Technology

No, you can’t charge the Pixel Watch with your phone

There’s been a lot of confusion over the past couple of days regarding wireless charging support on the Pixel Watch, and Google is finally setting the record straight. Outside of the official charger, the Pixel Watch can’t actually charge on anything else.

Like smartwatches from Samsung and Apple, the Pixel Watch uses a version of wireless charging to top off its battery without the need for exposed pins or real estate-heavy ports, but because of the size of its internal coil, that makes it difficult to ensure compatibility with other Qi devices.

At the Pixel Watch launch event, Google confirmed that the watch wouldn’t support the Pixel Stand – a reasonable loss, we thought, given the form factor of that charger and the size of the watch. But as it turns out, you genuinely can’t expect a good charging experience anywhere but the official charger.

In a statement to 9to5Google this afternoon, Google has confirmed that, no, the Pixel Watch doesn’t support Qi wireless charging pads or reverse wireless charging off of a Pixel smartphone.

Qi charging is not supported on the Google Pixel Watch. There may be some charging configurations where reverse wireless or Qi charging appears to work. This will be very device and charger specific and is not guaranteed to provide a consistent, steady or strong charge. Note that in some cases, this could cause the device to discharge while on charger. Pixel Watch only supports charging with the inbox charger provided.

We, and many others, found in initial testing that reverse wireless charging and some other charging pads did trigger the charging notification on the Pixel Watch, seemingly in contrast to Google’s support page on the matter which says:

Reverse wireless charging from Pixel phones is not supported.

But after that initial confirmation of charging, it becomes clear quite quickly that charging isn’t actually taking place. In our own testing earlier todaywe found that the Pixel Watch would discharge if placed on the back of a Pixel 7 Pro or a Galaxy Z Fold 4 in their reverse wireless charging modes, right in line with what Google has confirmed.

Related: Google Pixel Watch initial review: Expect disappointment, and you’ll never be disappointed

The problem here is that there’s no indication of this on the Pixel Watch itself.

The Watch shows that charging is running, with no indication that it’s not actually working. And that indication doesn’t change even if the watch is discharging. We hope that Google will change that in a future update. Beyond that, we certainly hope that future Pixel Watch or Pixel phone models will unlock support for reverse wireless charging – Samsung figured this out on its watches and phones.

As it stands, anything but the official charger will be a “your results may vary” situation. But, in our testing so far, it really seems that just nothing actually works.

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