Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Google Pixel Watch 2: Which is Better?

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The Vivoactive 5 is the successor to the Vivoactive 4, it is an outstanding smartwatch with a remarkable design. Although, it is a lower-end version of the Venu 3 as it lacks a microphone and speaker and as a result, it can’t make and receive calls nor does it feature any voice assistant. Nonetheless, the Vivoactive 5 is a fantastic smartwatch. It now has a more colorful AMOLED display and it’s also a decent health tracker.

Interestingly, it has very similar features to the Pixel Watch 2 which cost $50 more. So which should you go for, a $350 Pixel Watch 2 or a $300 Vivoactive 5. We compare the features of these two fantastic watches to find the differences.

Just like the Vivoactive 5, the Pixel Watch 2 is also available in only one size. However, like its predecessor, it comes in non-cellular and cellular models. The cellular model is equipped with an eSIM that when activated enables cellular capabilities that makes it a standalone watch which can make and receive calls without your phone. The cellular model of the Pixel Watch 2 costs $50 more than the non-cellular model, this excludes the recurring subscription fees for cellular data on the watch.

Vivoactive 5 vs Pixel Watch 2: My Verdict

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Google Pixel Watch 2 - main difference

In summary, both the Pixel Watch 2 and Vivoactive 5 have an outstanding design. Each is also well-equipped to track your daily activities. Moreover, both watches will also allow you to download music to the watch which you can listen to offline. However, I personally think the Vivoactive 5 is a more attractive watch than Pixel Watch 2.

But, the Pixel Watch 2 which runs on a richer Wear OS ecosystem and has a bigger storage capacity in addition to the ability to make and receive calls, yet also a comprehensive health tracker, is clearly a better bargain for me.

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Google Pixel Watch 2 Full Specifications

 
 
Product Info
Garmin Vivoactive 5 Full Smartwatch Specifications

Garmin Vivoactive 5 Full Smartwatch Specifications, Features and Price

Google Pixel Watch 2 - Full Smartwatch Specifications, Features and Price

Google Pixel Watch 2 - Full Smartwatch Specifications, Features and Price

Price $299.99 $299.99
ABOUT DEVICE ABOUT DEVICE ABOUT DEVICE
Device name Garmin Vivoactive 5 Pixel Watch 2 (WiFi)
Device type Fitness/Classic smartwatch Fitness/Sport smartwatch
Gender Unisex, Women Unisex
Release date September, 2023 October, 2023
Predecessor Garmin Vivoactive 4 Pixel Watch
Successor
Versions LTE & WiFi
BODY BODY BODY
Dimension 42.2 x 42.2 x 11.1 mm 41 x 41 x 12.3 mm
Weight 23 grams (excluding straps) 31g (excluding straps)
Shape Circular Circular
Case material Fiber-reinforced polymer Aluminum
Strap material Silicone Fluoroelastomer
Bezel material Aluminum Aluminum
Strap size 20 mm 130-175 mm (small), 165-210 mm (big)
Interchangeable strap 20mm, Yes Yes
Screen protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Water resistance Yes, 5ATM Yes, 5ATM
Durability test
Swim-proof Yes, recommended Yes, recommended
Color Black/black band, Ivory/ivory band, Navy blue/navy blue band, Orchid/orchid band Champagne-gold case/Hazel band, Matte-black case/Obsidian band, Polished-silver case/Chalk band, Polished-silver case/Charcoal band
DISPLAY DISPLAY DISPLAY
Display size 1.2 inches 1.2 inches
Display type AMOLED 1000nit, AMOLED
Display resolution 390 x 390 px 450 x 450
Pixel density 326 ppi 320 PPI
Always on Yes Yes
Custom watch face Yes Yes
Input type 2 Physical buttons, Touchscreen 1 Haptic rotating crown, 1 Physical button, Touchscreen
CONNECTIVITY CONNECTIVITY CONNECTIVITY
Bluetooth ANT+, Bluetooth Bluetooth v5.0
Bluetooth calling No Yes
GPS Galileo, GLONASS, GPS BEIDOU, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS
NFC Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes
MEMORY MEMORY MEMORY
RAM 2GB RAM
ROM 4GB 32GB
Memory card slot No No
CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY
Technology None None
SIM type None None
Band
NOTIFICATIONS NOTIFICATIONS NOTIFICATIONS
SMS alert Yes Yes
Calls alert Yes Yes
Email alert Yes Yes
Event reminder Yes Yes
Third-party apps alert Yes Yes
Reply to Notifications Android only, Yes (preset replies) -
MEDIA MEDIA MEDIA
Audio mp3 mp3
Bluetooth music Yes Yes
Loudspeaker No Yes
Microphone No Yes
Camera No No
Radio No No
SENSORS SENSORS SENSORS
Sensor(s) Accelerometer, Barometer, Compass, Garmin Elevate v4 HR sensor, Spo2 sensor, Thermometer Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Barometer, Compass, Electrical sensor (EDA), Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Multipurpose electrical sensors, Skin temperature sensor, Spo2 sensor
ACTIVITY TRACKING ACTIVITY TRACKING ACTIVITY TRACKING
Blood oxygen Yes Yes
Blood Pressure No No
Calories Yes Yes
Distance Yes Yes
ECG tracking No Yes
Heart rate monitoring Yes Yes
Sleep tracking Yes Yes
Steps Yes Yes
Floors climbed No -
Stress Yes Yes
Fall detection Yes Yes
Menstrual cycle Yes Yes
VO2 Max Yes Yes
Swim-tracking Yes Yes
Underwater heart rate tracking Yes
On-screen workout No
Sport modes Yes Yes
BATTERY BATTERY BATTERY
Battery type non-removable Lithium-polymer Non-removable Li-ion battery
Battery capacity 306mAh
Battery life Smartwatch mode: Up to 11 days, Battery saver mode: Up to 21 fays Up to 24hrs
Charging type Charging dock USB-C magnetic charger
Charging time 30min-1hr 2-3hrs
Solar charging No No
PLATFORM PLATFORM PLATFORM
Chipset Snapdragon 5100
CPU Quad-core Arm Cortex A53 1.7 GHz
GPU Adreno 702 GPU @ 1Ghz
Operating system Proprietary OS Wear OS 4
MISC MISC MISC
Companion app Garmin Connect Google Pixel Watch app
Compatibility Android 7.0+, iOS 15.0+ Android OS 8.0+
Payment system Garmin Pay Google Pay
Voice command No Google Assistant
Find my phone Yes Yes
Box content Charger, Manual, Straps, Garmin Vivoactive 5 Charger, Manual, Small & large straps, Google Pixel Watch 2

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Google Pixel Watch 2: Features Compared

Prices

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Google Pixel Watch 2 Price

Despite having more features, the Pixel Watch 2 retails at the same price as its predecessor. Meanwhile, Vivoactive 5 is even cheaper than Vivoactive 4. This seems like a trend now and of course, I think it’s a great marketing strategy that tends to make people want to try the new features on new watches at no extra cost. It’s the same thing with Apple Watch Series 9 and Galaxy Watch 6 which both retail at the same price as their respective predecessors.

The Pixel Watch 2 like its predecessor, comes in only 40mm size but is available in two models; LTE and Wifi models. While the LTE model retails for $400, the Wifi model retails for $350.

On the other hand, Vivoactive 5 unlike its predecessor, is only available in 41mm size and retails for $300.

You know the prices now, so let’s see if the Pixel Watch 2 is worth the extra $50.

Design

In all honesty, I believe we have two very durably built watches, and that’s not surprising considering that Garmin and Google which are both reputable firms make some of the most durable devices. Beyond their respective sturdiness, both watches are also very lightweight. Perhaps some of the lightest, and of course, some of the most comfortable to wear.

The Vivoactive 5 like other Garmin watches has a fiber-polymer frame while the bezel which kinda leaves it with a traditional watch appearance is made of aluminum. Meanwhile, the band measures 20mm and is made of silicone. On the other hand, Pixel Watch 2 has an aluminum frame paired with a fluoroelastomer. And like I mentioned earlier, each of these two is very lightweight. While the Pixel Watch 2 weighs 31g, the Vivoactive 5 weighs 36g, this is including straps.

Both watches are also rated 5ATM which means each of these two is water-resistant and it’s safe to wear any of these while bathing or even to the swimming pool. Note, that it’s not recommended to dive with any of these watches.

The glass type is different, while Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protects the display of Vivoactive 5, a higher-end Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protects the display of Pixel Watch 2. So while the screen of Vivoactive 5 is very durable, Pixel Watch 2 has a stronger glass.

When you look at the design of both watches, it’s clear each of these two is sturdily built. But then, personally, I never liked the dome-shaped design of the Pixel Watch, nor that of the Pixel Watch 2.

I’m a fan of watches with traditional watch appearances. So while the Pixel Watch 2 is more compact, weighs a little less and has a more durable screen, I prefer the design of Vivoactive 5.

Display

I think many were taken by surprise when Garmin unveiled the Vivoactive 5 with an AMOLED display. It’s the first in the Vivoactive series to have it. AMOLED is now an industry standard, and that’s because it offers a richer viewing experience.

Both watches have an AMOLED display, and it’s the same 1.2 inches display. Both watches also come with preloaded watch faces, and you can download more from the respective stores.

In terms of display, I think it’s fair to say that each of these two has a decent display that’s easy to read.

Health Tracking

Not surprising, each of these two is well-equipped to track your daily activities. Garmin already carved a name in the health tracking space with their advanced health tracking technology, the same can also be said of Fitbit which powers health tracking features on the Pixel Watch 2.

Each of these will track your daily activities like sleep, heart rate, steps, calories, blood oxygen and stress. Each of these two also has an inbuilt GPS which means you don’t need to carry your phone along to track your routes. You also get loads of preloaded sports modes. Moreover, each of these two has incidental fall-detection features that allow the watch to call preset emergency contact when it detects a fall.

However, despite being a comprehensive health tracker, the Pixel Watch 2 just like the Galaxy Watch 6 features ECG measurement which is not present in Vivoactive 5.

Music Storage

In the media department, both watches support onboard music storage. Though, while Vivoactive 5 is equipped with 4GB, the Pixel Watch 2 is equipped with 32GB storage. So you get a lot more storage with the Pixel Watch 2.

Spotify, Deezer and Amazon Music are the supported music streaming services for Garmin watches. On the other hand, with Pixel Watch 2 you have YouTube Music, Spotify, Deezer and many other music streaming services on Playstore.

Making Calls and Voice Assistant

The ability to make and receive calls is one of the main differences between the Vivoactive 5 and Venu 3. Similarly, the Pixel Watch 2 which has a microphone and speaker can make and receive calls but that’s not possible with Vivoactive 5.

If you choose to go for the Pixel Watch 2 LTE model, you will be able to make and receive calls without connecting to your phone.

As a result of the microphone on Pixel Watch 2, it features Google Assistant which will allow you to use your voice to do simple tasks like starting exercise, setting an alarm and playing music.

There is no microphone in Vivoactive 5, so no voice assistant.

Battery life

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Google Pixel Watch 2 battery life

So far, the Pixel Watch 2 boasts a bigger storage and can make and receive calls, but it falls short when it comes to battery life. At most, you can get up to 24 hours of battery life, which means you will have to charge it daily if you use the watch often.

Meanwhile, like other Garmin watches, the Vivoactive 5 has a long battery life that lets you go long from a single charge. You can get up to 11 days in typical usage and up to 5 days when always-on is enabled.

Clearly, if battery life is a big factor for you, the Vivoactive 5 is your man.

Conclusion

In all, I think both watches are fantastic. Each of these two has a decent design and also a good health tracker.

Though as per design, I prefer the appearance of the Vivoactive 5, I have never been a fan of the domed-shaped design of the Pixel Watch. And if you want a longer battery life, the Vivoactive 5 is also a better choice.

Meanwhile, despite costing $50 more and having a shorter battery life, I think the Pixel Watch 2 is a better bargain. It runs on a richer Wear OS ecosystem that gives you access to more apps. It also has a bigger storage and can make and receive calls. Moreover, you can use your voice to perform simple tasks. For me, the Pixel Watch 2 is a better bargain.

It’s totally about preference. It’s your call, you decide.