If you crack the screen on the Pixel Watch, getting it officially repaired by Google isn’t in the cards.
Several Pixel Watch owners have vented their frustrations about the inability to replace cracked screens, both on Reddit and in Google support forums. The Verge has also reviewed an official Google support chat from a reader who broke their Pixel Watch display after dropping the wearable. In it, a support representative states that Google “doesn’t have any repair centers or service centers” for the device.
“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,” Google spokesperson Bridget Starkey confirmed to The Verge.
Starkey also pointed me to Google’s hardware warranty policy, which states:
This Limited Warranty does not apply to damage caused by: (1) normal wear and tear; (2) accidents; (3) misuse (including failure to follow product documentation); (4) neglect; (5) disassembly; (6) alterations; (7) servicing other than by Google-authorized technicians; and (8) external causes such as, but not limited to: liquid damage, exposure to sharp objects, exposure to excessive force, anomalies in the electrical current supplied to the Google product, and extreme thermal or environmental conditions.
That warranty leaves owners on their own to deal with damage caused by drops or accidental strikes, and according to Google’s Store, there is no option for an extended warranty to go with a Pixel Watch. If your Pixel Watch is accidentally damaged, that’s it.
This is despite the fact that a repair would technically be possible. iFixit notes in its Pixel Watch teardown that while the screen isn’t easily accessible, the watch itself holds promise for future repairability. The site also has a detailed how-to for replacing a cracked, broken, or dead screen. However, it’s unclear where the average person would source a replacement part, especially as Google does not offer repair options for the device. One commenter on the iFixit guide suggests buying an intact Pixel Watch off eBay, but that only seems mildly cheaper (and perhaps more wasteful) than buying a used or new Pixel Watch replacement.
This is troubling, considering the Pixel Watch features a circular domed glass display. While it’s an attractive design, it can be easily cracked if you’re not careful. During our review period last year, my colleague Chris Welch cracked his within a few days — even though he hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary or banged the device against hard surfaces. I have not experienced a crack despite dropping mine multiple times, but our differing experiences are more likely due to luck than anything else.
Google is not the only one guilty of making smartwatch repairs difficult. Repairing an Apple Watch has historically been an expensive and difficult endeavor. For example, without AppleCare Plus, Apple cites a flat $299 estimate for a Series 8 and $499 for an Apple Watch Ultra. With AppleCare Plus, that price drops to $69 for the Series 8 and $79 for the Ultra, not including the cost of AppleCare itself. That said, at least you can send in an Apple Watch for repair, even if buying a new one might be more cost-effective in the long run.
This isn’t great, considering that Google is expected to launch a new Pixel Watch 2 in October with what appears to be a nearly identical design. The good news is that Google may not have much choice about this practice going forward. Earlier this week, California passed a right-to-repair bill that requires companies to make replacement parts for electronics available for three years if they cost $50 and up, and seven years for devices costing $100 or more.