Apple Watch vs Android Wear vs Pebble Time: features comparison

It'll be years until we know for sure, but if anything, Apple's entry onto the smartwatch scene will likely benefit all in the nascent industry by bringing some much needed awareness to the new gadget category. This isn't to say that the Apple Watch will necessarily be better than what's already available on the market – we'll need to get some quality hands-on time with it first in order to know – though it does seem like Cupertino is bringing the most feature-rich experience out of the box.

But by highlighting its product, Apple will also inevitably draw attention to its competitors as consumers start scratching their heads in an effort to make a not-so-obvious decision – how does the Watch compare to the various Android Wear-touting smartwatches and the upcoming Pebble Time? We thought we'd help by compiling two tables that outline the main functional and software features one would expect from their smartwatch.


In terms of the way these are all engineered, we're looking at some serious and quite noteworthy differences. For example, both the Apple Watch and the plethora of Android Wear devices are available in different sizes, while you only get one Pebble Time model, and its bulk is set in stone.

Another important distinction is the use of a touch-enabled displays (Apple Watch, Android Wear) and tactile buttons only (Pebble), and their respective resolution. On that latter count, the Pebble Time trails the competition with its colored e-paper display, but this isn't just an omission on the company's part, but rather a well thought-out strategy that has their smartwatches last as much as five to six times longer than competitors.

Software features

As for software features, it's imperative that you consider compatibility. Apple Watch, for example, only works with iPhone, and Android Wear devices are only compatible with Android devices. Pebble's products, on the other hand, are platform-agnostic and will work with both (and even Windows Phone).

What we especially liked about the Apple Watch is the extended functionality that apps offer right from your wrist, which is a bit unlike Android Wear and sometimes even Pebble Time. In other words, while the majority of built-in Android Wear functionality will give you nothing more than a glance on your wrist before asking you to whip out your smartphone, the Apple Watch's operating system was designed to eliminate the need for that as much as possible. 

Lastly, whereas both Apple Watch and Android Wear-based devices offer intelligent voice assistants (Siri and Google Now, respectively), Pebble Time is devoid of such a majorly important feature. That's very much worth considering, especially given how the aforementioned two services are only going to get better and more suited for your wrist.



1. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Which one is pebble and which one is apple watch. They look the same

5. goofyon

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

It will be really easy to tell the two apart most of the time as unlike the Pebble's always-on display the Apple Watch screen will be turned off to conserve battery life therefore having no display visible and instead the biggest ugliest bezel of all. What everyone else will see whenever someone is wearing the Apple Watch is a shiny metal case highlighting a large empty black void where a watch face should be.

6. gathan

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

Real easy to tell the difference; the iwatch will be the one sitting on the charger.

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 31281; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It'll also be the one that says top seller.

10. apple4life

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

Dont worry you will be able to tell once see you 20 millons maybe more sold , and one noone cares about , i bet you know witch one will sell 20 mil .

11. tedkord

Posts: 17408; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Like pet rocks and Justin Bieber albums.

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31281; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I'm getting mine, as soon as the stores open in Las Vegas. I'll be on vacation that week too, so I'll be there early.

16. shinywindow unregistered

There both fugly who cares.

18. phrancis

Posts: 9; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

Apple is the one that can cost $10,000 for a freakin watch...

2. phljcnth

Posts: 556; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Where's Tizen?

3. scramasax

Posts: 45; Member since: Mar 07, 2015

Just wait for the next smart watch from Samsung with S6 Edge inspired design and materials as well as SIM card with LTE... Then with Tizen onboard instead of Android and proper battery size and battery management it should outlast the Apple Watch by a huge margin...

4. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

You forgot gesture control and WiFi support for Apple Watch...which was just announced to be coming to Android Wear in the future.

12. tedkord

Posts: 17408; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Gesture control? I can swear I heard that was a gimmick a year or go.

7. duartix

Posts: 311; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

If for a change PA did their homework, they would know there is not only one Pebble time model but 3 basic plus 1 Steel. :P

8. duartix

Posts: 311; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

no text

19. SiriusCybernetik

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 15, 2015

I don't really get the point of this article. Comparing random specs of electronic gadgets that have somewhat different approaches to the definition of what a smartwatch is supposed to be, is like comparing sizes of specific male body parts in idle state ( i.e. outside of their intended use/context). If you put "battery life", then it would be good to give average numbers (e.g. 18h, 48h, 6 days). Also, a device that is supposed to be splash water proof should not be taken to the shower (btw ridiculous criteria, you should have mentioned the norm of each device instead). From what I have read, android wear has also support for offline/native apps (e.g. independent music player) so why say it hasn't? Has about pricing info, I couldn't see any price fork in your review. I am currently looking for a true review, with at least hands on experience with representatives of each watch category. Still couldn't find any.

20. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Does it make sense for your smartwatch to offer turn-by-turn navigation? Yes, it does. Does it make sense for your smartwatch to have an intelligent assistant, given how interaction is tough due to the limited screen real estate? Yes, it does. Does it make sense for your smartwatch to be water resistant? Yes it does. Does it make sense to have media controls with your smartwatch? Yes it does. Does it makse sense for your smartwatch to warn you when you're possibly about to forget your phone somewhere? Yes it does. In other words, the point of the article is to showcase which of the three main competitors in the space offer what we consider to be essential functionality. It doesn't matter that Pebble's approach is not precisely the same as Apple's or Android Wear -- this is still functionality that has (or should have) place on your wrist, and if one has it and the other doesn't, then folks have the right to know before ordering. This is kind of what PhoneArena is all about -- giving you insight into the gadgets that you're about to drop a small fortune on. Additionally, do keep in mind that while you may be on top of the game as far as smartwatches go, the vast, and I mean VAST, majority of people still struggle defining what a smartwatch can do and what its purpose is. Said otherwise, this is as much a comparison piece as it is an informative one.

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