The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives

A starter list
Some Pebble alternatives now it's dead

When the very convincing rumours came out that Fitbit was about to buy Pebble and kill the brand, Fear took over our emotional control panels. Since the confirmation of all the details and what it means for buyers and backers, Sadness and Anger have been squabbling over who gets to press our Feel buttons.

So is there any potential Joy in finding an alternative to the affordable, simple to use, long-lasting, geek chic smartwatch series?

Simply put, there's nothing that we've seen so far that matches Pebble on every single one of its main plus points. In some ways the list really shows up what Pebble managed to get down. But before you turn away from the whole smartwatch idea in Disgust (sorry not sorry), consider the below Pebble alternatives and please do add your own in the comments.

Best affordable all-rounder

Ticwatch 2

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives - a starter list

The second Ticwatch from Chinese company Mobvoi (part owned by Google) raised over $2 million on Kickstarter earlier this year. Not quite Pebble levels but still, it's clearly onto something.

Read this: Ticwatch 2 first impressions review

Here's what you get for $199: a slim, round smartwatch that looks (but doesn't feel) like metal, a 400 x 400 OLED display, GPS, heart rate, a Tizen-style user interface and the clever capacitive Tickle strip for controlling the watch without covering the screen with your fingers.

It's compatible with iOS and Android but the big downside here for Pebble fans is that battery life is only one day. Stick with us and see below for longer lasting options.

$199, ticwear.com

Best for indie appeal

CoWatch

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives - a starter list

If you want to support a startup with a bit of character, take a look at the CoWatch. It's built by IMCO and runs Cronologics OS with a really nifty icon based smartwatch UI created by ex Android/Android Wear devs. Nice straps too.

A world away from Pebble displays, it has a 400 x 400 AMOLED display but it's a better battery than you'd expect: 36 hours always on and three days in low power mode, according to IMCO. It also runs Alexa as a Siri alternative so using voice control on your wrist might save some screen time too. Look out for a CoWatch review asap.

See also Blocks which uses the same OS, though that crowdfunded, modular smartwatch is taking its sweet time to ship.

From $279, imcotechnology.com | Amazon

Best for battery life

Vector Luna

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives - a starter list

Vector is by no means perfect but it does give you a battery life of up to 30 days. In our testing, it lasted a good three weeks. So if that was one of your main loves of Pebble, it's worth considering. There's a range of Luna and Meridian styles, both round and rectangular, in different sizes and finishes, though a Vector smartwatch will set you back a fair bit more than a basic Pebble.

Read this: Vector Luna smartwatch review

It's a non-touch Memory LCD screen that isn't the easiest to read but is simple to control via the three buttons. It does alerts, alarms, reminders and basic activity tracking and is a fairly business watch choice.

From $205.99, vectorwatch.com | Amazon


Best for keeping things simple

Hugo Boss Smart Classic

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives - a starter list

Here's a compromise - try a hybrid smart analogue watch that either uses vibrations for alerts and tracks activity with no digital screen or adds a small screen to the lower third of the watch face like the Hugo Boss Smart Classic and Guess Connect. It won't be for everyone but there is an easy appeal to this kind of design and you can get 7 to 12 days out of the tiny ticker screen on one charge. If you're on a budget, go for a Martian.

Read this: Hugo Boss Smart Classic in-depth review

$295, hugoboss.com

Best for fitness

Amazfit Pace

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives - a starter list

One for runners, the Amazfit Pace - from the tech company behind Xiaomi trackers - has built-in GPS, 2.4GB of storage for music and lasts up to 11 days on a single charge. With GPS and continuous heart rate tracking, that's more like 36 hours but the option is there to go for the week plus battery life.

A few more pros, it's IP67 water and dust resistant, it hooks up to Strava Run and it handles call, text, app and email alerts (though we're not sure exactly how they appear yet). Compatible with both iPhone and Android, this is another smartwatch we haven't tested yet but look out for a review on Wareable soon.

$159, amazfit.com

Let us know what you're considering as a Pebble alternative, and what we've missed, in the comments below.


18 Comments

  • Slick says:

    I backed pebble, the pebble 1 from the very start on kickstarter and it was my first project I pledged. I went on and pledged for the pebble time steel later on, now recently pledged the special edition polished steel round as I liked the look and shape and as a sporty type I added a flame red pebble 2 HR. I received pebble 2 HR and obviously was notified I'll never see the special edition polished steel round but will receive refund. I could have quite easily have purchased it off amazon or ebay (standard round) and obviously wouldn't be able to return it, which would have been bad further down line as firmware issues pop up and pebble support office would have huge cobwebs. As it is I'm grateful for what they've achieved and sad they've had to close shop but as the backers and support I'm sure they've had fun. I still wanted a smart looking smartwatch so today (8th dec) I took delivery of the Samsung gear s3 classic as I couldn't get hold of the more popular frontier version and I'm getting used to it and really like it. I believe pebble showed the big guns that you don't need to be blingy, flashy, colourful and have other product sales to fall back on like apple etc, but had a go and surprised the big guns like Apple and Samsung and... Well most of them now look they've  almost all got a smartwatch out and poor pebble well they've had to say "it was good wasn't it". Bye pebble take care. You learnt a lesson, but certainly not until after you taught one. 

  • Alexd says:

    Other than the Apple Watch series 2, what do folks recommend for best post pebble (darn!) swim tracking smart watch?  The pebble did everything so well. 

  • dean-lewis says:

    I "really hope" Fitbit release some products aimed at those who liked Pebble.

  • DigoriePiper says:

    You completely missed the point. What Pebble got right was using the best display technology for a watch I.e. bright, colourful but always on and low power consumption. None of these watches have that so none are an alternative.

    • s.charara says:

      that's why in the intro, I said: "Simply put, there's nothing that we've seen so far that matches Pebble on every single one of its main plus points." 

      We will keep updating this list with smartwatches/hybrids we think are relevant to Pebble fans who like the screen tech, battery, price point as well as other features. 

  • Sharma says:

    none of the options really come even close to pebble. Hope fitbit revives pebble.

  • Just4Fun says:

    All these watches suck. I have and Android as my personal phone. I have an iPhone thru work. I have both an Apple watch and a Moto watch and tho they are nice I prefer my Pebble time steel.

  • JKnies says:

    I just can't stand that literally the best smart watch company on earth was bought out by one of the worst and the only reason was because Pebble put a HR meter on the back. I understand that pebble purposely positioned itself for a buyout. But the situation still angers the living hell out of me. I was seriously looking forward to the Pebble Time 2. Everything I said the Pebble time didn't have was coming in the 2nd edition and now I will never see it. Honestly if Fitbit would just let us have them it would make me happy. I do not care about a warranty or further support just give me the watch that I wanted and go on serving the community of people that purchase their smart watches from walmart. I will never buy a fitbit the concept of the company has nothing to do with me and a buyout does not make me interested in the slightest bit in buying one of there products. Now all I do is tell people to stay away because I am worried they will buy out the next company that I like. 

  • bdlfromFB says:

    Nobody cares. Pebble is a failed company,  nothing more. Just like the screen on my Pebble Steel,  which died after the warranty expired. Pebble offered me 25% off an existing Pebble watch. So glad I didn't fall for it. 

  • lorne says:

    After a Classic and Time I was planning on a Time Round soon after Christmas. It's a shame, I won't want to wait around for my current Time to die slowly, it's looking a bit tatty too now. I'm considering getting a Garmin Vivoactive instead, but I'll miss my smart alarm. The other apps I hardly ever used. 

  • sx10 says:

    Withings Steel HR looks like a good option, it has some of the features that set pebble apart. 25 day battery, submersible with swim tracking, and basic notifications.

    • s.charara says:

      good shout, we are about to get our review sample in for testing 

  • toasted_cracker says:

    The only possible alternative to Pebble I've seen so far is a Garmin Forerunner. 

  • plumptonlarge says:

    After reading this article I purchased a Cowatch. I like the always on display and that it works with ios or android devices. Its also a lot cheaper than an apple watch and does what i expect of it which is show me notifications on my wrist as well as tell the time. Real world battery life is around 16 hours with real use and wifi on all the time. The software still needs a bit of polishing to make it spot on but it'll get there.

    Definitely worth a 2nd look for those out there like me that got stung by Pebble...

  • demetriusx says:

    the pebble time is my first smart watch.  i have never thought it was perfect, but it was definitely worthwhile and a good value.  It is unfortunate that the demise of the company will render these devices difficult in short order - no updates to apps or the OS will have an impact, no doubt.  because i'm not an apple mobile user, i'll probably opt for a 'gasp' fitbit charge 2, a relatively inexpensive substitute until something better comes along, or until i hit the lottery and can afford the tag heuer connected watch....  :)

  • trams87 says:

    Yeah it's really sad, I'm debating still getting a Pebble Steel, I mean they still work don't they? and hopefully support will still be continued for them.

  • LynnieFlynnie says:

    What hasn't yet been done in single smartwatch that I chose Pebble Classic for over all others: Battery life & fast charging, non-color ePaper display (goes back to battery life and no frills), all of the watch faces developers made and kept up-to-date, simple and attractive modern design with interchangeable bands, NOT touch screen (I love this), waterproof, low profile and not too small or too huge on the wrist (I prefer having options that don't include a HRM built-in). 

    I purchased a Fitbit Charge 2 as a gift on Christmas for my spouse. It's a great size, but thick with the HRM on a small wrist. I know some of Pebble's designers will be brought on with Fitbit after the buy-out, so I hope they can create a thinner version of the Fitbit Charge 2, ePaper always-on display and great battery life. And I hope they are allowed to design a similar product to Pebble Classic (with and without HRM) and Pebble Time Round (with better battery life and no HRM), but it is "FIT"bit, after all. I just don't care for the FIT features.

  • EricTheHalfABee says:

    Like so many I'm disappointed with Pebble, mostly because in spite of their business being underfunded (and we should have seen this coming, they funded on Kickstarter), they seemed to understand what we wanted in a smartwatch, and managed to develop the best value out there, when so many of their better funded competitors have managed at best to offer a (more expensive) connected watch with no real flexibility. They targeted so many of the things that I would demand in a smartwatch, like reasonable battery life, real daylight visibility, loadable applications, a wide variety of faces, and the ability to develop one myself if I should find the time. 

    I would like to know which of the devices listed above have that list of design elements.

    The reason that FitBit won't work for me is that it isn't a smartwatch, it's a fitness device. I haven't seen any evidence that they see a need to change that. Far more concerning is that FitBit saw some need to purchase and shut down a company that they weren't really competing against. That doesn't argue for them as being either a good investment, or having much in the way of long term viability. 

    I'm also confused why an existing watch company (Casio for instance) wasn't in the market for Pebble. Maybe they think smartwatches are a fad, or simply don't have much market potential. Or maybe they see their target customer as someone who doesn't own a smartphone, and isn't likely to get one.

What do you think?

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