What secrets does the inside of the Pixel Watch hold? iFixit—Google’s new repair partner—tore down Google’s first self-branded smartwatch to see exactly how this thing was put together. Like us, iFixit came away with strong “first generation” vibes.
The good news is that it does not look impossible to replace the display. The usual bit of heat and prying pops the top off, but the less-than-ideal layout means you’ll have to remove the battery, too, since the connector is buried under the soft battery pouch. A display replacement is a real concern here, considering the entire top half of the watch is glass. If you bang the watch against something or drop it, there’s a good chance you’ll shatter the all-glass corners. HAS few people have already done this, with one user reporting Google will not fix the Pixel Watch for any amount of money, so you’re on your own! If you’re worried about the display, one company is already selling a bumper case for the Pixel Watch.
iFixit took a good amount of time in the four-minute video to call Google’s internal construction “ugly.” After cracking open the front, iFixit’s Sam Goldheart noted, “Right away, it’s obvious we’re in Android country. The silver battery pouch and Kapton tape are almost a shock after all our Apple teardowns,” later adding that the welds holding together the haptic feedback buzzer were “kind of ugly.” Apple’s “paint the back of the fence” design philosophy means even the insides of Apple products look good, usually with color-matched, lovingly labeled components. Google, especially in the first generation, isn’t there yet.
iFixit didn’t give the Pixel Watch a repair score, but for the repair-positive aspects, iFixit was happy to see that the back glass pops off just like the front, and it’s not connected to any of the sensors. If you somehow happen to crack the back plate, you wouldn’t have to do much work to replace it. Goldheart was also impressed with Google’s novel new adhesive for the back plate, which came off as one continuous piece that didn’t leave behind any residue. The bad news is that none of the buttons or crown seem to be replaceable.