Smartwatches are insanely popular right now, and they’re expected to become even more popular over the next few years. Apple’s very own smartwatch, the Apple Watch, will hit stores on April 24. Meanwhile, Pebble is running a highly successful Kickstarter campaign that is shattering crowdfunding records left and right. The new Pebble smartwatch is called the Pebble Time, and it will compete directly with the Apple Watch. If you are an iPhone owner, the Apple Watch and Pebble Time watch are two of the best smartwatch options out there. Read on to see how these two smartwatches compare when talking about price, features, battery life, and other important criteria.
Want more insight into how the Apple Watch stacks up against the competition? Check out our post on the Apple Watch vs. the Alcatel OneTouch watch. Want to know how the Apple Watch compares against watches like the Samsung Gear Live or Moto 360? Check out our post on the Apple Watch vs. Android Wear.
1. Apple Watch vs. Pebble Time: Price
Check out the CNET video above to see the whole range of Apple Watch offerings, from the $349 base watch to the $10,000 model.
There are three main types of Apple Watch. The base level is the Apple Watch Sport, made from aluminum. It starts at $349. The regular Apple Watch is made from stainless steel, and starts at $549-$1,049. The Apple Watch “Edition” starts at $10,000, and is made from real gold.
In contrast, the new Pebble Time is a bit more affordable. The Kickstarter price for the Pebble Time is $179 (retail price will be $199). This watch is made from forged stainless steel with a physical vapour deposition (PVD) coating. The more premium Pebble Time stainless steel watch costs $250 via Kickstarter (retail price will be $299).
It’s also worth noting that, unlike Apple, the Pebble Time Kickstarter gives you a bulk discount. You can get two Pebble Time watches for $338, one Time and one Time Steel for $400, or five Pebble Time watches for $845. It’s also interesting to note that you can get 30 watches at the bulk Kickstarter rate of $5,000. In other words, you can spend half of what you’d pay for an Apple Watch Edition, and get 29 more smartwatches to boot.
To put the prices above in perspective, here’s some info about how much other popular smartwatches cost. The Pebble smartwatch retails for a mere $99, with the more premium Pebble Steel on sale for around $199. An LG G Watch will set you back about $229, while a Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch will cost you around $299.
2. Apple Watch vs. Pebble Time: Specs & Features
Check out the in-depth video above from the Verge, which outlines the challenges Pebble Time will face in taking on the Apple Watch.
The Pebble Time is fully compatible with all of the 6,500+ Pebble apps and watch faces available today. It’s just 9.5mm thick, and will work with any standard 22mm watch band. The buttons are designed to give you tactile feedback, which makes it easier to use the device without looking at it. Misfit and Jawbone apps let you track your daily step count.
The Apple Watch is expected to have a rapidly growing stable of apps and faces. It is 11.5mm thick, and there are a number of app partners, including Nike. You will need to upgrade to iOS 8.2 to use the Apple Watch, since that update introduces key features related to the Apple Watch.
3. Apple Watch vs. Pebble Time: Battery Life
The Pebble Time offers at least 7 days of battery life. In contrast, the Apple Watch has a mere 18 hours of battery life. If you tend to charge your watch every night before bed, this might not be an issue for you. However, many Apple fans are deeply disappointed by the Apple Watch’s paltry battery life. The Pebble Time has an e-ink display, which helps to explain why it has such impressive battery life.
4. Apple Watch vs. Pebble Time: Device Compatibility
The Apple Watch works with the iPhone 5, as well as any newer iPhone models. Apple Watch does not play nice with Android, Windows, or BlackBerry.
Pebble Time and Time Steel will work with iPhone 4s and above, assuming you are running iOS 8. Operating on the 4s is a nice touch, since the oldest iPhone the Apple Watch supports is the iPhone 5. The Pebble time will also work with all Android 4.0+ phones. Pebble’s Kickstarter page says the company will continue to assist BlackBerry and Windows Mobile developers with their projects.
5. Apple Watch vs. Pebble Time: Final Thoughts
Watch Tim Cook show off the new Apple Watch features in the video above.
If you absolutely, positively must have a smartwatch before May, the Apple Watch might be your best bet. Pebble Time won’t start shipping until May. Pebble Time Steel starts shipping in July. The Apple Watch will be open for pre-orders on April 10, with the phone actually getting to consumers on April 24. Supplies of some Apple Watch models will be limited, however.
Overall, Pebble Time is the best choice for people who want a more affordable option. The Apple Watch is expensive, particularly once you get above the “Sport” level. Pebble Time also has the edge when it comes to battery life, and it arguably has more apps and faces (though that could change in a matter of weeks or months after the Apple Watch hits stores.) However, some of the Apple Watch features are unique and can’t be matched by Pebble developers. If you use tech to show off your wealth and status, get an Apple Watch. But if you want to save your money and get a smartwatch that’s arguably just as nice at half the price, Pebble may be the company that you want to support. According to TechRadar, the Pebble Time has a slightly better grade of water-resistance than Apple’s own offering.
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