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The popular uptrend of Smartwatches was seemingly easy to predict years ago. The watches blended the functionality of a phone but without the inconvenience of having to pull a device out of a pocket or purse and constantly check it for updates.
Smartwatches inevitably made it easier to be distracted without looking distracted during a bad date, a boring business meeting, a long winded wedding ceremony, etc.
Granted there are practical reasons why consumers have fallen in love with the Smart watches. For one it is much safer to glance at a watch then flip through a phone which is perfect for driving or commuting by bike. Plus if the technology is available, why not take advantage of it?
The two main things that consumers are looking for with the latest Smart watch releases are 1) functionality and 2) style.
In much of the same way people adorn their cell phones with glittery decorative cases a smart watch actually does serve as a fashion accessory and the main goal of manufacturers is to make them somewhat discreet, somewhat like a ‘real’ watch, and somewhat less tech-y.
We all remember those calculator watches or TV remote watches from the 80’s…they weren’t fooling anybody.
Two of the popular Smart watches that consumers often have to choose between is the Pebble and the Moto 360. In a weird way these two devices are very similar yet almost completely different. We’ll take a look at some of the looks, features, and functionality that will help you choose between the two depending on just what you’re looking for in a Smart watch.
First, A Bit About Pebble (Standard) Smart Watch
If we had to describe the Pebble Watch in a unique way it would be “simple yet multi-purpose” because really that’s the jist of what this device has to offer. Simple of course isn’t a bad thing in a smart watch, especially with the Pebble’s straightforward, no-nonsense design.
One nice aspect of the looks of the Pebble Smart Watch is that you can choose the faceplate right of the bat, allowing the consumer to select between a red, yellow, or black model to color coordinate with your wardrobe.
The simplicity comes in the large center display and the minimal four button operation reducing the learning curve for novice users to adapt to the device – although the real customization comes internally.
With a Smart watch like Pebble the functionality is there, you just have to know/learn how to use it. For example there are dozens if not hundreds of downloadable apps available for the watch. What the consumer needs to decide is what there intention is for the device and then load it up with programs accordingly.
Some must-haves include calling, text, and voice mail apps that allow you to seamlessly connect between the phone in your pocket and the watch on your wrist.
From there you can really turn the Pebble smart watch into whatever you like. The app store contains a wide range of fitness and movement related apps that helps the Pebble emulate some of the popular health apps such as Fitbit.
The Pebble download store lists thousands of apps available in everything from a Dominos Pizza app to order food from your watch or golf apps that let you lower your handicap on the fly.
Pebble: The Looks and Style
Another way that Pebble allows the consumer to customize their purchased product is with downloadable watch faces. This is somewhat akin to changing the background photo on your smart phone although the watch faces display permanently. Other customizable aspects include the display holder itself in either the red, black, or yellow colors and you can even purchase different band styles for the device.
A lot of the functionality and personal reward depend on what type of apps you download for the Pebble smart watch. That being said there is somewhat of a slippery slope on the functionality end of the device. For starters the Pebble watch features four buttons that control all of the functions contained within the system.
While this eliminates a lot of the risk for operator error it also is a throwback of sorts for those people so accustomed to touch screen devices. Most older consumers can remember the frustrations of programming a watch that contained two or three buttons and trying to tell time in stopwatch mode.
After some time to familiarize yourself with the device the button system should come as second nature. There’s an input or ‘enter’ button on one side with scrolling capabilities on the other so it’s not as difficult to navigate as it sounds. Of course then you’ll have to become familiar with how each of the different apps operates but that’s a given even in the newest Smart phones.
Text messages display easily and the watch gives a vibrate when a new call or notification comes in – something much easier to feel than on a phone in a crowded pocket. Pebble is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and is open platform which means the number of apps and upgrades are nearly endless.
One of the big worries with smart watches is the inability to see the display in the sun but Pebble has an innovative design that makes it possible even in bright conditions.
The display lights up with a flick of the wrist or a tap of the screen and all your favorite apps are capable of running on the system including Instagram, Spotify, Pandora, Twitter, and Facebook so that you never miss game requests even in a busy meeting.
The battery life of the Pebble appears to be one of the best in its class with a boasted 5-7 day span. Plus perhaps the greatest intangible of all is the retail price of under $100.
Pebble: Possible Downsides
The lack of a touch screen is a minor pitfall in this otherwise serviceable device. Also while the styles are customizable the actual build of the watch leaves a little to be desired in the strength and durability department as the polycarbonate material feels as if it could snap at any minute. Either way the Pebble is definitely a budget buy packed with capabilities.
About the Moto 360 Smartwatch
One thing that the Android Moto 360 can boast is that is definitively the Smart watch you’ll want to wear. This device is the undisputed champion of looks in the Smart watch sector and depending on what your intended uses for the object are that could be the ultimate purchase point.
Some industry experts are arguing that the round cohesion and streamlined design of the Moto 360 have combined to create the perfect design for a smart watch – save for a small black bar at the bottom of the display that houses a light sensor for adjusting and easier reading. Even so though, a smart watches looks are only half the reason for purchase as users want some functionality too.
When compared to the Pebble two things stand out – 1) the Moto 360 looks nicer and 2) the Pebble does more. In a nutshell what the Moto 360 basically serves as is a notification center. The consumer purchases the 360, syncs it with their phone, and then any notification that the phone receives is displayed on the 360 or conveniently on the wrist.
How the Pebble differentiates itself is via customizable apps within itself serving as a standalone operation whereas the 360 seems more of just an extension from your phone – which of course is still very desirable to many users.
Pretty much anything that serves up a notification on your phone will display on your Moto 360 including Facebook messages, tweets, news alerts, and much more. Unfortunately the more you sync up these programs the faster the Moto 360 battery diminishes – something it already struggles with compared to its contemporary competitors.
Compared to the Pebble there are spots where the Moto 360 is more desirable. For instance you can reply to text messages just by talking to the Moto 360 whereas Pebble does not contain a microphone.
Voice reply works great for a lot of the notifications on the Moto 360 and the capabilities are something that will definitely be expanded upon in the future. The Android Wear application also allows for customization of the solid colors of the watch face or to some decorative designs.
Moto: Possible Downsides
While the Moto 360 is very simplistic in that it solely receives notifications that hasn’t transferred to prolonged battery life. The device only boasts an 18-24 hour life span but the reality of that is usually less than 10 hours especially as you add more programs to the notification list.
Most people have to charge their cell phones on a nightly basis so the short life shouldn’t be a deal breaker although it is kind of a nuisance (especially considering the Pebble can go 2-3 days minimum before a recharge.) Also the Moto 360 is Android only and has a relatively higher price tag than competitors retailing for $150.
Tale of the Tape: Features Head-to-Head
|Moto 360||Pebble Smart|
|Operating System||Android||Android, iOS|
|Display Size||1.5” 320 x 290 pixel||1.26” 144 × 168 pixel|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth / Wi-Fi||Bluetooth|
|Battery Life||18-24 hours||5-7 days|
|Price||$149.00 here||$86.00 here|
Final Thoughts – Is One Really Better Than the Other?
In the end both smart watches offer something for a different sect of consumers. You could argue that the Moto 360 is ideal for the bustling jet-setter who needs to always be in the know but might not have the capabilities to check their phone (meetings, sales calls, driving).
The Pebble smart watch on the other hand might be designed more for somebody who is into fitness and apps or if you have an iPhone but don’t want the AppleWatch. Then again, perhaps the two watches offer a perfect combination of both lifestyles – it’s up to you to decide based on your tastes, budgets, and intended use.
Bottom Line: It depends on what you intend to use your smartwatch for. For mainly fitness, I’d go with the Pebble (see listing here). For someone looking for style and notifications on the go, I’d go with the Moto 360.