The Pebble and Samsung Galaxy Gear are probably two of the most innovative gadgets launched in recent times. This Buzzle article puts these two smart watches through their paces and tells you how the battle between the Pebble Smartwatch Vs. Samsung Galaxy Gear goes down.
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The Pebble runs on Pebble OS, a proprietary operating system, while the Samsung Galaxy Gear is powered by an Android-based operating system.
The smartphone segment seems a little too crowded with scores of capable handsets in the market, and with little to choose between them. The hardware on these phones is probably at a stage where having a more powerful processor would not necessarily translate into a huge improvement in performance. They are pretty much at a stage where it is more about evolution than innovation. This has prompted phone manufacturers to look at other avenues to rake in the money. One such avenue that has opened up of late is the smartwatch segment.
2013 has seen a sudden surge in the interest towards smart watches, with each company looking to outsmart the other with their own version of the next-gen watch. The Korean giant Samsung has already released its version of the watch, the Galaxy Gear. In stark contrast though, a humble kickstarter project called the Pebble is what actually marked the dawn of the smartwatches. The Galaxy Gear and the Pebble are two amazing watches with their own bag of tricks. Here’s a look at how these watches match up to each other.
Up to 80 MHz
144 x 168 pixels
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
52 x 36 x 11.5 mm
5 – 7 days
320 x 320 pixels
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
56.6 x 36.8 x 11.1 mm
Pebble over Samsung Galaxy Gear
Changeable wrist strap
Display is always on
Battery life of 5 – 7 days
Compatible with both Android and iOS devices
5ATM water resistant
Samsung Galaxy Gear over Pebble
Inbuilt mic and speaker for voice calling
Voice command support
Design and Construction
Inconspicuous understated design.The Pebble is reasonably light and small and feels more or less like an ordinary watch. The front is taken up by the monochrome screen that has a curved plastic lens cover on it. The right side features three buttons―Up, Down, and Select―while the left side has the back button. The left also houses the magnetic pins that connect to a USB cable for charging. The entire watch has a 5ATM rating and can be used while swimming. You can use any standard 22 mm wrist strap to go with the Pebble. The watch also has a vibrating motor for notifications. The watch measures in at 52 x 36 x 11.5 mm, and weigh about 38 g. It is currently available in orange, red, black, gray, and white colors.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Premium industrial design.The Gear resembles one of the many large, in-your-face kind of men’s watches. At first glance, you’re treated to a glossy glass screen encased in a metal frame, with screws that give it a premium, yet robust look. The only physical button on the watch is the power button on the right side. The back has 5 pogo pins that help charge the device using the Gear’s charging cradle. The polyurethane strap has a 1.9 MP camera hidden inside it, while the straps buckle packs two noise-cancellation microphones and a speaker. The strap itself is nonuser-replaceable because of the all the goodies it hides within it. The device is water-resistant and should be able to handle small accidental spills. The dimensions of the watch are 56.6 x 36.8 x 11.1 mm and weigh in at 73.8 g. The watch has a variety of wrist straps on offer in jet black, oatmeal beige, mocha gray, wild orange, and lime green. There is also an option to go in for rose gold color for the metal front of the Gear.
If you are looking for an inconspicuous smart watch, then the Pebble is the one for you. If, however, you want to make a statement, then look no further than the Gear. Personally, we prefer the simple construction of the water-resistant Pebble over the oversized splash-resistant Gear. The Gear, however, packs a lot more functionality and even throws a camera into the mix.
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Always-on e-paper display.The watch employs what the company calls an e-paper display, which is very energy efficient and has great sunlight legibility. This is actually a 144 x 168 transflective LCD protected by a shatterproof and scratch-resistant lens with an anti-glare optical coating on top. The good thing about the display is that it is always on, and also has a backlight to view it in the dark. On the downside, you are stuck with a monochrome display. You can scroll through the screens using the physical navigation buttons on its sides.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Bright Super AMOLED.The watch is graced by a 320 x 320 Super AMOLED touchscreen. The display is protected by a scratch-resistant sheet of glass. The watch comes with an outdoor mode which, when enabled, makes the screen a lot brighter for better legibility under direct sunlight. The display stays off, and only lights up on demand, or when there is a new notification. Navigation through the screens is handled by simple swipes on the capacitive touchscreen.
The Pebble should suit you well if you just want to be able to tell time at the simple flick of a wrist. If you aren’t too perturbed by the thought of tapping on your device each time you want to know the time, then the gorgeous display on the Gear won’t let you down. We are sold on the bright and colorful display of the Gear, although we so wish it came with the option of staying on all the while without being a battery guzzler.
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Simple and effective.Don’t let the simple exterior and the humble monochrome display fool you because the Pebble has a whole bag of tricks hidden inside it. The watch connects to your Android (v2.3+) or iOS (iPhone 4s, 5, and 5s) phone via a Bluetooth 4.0 LE connection. Once connected, it can display notifications from the connected device on its screen. For iOS, the watch displays almost all notifications from the phone, whereas on Android, it can only display the notifications supported by the Pebble app on the phone. There are plenty of watch faces to choose from, and you can even create one of your own. You even get to read the first couple of lines of incoming text messages and emails on the Pebble. It even lets you control the music player on your phone. Apart from these, there is a plethora of apps to choose from for the Pebble, which can be installed via the Pebble app on the phone. All functions of the watch run smooth thanks to the ARM Cortex-M3 processor ticking at the heart of the device.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Feature overload.Samsung has managed to cram in most features of a full-sized smartphone into its smartwatch. With its 800MHz Exynos processor and 512 MB of RAM, the watch almost seems like an overkill for its many functions. The watch connects to a compatible Galaxy phone via a Bluetooth 4.0 LE connection. You can even connect to the phone using NFC. The Gear displays notifications from the phone, and even lets you read entire messages and emails on it if you choose to. You can make and receive phone calls as well using the built-in speaker. The smartwatch itself does not have a GSM unit and acts more like a bluetooth headset. The voice quality is surprisingly good, and the loudspeaker to performs decently. The watch can also take photographs using the in-built 1.9 MP camera with a maximum resolution of 1392 x 1392 pixels. It can even shoot 720p videos with audio for up to 15 seconds. The onboard storage of 4 GB comes in handy to store these files, which can then be transferred on to the connected phone. The images look decent but don’t expect to be wowed by it, especially in low-light conditions. The watch also has a large library of dedicated apps to choose from. The Gear also supports voice commands, which is extremely handy especially when sending across a message or taking down a note.
The Pebble does a fine job of handling all the tasks thrown at it, and its app support to is great, thanks to its large developer base. The Gear, on the other hand, is rather pompous and makes no secret of its many abilities. It all boils down to choice really, on one hand, you have a device which excels at all the simple tasks, while on the other hand, is a device which is all geared up and packs tons with the kitchen sink in tow. I, personally, find the experience on the Gear to be a little too overwhelming, and love the comfort provided by the simplicity of the monochrome Pebble.