Google just released a teaser video titled “The Google Pixel Watch Design” ahead of the smartwatch’s official debut at an event on October 6. The video does a great job highlighting the smartwatch’s clean design with its curved glass aesthetic and vibrant band colors, all in under a minute.
What it doesn’t show are the frames. Since the first leaked renders of the Pixel Watch appeared online, all of the on-screen UI elements have been depicted against a pitch black background. It looks good, but in doing so, even the true thickness of the bezels remained a mystery. Clever design, one might say.
Pixel Watch looks like a great smartwatch for 2014! pic.twitter.com/rebZgx5TdY
– Joe Maring (@ JoeMaring1) September 22, 2022
But one more of the Google video, in particular, caught the attention of Digital Trends Mobile editor Joe Maring. It shows a Tron-inspired sea green analog dial that leaves excessive blank space along the periphery. Of course, you can’t get the pixels under the black frames to light up. If the Pixel Watch really has such thick bezels, it would feel more like a relic of the era of first-generation smartwatches.
Hey Google, are you kidding me?
So, I tried to look back at old product resources to see if we’re actually seeing “frame blasphemy” this fall season. After sifting through some Google Image results, I stumbled upon this official render with the Google Assistant UI, ready to run its master’s bids.
As you can see in the image above, the assistant’s characteristic color bar at the bottom is a little too far from the rounded edges. That could only mean one thing: the Pixel Watch has often bezels. And by thick, I mean “we don’t deserve them in 2022”.
But again, these are design templates and maybe, just maybe, the real thing might surprise us with thinner bezels. But there seems to be no pleasant surprise for the enthusiastic fans. At least not this year.
remember the leaked images of a Pixel Watch test unit that was left in a restaurant? I went back to the Reddit thread and switched to the Imgur gallery of the leaked images. Well, I leave you to this image to decide for yourself.
The design is reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, released in 2019. The only difference is that the glass is much more curvilinear around the circumference of Google’s smartwatch, which makes the bezels appear even more pronounced than the Samsung wearable.
Below is perhaps the most realistic description of the real Pixel Watch and its unsightly bezels. Cristina Alexander of Digital Trends described it as “an old-fashioned circular clock, just updated for the digital age”. It is difficult to disagree with this observation. Another colleague was a little less forgiving and left the conversation with “just crap!”
Now, it’s hard to see any charm in those fat bezels. The only justification that can be given is that the Pixel Watch has been stuck in development hell for a while. Instead of shifting gears halfway and burning a few million dollars, Google has stayed true to the original design – one that suits 2018 more.
Only for true Pixel fans
I sincerely hope those bezels serve a functional purpose. On the Galaxy Watch Active 2, the round bezels were capacitive, offering an intuitive way to navigate the user interface. It was smart enough and also a test of patience if the screen got wet.
I’d like to imagine that Google hid some sort of bioactive sensor under the bezels, a bit like the Fitbit Sense 2, but don’t hold your breath for such a miracle. Oh, and did I mention that the Pixel Watch packs an Exynos chip from the 2018 smartwatch era? Yes, that too.
But that’s not where the bad news ends. For all that glitzy Pixel Watch goodness, Google reportedly plans to charge $ 350. That’s the asking price for the Bluetooth-only model. If you prefer cellular connectivity on your Wear OS smartwatch, be prepared to spend $ 400 this holiday season.
Sturdy bezels alone aren’t reason enough to hesitate on the Pixel Watch, but combined with everything we know about the smartwatch, it makes it harder and harder to get excited about Google’s first Pixel wearable. And, considering how much anticipation is surrounding the thing, that’s a shame.