Smartwatch enthusiasts should thank Pebble for bringing the new gadget category to the mainstream, but will have to congratulate Apple on truly making them popular. The Pebble 2 Heart Rate was the company’s last ditch effort at staying alive and, in case you haven’t heard, it wasn’t successful. Meanwhile, Apple continues to innovate with new generations of the Apple Watch. If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about this comparison, read on.
Apple Watch vs Pebble Comparison Chart
|Model||Apple Watch Series 2||Pebble 2 Heart Rate|
|Display||Full-color AMOLED touchscreen||Black-and-white ePaper LCD|
|Display Resolution||312 x 390 pixels||144 x 168 pixels|
|Pixel Density||303 PPI||172 PPI|
|CPU||Dual-core 780 MHz Cortex-A7||100 MHz ARM Cortex M4|
|Water Resistance||Up to 50 meters||Up to 30 meters|
|Heart Rate Monitor||Yes||Yes|
|Wi-Fi and NFC||Yes||No|
|Battery Life||Up to 18 hours||Up to 24 hours|
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The Apple Watch simply looks better.
Placed side by side, the Apple Watch looks incredibly beautiful compared to the blocky Pebble 2. Though they both have a rectangular display unlike most smartwatches, that’s where their similarities end. The Apple Watch Series 2 has graceful, rounded curves, while the Pebble 2 Heart Rate looks a bit generic. It’s easily apparent that they’re on a different weight class in terms of style and appeal. You’ll likely be comfortable wearing the Apple Watch in business attire or a formal event, but not so much with the Pebble 2.
To further compound this gap, the Series 2 has a full-color, high-resolution touchscreen. The Pebble 2 had to go for a black-and-white ePaper LCD in order to offer an always-on display. The trade-off just isn’t worth it since the Apple Watch is fairly responsive at waking up when it detects your wrist movement, and it’s so much more satisfying to look at (and interact with) a tiny iPhone rather than a pixelated Kindle on your wrist.
Of course, some will find the simpler interface of the Pebble 2 easier to parse and operate, especially during workouts that require focus. Moreover, the always-on display is easy to view from different angles, while you’ll need to tilt the reflective screen of the Apple Watch just right.
The Apple Watch gets the edge with GPS navigation.
The Pebble 2 initially came out without a heart-rate monitor, so with the release of the Heart Rate version, it was able to offer most of the common features that people are looking for in a fitness tracker. It lets you count your steps, compute the calories you burned, keep within your optimal level of activity, and even track your sleep quality.
However, the Apple Watch can do all that and more. It has a gyroscope, compass, and notably, built-in GPS. You’ll be able to get navigation assistance, map the route you take while running or cycling, and compare your performance metrics easily. Both the Pebble 2 and Apple Watch can be used while swimming in a pool or in the ocean, though the latter has a slightly tougher water resistance of 50 meters compared to the Pebble’s 30.
The Apple Watch has better performance and connectivity.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is powered by a dual-core processor, making its interface more responsive and its apps faster. It looks and feels like a premium device — you can switch between apps quickly, view photos on Instagram, send quick replies to texts, and more. Combined with the touchscreen and intuitive digital crown, the Apple Watch is a breeze to navigate. The slower CPU on the Pebble 2, which you can only control via physical side buttons, will feel sluggish in comparison, although it’s sufficient for its low resolution display and simpler UI.
Both allow you to receive app notifications to lessen the need to take out your smartphone. When receiving a text, each has a nifty voice-to-text translation feature that lets you dictate your reply, and they’re both pretty accurate. However, the Apple Watch lets you answer calls and listen to music by itself. It has a huge 2GB set aside for storing songs locally, so you can run to your favorite playlist without your phone. The Pebble 2 meanwhile has has a measly 16MB storage, but it can still control your phone’s music at least.
With Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS, the Apple Watch has the clear upper hand in terms of connectivity. You can further customize its apps by browsing an extensive library that gets plenty of developer support from Apple. There are also thousands of apps you can get for the Pebble 2, but considering that the company has already shut down, support is practically nonexistent.
Compatibility and Battery Life
The Pebble 2 has a much longer battery life and works with both iOS and Android.
Like all Apple products, the Apple Watch only plays well with its fellow iOS devices. Its fast processor and rich display also requires more power, so it can only last up to 18 hours on a single charge, which only gets shorter the more features and apps you use. You will likely need to recharge it every night while you sleep.
The Pebble 2 Heart Rate is a marathon-runner in comparison, as its battery can provide up to 7 days of use. In practice, you can reliably expect to get at least 4 days’ worth on a single charge, which is still plenty impressive. It’s also compatible with both iOS and Android phones, making it the clear winner in this aspect.
Still, Pebble has closed down shop in 2016 and most of its IP has been acquired by Fitbit, so you’ll have a tough time finding support for their products in terms of repair and replacement.
The Apple Watch is simply the better buy.
If you’re looking for a stylish smartwatch with plenty of fitness tracking features, and you already use an iPhone, there’s no reason to pick the Pebble 2 Heart Rate over the Apple Watch Series 2. It has a crisp high-res display, better connectivity, and more intuitive controls. You’ll get that true premium smartwatch experience and still get all the activity tracking features you need. With the price of the Series 2 having dropped significantly since the release of newer generations of the Apple Watch, it makes better sense even if you’re on a tighter budget.
The only instances you should consider the Pebble 2 Heart Rate are: one, you only have an Android phone; and two, you prefer a simpler interface and always-on display. You’ll also be able to get a Pebble at bargain prices considering the company’s dead, but then, you’d still be better off looking at Fitbit devices if cost is your main concern.
Last update on 2020-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API