Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Google Pixel Watch

Garmin Forerunner 965 was released in March 2023 and Google Pixel watch was released in October 2022. Both watches are credible smartwatches. Which of these two would you prefer?

Let us review the Forerunner 965 and Google Pixel watch and discuss the main feature differences.

Main differences

  • The biggest differentiator between Forerunner 965 and Google Pixel watch is the support for iOS. Forerunner 965 can work with iPhone and Android phones. Google Pixel watch can only work with Android phones.
  • Garmin Connect app is the app you would use with Forerunner 965. Google Pixel watch works with the Fitbit app. In terms of resilience, the Garmin Connect app has a much better set of features and is more stable.
  • Google Pixel watch can support GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou GPS networks. Forerunner 965 supports GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo networks only.
  • Forerunner 965 has a considerably longer battery backup than the battery backup of the Google Pixel watch.
  • Google Pixel watch has an in-built speaker and microphone. Forerunner 965 does not have an in-built speaker or microphone.
  • Google Pixel watch supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Forerunner 965 can support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ANT+ connectivity.
  • Google Pixel watch supports Google Maps and Google Wallet. Garmin uses its own proprietary map solution and Garmin Pay for facilitating NFC payments.
  • Garmin Forerunner 965 supports multi-band GPS or dual frequency GPS. Google Pixel watch does not have multi-band GPS.
  • Garmin Forerunner 965 has full music functionality. Google Pixel watch offers YouTube music, Spotify music and also the ability to download music on the watch.

We look at these differences in more detail below.

Garmin Forerunner 965 smartwatch

Display specifications

Forerunner 965 and Google Pixel Watch have an AMOLED display. Both watches support Always-on-display mode.

We look at the display properties of the Forerunner 965 and Google Pixel watch below.

Display specificationsGarmin Forerunner 965Google Pixel Watch
Display lensCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DXCustom Corning Gorilla Glass 3D
Display size1.4″ or 36 mm1.2″ or 30 mm
Display typeAMOLEDAMOLED
Display resolution454 x 454 pixels450 x 450 pixels
Color displayYesYes
TouchscreenYesYes
Ambient light sensorYesYes
LED FlashlightNoYes

Google Pixel watch has a smaller display than Forerunner 965. However, the display resolution of the Google Pixel watch is almost equivalent to the display resolution of Garmin Forerunner 965.

Physical specifications

A significant difference between Forerunner 965 and Google Pixel watch is the physical body material of both watches. 80 percent of the Google Pixel watch’s body is made of recycled stainless steel. Forerunner 965 uses fiber-enforced polymer casing.

We look at the physical specifications of both watches below.

Physical specificationsGarmin Forerunner 965Google Pixel watch
Watch size47 mm41 mm
Watch weight53 g36 g
BezelFiber-enforced polymerRingke bezel
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymer80% recycled stainless steel
Band size22 mmSmall and Large bands
Band materialSiliconeFlouroelastomer, Polyester, Spandex yarn, Leather band
Water rating5 ATM or 50 Meters5 ATM or 50 Meters
Device storage32 GB32 GB
NFC PaymentsGarmin PayGoogle Wallet and GPay
GPSGPS, GLONASS, GALILEOGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BeiDou
iOS compatibleYes, iOS 15 or higherNo
Android compatibleYes, Android 7 or higherYes, Android 8 or higher
In-built SpeakerNoYes
In-built microphoneNoYes

Google Pixel watch has more band material options than Forerunner 965. Also, a good advantage of the Google Pixel watch is the in-built speaker and microphone.

On a Google Pixel watch, you can make calls or answer calls directly from the watch. This feature is unavailable in Garmin Forerunner 965.

Watch storage and water resistance rating of Forerunner 965 and Google Pixel watch are similar.

Battery

The battery backup of the Forerunner 965 is considerably longer than the backup provided by the Google Pixel watch.

Google Pixel watch has a battery life of 24 hours. The battery will drain faster when GPS is being used.

Pixel watch does support fast charging. You can go from 0 to 50 percent battery charge in 30 minutes. In less than an hour, you can go from 0 to 80 percent battery charge levels.

Garmin Forerunner 965 has a battery life of 23 days.

Forerunner 965 offers battery backup on different watch modes, as mentioned below.

Watch modeGarmin Forerunner 965 backup
Smartwatch modeUp to 23 days
GPS-only mode without musicUp to 31 hours
GPS-Only GNSS mode with music: Up to 10.5 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-BandUp to 19 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-Band with music: Up to 8.5 hours

Google Pixel watch cannot come close to Garmin Forerunner 965 in terms of battery backup. Forerunner 965 offers significantly longer backup than the Google Pixel watch.

Multi-band GPS

Garmin Forerunner 965 supports multi-band GPS or dual-frequency GPS.

With multi-band GPS, you can get GPS signals from multiple satellites at any given point in time. Multi-band GPS is very useful in situations of poor GPS connectivity or low-strength GPS signals.

Multi-band GPS is especially useful when you are in a remote area, hilly terrain or in dense city areas with tall buildings.

Google Pixel watch does not support multi-band GPS.

The multi-band GPS in Garmin Forerunner 965 improves GPS reliability, dependability, and accuracy of GPS data.

If GPS data accuracy is of paramount concern to you, we suggest picking a Garmin Forerunner 965 over the Google Pixel watch.

Wireless connectivity

Garmin Forerunner 965 supports ANT+, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

ANT+ support allows you to broadcast HRV or Heart-rate variability data to an ANT+ capable receiving device. ANT+ is very useful for recording and measuring fitness training data.

Google Pixel watch only supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Music

Forerunner 965 has a full-fledged music feature in the watch.

On a Forerunner 965, you can do the following music functions:

  • You can store music or audio content on the Forerunner 965 internal storage. This is useful in providing offline listening capability to the Forerunner 965.
  • You can manage the music on smartwatch storage directly from the watch.
  • You can also control music on the paired smartphone from a Garmin Forerunner 965.
  • You can download music streaming apps from the Connect IQ store. This means you can use Spotify and other music streaming apps on a Forerunner 965. A premium subscription to the music streaming apps will be needed.

On a Google Pixel watch, you can use music apps like YouTube Music to download music content on the watch. Or, you could use YouTube music for streaming music on a Google Pixel watch.

To download music to your Google Pixel watch, you need a premium subscription to YouTube Music.

Forerunner 965 has a more comprehensive music offering than Google Pixel Watch.

ECG app

Garmin Forerunner 965 does not support the ECG app as of now.

Google Pixel watch uses the Fitbit app to offer an ECG feature. The ECG app helps in taking on-demand electrocardiograms.

The ECG app in Google Pixel watch can detect irregular heart rhythms or conditions of Atrial Fibrillation. The primary goal of the ECG app is to detect AFib.

LTE connectivity

Google Pixel watch has two variants. There is a GPS + Bluetooth variant of the Google Pixel watch. Then, there is the Google Pixel LTE variant.

The LTE variant of the Google Pixel watch provides LTE connectivity directly from the watch. So, there is no need to carry your phone at all times for cellular or network connectivity.

To make the most of LTE connectivity, you will need a valid subscription to a telecom service provider.

However, the main advantage of LTE connectivity is that it allows you to make calls directly from the watch using the LTE network.

Google Pixel watch does offer LTE connectivity on one of its variants. Forerunner 965 lacks LTE connectivity option.

Costs

Forerunner 965 costs $599.99 while the Google Pixel watch comes at a list price of $349 for the GPS + Bluetooth variant.

Google Pixel Watch with LTE support comes at a cost of $399.99.

Final verdict

Both watches have plus points. I would prefer a Forerunner 965 over the Google Pixel watch for the following reasons:

  • Multi-band GPS and improved GPS accuracy
  • ANT+ support
  • Exceptionally long battery life
  • Full music features

If I were to prefer Google Pixel watch over the Forerunner 965, I would do so for the following reasons:

  • Google Pixel watch is relatively inexpensive. It is cheaper than Forerunner 965 by $250.
  • ECG app on the Google Pixel watch is a very useful health-tracking feature.
  • LTE connectivity in the Pixel watch is also a very positive feature of the Pixel watch.

Suggested smartwatch comparisons:

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