Google has to be kidding with its repair policy for the Pixel Watch. The company calls the $349 wearable “beautiful inside and out,” but it’s hiding an ugly secret from customers — there’s no way to repair a broken Pixel Watch.
Thanks to a report and Google’s recent confirmation, we now know that the Pixel Watch can’t be repaired by Google or any third-party repair services affiliated with the company. Want to repair it yourself? No official — or unofficial — parts are available to help you fix your smartwatch. This has to be the most archaic and careless policy for a modern wearable that’s soon to receive an upgrade in the form of the Pixel Watch 2. It’s even more appalling considering the company’s stance on recycling and ecological waste. So despite all the new features Google might pack in the Watch 2, no one should buy it if it remains unfixable.
Would you buy a smartwatch if you knew it can’t be repaired?
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Firstly, the design of the Pixel Watch, which leaks indicate to be similar to the Pixel Watch 2, doesn’t do it any favors when it comes to ease of repair. What Google markets as “a bold, circular dome design” is its biggest pain point as far as repairability is concerned. Multiple reports of people breaking the display of the Pixel Watch show that it easily dents or shatters from the curved sides. Some users have also documented damages to the glass back and failed to find any resolution from Google or elsewhere.
The beautiful dome design of the Pixel Watch 1 and 2 is prone to denting, cracking, and shattering.
iFixit, which usually awards repairability scores to devices, failed to generate one for the Pixel Watch, and it’s Google’s official repair partner. That’s saying something.
I don’t need to remind you that this is a smartwatch and a Fitbit too. People run and hike and do all kinds of exercises with it, it’s on someone’s wrist 24/7 — it’s understandable how the thing could get damaged, but for Google to wash its hands off any responsibility towards its buyers is as absurd as it is thoughtless.
It’s a fitness-geared smartwatch; it’s bound to get damaged in some situations. Google can’t pretend that’s not a problem.
Google’s support forums are evidence that users have to wait days and, in some cases, months for the company to address their despair in case of broken Pixel Watches. The only resolution the company reportedly offers right now is a replacement smartwatch, which you may have to partially or fully pay for.
The official company line, as per what a Google spokesperson told The Verge, is — “At this moment, we don’t have any repair option for the Google Pixel Watch. If your watch is damaged, you can contact the Google Pixel Watch Customer Support Team to check your replacement options.” This sort of unbothered attitude is not what’s expected of Google, which now has pretty robust repairability programs in place for its Pixel phones.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
With no way to repair the Pixel Watch, the only solution one is left with is to buy a brand new smartwatch. Anyone with half a sound mind would not opt for a Pixel Watch again and instead look at other more durable and repairable smartwatches on the market. The top two that come to mind are Samsung and Apple, both of which offer parts and repairs for their watches.
Google doesn’t even take back the Pixel Watch for recycling. This ensures a broken watch ends up as e-waste.
Not only is Google doing its customers an injustice by providing no repairs for the Pixel Watch, but it is also ensuring the device ends up in landfills as e-waste if users happen to break it.
What can you do with a broken Pixel Watch except dump it? Google runs an official recycling program for its hardware through its Store, but the Pixel Watch isn’t even one of the devices eligible for it. In a day and age where tech companies are rightly moving towards enhancing the sustainability of their products, this lack of a repair commitment for the Pixel Watch looks really bad.
Google’s warranty doesn’t cover damages caused by accidental drops or strikes. Your best bet is your credit card warranty.
One piece of advice I’ve been seeing given out by community specialists on Google’s forums is to check if the credit card that was used to purchase the Pixel Watch offers some kind of standalone warranty for accidental damage. That seems to be the only real way to get some form of reprieve if one breaks their Pixel Watch. Google, at its end, has a very narrow warranty on offer for the wearable. The company doesn’t cover damages caused by accidental drops or strikes. That, right there, is another reason to stay clear of the Pixel Watch 2. If Google doesn’t fix its warranty or its non-existent repair policy for the new smartwatch, it’ll lose the trust of more customers who may discover this issue over the course of the next year.
What might change Google’s stance on Pixel Watch repairs is the Right To Repair law.
What might change Google’s stance on Pixel Watch repairs is the Right To Repair law, already adopted by some states in the US. It forces companies to provide repair guides and parts for repairs. Most notably, California recently passed an electronics right-to-repair act that requires companies like Google to offer repairs for three years for products costing $50 to $99.99 and seven years for products priced at $100 or more. The bill will cover electronics made and sold after July 1, 2021. Given this has been passed in Google’s backyard, the company may not have any choice but to offer repairs for the Pixel Watch and Watch 2.
For now, it would be most unadvisable to pick up a Pixel Watch — a device that offers features like Fall Detection without considering what users would do if they actually fall and break the watch. The same is true for the Pixel Watch 2 if this problem persists with the next generation.