise.
Other things galore
I haven’t even scratched the surface of what all this smartwatch can do. When I posted a couple of photographs of the watch on my wrist, on Instagram, I got a handful of DMs asking me if I thought the watch was worth buying. I couldn’t possibly tell you that! I am happy to share my opinion but the actual purchase decision is yours. There was a time when I could probably test all the handful of smartwatches in the market and tell you which one, in my opinion, was worth buying. But now? Gosh! As a one-woman-army, I absolutely refuse to even consider the possibility. For me, such purchase decisions are not just dependent on the actual product, it also depends on the brand – the feeling it evokes in me. And I love Google. Always have. And I’ve had a nice relationship with FitBit too – it helped me in my initial struggle with body image issues and even once when I thought I was having a panic attack and I thought that my heart was racing, I looked at the heart rate and it showed it as close to my resting heart rate and my “panic attack”, immediately dissipated.
I am, now, definitely one of those people that talks into their wrist. When I’m in the middle of something, and it’s a loved one calling, but I cannot get to the phone, I will take the call on the Pixel watch and update them briefly.
At the time of writing this, the watch is listed at INR 39,900 on Flipkart.
I know, I know. This blog post is probably too late to the “tech breaking news” party. I’ve never jumped on trends in any case, so while my timeline might not fit with the speed of tech journalism, it fits perfectly with “let me take my time and figure out whether I even like this piece of hardware or not”. Gives me time to think about not only the actual piece of hardware but the overall smartwatch segment as well.
mY bACKGROUND WITH wRISTwATCHES
I used to wear an HMT in college. It had a metal chain-link strap. I’ve also worn a wristwatch with a leather strap, and I preferred this because the metal band would pluck out my arm hair. The leather band would, however, absorb sweat and was a lot more sticky. It would cling to my skin and sometimes, especially during 48 degree Celcius summers, it would also have a light stinky odor.
Once I started using mobile phones, not smartphones, my need for a wristwatch lowered and pretty much since 2003/2004, I have not worn one. I did purchase a basic FitBit about a decade ago because I wanted to track my steps. This was a pain to charge and keep clean and while I still have it – stored as a relic in one of my “tech drawers”, I have not used it in years. It still works though, surprisingly.
There was a Motorola Smartwatch that the brand sent to me, which I used for a few weeks. It was pretty and for its time it looked like a superb smartwatch. If you are interested in knowing what I thought of it, I wrote about it.
Eventually, there was a large FitBit that I had also used for a bit in the middle when the brand was working with influencers and was sending out their fitness bands and smart bands. It didn’t take to my wrist because it looked massive and completely out of place. It suited my father’s much broader wrist better and I gave it to him and eventually, that watch too, ended up in HIS “tech drawer”.
And then of course, came the Google Pixel Smartphone, which measured my steps and my need for a smartwatch completely ended. I would indeed look at friends who wore their smartwatches ( mostly Apple ) everywhere they went and observed what they would use their watches for. More than ever, mid-conversation interruptions caused by incessant notifications, increased to annoying levels. It seemed that people were either talking to the air ( with their in-ear bluetooth pieces ) or talking to their wrists ( into their smartwatches ).
Hello pixel watch 2
The annual Google India party is something that I look forward to EAGERLY. And not just because of the cool gadgets they give away but also because of the cool people I get to meet and hang out with, or the great food, or even the interesting displays and games. But yes, mainly because of the cool gadgets. Let’s be fair, all the other addons are wonderful but I wouldn’t be upset if they went away. I would, however, be so upset if the gadgets went away. How would I take those amazing Google Pixel #TeamPixel photographs then?! What a horrendous thought.
This time around, at the 2023 party, in additional to the Google Pixel 8 Pro ( OMG what photos I’ve made on that camera – a whole another blog post for that one ), Google India also included a Google Pixel Watch 2, which was tres cool. I was intrigued. In my head, I thought, “Oh. What am I going to do with this? I don’t like smartwatches. I will gift it to someone, perhaps.” Of course, I’ve been wearing it everyday since the party.
All images have been photographed by Naina. All rights reserved. Email [email protected] for enquiries.