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Apple vs Pebble smartwatches

By Hannah Walsh

Want to see how Apple and Pebble compare to other smartwatches, such as Motorola and Samsung? Then click to see our full range of smartwatch reviews.

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Kickstarter-funded Pebble launched its first Pebble watch in 2013, and the company quickly became a popular name in the smartwatches market. Since then, there have been several additions to the Pebble range of affordable smartwatches, including the Pebble Steel, Pebble Time Steel and Pebble Time Round.

In 2015 the Apple Watch range launched, offering premium and pricey models including the Apple Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition. But how do smartwatches from these brands compare, and do you need to shell out for an Apple Watch?

Here we take a look at the key features and differences, so you can choose the best smartwatch for you.

We’ve put smartwatches from both brands through our tough testing, and assessed everything from how easy they are to use, to how accurately they will track your fitness and what features they have. If you just want to find out how well each did in our testing, head over to our Apple smartwatch and Pebble smartwatch reviews.

Which smartwatches have the best screens – Apple or Pebble?

All of the smartwatches in the Apple range have high-resolution OLED touchscreen displays, meaning that the picture is bright and sharp. The Apple Watch Sport has a strengthened glass screen, ideal for stopping scratches and scuffs even if you wear it while playing sport.

The Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition have a sapphire crystal protective layer, which is also scratch resistant.

Pebble smartwatches have e-ink displays, the same as an ebook reader, with LED backlights – models in the Pebble Time range have colour screens, while the Steel and Classic don’t. An e-ink display won't be as bright or sharp as an OLED screen. The Pebble watches don’t have touchscreens, and are instead controlled using buttons on the bezel.

Key features

  • Compatibility – the Apple Watch can only be used with iOS devices, while the Pebble range is compatible with both Android and iOS.
  • Notifications – the most advanced Pebble smartwatch will give you text, call and email notifications. The Apple Watch alerts you to texts, calls and emails, too, but you’ll also receive notifications from any apps that you receive them for on your phone, for example Facebook, Whatsapp or Twitter. We test every smartwatch to see how well it receives and displays notifications.
  • Apps – The Apple Watch has more apps built-in as standard than any of the watches in the Pebble range, and also has more built-in storage for adding more apps as you go along. If you want to be able to run lots of apps at once on your smartwatch, then this is something to take in to consideration.
  • Fitness functions – both smartwatch ranges offer at least some fitness tracking. The Apple Watch has a dedicated fitness app – Apple Health – as well as advanced fitness tracking sensors, including a heart rate monitor. The Pebble range is more limited when it comes to fitness tracking, simply tracking steps and sleep. The Pebble Health app, which allows you to do some basic fitness tracking analysis, launched in May 2016 and is available for the Time range of watches. Other Pebble models have no dedicated fitness app, so you will need to download one from the App Store or Google Play.

We put every smartwatch through a series of tough tests, to rate how well they receive and display notifications, how long their batteries last, and how accurately they track your fitness. We rate how comfortable each device is, as well as how scratch resistant their screens are. Find out how we find the best smartwatches by heading over to our Best Buy smartwatch reviews.

Price

The starting price for the cheapest Apple Watch, the 38mm-screen Watch Sport, is still a pricey £259. If you want the 42mm version, you’ll need to budget nearly £300. The Apple Watch, which has a different screen, bezel and strap to the Sport, starts at £559 – more than twice the cost of even the most expensive Pebble watch.

Pebble smartwatches start at a more budget-friendly £80 for the Pebble Classic, and range up to £200 for the Pebble Time Steel.
 

£180
The difference in price between the cheapest Pebble and cheapest Apple smartwatches

Which smartwatch has the longest battery life – Apple or Pebble?

Depending on the model you choose, you can expect longer battery life from any device in the Pebble range than from the Apple Watch. Pebble’s battery life claims range from two days for the Pebble Time Round, up to an impressive 10-day battery for the Pebble Time Steel.

If you get an Apple Watch, you can expect up to 18 hours of battery per charge. The difference in battery life is due in part to the e-ink display on the Pebble watches, and the range of sensors offered by the Apple Watch.

Now you know what’s on offer, pick the perfect model for you with the help of our full smartwatch reviews.

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