The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives

Other options are just a stone's throw away

When Fitbit announced it was buying parts of Pebble and kill the brand, Fear and Sadness took over our emotional control panels.

It's the end of the road for Pebble, but developers and users are slowly finding their way over to sample what Fitbit has cooked with Pebble's ingredients in the Fitbit Ionic. But that won't please everyone mourning Pebble's demise. Is there a chance Joy could take over as we find a true alternative to the affordable, simple to use, long-lasting, geek chic smartwatch series?

Read this: As Pebble gets its death sentence, its loyal fans are rebuilding

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 or Anger (sorry not sorry), consider the below Pebble alternatives and please do add your own in the comments.

The heir apparent

Fitbit Ionic

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives

We have to start here. Pebble's DNA lives on in Fitbit's new flagship smartwatch. Old Pebble developers have been migrating over to the Ionic, as have users. Fitbit is trying its hardest to make sure these people have every reason to jump over, but not everyone wants to go to the afterparty.

Regardless, you'll get a solid smartwatch with GPS, Fitbit Pay, and - of course - a whole lot of ported Pebble apps. Will that be enough to quell your broken heart? We're not quite sure, but it's worth a shot. You don't have long to make a decision, as Fitbit is keeping Pebble's lights on until 30 June, 2018.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Ionic review

$299.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best affordable all-rounder

Ticwatch E

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives

Mobvoi's Ticwatch E is a good example of how affordable doesn't mean you need a bunch of compromises. This is one that ticks (again, not sorry) most of the boxes. Want GPS? You got it. Attractive, simple design? Boom. Good customizations over Android Wear 2.0? They're there.

There are no NFC payments, but it does have a pleasant fitness suite and the Google Play Store should you want to download any apps. Using the Ticwatch E is just fun, and your wallet will thank you.

Wareable verdict: Ticwatch E review

$159, mobvoi.com | Amazon

Best for indie appeal

MyKronoz ZeTime

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives

Here's another crowdfunding success story. Garnering $6 million on Indiegogo, the MyKronoz ZeTime has that special something that drew people to Pebble in the first place. MyKronoz isn't afraid of thinking outside the box.

In this case, it means combining watch hands with a full display, giving you a unique take on the smartwatch. The mechanical hands are always present, and they point to the digital watch faces to signify the time. When you get a notification, the hands move to the 3 and 9 o'clock positions, getting out of the way of the text, which wraps around the hands. Simpatico.

Wareable verdict: MyKronoz ZeTime first impressions

$199.99, mykronoz.com | Amazon

Best for battery life

Fitbit Blaze

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives

Fitbit doesn't like calling the Blaze a smartwatch, but it's pretty dang close. It's also got five days of battery life, so if you're really concerned you'll have to take it off a lot to charge it - don't be.

You won't have an app store or NFC payments, but you will have a pretty good fitness experience with decent notification support. And did we mention that great battery life?

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Blaze review

$199.95, fitbit.com | Amazon


Best for keeping things simple

Skagen Connected 2017

The best Pebble smartwatch alternatives

This one is a bit of a compromise. It's not as smart as a full-on smartwatch, but it's also not as dumb as an analog watch. It's got one foot in either world, with all the stylishness of an analog watch and some of the smarts of a smartwatch.

In this case, you've got buttons you can click to activate various functions, which you can set in the companion app. The hands will also spin around and point to whatever color for corresponding notifications.

Wareable verdict: Skagen Connected 2017 review

$175.99, skagen.com | Amazon

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 | Amazon

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


21 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.

    • bobsher says:

      Supposedly Citizen wanted to buy Pebble in 2015 for like $740 million, but Pebble was doing well at that time and wanted to go it alone. Sad.

  • dan_katz1 says:

    What about Garmin watches? The Fenix 5 series is probably comparable but I know I can't afford it.

    What about the Vivoactive 3? Beside having a touch screen it seem like a good contender.

    Same screen, same battery, close on the price and good functionality. What are it drawbacks compared to the pebble time steel for example?

  • bobsher says:

    Surprised Nokia Steel HR doesn't get a mention (at least in the same category as the Skagen Keeping Thing Simple section). By far the best battery life of anything on this list, and has a decent handful of smartwatch functions and fitness info. I am excited about the Garmin Vivomove HR, which seems to up the ante on fitness tracking at the expense of battery life. Like many here, I mourn the loss of Pebble, and was sad when I learned I was never going to receive my Time 2. I want a watch that looks close enough to a regular watch (not huge or plastic), lets me swap in a metal band, and I don't have to charge it every night. With the Nokia, I set a reminder to charge it on Sunday evenings (for, like, an hour), and never have to think about it again. Too bad the Garmin is gonna need more attention. 

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