Now, we’re seeing the results of that work, and it’s a fairly mixed bag. Google’s hardware sticks far closer to the idea of a traditional wristwatch than the Apple Watch ever bothered to, with its circular display far less obviously geeky than the rectangle of Apple’s wearable. It also fits with what Wear OS partners have been doing, all the way back to the earliest Motorola smartwatches.
The domed, 3D Gorilla Glass cover glass is slick, and the color options are classic. There’s a choice of matte black, polished silver, and champagne gold, with various straps and bands, and of course, you can change the watch face to suit. As well as the haptic crown there’s a side button, too.
If there’s a lapse, it’s things like the size of the bezel around Google’s circular AMOLED display. It’s a bright panel — up to 1,000 nits — and it supports always-on, but the black boundary looks chunky compared to the slim surround of rival smartwatches. That’s less noticeable with Wear OS’ darker watch faces, but a lot more glaring if you pick something brighter.