X

We handpick the products and services we write about. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Pebble 2 wants to be a fitness tracker and smartwatch

Check out Pebble's latest watch from all angles, and how it tracks fitness.

Scott_Stein.jpg
Scott_Stein.jpg

Scott Stein

See full bio
pebble-2-hr-42.jpg
1 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pebble 2 aims to be a fitness tracker as well as a smartwatch. At $130 or £100 (around AU$170 converted), it's very affordable. But is it the total package?

pebble-2-hr-43.jpg
2 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pebble 2 has an always-on reflective "e-paper" display. That means this black and white creepy eyeball watch face stays on. There's also a backlight for night.

pebble-2-hr-47.jpg
3 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

It's 30 meters water resistant, which means it's fine for showers and swimming. So are older Pebble watches, except for the Pebble Time Round.

pebble-2-hr-19.jpg
4 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pebble 2 doesn't look that fancy, but it's nicely compact.

pebble-2-hr-25.jpg
5 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

It connects to your phone with iOS or Android. Pebble's app connects to a watch face and app store, and most things are free.

pebble-2-hr-13.jpg
6 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

There are plenty of weird and (sometimes) wonderful watch faces to pick. But the Pebble 2 is black and white, unlike last year's Pebble Time watches, which had color screens.

pebble-2-hr-03.jpg
7 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The plastic body has rubberized side buttons, plus a microphone that lets you dictate text and Gmail responses.

pebble-2-hr-11.jpg
8 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pebble 2 packaging: redesigned and emphasizing heart rate. This model is the "Pebble 2 + HR," and a non-heart rate Pebble 2 will be available later on for $100.

pebble-2-hr-04.jpg
9 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The closely packed buttons are a little hard to press. And no, Pebble 2 does not have a touchscreen.

pebble-2-hr-05.jpg
10 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

A rear optical heart rate monitor, new to Pebble watches. It continually pings for heart rate readings.

pebble-2-hr-06.jpg
11 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble 2 (left) vs. Fitbit Charge 2 (right). Fitbit is a dedicated fitness tracker, and has easy-to-read info. Pebble's health data needs to be pulled up by pressing on a side button.

pebble-2-hr-07.jpg
12 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble 2 (middle) next to Fitbit Charge 2 (left) and Apple Watch Series 1 (right). Pebble isn't really exactly like either, but it's an affordable hybrid of sorts.

pebble-2-hr-08.jpg
13 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

I'd still say the Pebble 2 is really a basic smartwatch that's striving to be a fitness tracker, and definitely not the other way around.

pebble-2-hr-09.jpg
14 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

There aren't many good fitness watch faces, which is a shame. But this face is funky.

pebble-2-hr-12.jpg
15 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

It feels comfy on my wrist with the included rubberized band, but other bands can be easily added.

pebble-2-hr-14.jpg
16 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

One of the weirder watch faces. Hi.

pebble-2-hr-15.jpg
17 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble's magnetic charge cable is the same as last year, thank god.

pebble-2-hr-16.jpg
18 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pebble 2 lasts about five days on a charge, which is great for a smartwatch.

pebble-2-hr-18.jpg
19 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET
pebble-2-hr-20.jpg
20 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pebble Time Steel (left) from 2015, next to the Pebble 2 (right). The Pebble Time Steel lacks heart rate, but a newer Pebble Time 2 is arriving later this year with heart rate and a larger screen.

pebble-2-hr-21.jpg
21 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pebble Time Steel and Pebble 2, from the back.

pebble-2-hr-22.jpg
22 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pebble 2 is thinner, and some may like that.

pebble-2-hr-23.jpg
23 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble's Health app features come baked into the Pebble phone app, and sync steps, sleep and heart rate charts. But they only sync to one phone app, and can't be accessed in the cloud.

pebble-2-hr-24.jpg
24 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Always-on heart rate isn't that useful, and is sometimes erratic.

pebble-2-hr-26.jpg
25 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble apps are a mixed bag, but there are plenty of them.

pebble-2-hr-27.jpg
26 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble's new software, available on older Pebbles too, makes a far more compact app menu and easy access quick bits of info. But the text gets hard to read.

pebble-2-hr-28.jpg
27 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET
pebble-2-hr-30.jpg
28 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Voice transcription for text replies works well, even on the iPhone (tested with AT&T).

pebble-2-hr-31.jpg
29 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

You can't use voice for everything, though. It's a pretty limited set of tiny functions.

pebble-2-hr-32.jpg
30 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

It's listening (when you start voice response).

pebble-2-hr-33.jpg
31 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble 2 feels like my jeans sometimes: comfy, and basic.

pebble-2-hr-36.jpg
32 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Starting a workout. Walk, run, or "workout."

pebble-2-hr-37.jpg
33 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

What it looks like when a workout is started: heart rate, and one other bit of info. That screen could be better used.

pebble-2-hr-38.jpg
34 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Calling an Uber via the Uber app.

pebble-2-hr-39.jpg
35 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET
pebble-2-hr-40.jpg
36 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

The watch shows weekly summaries for steps and sleep.

pebble-2-hr-41.jpg
37 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Still one of my favorite watch faces.

pebble-2-hr-48.jpg
38 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Getting the Pebble 2 wet isn't a concern.

pebble-2-hr-49.jpg
39 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

But a wet screen isn't always easy to read.

pebble-2-hr-50.jpg
40 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Here's something weird: workouts aren't synced to the Pebble app yet. This means the Pebble 2 really isn't good at all for more dedicated fitness tracking. In November, an update should address a few of these problems.

pebble-2-hr-51.jpg
41 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

You can get last year's Pebble Time or Time Steel and get step and sleep tracking, too.

pebble-2-hr-52.jpg
42 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Heart rate isn't worth the upgrade cost. I'd consider the heart rate-free Pebble 2, or pick one of last year's versions.

pebble-2-hr-53.jpg
43 of 43 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble sets goals based on average steps per day. But I'd like to see Pebble's health and fitness features improved.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
The 42 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 42 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

43 Photos
59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

More Galleries

59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

62 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

82 Photos
2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Is a Proper Land Yacht

More Galleries

2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Is a Proper Land Yacht

46 Photos
2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Is a Fresh Take on Vintage Looks

More Galleries

2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Is a Fresh Take on Vintage Looks

16 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games

More Galleries

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos