Five reasons I prefer the Pebble smartwatch over the Samsung Galaxy Gear

Five reasons I prefer the Pebble smartwatch over the Samsung Galaxy Gear

Summary: The Galaxy Gear has been on my wrist for a couple of weeks and as classy as it is, I am not buying one. My Pebble works better for me and Samsung has more work to knock it off my wrist.

Five reasons Pebble smartwatch Samsung Galaxy Gear
(Image: Pebble)

Last week I posted my review of the Samsung Galaxy Gear and since then ordered, then canceled, a couple of orders for one. After the last couple of days, I decided to return the evaluation unit and skip buying my own Gear at this time.

I gave the Galaxy Gear a score of 7.5 out of 10 and think it is a very well designed piece of hardware. However, the high price, limited functionality, and rather short battery life keep me from justifying a purchase at the moment.

My Pebble came from the Kickstarter campaign that I backed last year and I have primarily been using it with my HTC One. I pulled out my Pebble again and came up with at least five reasons I personally prefer the Pebble over the Samsung Galaxy Gear.

  1. Battery life: I charge my Pebble once a week on Sunday and while the Gear may go nearly two days when I am lightly using it, one day is the standard. I am not bothered by the charging dock since my Pebble also needs a special custom cable, but I can't get used to charging my watch every day and need to see these smartwatches go for several days between charging.

  2. Comfort: The Galaxy Gear is well designed, but the band is pretty rigid and sits a bit awkwardly on my wrist bone. The band is full of wires for the camera and microphone so you can't do much about it. On my Pebble, you can buy extra 22mm bands and swap them out if you don't like the basic, but comfortable, included rubber band.

  3. Waterproof: I live in Washington State where rain lingers for many days of the year and the Gear makes me a bit nervous to use in rain and when working out. It is supposed to be a bit resistant, but it is not clear how resistant it is. The Pebble is waterproof to 5 ATM so it is good to go as I use the timer on the soccer pitch.

  4. Works with Android and iOS devices: The Galaxy Gear is limited right now to just the Note 3, but it should eventually work with the latest Samsung smartphones. The Pebble works with iOS and Android smartphones so you are not really limited on its connectivity.

  5. Functionality: The Gear has a few good functions, but as I look at what it can do and what my Pebble can do I see the Pebble can do most of the same things and more. Of course, the Pebble has no camera so cannot take photos, but why take even crappier watch photos when most smartphone photos are already questionable? There are tons of apps, watch faces, and utilities available for the Pebble and I discover more daily. I am having a blast discovering more to do with my Pebble and right now the Galaxy Gear app store is quite limited.

I honestly like what Samsung is doing with the Gear and there is a lot of potential in the product. The company needs to get Gmail, Google Now, and other notifications working properly, give people the opportunity to control various music apps, and have it priced at $199. It is a tough sell at twice the price of a more capable Pebble.

The Galaxy Gear currently only works with the Galaxy Note 3 and last week I purchased a T-Mobile version of the device. It truly is a fantastic Android smartphone that will please many people.

However, I honestly think I still prefer my HTC One due to the better hardware design, much more pocketable form factor, better Exchange email client, and BoomSound stereo speakers. I'll give the Note 3 another week, but it may be going back to a T-Mobile store and the HTC One has the potential to be my main device for most all of 2013.

Further reading:

Topics: Mobility, Android, Samsung

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  • 6.

    Samsung had no Apple device to copy from.
    • you sure?

      that was almost funny... well if apple was depended upon samsung for its[apple] technology
      Justin Hale
      • Low Bidder

        That was more than ignorant... sorry. Look up "Apple Suppliers" and take a look at about 200 companies. It's not all about Samsung.
    • Chuckle

      I agree.
    • Did your "Samsung Inside" sticker fall off?

      Standby for the revolutionary new iClonedTheNote with an astonishing 5.7" screen - accompanied by the usual revision of history to herald the smooth flow of "innovation".

      The SJ "reality distortion field" (a term originating inside Apple) transcends the grave, and western religion is alive and well, necessitating only a near-subliminal prophet swap.
      • But... won't suck.
  • This guy says one thing and does another

    This is coming from someone who said that they would keep their lumia 925 over the new lumia 1020 when it was first released. So a few months later, he goes and buys it. Only time will tell when he will switch his mind and buy it. This guy says one thing and does another, so idk if he's telling us for sure that he is skipping... We only know that he uses android mainly and wp8 on the side, with no iphone until the 6th one comes out next year. How do we know if you not going to buy the 5s next month either or the lumia 929. My suggestion is to keep 1 good phone for each top three smartphone which includes latest iphone, latest or preferably android phone and 1 windows phone. Instead of constanly changing devices all the time why not keep 1 good device and wait 8 months or so to see if you really need to upgrade or not versus wasting money on same android os phones. jelly bean is jelly bean, the numbers beside each update are little side updates. The one you should replace is the htc one as 4.4 kit kat is coming out and htc one will not get the 4.4 update. He also bashes samsung phones as he rates one of his cons as they dont support his exhange email. I dont know anyone who still uses exchange... So finally it comes down to the person actually going to the store for his analysis. You be the judge of the phone in person not some person who writes his opinion about what he likes and dislikes about tech devices. This would then be misleading to the consumer who then goes to buy it. I just know this from constantly changing minds of tech reviewers who say one thing and 2 months later buy 2-3 phone they said they would've bought. So end of my rant....
    • Hmm

      Agree with most of your post EXCEPT

      "I dont know anyone who still uses exchange..."

      Seriously? Not a smart comment mate. EVERY customer I have in the corporate space and even a lot of small businesses use exchange. Don't generalize please just because you and your social friends do not use it.
    • Laughable Review

      I like how he said "Pebble can do most of the same things and more"

      he didnt mention the pebble
      DOESNT Take Pictures
      IS NOT in Color
      Has no Pedometer, music player or stopwatch (unless you download)
      NO Voice Recognition
      NO Touch Screen
      Can you even answer phone calls on it?

      im just going to stop there....bc the pebble is not even in the same catergory as the gear
      Justin Hale
      • Most used things

        I agree that the most used functions need to be installed to the Pebble and most everyone will not take the time to search them out to install them. However once the novelty of the color and touch screen, picture and video and,blaring tones from your wrist ware off on the Gear your left with an over priced over sized watch that will give you notifications, time,date and weather. With to much activity on the Gear you will have to charge it every other day.

        SO I agree that he should have stopped at "Pebble can do most of the same things" and left it at that
      • Gear can do much more than you think!

        @Justin Hale - I so agree with you plus:

        I have side loaded games like Candy Crush and Subway Surfer on to my Galaxy Gear and these play well as do most games. Great when hanging about waiting for something or on the bus or whatever! Though Angry Birds is too demanding for it to cope
        There's also the FLEKSY keyboard which works well on the Gear and in conjunction with 'ColourNote', allows me to make instant memos without dragging out my Galaxy Note 3
        I also installed MX Player and can watch recorded TV series or movies (on its 4Gb memory)
        Also Poweramp for music
        Mini Gallery allows me to see all my photos for reference (can delete them too!)
        RadiON - radio and a few more

        The only drawback about the Galaxy Gear is that it doesnt have an earphone socket.
        They managed it on the tiny iPod Nano so it would have been great on the Gear
        If you have big man fingers, use a small stylus - works well for Candy Crush lol !

        Its one of the most comfortable watches i have worn and it looks cool too!
  • Half review

    I would say this is a half review if the writer doesn't have the Note 3 to use it. Granted it stinks its pretty much locked down to that device but if you have both devices they can do some really cool tricks. The S voice functionality works flawlessly and snapchat/path photo posting is cool

    I agree that you will have a better phone camera in your pocket but the photo quality isn't too shabby when taking some quick snaps.

    I have the note 3/watch combo and them working together is really awesome. It reminds me of when I had my touchpad/palm pre connected together with that old webOS magic.

    I never got to try the Pebble though But i never really noticed it came out. I remember trying to buy one like years ago and it always said coming soon.
    • Note 3

      You will find later in the article that he DOES have a Note 3, a T-Mobile version. So maybe an ALMOST FULL review?
    • There's the rub

      You say you have never tried a Pebble. He has tried both. You can't really defend anything if you haven't tried the alternative.
  • Check out the new Nokia Nitwit dumbwatch

    Here is the great goofy gadget:
    Bob Maloogaloogaloogaloogalooga
  • Smartwatch

    Nice idea, still not there yet. The only cool potential is video conferencing, like skyping or facetiming on it like Dick Tracy.
    D.J. 43
  • The GEARn does just what i want it to

    I LOVE my Dick Tracy Gear Watch. I use it for the three things it does really really well -- phone calls, photos on the fly, and taking voice memoes. We do not need it to do 500 things just a few really well and it does these three really well. Plus it can coordinate phone calls between itself and my car! I too am getting MORE than two days on a battery charge
  • Should have stopped at twice the price.

    I did find the comparison informative and a few points I agree with. Samsung Gear not being water resistant is a strong factor in every day life as well as battery life, but to say the Pebble is more capable is absurd. Three main points that the Samsung Gear has the Pebble does not, first a camera, second a microphone and finally a color screen. Does this justify the $299 price tag, the market will let Samsung know. I would be looking for a $249 tag myself to justify the extra capability, but to say the Pebble is MORE capable is by far a bad closing comment to this review considering the limitations the Pebble has over the Samsung Gear hardware wise.
  • The difference between waterproof teabags and submarine screen doors

    Folks, the so-called "smartwatch" is, at best, a ventriloquist's dummy for a smartphone. Who NEEDS one of these things? It's about as useful and necessary as an inflatable dartboard.

    As a pretentious geek-like fashion statement, okay, maybe there's some value there. But practical, rational people who don't buy into BS aren't going to get one of these until they can pick up their smartwatch and leave the damn tablet-sized smartphone at home.

    I remember when cell phones were getting smaller. I wish the manufacturers remembered that time, too.
  • One Watch to rule them all

    I like what he had to about both watches and the comments and opinions of others. But the take on the whole smartwatch issue is a that there is a place for both and I hope Pebble will keep working and come out with a Pebble II.

    I must say I do not own a Galaxy Gear but have looked at them in the stores. I have just bought a Pebble Watch.

    Here is my take on the two.

    Pebble pros:
    *not bad of a price point
    *watch over all size is good
    *Screen is readable indoors and outdoors. There is no need for color
    *I work outdoors and the idea of a speaker or Mic would compromise the watch
    *the vibration for notification is perfect for noisy or in an area that requires silence.
    *A touchless screen makes more sense. as I have not used a touch screen I can only say that it would seem easy to switch screens by brushing up against it and possibly taking a picture etc..

    Pebble cons:

    *The screen could have been more of the face of the watch.
    *The software could have more polished such as sms and font sizing of time piece and information.

    Without owning a Gear but only handling it.

    Galaxy Gear Pros:
    *screen size

    Galaxy cons:

    *will it be that visible out doors
    *how many times can it take getting wet such washing hands,washing dishes or washing your car
    *and price

    I think at around 150.00 the Pebble is not a bad price for a watch with the functionality that it has. What would be nice to see is a little more stylish design such as rounded sides and less protruding buttons.

    A Dick Tracy watch the Pebble is not but do you really want to walk into any store or Public place and put up with everyone talking to there wrists asking for the weather or the cheapest price for a product. It is bad enough with ring tones and loud talking conversations on the phones now.