Pebble 2 smartwatch full review
When Pebble first announced its Kickstarter project back in 2012, the company was only looking for $100,000 to help make its new device a reality. 30 days later, as the project deadline hit, more than $10,000,000 had been pledged and the era of the smartwatch had begun. The Pebble Classic, as it’s now know, is still available and has spawned a few stablemates, including the Pebble Steel, Pebble Time, and Pebble Time Round, but at the end of 2016 it will finally be replaced by the much anticipated Pebble 2.
So what does the new version bring to the table? In this feature we’ll compare the two devices, and see which one is really worth your time. Please note that we haven't seen the Pebble 2 in the flesh yet so we're comparing the two smartwatches on paper.
Pebble vs Pebble 2 review: Price
At the moment you can pick up a Pebble Classic direct from the Pebble Store for £79.99 (or just £59 on Amazon). This makes the device easily one of the cheapest smartwatches around. While the Pebble 2 isn’t currently available (as the current Kickstarter campaign is just about to finish, and may well have done by the time you read this) the list price for the device is $129.
Using a similar conversation rate to the one we saw on the Pebble Classic, this should make the Pebble 2 around £99 when it finally comes out later this year.
See also: Pebble 2 release date, price and specs.
Pebble vs Pebble 2 review: Design and build
One of the ways Pebble keeps its prices down is by using polycarbonate bodies for the base models. This isn’t cheap plastic though, and the original Pebble has proven itself a durable and robust product. What hasn’t lasted quite so well is the design. With its thick bezels and relatively small screen the Pebble Classic still does the job, but looks a little clunky by modern standard.
The Pebble 2 slims down the chassis to 40 x 30 x 11.3 mm as opposed to the rather more portly 52 × 36 × 11.5 mm of its predecessor. This svelte appearance means the Pebble 2 is also lighter than the Classic, weighing in at just under 32g which is 6g lighter than it’s chubby brother.
Surprisingly the Pebble 2 has lost something that doesn’t seem so smart, as the Classic was water resistant for up to 50m, but the new model can only survive to depths of 30m.
To make up for this the new version comes in five colour combinations, including the Black, Black/Red options of the Classic, plus White, Black/Lime, Aqua/White.
Pebble vs Pebble 2 review: Screen
One thing that hasn’t changed on the Pebble 2 is the screen. Just like the Classic, the device comes with a 1.26-inch, E-paper display, offering a 144 x 168 resolution. It’s still black and white and has no touchscreen capabilities, leaving all of the navigation to the hardware buttons on the side and the built-in microphone. This might not sound very impressive when compared to the likes of the Apple Watch, but it fulfills its function perfectly well, is easy to read in daylight, and means both units get around seven days of battery life.
Pebble vs Pebble 2 review: Hardware & Specs
Both devices feature 3-axis accelerometer, Magnetometer, and an ambient light sensor, with support for activity tracking and sleep monitoring apps. The Pebble 2 adds a heart-rate monitor to the hardware side, emphasising the fitness band/smartwatch hybrid position that Pebble seems to be intending for its latest creation.
Pebble vs Pebble 2 review: Software
While the Pebble Classic has seen a fair few updates in its time, the new Time-Line interface that’s already appeared on the Pebble Time, and Pebble Time Round, will be the one that’s standard on the Pebble 2. Albeit a monochrome version. This allows users to see what appointments they have coming up, and move through various apps by using the up and down buttons on the side of the watch.
Both devices support either Android or iOS (via Bluetooth) although the experience for Android users is the superior one as they can respond to text messages and various notifications using the voice interface.
The Classic might be long in the tooth now, but if you simply want something to show your notifications, as well as the time, it’s still a very capable unit. That being said, the Pebble 2 does look like it will offer a sleeker experience and most likely receive more updates in the future.
Pebble 2 smartwatch: Specs
- 3-axis accelerometer, Magnetometer, and an ambient light sensor, with support for activity tracking and sleep monitoring apps. Heart rate monitor. 1.26-inch B&W E-paper display with 144x168 resolution.