Honest thoughts of the Phone, Watch, Buds

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By Dan Sears

We know about party animals, but have you ever heard of a sleep animal?

Google Pixel has, and they want to make sure we all know what out sleep animal is, after tracking you sleep with their new Google Pixel Watch, powered by Fitbit.

While the smartwatch does a lot more than sleep tracking (more on that later) in honor of Sleep Week, we wanted to emphasize the unique sleeping features on the watch you won’t find anywhere else.

We were able to review the smartwatch alone, and in conjunction with the Google Pixel 6a phone, as they are made to be used together for the full Google experience, although any Pixel model will suffice. After going to the gym, work and of course, to bed, read on for our findings, plus other specs and features of the watch you should know before you buy.

Then, we were also able to retest the newer phone model in 2024, with the addition of the Google Fi Wireless phone plan on the Google Pixel 8 Pro. Hint: the phone is now $200 off at Best Buy!

To round out the Google arsenal of products, we added the Google Pixel Buds Pro to the mix, in a matching color to the phone, of course. Hint: check out Amazon for a deal on the matching buds, plus other colors to choose from!

Google Pixel Watch + Sleep Tracking Capabilities Reviewed:

What is the Google Pixel Watch and what can it do?


A black Google Pixel watch, phone and earbuds
Google

Watch what we can do!

To answer that question though, you first need to choose your make and model. The Pixel Watch comes in a WiFi enabled version as well as an LTE version, the latter of which pairs with your phone’s plan and can take calls and send text messages using your data plan. Should you opt for the WiFi version, you can still use all the functions of the watch, just on a WiFi network and not while out and about.

Next, choose if you would like to add the premium Fitbit membership to your plan or not. More on pricing in the next section, but should you opt for a premium membership, you unlock more features like a Sleep Score and a Sleep Profile, given to you after 15 days of wearing your watch at night.

Regardless of the model you choose, the features of the Google Pixel Watch also include heart rate monitoring, basic sleep tracking, fitness tracking for exercises through Fitbit, Google calendar and Google maps directions.

Google Pixel WiFi Google Pixel LTE
Water resistant Water resistant
Bluetooth and WiFi enabled Bluetooth and WiFi enabled, plus 4G LTE connection
Sleep tracking Sleep tracking
Google maps (while on WiFi) Google maps on the go
Google voice assistant Google voice assistant
Price: $350 at most retailers Price: $399 at most retailers

How much is the Google Pixel Watch and Fitbit membership?


A Google Pixel Watch
Amazon

Getting into the numbers, how much will a Pixel watch set you back? Again, there are options. Should you want the least expensive option, the Google Pixel Watch the uses WiFi only can typically be found for $350 or less.

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For the LTE-enabled device that gives you more range when taking phone calls and texting, the price is typically $50 more, at $400 at most retailers.

Lastly, while the device can be used on a free Fitbit account, in order to unlock the watch’s fullest potential, a Fitbit Premium membership will set you back $10 per month. The good news? You can try before you buy, as each watch comes with six months of Fitbit Premium for free.


Google Pixel compared to other smartwatches


metal texture background
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Have you been watching smartwatches lately? It makes sense, as there are a lot more on the market than there used to be, and so we want you to know the differences between the top models.

For those with an iPhone, the Apple Watch may make the most sense, while Android users could be best set-up with the Samsung Watch or even the Garmin line of watches. In our time with the Google Pixel Watch, we realized that the best use case scenario is when accompanied by the Google Pixel phone, not able to be paired with Apple or other phones.

For the basic breakdowns, take a look at our chart with top features, price and compatibility all considered.

Brand Google Pixel Watch Apple Watch Samsung Galaxy Garmin Smart Watch
Price $350 – $400 $249 – $799 $169 – $450 $80 – $1,000+
Phone Compatibility Google Pixel iPhone Android and some Apple devices Android and Apple devices
Battery Life up to 24 hours up to 18 hours, 36 hours in low battery mode up to 40 hours on select models up to five days on select models
Sleep Tracking Yes; REM, Deep Sleep, more with Fitbit paid membership Yes; REM, Deep Sleep, sleep trends and more with Apple Health Yes; REM, Deep Sleep, sleep trends and more with Samsung Health Yes; REM, Deep Sleep, sleep trends and more with Advanced Sleep Monitoring
Heart Rate Monitoring Yes Yes Yes Yes
WiFi or LTE Option for either Option for either Option for either Option for either
Buy Now Shop Here Shop Here Shop Here Shop Here

Our review: Sleep tracking and more with the Google Pixel Watch


A Google Pixel Watch box in a window
Sophie Cannon

Pros:

  • Very in-depth sleep tracking with great insights you won’t find elsewhere
  • Easy to learn and use day-to-day
  • Holds a decent charge throughout the night
  • Sleek and comfortable to wear
  • Mid-tier price range
  • Offered in a WiFi only or an LTE-enabled version for cell service
  • Water-resistant and durable for everyday wear
  • Bright display that is easy to customize with the time, steps, heart rate and more

Cons:

  • Only works with the Google Pixel phones
  • Need to charge in the morning after wearing at night
  • Not the best as detecting exercise
  • Recommend the Fitbit Premium membership for all features

Sleeping for work? Count me in!

Only partially kidding, as I still got the same amount of sleep after my 9-to-5 as I normally do, but this time I was tracking what kind of sleep. What does that mean? While wearing my Pixel Watch for 14 days, I was able to see how much deep sleep, light sleep and REM sleep I was getting per night, down to the minute, plus it was tracking my restlessness and moments when I would wake up.

Having this data was super cool, as while you sleep you are, well, sleeping, and won’t know why you may feel energized or groggy once you wake up. The insights showed me what my sleep pattern was, with bedtimes and wake-up times, along with trends in my heart rate and more.

For those that have the Fitbit Premium membership, you can see even more data, like a full sleep profile and even a sleep animal that populates after 14 days of continuous wear at night. The profile shows up on the first of each month, so check back here for the update — am I a night owl hedgehog or an early bird parrot?


A Google Watch and a Google phone
Sophie Cannon

As for other activities, I found that the watch did a great job of tracking my steps and heart rate, during the day and in exercise classes. I will say that it isn’t the best at detecting a workout on its own (it missed that I did a sweaty yoga session!) but you can access the fitness app on the watch and manually tell it to record your bike, run or other exercise with ease.


Google Pixel 8 Pro Phone Review


A blue Google phone
Sophie Cannon

Down by the bay… where the Google Pixel roams.

In 2024, I got to test drive the new Google Pixel 8 Pro, in the stunning Bay color that made the experience all the better — who doesn’t value aesthetics now?

As a tried and true iPhone user, I was a bit nervous to try a Google operated phone, but once I fiddled with it for a few hours, I was off to the races. And by races, I mean it, as I was able to take this phone abroad to Mexico during my three-month trial.

How much is the Google Pixel 8 Pro and the Google Fi Phone Plan?


A hand holding a blue phone
Sophie Cannon

The new Google Pixel 8 Pro comes with some options, depending on the storage size you require and where you shop. The phone retails for $799 for the128GB size, the smallest, and can range up to $979 for the largest 512GB size — which really isn’t too much of a difference if you value photography, gaming, app downloads or plan to store large files on the phone.

The 128GB phone can be found unlocked at Best Buy (now $799), as well as on Amazon ($799) and on cell phone provider sites like T-Mobile (prices vary by plan.)


A comparison of a phone plan with Google
Google Fi

With a new phone comes another decision — do you also want to switch networks and phone plans? For this test, I definitely did, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, since I was headed to Mexico in a few weeks, and was thrilled to see that the Simply Unlimited Plan ($80/two lines) came with data in the USA, Mexico and Canada included. Setting up the phone was a breeze, and I was also able to choose to keep my phone number from my previous phone, or create a new number (I chose the latter) all in a few short steps.

Google Fi is a great option for those that travel across North America, or use a lot of data, as their medium Simply Unlimited tier offers both. The least expensive plan ($35/two lines) is a pay-per-usage style plan that allows you to only pay for the data you use – a better option for those that typically stay on WiFi and don’t stream or game via phone.


Google Pixel 8 Pro first impressions review


A side-by-side of photos from a plane and by the sea
Sophie Cannon

Pros

  • Beautiful colors, like Bay, to choose from
  • Many (large) storage options
  • Easy to activate with an existing number or create a new number with a Google Fi wireless account
  • Compatible with the Pixel Watch and Pixel Buds
  • Easy to take abroad with international data plans
  • Stunning camera and ability to shoot in RAW

If you’re loyal to your phone, you may not want to read any more.

Just kidding, but after spending a while with the Google Pixel 8 Pro, I was opened to a new world of photography, texting and more that I didn’t have with my iOS system. The first thing I want to note is the ease of use, even when coming from iPhone or Android. The Google system is very intuitive, which I would honestly expect from anything coming from the search engine. It took me a few hours to get settled and change settings to my liking, but since everything can be accessed via a swipe up to the main menu, finding apps and settings wasn’t very hard.

As mentioned above, I took my phone to Mexico with me, as the Simply Unlimited plan on Google Fi included Mexico and Canada. I didn’t have to adjust any settings once I arrived, and the data worked seamlessly as soon as I touched down.

The star of this phone, aside from the aesthetics, is the camera. The default settings are just perfect enough for typical phone photographers, with auto-focus, flash, panorama and more. However, for those that like to play around, the Pixel phone has so much more to offer. Best Shot, one of their new features, compiles your shots into one, creating the best composite — think group photos where someone may be blinking, or even pet photos when you only have a few seconds to get your pup or cat to look at the lens. Speaking of perfect shots, sometimes it isn’t possible to keep what you want in the frame, but not also capture a photo-bomber. Enter Magic Eraser, which allows you to instantly photoshop unwanted people or items out of your image with very minimal warping, if any at all.

Two photos of Sophie at sunset
Testing the Pixel in the sun was super fun, as it adapted to the setting sun and changing lighting, creating some magical shots. Sophie Cannon

Mirror selfies with a blue phone
Taking selfies was also a blast with the Pixel, as the pop of blue was a fun addition to my photos. Sophie Cannon


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The list goes on and on for camera features (plus video features for vloggers and videographers) but this would all be pretty useless without a powerful battery to support it. On a full charge, the Pixel 8 Pro has a 24-hour battery life, but while on Extreme Battery Saver mode, it can be extended up to 72 hours, which can be lifesaving when traveling.


Google Pixel Buds Pro


A box of blue Google earbuds
Sophie Cannon

How much are the Google Pixel Buds Pro?

For the newest Google earbuds, and in a matching color to the stunning phone in Bay, the retail cost is $199.99. However, many buds are on sale at time of publication, starting at $169.99. Regardless, this is far less than the newest AirPods, which retail for $249 currently and have very similar specs and comfort.


Google Pixel Buds Pro review


A blue phone and blue ear buds
Sophie Cannon

Pros

  • Great charge, 11 listening hours out of the case, 31 hours with the case
  • Decent active noise cancelation
  • Great and unique colors, with a sleek charging case
  • Compatible with most all phones, laptops and Bluetooth streaming devices
  • Comfortable and customizable with included gel buds

Cons

  • May get uncomfortable after several hours
  • Noise canceling is not perfect, especially in very noisy environments

For me, earbuds have a few boxes they need to check, and during my three-month trial of the Google Pixel Buds Pro, they did indeed check those boxes.

The first: comfort. I personally wear my earbuds for the long haul, be it on a long flight where I can stream music and have the ear buds double as ear plugs, or while on work calls that may be upwards of an hour at a time. The buds fit comfortably in my ear, and if they didn’t, the box came with two other sizes of squishy caps that can be easily swapped out. One note is that while on a plane for a few hours, the buds did start to ache a bit, so it is recommended to take some breaks if you plan to wear them all day.

The second: sound quality. I tend to listen to music at different volumes depending on the situation, be it more quiet for soft songs during work, or blasting loud while on a flight so I can hear the music over the airplane noise. The buds easily adapted to this, and all I needed to do was tap on the side of the bud for a hands-free experience.

Lastly: noise cancelation. I tested the buds at the office, in an airplane and while sleeping with a snoring person in the next room, seeing just how much sound the buds let in. At the office, I felt confident that none of my desk-mates could hear my music, and in turn, I was able to focus, having the light office noise fade out completely. On a plane, the background noise was far more intense, but having the buds certainly helped. The person next to me couldn’t hear my music, however, I could hear hers when the buds were in, but no music was playing.

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