In the very early hours of this morning, the Made by Google 2022 event streamed around the world. The event showcased a number of new and upcoming hardware as well as software innovations from Google. The hardware announcements didn’t have any major surprises headlined by the Pixel Watch, Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 7. The other updates primarily focussed on the cameras, use of AI and a little bit of accessibility too.
The Pixel Watch – AU$549.00
During the presentation, it was mentioned multiple times that the Pixel Watch is designed for everyday wear. Something that became very clear as the design process and features of the hardware were outlined.
Let’s get the ugly bits out of the way first off here because the rest of it looks pretty good. The 294mAh battery life is, as rumoured, not great with “up to” a full day of battery life. It is said to charge to 50% is 30 mins, 80% in 55 minutes and to reach 100% you’ll need an hour and 20 minutes.
The rest of the design and feature set come across as well thought through, intuitive and very user friendly. The physical size of the watch lands in a happy middle ground at 42mm. There are three colour combinations on offer:
- Champaign Gold case with a Hazel active band
- Matte Black Case with an Obsidian active band
- Polished Silver Case with a Charcoal active band
The reason the bands above are designed that way is that they are easy to change through a twist lock system. This — like changing Fitbit bands — allows the device to transform for different occasions quickly and easily.
The hardware spaces weren’t heavily featured in the presentation because the focus was on usability and functionality. Having access to the notifications you want and avoiding distractions and notification burnout is quick and simple to set up with a couple of other features noted, such as:
- Using your Google photos images as watch face
- Actionable Gmail and calendar notifications
- Access to Google Pay through onboard NFC
- Maps turn by turn directions
Fitbit integration is very much as expected too, with pairing the Pixel Watch to your phone completed via the Fitbit app. This opens a new world of fitness and health monitoring which is aligned well with the heart rate sensor that checks your pulse every second, one of the reasons that the battery life would be very difficult to increase significantly.
Despite the wait, the Pixel Watch looks to be a very impressive piece of hardware. You can pre-order one now via the Google Store for AU$549.00
The Pixel 7 Pro – AU$1,299.00
The Pixel 7 Pro is, of course, the big daddy of the phones with the biggest and best of everything on offer. While there are a few minor hardware tweaks this year, the device focuses on the user experience. Offering a 6.7-inch QHD display with dynamic refresh rates up to 120Hz.
It features a triple rear (50MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide and 48MP telephoto) camera setup and a 10.8MP front-facing camera that also allows you to unlock your device. Yes, Face unlock is actually here! The Tensor G2, 12GB of RAM provide both continued performance and with the 5,000mAh — typical capacity — combined to provide a full day of heavy use, or up to three days (we’ll try to test this…) on extreme battery saving.
You can pre-order now via the Google Store, with stores having stock from the 13th. You’ve got a choice of three colours; Hazel, Snow or Obsidian, which line up with the Pixel Watch and bring Google’s hardware into line with Material You.
The Pixel 7 – AU$999.00
The Pixel 7 has been designed for users who don’t necessarily want or need the best of everything but want just enough of everything. The capabilities are similar to the Pro in many areas with a few items like the battery, memory, storage, screen size and refresh being a step down from the more expensive model.
The specifics include:
- Dual rear (50MP Wide-angle and 12MP Ultra-Wide) camera setup with a 10.8MP front facing, face unlock setup
- 6.3-inch FHD screen running 443PPI with up to 90Hz refresh
- 8GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage
- Available in Lemongrass, Obsidian and Snow
- 30W fast charging or Qi charging capable
A couple of important notes are that both the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro will continue to have five years of security updates and 3 years of OS updates. They’ll both have access to the new features scheduled to drop in the coming year, including VPN (more details coming soon) and the magic that is rapidly becoming the Google Photos experience.
It’s been a busy morning for Google enthusiasts, with more to come with new features promised and the Pixel Tablet in the new year.