Pebble has come a long way since its first Kickstarter campaign back in 2012 raised more than $10 million. That doesn’t mean, however, that Pebble has lost sight of its roots. The company just launched three new products, funding them with — you guessed it — a Kickstarter campaign.
With all the Pebble models out there, it can be a little tough deciding which one to get. Pebble’s current lineup of devices includes the Pebble 2, the Pebble Time 2, the Pebble Core, and the Pebble Time Round, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.
We’ve taken a look at each of these models, evaluating which device is best for different people and different situations. It would be silly to say you’ll find the perfect device — there’s no such thing. But you may, at least, find a device that suits your needs.
The affordable Pebble: Pebble 2 ($130)
If the name of the device is anything to go by, the Pebble 2 is an update to the original Pebble, and it’s the company’s middle-of-the-road device. It’s the device you get if you don’t need anything fancy but you still want a capable watch. Oh, and it only costs $130, which makes it quite a bit cheaper than most other smartwatches on the market.
The Pebble 2 may be affordable, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad device. The smartwatch features a 39.5 x 30.2-millimeter case, one that’s also 9.8 millimeters deep and weighs 31.7 grams. The device’s case is made of plastic, with buttons that come in a range of different colors. Like its predecessor, it also has a black-and-white E Ink display, which offers a 144 x 128-pixel resolution.
The Pebble 2 is even able to withstand submersion in up to 30 meters. Add in a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, and a microphone, and you have a very capable device indeed. Under the hood, you’ll find a ARM Cortex M4 chip, which isn’t the fastest of chips, but should be plenty for for the Pebble 2. The company also claims that the Pebble 2 will last up to seven days on a single charge.
So why should you get the Pebble 2? It’s the perfect device for those who aren’t too concerned with having a color display, and would like to save a few dollars on a capable smartwatch that has a screen. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, however, you may want to look into the Pebble Time 2.
The top-of-the-line Pebble: Pebble Time 2 ($200)
Unlike the Pebble 2, the Pebble Time 2 is made from stainless steel, giving it a much sleeker look. It’s a little larger than the Pebble 2, and also weighs more, coming in at 64.6 grams. The Time 2 offers a color E Ink display, which boasts a 200 x 228-pixel resolution. This should produce slightly crisper images than the Pebble 2.
As far as sensors go, the Time 2 offers much of the same. The device is waterproof up to 30 meters, and includes a built-in heart rate monitor, accelerometer, and a microphone. The ARM Cortex M7 processor is also a little more capable than the one in the Pebble 2, which should result in quicker performance. The Time 2 takes battery life to the next level — Pebble says the device can last up to ten days on a single charge.
Of course, all these extra features do make it a little more expensive. Sitting at $200, the Time 2 costs $70 more than the Pebble 2. You do get a better battery, a color display, and sleeker look for the money, though. However, at that price point, you should also consider Android Wear watches like the Huawei Watch — so long as you don’t mind charging it up more often.
The Time 2 is best for those who don’t mind shelling out a little extra cash for top-of-the-line specs. It’s designed to last, not just because of its stronger build quality, but also because it contains a faster processor, which will be able to handle software updates for longer.
The fitness tracker and music player: Pebble Core ($70)
The Pebble Core isn’t a smartwatch, but it is a very interesting device nonetheless. The Core really is a workout companion, one that allows you to leave your smartphone at home.
As far as design goes, it looks somewhat like a second-generation iPod Shuffle — a small, square that clips to your clothing. The device has a 1/4-inch jack, so you can plug in your headphones on the go, as well as a GPS, which helps you track your runs. In fact, that’s something it has over the other Pebble devices — none of them have GPS, except the Core. The device is able to track fitness metrics such as steps and distance, too.
Of course, as previously mentioned, the Core isn’t just a fitness tracker. It’s also a music player, and as such, it boasts 4GB of onboard storage with support for Spotify, so you can sync between 500 and 1,000 Spotify tracks for offline playback. While it has a headphone jack, it’s also outfitted with Bluetooth.
The Pebble Core is obviously for those that want an easy and affordable way to track various fitness metrics. The Core only costs $70, too, which is fairly competitive.
The fashion-conscious Pebble: Pebble Time Round ($200)
The Pebble Time Round is the only Pebble device that has’t been updated with the company’s latest round of announcements — probably because it’s round. It would be silly to say that the other Pebble devices look bad, but they’re certainly not for the fashion-forward consumer. The Time Round changes that. The device is super slim, features a brushed-metal case, and comes in two band sizes (14 and 20-millimeter).
Of course, the device isn’t as long lasting as other Pebble smartwatches. The battery life on the Time Round supposedly hovers around two days, though the quick charging feature means that 15 minutes of charging will give you a full day of use, at least according to Pebble. You can also get new polished gold and silver casings.
As you can see, there’s something for everyone. While the Pebble Time Round and the Pebble Time 2 really are the “best” devices, not everyone needs the best device out there. Additionally, all of the Pebble devices in this list except the Core all do the same things. The main differences are battery life and style. As such, we can recommend all of these Pebble watches equally. The Pebble Core really takes things in a different direction for Pebble, and is more of a fitness tracker and music player than a smartwatch.
If you’re looking for the best looking Pebble watch, you’re going to want the Time Round. Looking for specs at a decent price? The Time 2 is the device for you. Want a smartwatch, but don’t want a smartwatch’s price tag? You’ll want the Pebble 2. And, if you need a device to track your movement and play music while you’re working out, the Core is for you.
Overall, we’re less keen on the older Pebble models, and don’t recommend you buy them. The newer Pebble’s are more powerful, have better battery tech, and can handle the latest software without a hitch.
If your heart isn’t set on a Pebble, and you wouldn’t mind charging your smartwatch more often in turn for more apps, robust features, sleeker designs and sharp color displays, we recommend the Huawei Watch for Android users and the Apple Watch for iPhone owners.