The Pixel Watch is finally here, and by all accounts, it’s a decent Wear OS entry (our full review is coming soon). But out of the box, it seems to be missing features like fall detection. That will be fixed, but the latest problem is a little worse. You’re stuck using the official charger.
Most (if not all) smartwatches come with a proprietary charger of some sort specifically designed to fit the device. They usually work off the QI wireless charger standard, and they’re typically a decent enough solution. Plug the charger into a USB adapter, then snap the other end to your watch.
But the best smartwatches implement QI wireless charging, so you don’t necessarily have to use the official charger. You can lay the watch on a compatible wireless charging pad or even take advantage of reverse charging if your phone supports it. That’s apparently not the case with Google’s Pixel Watch. It won’t work with reverse charging, and it won’t work with other chargers besides the one packed in the box.
In a statement to 9to5Google, Google elaborated on the situation:
Qi charging is not supported on the Google Pixel Watch. There may be some charging configurations where reverse wireless or Qi charging appears to work. This will be very device and charger specific and is not guaranteed to provide a consistent, steady or strong charge. Note that in some cases, this could cause the device to discharge while on charger. Pixel Watch only supports charging with the inbox charger provided.
But while that clarifies that you’ll need to rely on an official charger from Google, it doesn’t help with understanding why. At best, we have guesses that boil down to the placement of the charging coil and the relative size of the watch. Some Reddit users have reported luck getting charging pads and wireless charging to work, but others have stated they can’t. That lines up with Google’s statement.
For now, if you want to leave your official charger at home then the best option is to buy a second official charger for the “low” price of $30. USB Adapter not included.