This is long and mostly rambling but I’m honestly not sure what Google could do with the Pixel Watch that would get me to come back to WearOS. I’ve used WearOS for a long time now, starting with the LG Sport, then a bunch of Fossils, and then the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.
…And I just recently jumped ship over to Garmin Epix 2nd Gen with its OLED display, and I don’t see myself going back.
Don’t get me wrong, Wear OS 3 is an improvement (except for the ways Samsung did its classic Samsung thing and changed things for no reason), but I’ve been more interested in activity tracking lately. Where Google/Samsung is far, far behind. You’d hope that the Fitbit acquisition would help there, but we’ll see on that front.
I also realized that I just don’t really use my watches as much of a smartwatch. I’ve got a ton of apps installed on my GW4C, but what do I use? Notifications, calendar, activity tracking, payments. As an example of functionality that I never have used, there’s literally no reason to ever use my watch for streaming music when it needs to be tethered to my phone for a connection anyway. Even with the LG Sport which had its own SIM card, 99% of the time I would bring my phone with me anyway.
So anyway, the Garmin is a step back by pure smartwatch functionality compared to WearOS. It’s got a super simple OS, it doesn’t let me respond directly to text messages from the watch (I’ll admit, I do miss that one a little), it doesn’t have a centralized store (buying watchfaces by sending a payment on Paypal and getting a code is a pain in the ■■■), and honestly its watchfaces aren’t as good as WearOS (Marine Commander is still my favorite and nothing on Garmin comes even close).
But the Garmin again is just so far ahead on battery and sport tracking. With SpO2 on continuously, I get 4 days without charging. A full week if I turn that off. What that means in practice is that if I only charge my watch when I’m showering, it’ll never come close to running out. The Garmin doesn’t have weird periods where it has trouble locking onto my heartrate mid activity like Samsung does. It allows me to connect to my ANT+ sensors on my bike. It creates suggested training programs for running and biking, based on its calculation of my FTP and other factors such as how well I slept. And literally any sport you can think of is tracked. If I decided I wanted to go play Pickleball whatever that is, I could use the Garmin for that.
But then finally, Garmin has fully offline maps on the Epix (and Fenix). So if I’m on a bike ride for a full day and all other devices’ batteries are dead, the Garmin watch can get me home without me having to rely on my absolutely awful sense of direction.
As a smartwatch: Apple Watch>>WearOS>>Garmin Venu 2>Garmin Epix 2 (having used all of those except for the Apple Watch).
But for battery and activity tracking (and I don’t know where Apple fits in on this scale but I suspect worse than Garmin and far better than WearOS): Garmin Epix 2>Garmin Venu 2>>>>>>>>>>>WearOS.
I’ll be paying attention to what Google announces, but I don’t expect anything game-changing at this point. That’s what WearOS 3 was supposed to do, and still I’m fairly indifferent to it.