Google’s Pixel Watch is a smartwatch that houses a slew of health features powered by Fitbit. With that, the Pixel Watch has a lot of sensors packed into the 41mm frame, such as a heart rate, ECG, and even a blood oxygen sensor – though the last one isn’t enabled. Here’s a list of each one and what they do for you.
The Pixel Watch is an interesting product because it’s a Wear OS device but natively integrates Fitbit health tracking. Fitbit is a separate company – owned by Google – that has a vast line of health trackers and fitness wearables. Those wearables are regarded as great products that track vitals and well-being statistics very well.
Though the line is nice, none of Fitbit’s devices run Wear OS, which leaves out a key part of Android integration that you see with Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 or something similar. The Pixel Watch, however, integrates perfectly with the Pixel phone series as well as other Android devices, while also packing a suite of health-tracking features designed and tuned by Fitbit.
With that, the Pixel watch packs a total of eight different sensors, with just four tracking your vitals. The rest are for general watch use, though they pull their weight.
Health sensors on the Pixel Watch
There are four main health sensors on the Pixel Watch. Three help gather data related to your heart rate, sleep quality and time, and your step count. Beyond that, Fitbit crunches the numbers to determine in-depth information such as your stress levels and how many calories you’ve burned throughout the day.
Optical heart rate sensor
The optical heart rate sensor might be the most self-explanatory sensor on this Pixel Watch. Using powerful sensors, the optical lens captures minuscule movements in your skin to determine when your heart is pushing blood through your veins.
That little green light that shines in your Pixel Watch is the heart rate sensor doing its job. Since blood absorbs green, the pulsing green light helps the sensor determine blood flow.
That data is collected once every second by your Pixel Watch, and there’s no way to turn it off. Whenever you wear the watch, you’re getting accurate readings of your heartbeat throughout the day. The data collected is then compiled for you to view your patterns and heart rate extremes.
Multipurpose electrical sensor
The Pixel Watch has the ability to collect ECG – electrocardiogram – readings. Those readings determine whether or not you seem to have an AFib – atrial fibrillation – heartbeat. In essence, that means your heart rate is irregular and could point to signs of other health issues.
To collect ECG data, the Pixel Watch uses an electrical sensor, which senses signals passing through the watch. This is why you need to touch your finger to the crown during an ECG reading. Electricity passes from your finger to your wrist through the Pixel Watch, giving the sensor a clear reading of what’s going on.