As a mobile tech writer who covers all operating systems, I will likely pick up an Apple Watch next month. However, most readers own a single smartphone so the choice for a companion smartwatch needs to be made, even if that choice is to not purchase a smartwatch.
If you don't have an iPhone, then this comparison doesn't directly apply to you. However, you may want to hear about a few features of the Pebble Time.
Here are five things the Pebble Time can do that the Apple watch can't:
Play well with others: Pebble Time works with iOS and Android. There are also third party apps that support use of Pebble smartwatches with BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices. The Apple Watch works exclusively with the Apple iPhone 5 and higher.
Last for a week between charging: The Pebble Time has a stated battery life of 7 days and the Pebble Time Steel of 10 days. Apple lists the Apple Watch as having an 18 hour battery life. These times are highly dependent on your usage patterns so may be even less than the official figure.
Use standard low price watch bands: All Pebble watches have a standard 22mm watch band connection system so you can buy bands that cost a few bucks or a few hundred dollars, the choice is up to you. The Apple Watch supports bands from Apple that range in price from $49 to $449.
Be used as a pedometer for open fitness systems: Pebble has a fairly open OS so you can use the Pebble Time to track your steps with various fitness systems, currently Misfit and Jawbone UP. The Apple Watch limits step counting to the Apple HealthKit system with no evidence you can export that data to other popular systems.
Expand capabilities with smartstraps: While I love the new color e-paper design and OS improvements of the Pebble Time, I am more excited to see what kind of smartstraps hardware developers come up with. Developers can add GPS, NFC, longer battery life, and more with these straps, extending the capability of Pebble Time.
There are also plenty of things that the Apple Watch can do that the Pebble Time cannot, which is why I plan to pick one up and test out an Apple Watch for myself.
If you own an iPhone, then the choice between a Pebble Steel and an Apple Watch is a tough one to make. With the Pebble Time priced at $199 and the Pebble Time Steel at $299, pricing is definitely also a factor to consider.