Google just dropped a teaser video titled “The Design of Google Pixel Watch” ahead of the smartwatch’s official debut at an event on October 6. The video does a neat job highlighting the smartwatch’s clean design with its curved glass aesthetics and the peppy band colors, all under a minute.
What it doesn’t show are the bezels. Ever since the first leaked renders of the Pixel Watch popped up online, all on-screen UI elements have been depicted against a pitch-black backdrop. It looks good, but in doing so, the true thickness of the bezels has also remained a mystery. Clever design, one might say.
Pixel Watch is looking like a great smartwatch for 2014! pic.twitter.com/rebZgx5TdY
— Joe Maring (@JoeMaring1) September 22, 2022
But one still from Google’s video, in particular, captured the attention of Digital Trends Mobile Editor Joe Maring. It shows a Tron-inspired sea green analog watch face that leaves an excessive blank space alongside the periphery. Naturally, you can’t make pixels light up beneath black bezels. If the Pixel Watch indeed has bezels that thick, it would look more like a relic from the era of first-generation smartwatches.
Hey Google, are you kidding me?
So, I tried to look back at old product assets to check if we are actually going to witness a “bezel blasphemy” this fall season. After sifting through a few Google Image results, I came across this official render with the Google Assistant UI, ready to do its master’s bidding.
As you can see in the image above, the assistant’s signature colorful bar at the bottom is a little too distant from the round edges. That could only mean one thing: The Pixel Watch has got thick bezels. And by thick, I mean “we don’t deserve these in 2022” thick.
But again, these are design mockups, and maybe, just maybe, the real thing might surprise us with thinner bezels. But it appears that there’s no pleasant surprise for excited fans. At least, not this year.
Remember the leaked images of a Pixel Watch test unit that was left behind at a restaurant? I went back to the Reddit thread and jumped to the Imgur gallery of the leaked images. Well, I’ll leave you with this image to decide for yourself.
The design is reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, which came out in 2019. The only difference is that the glass is far curvier alongside the circumference of Google’s smartwatch, which makes the bezels appear even more pronounced than the Samsung wearable.
Below is possibly the most realistic depiction of the real Pixel Watch — and its unsavory bezels. Digital Trends’ Cristina Alexander described it as “an old-fashioned circular watch, just updated for the digital age.” It’s hard to disagree with that observation. Another colleague was a tad less forgiving and left the conversation with “just yuck!”
Now, it’s hard to see any appeal whatsoever in those fat bezels. The only justification one can give is that the Pixel Watch has been stuck in development hell for a while. BRather than switching gears midway and burning through a few million dollars, Google stuck with the original design — one that is more befitting of 2018.
Only for the true Pixel fan
I sincerely hope those bezels serve some functional purpose. On the Galaxy Watch Active 2, the round bezels were capacitive, offering an intuitive way of navigating the UI. It was quite clever, and also a test of patience if the screen got wet.
I would like to imagine that Google hid some sort of bioactive sensor beneath the bezels, somewhat like the Fitbit Sense 2, but don’t hold your breath for such a miracle. Oh, and did I tell you that the Pixel Watch reportedly packs an Exynos chip from the era of 2018 smartwatches? Yeah, that too.
But that’s not where the bad news ends. For all that bezel-ous goodness of the Pixel Watch, Google is reportedly planning to charge $350. That’s the asking price for the Bluetooth-only model. If you prefer cellular connectivity on your Wear OS smartwatch, prepare to burn through $400 this holiday season.
Chunky bezels alone aren’t reason enough to be hesitant about the Pixel Watch, but combined with everything else we know about the smartwatch, it makes it increasingly difficult to be excited about Google’s first Pixel wearable. And — considering how much anticipation is surrounding the thing — that’s a shame.