google’s official line is that the Pixel Watch does? not support Qi charging or reverse charging from a phone. However, in recent days, many users have anecdotally reported that these wireless charging methods do indeed work. Curious, I’ve tried it myself, and I’m sorry to say that while it does work, it’s just not reliable.
First, I decided to charge the Pixel Watch with my Pixel 7 Pro review unit. I turned on the battery sharing feature, put the watch on the back of the phone and it worked! For a total of 10 seconds. While the charging animation popped up, it never maintained a stable connection to charge meaningfully. Sometimes I could get it to work for a minute, but that was the best I could do. It was easier if I removed the straps so the watch could lay perfectly flat – but that’s not always realistic when you’re on the go.
Undeterred, I tried again with my Belkin 3-in-1 charging dock – and got the same results.
On Twitter and subreddits, some users reported more luck. Others have had a similar experience mines. But the bottom line is that this won’t always work the same for everyone. It reminds me of Samsung Galaxy Watches, those also have this feature. Sometimes it works like a charm. Other times it just doesn’t. Usually it was much more effort then simply stick it on the charger that came with the watch.
I understand the frustration. Unlike virtually all other consumer gadgets, smartwatches and fitness trackers still rely on proprietary chargers. Even if two chargers look identical, they won’t work with another company’s smartwatch or tracker. You can buy third-party chargers from Amazon, but your mileage will depend on whether it works 100 percent of the time. Some companies, like Garmin, manage to use the same charger on different devices and models. Others, like Fitbit, keep changing the design to the point where it’s an e-waste disaster. What gives?
The answer is quite simple. These devices are too small and the technology is not there yet. Most standard connectors, such as USB-C, are too large to fit into a smartwatch or devices designed to mold to your body. The smaller the device, the more difficult this becomes.
Even with wireless charging, getting the coil size right is tricky due to the placement of the sensors. This could explain why some people can get wireless charging on the Pixel Watch to work relatively well and others, like me, not. It depends on which Qi charger you have, how you position the device, and whether you can maintain that placement without a magnetic element to make sure everything lines up perfectly. (For the record, this is why so many smartwatches and wearables have magnetic chargers.)
A reliable, universal portable charging stand is almost impossible right now
The kicker is that, because each smartwatch’s internal design is different, the charging elements probably won’t be in the same place. That’s why you won’t see any truly universal third-party smartwatch chargers either. I have written deeper We’ve had articles on this before, but a reliable, universal portable charging stand is virtually impossible at this point. This, in turn, is why most smartwatches don’t support Qi charging. Or if they do, as in Samsung’s case, the experience is shaky and you’ll have to buy Samsung’s Qi chargers or phones to get the best result.
Google probably says it’s not officially supported – even if it’s technically possible – because it can’t guarantee a unified and reliable experience for everyone. So sure, this “hack” could work in no time. I just wouldn’t bet on it.