Pebble finally packs heart rate monitors into its new watches

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Pebble might be dead, but your watch isn't.
Pebble 2 is prettier, lighter, and just $99.
Photo: Pebble

Pebble has stepped up its fight against Apple Watch and other wearables by announcing a pair of new smartwatches that finally pack built-in heart rate monitors. They’re called Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2, and they’re big improvements over their predecessors.

Pebble was the smartwatch that started it all. When it first hit Kickstarter in 2012, it became the most funded project of all time, raising almost $10.3 million from nearly 69,000 backers. Back then, there was little competition from rival wearables, but that’s all changed.

Pebble now has to fight off super affordable fitness trackers from the likes of Xiaomi and Fitbit, and smarter watches from Apple, Samsung, and Android Wear supporters. But it’s catching up with Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 — and still offering unique features of its own.

Pebble Time 2 is a mix between Time and Steel.
Pebble Time 2 is a mix between Time and Steel.
Photo: Pebble

Pebble 2 is the original Pebble revamped. It’s thinner and lighter and more attractive, and now protected by sturdy Gorilla Glass as opposed to plastic. In addition to its heart rate monitor, it also has a built-in microphone, but it maintains its black and white display.

Pebble Time 2 combines the original Pebble Time with Pebble Time Steel. That means it’s prettier and more robust, and it has a significantly smaller bezel that allows for more than 50 percent more screen space.

Pebble Time 2 still has a color display, which is also coated in scratch-resistant glass, and the same heart rate sensors found in Pebble 2. It’s also just as water-resistant, which means you can take it in up to 30 meters of water without any issues.

The biggest advantage to the Pebble — over other smartwatches — is the battery life. Unlike Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, which usually need charging every night, Pebble 2 lasts a whole week in between charges, while Pebble Time 2 can go for ten days.

The downside is that both of these devices are going back to Kickstarter — you can’t just order them from Pebble.com — and they won’t begin shipping until September. But if you’re interested, Pebble 2 is priced at $99, and Pebble Time 2 is priced at $169.

Don’t want a watch? How about the new Pebble Core — the tiny box that tracks your fitness, lets you listen to music, and more for just $69.

Meet Pebble Core.
Meet Pebble Core.
Photo: Pebble