Picking a smartwatch today can be a laborious task. There’s 20 different watches one can look at while at Best Buy alone, and the search only gets more confusing as you get caught in the weeds comparing specs. As a former member of the Android Wear team and the owner of a smartwatch watch strap company, I personally own every Pebble, Android Wear and Apple Watch – except the Apple Watch Edition, $17k is a little much for something other than a Rolex… Working with these watches everyday for the last 2 years, I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that the Pebble Time is the best smartwatch money can buy.
To prove my point, I’ve compiled a list of 4 reasons why the Pebble Time is the best.
#1 – Battery Life
First and foremost, you cannot overlook Pebble purely because the battery lasts upwards of a week. In some cases 36 days of battery life have been recorded (though this was achieved using a third party watch face). However on the conservative end, the Pebble Time gets between 5 and 7 times the the battery life of the typical Apple Watch or Android watch! Even if you decide to go with the Pebble Time Round, the thinnest smartwatch out there, you can still go an extra day or two without charging compared to Apple or Android. With a better battery life comes the sacrifice of screen resolution. This is a small price to pay though. While extra battery life may come at the cost of brighter, higher resolution screens found in Apple or Android watches – the fact you don’t have to take your watch off every day to charge it seems to be a small tradeoff…
#2 – iOS and Android Compatibility
Though Android Wear recently released an iOS app to allow for Apple users to wear their Android Wear watches, the app seems to be plagued with glitches in information pass-offs and worse, reconnection proceedings when you’ve wandered away from your phone. On the other end, if you have an Android phone, forget buying an Apple Watch – you just can’t pair the two. As such, if you don’t want to be restricted in your phone choices, and you don’t like glitches and poor connectivity – Pebble is the only smartwatch out there which pairs with either iOS or Android sans problèmes.
#3 – Functionality
When specs are compared between the Pebble Time and from the big two (Apple and Google – or Alphabet, or whatever their name is now), the Pebble Time tends to fall short in two categories: heart rate monitor and screen resolution. That said, if you want a brighter, sharper screen, the tradeoff is significantly shorter battery life. As such, Pebble can still hold its ground when it comes to the lack of screen resolution. When it comes to the heart rate monitor used in other watches however, two problems exist with them. First off, they are notoriously inaccurate. According to Wareable, in real world tests, smartwatch heart rate monitors tend to be 10-15% off when compared to chest worn heart rate monitors. That’s a massive delta for serious athletes. Which brings up another question – how many people really need heart rate monitors for their smart watches? Sure it’s a nice feature to have, but if it’s inaccurate and if only a small niche of people who go to the gym on a regular basis actually want or need a heart rate monitor – how necessary of a feature is it really? Minus the heart rate monitor and sharper screen, the last place the Pebble falls short is when it goes up against the speakerphone capability on the Apple Watch. This is the biggest loss. It is fantastically easy talking to Siri or dictating messages through your Apple Watch. That said, if you feel weird talking to your watch in public then you shouldn’t fret too much. The Pebble performs in all other categories.
#4 – Cult Status
Finally, the most intriguing reason you should go with Pebble is the fact that when you buy a Pebble, you seem to buying into a community rather than simply buying a product. While there’s some solidarity with those wearing an Apple Watch – it’s much the same solidarity shared between those who use iPhone. It doesn’t go much further than you being able to share chargers… That said, whether you’re an owner of a Pebble Steel, Pebble Classic or perhaps a Pebble Time, there’s a fraternity of sorts which exists. Not to talk it up too much, but it might be the casual nod indicating respect between Pebble owners, or perhaps it’s sharing different watch faces or straps available over drinks at the bar. Put simply, the bond between Pebble owners is stronger than those wearing a Moto 360 or Apple Watch.
In conclusion, when it comes to buying a smartwatch it’s possible for one to be paralyzed by too many choices. With that in mind however, according to the numbers, about 50% of the population will naturally opt for an Apple Watch while only 10% will opt for an Android Wear powered wearable. That leaves a whopping 40% of the market looking for alternatives to the big two smartwatch operating systems. Looking at the pros of the Pebble Time over both Android and Apple (and ultimately lack of serious cons compared with the two), the smart money should go with the long-lasting and cultishly fun Pebble Time.