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?
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.
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.
The Pebble 2 doesn't look that fancy, but it's nicely compact.
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.
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.
The plastic body has rubberized side buttons, plus a microphone that lets you dictate text and Gmail responses.
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.
The closely packed buttons are a little hard to press. And no, Pebble 2 does not have a touchscreen.
A rear optical heart rate monitor, new to Pebble watches. It continually pings for heart rate readings.
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 (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.
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.
There aren't many good fitness watch faces, which is a shame. But this face is funky.
It feels comfy on my wrist with the included rubberized band, but other bands can be easily added.
One of the weirder watch faces. Hi.
Pebble's magnetic charge cable is the same as last year, thank god.
The Pebble 2 lasts about five days on a charge, which is great for a smartwatch.
The USB cable.
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.
The Pebble Time Steel and Pebble 2, from the back.
The Pebble 2 is thinner, and some may like that.
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.
Always-on heart rate isn't that useful, and is sometimes erratic.
Pebble apps are a mixed bag, but there are plenty of them.
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.
Voice transcription for text replies works well, even on the iPhone (tested with AT&T).
You can't use voice for everything, though. It's a pretty limited set of tiny functions.
It's listening (when you start voice response).
Pebble 2 feels like my jeans sometimes: comfy, and basic.
Starting a workout. Walk, run, or "workout."
What it looks like when a workout is started: heart rate, and one other bit of info. That screen could be better used.
Calling an Uber via the Uber app.
The watch shows weekly summaries for steps and sleep.
Still one of my favorite watch faces.
Getting the Pebble 2 wet isn't a concern.
But a wet screen isn't always easy to read.
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.
You can get last year's Pebble Time or Time Steel and get step and sleep tracking, too.
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 sets goals based on average steps per day. But I'd like to see Pebble's health and fitness features improved.