Pebble 2 vs Pebble Time 2 vs Apple Watch vs Gear S2

Alex Kidman 25 May 2016

PebblesTime2_450

Pebble has announced two new smartwatches, but which one should you pick?

In the smartwatch space, the heavyweight contenders -- namely the Apple Watch and a bevy of Android Wear devices such as the Huawei Watch -- have battled it out over recent years. There’s also the choice of more fitness-centric watch devices with certain smart applications, such as the Fitbit Blaze, for example.

Then there’s Pebble, the company that effectively kickstarted the whole smart watch phenomenon. Pebble has offered a variety of smartwatch devices in recent years following its wildly successful Kickstarter debut, and it’s back to Kickstarter it has headed for its latest three devices, only two of which are actual Smart watches.

Pebble2Time2Core_450

The third part of the trio is the Pebble Core, a Bluetooth-enabled "keychain computer" device that can take a SIM card for GPS, Spotify Music streaming and emergency SOS messages designed primarily for those who like to run but don’t want to take their phone or watch with them. It’s also being funded via Kickstarter with an asking price of US$69.

At the time of writing there’s no doubt that Pebble will meet its Kickstarter price, having secured US$5.2 million from a goal of only US$1 million. That doesn’t absolutely mean you can treat Kickstarter like just another online store, as providers are only expected to meet the "best effort" to finish out products. That being said, and while the original Pebble was heavily delayed, Pebble has some decent form in this market.

The two new Smartwatches replace the regular Pebble and Pebble Time/Steel devices, so going forwards they’ll be the "standard" Pebbles, which raises the prospect that Pebble might clear out old stock of the Pebble Classic, Steel, Time, Time Steel and Time Round devices, although there’s no sign of that yet.

PebbleTime_2_450

Like their predecessors, the new Pebble devices use e-ink displays to extend battery life well over competing, mostly LED-based smartwatch devices. Both new watches are water resistant to 30 metres. New to the range is the inclusion of heart rate monitoring ability, although Pebble is playing it cautious here, noting that it’s not a replacement for a medical grade heart rate tracking device. That’s true for all smartwatches, but not everyone is quite so open about it; they’re acceptable as indicative devices but not for absolute measurement.

Pebble2_450

The Pebble Time 2 is the more premium of the two devices, just as the Time was to the original Pebble, with a colour e-ink display and more premium look and feel. For the Kickstarter, Pebble’s offering the Pebble Time 2 for US$179 (an earlier special’s already sold out at the US$169 price point) versus a claimed US$199 final retail price. For the cheaper Pebble 2, the Kickstarter early bird price sits at US$99 with a final retail price of U#$129. Pebble expects to ship the Pebble 2 in September while the Pebble Time 2 will hit the market in November.

Pebble has long sold itself not only on the battery life of its smartwatches but also its pricing, which is still cheaper than most of its competitors. Here’s how the new phones compare against Apple’s very stylish Apple Watch and Samsung’s Gear S2.

ModelPebble Time 2Pebble 2Apple WatchSamsung Gear S2
Screen sizeTBCTBC38mm/42mm30.2mm
Band optionsRubber (Black, Gold, Silver)Rubber (Flame, Aqua, Black, White, Lime colours)Rubber, leather, metalRubber, leather
Battery10 Days7 days18 hours2-3 days
GPSNoNovia iPhoneOnly in 3G model
Heart rate sensorYesYesYesYes
Apps?YesYesYesYes
Calling abilityNoNoYes, when paired with iPhoneNo
PriceUS$129US$199$499-$24,000$499-$598.99

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