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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.