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It’s ridiculous that the Pixel Watch 2 doesn’t support wireless charging

Published Oct 4th, 2023 7:47PM EDT
Google Pixel Watch 2
Image: Google

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Google is embracing its Fitbit side with the Pixel Watch 2. On top of improving the first generation of its smartwatch lineup, Google has also taken an enormous step backward, completely removing wireless charging from the Pixel Watch 2 in favor of contact pins.

Now, why would Google do this? The answer is pretty interesting. Google decided to use contact pins instead of wireless charging because it’s technically faster and safer. Contact pins don’t create as much heat as wireless charging does, and they can charge slightly faster, too, charging 0-80 percent in just 43 minutes versus 55 minutes on the original Pixel Watch.

Pixel Watch 2 contact chargers
The four contact charger points can be seen on the back of the Pixel Watch 2. Image source: Google / YouTube

The contact pins are built into the small puck-like charger that comes with the Google Pixel Watch 2, which is the exact same arrangement that Fitbit uses in its Sense and Versa series, so you could use those chargers, too. You’re still getting USB-C as well, so you won’t need to buy a new charging brick if you already have one.

So far, it probably sounds like this change isn’t a bad idea, and ultimately, it probably isn’t. However, one thing makes it a terrible decision: it ties Google’s latest smartwatch to a more proprietary charger. It’s a crazy move, especially after we’ve seen Google take shots at Apple in the past for its refusal to switch to USB-C or RCS.

By forcing Pixel Watch 2 users to rely on contact pins instead of wireless charging, you’ll now need to buy specific chargers built just for the Pixel Watch 2 if you need another one. That means you can’t just buy the best wireless charger you can get your hands on and expect it to work as needed.

It might be a little bit safer and faster. Still, it feels like a huge step backward for accessibility, which is funny to see from a company that has spent a ton of ad money on beating down Apple for being “less accessible” without USB-C and RCS messaging

Ultimately, how much it affects the Pixel Watch 2’s reception is probably null. But, if you were looking for reasons why you probably shouldn’t pick up the Pixel Watch 2 over the original Pixel Watch, then this strange move to contact pins for charging is a disappointing one to even have to consider.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.