Look out Garmin – Google Pixel Watch just got a navigation update runners will love

Google Pixel Watch with light green band on light green background
(Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel Watch has just received several major mapping and navigation upgrades that could make it a much more tempting choice for road runners who want to explore new parts of the city.

As 9to5Google reports, a new Google Maps update for Google Wear OS changes how turn-by-turnnavigation appears on the watch's screen. Previously, the watch face would show a map during navigation, with turn-by-turn directions accessible by swiping up.

Once you've received the update you can choose to see either the map, or a new full list of directions. If you lower your wrist, the next direction will remain clearly visible via the always-on-display so you don't have to keep raising it to check.

Which watch?

So should you opt for Google's wearable next time you upgrade your GPS watch? The answer depends very much what you use it for. If you want something specifically for fitness tracking and don't want to charge it every couple of days then a dedicated sports watch from the likes of Polar, Garmin, or Coros will be the better option.

However, if you want easy access to your emails, use Google Assistant to control smart devices, make payments (Google Pay is more widely supported than Garmin Pay), manage your calendar, and are a beginner or intermediate road runner, then the Pixel Watch makes a lot of sense

The recent changes to maps won't make too much difference to trail runners (Google Maps isn't great for off-roading) but if you want to get off the beaten path you can install a third-party app like Komoot that will let you create your own trails and follow ones plotted by other outdoor enthusiasts.

However, if you're a dedicated AllTrails user then you'd be better off opting for the Apple Watch Ultra, as there isn't currently a WearOS version of the app available. 

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.