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Review: Pixel Watch Stretch Band is soft like a warm, cozy sweater

Google’s Stretch Band is easily the most comfortable way to wear the Pixel Watch, but it comes with a few important caveats.

Google released a surprisingly full assortment of bands for the Pixel Watch, each of which serves a distinct purpose. The leather and metal options emphasize fashion, and the default Sport Band is great for exercise and everyday wear. Meanwhile, Google also launched two watch bands that prioritize comfort above all else, the Woven Band — which we’ve previously reviewed — and the Stretch Band.

While the Woven Band and Stretch Band are both made from recycled yarn, the latter offers a significantly softer texture. From the moment you slip the watch and its new band onto your wrist, the Pixel Watch begins to feel less like a piece of tech strapped to your arm and more like a friendly companion.

The easiest way to describe the Stretch Band is to liken it to the soft, elastic end of a sweater or jacket sleeve, albeit a touch tighter. The band comes in four different sizes, each covering a small range of wrist sizes. Odds are, you’ll need a few days of adjustment for the Pixel Watch Stretch Band to properly reshape to your needs. During this time, you may see some markings on your wrist from the spandex, but these fade quickly.

Once that breaking-in period is done, the Stretch Band makes it genuinely easy to forget that you’re wearing the Pixel Watch at all. Despite the somewhat loose fit, heart rate monitoring has worked exactly as it should. This is crucial for those using the Pixel Watch for Fitbit’s built-in sleep tracking. Charging for the day also becomes a breeze, since it can quickly slip off without fooling with a clasp.

Pixel Watch Stretch Band in Rose

That comfort comes at something of a cost though, as on multiple occasions I’ve gotten the Pixel Watch snagged on things when doing chores like changing bed sheets. I haven’t had the Stretch Band come fully off of my wrist by accident, but I do often wonder if that day is coming.

Another compromise you’ll need to accept is that, like any other piece of clothing, you’ll need to wash the Pixel Watch Stretch Band from time to time. In particular, I’ve found that the “Linen” white/green shade got dingy after about two weeks of wear. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to hand wash the band with a pinch of laundry detergent and warm water. With a quick wash, the band once again looks good as new.

Lastly, it’s important to note that the Pixel Watch Stretch Band is only sweat resistant, not water resistant like most every other option. Again, this particular band is meant for comfort above all else, and isn’t a good fit for intense exercise.

At least for me, the plush comfort of the Pixel Watch Stretch Band is well worth these compromises. Without a doubt, this will be my preferred watch band for everyday use for the foreseeable future.

Pixel Watch Stretch Band options in Linen and Rose
Linen and Rose color options

Where the majority of Google’s official bands for the Pixel Watch are available through multiple retailers, the Stretch Band is a Google Store exclusive. Because of that, supplies have been quite limited, with the Obsidian colorway being particularly hard to obtain. When actually in stock, the Pixel Watch Stretch Band retails for $59.99, and for the right person, it’s worth every penny.

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