The Google Pixel Watch is a nice lookin’ smartwatch that borrows a lot of design cues from the Apple Watch. That includes its proprietary strap mount, where you can slide bands in and out to suit your personal aesthetic. According to Google, it’s meant to mimic the way a camera lens snaps into place. The reality is that it’s over-engineered and not intuitive at a glance.
This isn’t a huge issue if you plan on sticking with the band it came with. But if you want to regularly change up the look, you’ve got to master the strap mechanism. The good news is that once you master it, it’s actually quite simple to swap bands. So simple you might feel a little silly afterward for struggling. (Though, if you do struggle, you’re in good company. Several Google employees and tech reviewers had trouble swapping the straps at the Pixel Watch launch event.)
The key lies with the Pixel Watch’s release button. Unlike other smartwatches, it’s not located on the bottom of the smartwatch case. Instead, it’s to the right side of the strap. It’s a clever design, but you might miss it completely if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
To remove a strap:
- Press down the release button with one finger.
- While pressing down, slide the strap to the right until it covers the button.
- You can now remove the strap.
The trickier part is getting the strap back on. It might be tempting to try to just snap it back into place — but don’t. If you look closely, you can see grooves that need to line up accordingly.
Instead, to put on a strap:
- Line up the edge of the strap directly over the release button
- Press down and slide left until you hear a click
How to use standard straps
Unfortunately, the Pixel Watch didn’t launch with any third-party accessories. That means you’re mostly stuck with Google’s bands until third parties can catch up. But if you really want to use existing 20mm standard straps, you’re not totally out of luck.
You’ll have to buy Google’s $79.99 Crafted Leather Bands, which have a faux lug. You can then use a strap pin tool to pop out the default strap and fit one of yours instead. (Our very own Dan Seifert did it with one of his straps.) This is more of a workaround than an official method, however, and costs a pretty penny. Thankfully, we’ve started to see the first third-party adaptors hit the market. This one, for example, is a mere $20.
Now that you know how to swap bands like a pro, we encourage you to get creative. After all, wearables are personal tech that allow you to express your style — and the Pixel Watch is sort of like a chameleon. Its entire vibe can dramatically shift depending on the band you use. We’ll have to see whether Google keeps this mechanism on future Pixel Watches, but for now, you might as well have fun.