Pebble began operations in 2011, and in 2012, they broke Kickstarter records by raising more than ten million dollars! They didn’t wait long to release their initial Pebble model, 2013 brought the first Pebble Smartwatch to the market and they enjoyed a very successful launch. Pebble is a truly great story, growing from just a handful of employees a few years ago to over one hundred-thirty today.
When the Pebble was first released, it offered no access to apps and was very limited on functionality. Since then a lot has changed and the smartwatch is now compatible with hundreds of apps for Android and iOS devices. Not only does the Pebble offer more capabilities, but you can also purchase it for considerably less than when it was first released. A true win-win for consumers.
Metawatch is another Kickstarter superstar with a campaign launched in late spring of 2012 and reaching their funding goal is just a couple of months. Much like the Pebble Smartwatch was Pebble’s first product, the Strata was Metawatch’s first creation and gained popularity in the market quickly.
The Strata is very similar to the Pebble, as it was also limited in capability when first hitting the market. However, app developers were very busy over the last couple of years and the Strata is now compatible with over one hundred apps and works well with both Android and iOS devices.
Both companies have continued to roll out new products and make improvements, but let’s have a look at their still popular flagship models.
ADVANTAGE: Pebble has a better story behind it and wins in the amount raised on Kickstarter.
Key Comparison Metics
Pebble: MSRP $150 (you can find it for $99 here)
Metawatch Strata: MSRP $129 (you can find it for $75 here)
iOS and Android Compatibility
- iOS 5 and above
- Android 2.3 and above
- iOS 6 and above
- Android 2.3 and above
The Pebble has a simple, clean design with a single button on the left side of the and dual buttons on the right side, these three buttons handle all of the navigation duties. There are multiple options for customizing the look of the face of the watch, ranging from classic to ultra-modern styles.
The style of the smartwatch is suitable for attire ranging from super casual to formal, although the plastic housing tends to mix with more informal settings a little better.
Some will enjoy the ability to customize the look of the Pebble by changing the style of the watch face. However, it is really difficult to compare these two watches in terms of looks, as they are very different. Much of it will depend on your personal style and preferences.
The Strata has a more refined and upscale look than the Pebble, with a sleek design that sports a square face and three navigation buttons on each side. The band has a more contoured design than Pebble, although the smartwatch is much thicker than some of its competitors at 0.75 inches. Some may like the extra thickness, depending on if you like a watch with a heavier feel.
Overall, the Strata’s base design is a little more eye appealing than the Pebble. However, the customization options of the Pebble add a “fun factor” and the Pebble is just much easier to navigate. The Strata can sometimes get a little confusing when trying to navigate through screens and figure out which button does what.
ADVANTAGE: The advantage in this category goes to Pebble based on easier navigation and its customizable watch face.
Screen Size and Display
- 26 inch Screen
- 144 x 168 e-Paper Display
- 1 inch Screen
- 96 x 96 Polymer Network LCD
Both displays seem to have their problems providing a consistent readout from angles or when in sunlight. The Strata when viewed from certain angles appears to have a reflective appearance and can be difficult to read. The Pebble struggles in sunlight and when light hits the watch face at certain angles, making it impossible to see. However, the Strata is more consistent than the Pebble.
ADVANTAGE: The advantage goes to Strata due to the almost unreadable display at times of the Pebble.
Pebble & Strata
5 ATM rating and can sustain depths of 165 feet
Both smartwatches have an impressive battery life that should be more than sufficient for most users. The Pebble is officially rated at 7+ days and the Strata is officially rated at 5-7 days. However, putting each watch through actual testing of daily use and normal activity revealed users should expect slightly less battery life than the official ratings.
The Pebble can be expected to last for about 6 full days before needing a recharge and the Strata tested at 5 days. While one day is not significant for most users, this does give a small edge to the Pebble in this category.
- Official Rating 7 Days
- Tested Results 6 Days
- Official Rating 5-7 Days
- Tested Results 5 Days
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR and 4.0 (LE) connects the Pebble to your device and allows for some additional notification capability on iOS
Bluetooth 4.0 only
The Pebble shows notifications for caller ID on incoming calls and email, with a range of choices for apps from fitness related to task management. When this smartwatch was first introduced it did not offer any available applications, but thanks to third-party developers, that has all changed. A short list of the many apps and notifications available for the Pebble:
- Fitness tracking for runners and cyclists
- Weather updates
- Template text replies
- Task management
- Google Maps
- Notifications from Facebook & Twitter
- Android and iOS App Access
Notifications offer both an icon on the watch face and the smartwatch itself vibrates. One nice feature of Pebble notifications is the text messages, call alerts and email notifications show the contact information, allowing you to know if it is something you should stop and look at immediately. However, once an alert is viewed and cleared, there is no way to review the information again.
The Strata offers calendar, email, text and missed call notifications by displaying an icon on the display and vibrating. The Strata does a little better job than the Pebble with text messages and emails, as it shows a large portion of the attached message. Additionally, once you clear an alert from the Strata watch face, you can view it repeatedly without the alert being erased.
Available widgets include calendar notifications, stock information, battery life remaining and weather. The Strata also offer some customization of how large the notifications appear, the widgets appear very small and only display in a corner of the watch face, or they can display over more than half of the entire area on the watch face.
Apps and Access:
- Automatic Reminders
- Metawatch Manager
- Android and iOS App Access
Final Thoughts: Metawatch vs Pebble
Both of these smartwatches offer excellent options for wearable tech enthusiasts and they are both much improved since their release in 2013. With a product like a smartwatch some of what makes a particular model better than another, is personal preference.
However, there are also obvious advantages that every smartwatch wearer can appreciate, such as the customizable face of the Pebble. Many of the distinctions between these two models are small on their own, but when you combine them, they make a significant difference in overall ownership experience.
The advantage of the Pebble in four out of six categories was small in each category individually. However, the Pebble is the clear winner, having an advantage in the majority of the areas that really matter to smartwatch fans.