The Pebble along with the Samsung Gear 2 Neo are arguably the best 2 “active” smartwatches on the market. Now of course there are better fitness bands, but when it comes to working with your smartwatch for other functions, then you will be in need of something else such as one of these two.
Pebble is on their first set of smartwatches after their initial kickstarter release, with both the standard which is made of a glossy plastic and the Steel, whose names should lend a hint of what material it is made of. Samsung on the other hand are on their second generation of smartwatches in the Gear family, and the Neo is the model without the camera and has more of a “fitness” feel. In the breakdown below, I will be using the two models in the image used above, as they are both considered the “lower” or “cheaper” model of their respected brand.
The Pebble has a very light feel to it and gives it almost a cheap feel, however don't be mistaken as it can take quite a beating and bounce back with little to no wear and tear. The stock watchband is made of a rubber and works well for fitness or water activities, but don’t expect it to dazzle anyone as a fashion accessory, but you can change that out with one of your choosing if you would like. The 4 buttons feel strong and seem to last as long as the duration of the watches lifespan, and the charging port is built well.
The Samsung Gear 2 Neo has a “stronger” build feel to it when compared to the Pebble, and that may have to do with there being a bit more plastic to deal with on the actual watch body. the rubberized plastic that is the watchband isn't that flexible, but I do enjoy the clasp to lock it around your wrist. The single home button that has been known to be a common thing on samsung devices is also built nice, although I would like to have seen it worked into the side of the watch like what we have found to be the standard.
Pebble focus on being a watch you can wear for days without having to worry about charging it and use it for health, notifications, music and more. The need to not have to worry about charging your smartwatch is very convenient, the only knock on the watch is the usability. For someone that is not a little tech inclined, this watch could be a little under your standards or above your ability to get the most out of it. Now this isn't to say the watch isn't worth it, but if there is a $20 difference between these two, I would swing towards the Samsing Gear Neo if you are a Samsung smartphone owner already on ease of use.
The Samsung Gear 2 Neo focuses on all the same things the Pebble does, but it loses out to battery life but gains on usability. You don't need your phone to use many of the functions and being able to pair bluetooth headphones to the watch and listen to some music while working out via the onboard 4GB of storage, makes them the better choice for fitness lovers.
This can all depend on how you use your smartwatch and obviously if you have paid attention to any of the Pebble hype, then you should know this is no competition. The Pebble can last for about 5-7 days with standard to moderate use and the Samsung Gear 2 Neo will last for 1 ½ days to 2 ½ days with standard to moderate use. The Pebble has the better charging method with the magnetic clip idea, the charging “cradle” Samsung came up with is probably the worst smartwatch charging dock on the market period.
This is favored to the Samsung Gear 2 Neo unless you understand and use tasker, then the Pebble can catch up with many of the functions. The touchscreen on the Neo make it more enjoyable to act with and the colored screen gives it more options for interacting with the user interface. The Pebble is more of a set it and forget it kind of watch, whereas the Neo is that or a small very limited version of your phone for some simple, but common daily tasks.
With the option to use an array of apps with the ability to stream music and do this without your device and then sync the information upon return is why I use the Samsung Gear 2 Neo over the Pebble. To be honest, this is why I am using it over any Android Wear as of now, although I suspect that should be changing sometimes in 2015.