Which Pebble Smartwatch Is Best for You?

From Bare-Bones to Classy Hardware, There are Plenty of Options.

Zach Honig

Pebble deserves more than a little credit for igniting the smartwatch craze a few years back, as its first smartwatch set funding records on Kickstarter and earned itself plenty of fans. I recently reviewed the Pebble Time and found it to be a decent performer and plenty capable at displaying notifications (and I of course loved the battery life).

Just like I did with the many Fitbit devices, I'll take a look at the many flavors of Pebble smartwatches and help you decide which is the ideal device for you based on your needs and your aesthetic preferences.

Before we start, though, note that all Pebble smartwatches feature e-paper, rather than LCD or OLED, screens. Some of them are even black-and-white rather than colored. While this lower-power display has very positive implications for battery life, it means you won't enjoy crisp, vibrant images like you would on the Apple Watch and countless Android Wear devices. None of the watches feature touch capability on their screens, either. The upside, as I discuss in my post about the smartwatches with the longest battery life, is that Pebble smartwatch screens are always on, so you don't even have to tap the screen to see any new notifications.

If You Just Want a Basic Smartwatch: Pebble Classic

For $100, the original Pebble is as simple as you can get. When paired with your smartphone via Bluetooth, it will display notifications such as emails and texts, and it can track your steps and other fitness metrics with several compatible activity-tracking apps. Best of all, its battery lasts up to 7 days on a charge. This version is available in three colors: black, white and red. Note that the Pebble Classic doesn't feature a color display; it's just black and white.

If You Want a Color Display and A Cooler Interface: Pebble Time

At $200, the Pebble Time is twice the price of the original Pebble, but it's also a better smartwatch, thanks to the addition of a color (though still e-paper) display and a timeline-style interface that shows you updates and notifications from various apps in chronological order. This smartwatch also sports a microphone, meaning you can respond to incoming messages via voice.

Like the original Pebble, this model is available in black, white and red. It's slightly less clunky-looking than its predecessor, though it's still hardly sophisticated. (I personally dislike the double bezel design.)

If You Want a Nicer Design But Care Less About Features: Pebble Steel

Three of Pebble's watches offer more attractive designs, but due to the fact that it doesn't feature the more recent timeline interface, the Pebble Steel is in a category of its own. Available with either a metal or leather band and with Gorilla Glass covering the display, this watch is a significant step up from the original Pebble when it comes to design. And at $150, only $50 more than the Pebble Classic, it's kind of a no-brainer, too.

If You Want a Nicer Design and Want The Most Advanced Features: Pebble Time Steel or Pebble Time Round

The final category includes two good-looking Pebble smartwatches, both of which include the timeline interface for viewing notifications and events. Both devices cost $250, and both feature color displays. 

If you're a fan of circular versus rectangular displays, you'll want to check out the Pebble Time Round. The Pebble Time Steel, meanwhile, has a rectangular display and its band options are somewhat similar to what you'll find on the Apple Watch.

Whatever Pebble you choose, enjoy your new smartwatch!