The Pixel Watch is finally here, and by all accounts it’s a decent entry into Wear OS (our full review is coming soon). But out of the box, features like fall detection seem to be lacking. That will fix itself, but the last problem is a bit worse. You are stuck using the official loader.
Most (if not all) smartwatches come with a proprietary charger of some kind designed specifically to fit the device. They usually work with the QI wireless charger standard and are usually a pretty decent solution. Plug the charger into a USB adapter, then plug the other end into your watch.
But the best smartwatches implement QI wireless charging, so you don’t necessarily have to use the official charger. You can place 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 will not work with reverse charging and will not work with chargers other than the one that comes in the box.
In a statement to 9to5Google, Google explained the situation:
Qi charging is not supported on Google Pixel Watch. There may be some charging configurations where Qi or reverse wireless charging appears to work. This will be very device and charger specific and is not guaranteed to provide a consistent, constant or strong charge. Please note that in some cases this could cause the device to discharge while it is on the charger. Pixel Watch only supports charging with the provided inbox charger.
But while that makes it clear that you’ll need to rely on an official Google charger, it doesn’t help you understand why. At best, we have guesses that come down to the location of the charging coil and the relative size of the watch. Some Reddit users have reported having luck getting charging pads and wireless charging to work, but others have stated that 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.