Pebble is getting serious about helping you keep tabs on your health. The smartwatch maker just dropped a trio of wearables that boast fitness tracking features, heart rate monitors and affordable prices. The Pebble Core, Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 are now available for pre-order exclusively via Kickstarter for $69, $99 and $169, respectively.
The Pebble Core is easily the most intriguing of the three new devices. Arriving next January, it's Pebble's first non-smartwatch wearable: a simple black box that you clip onto your clothes.
Pebble Core: Track Your Runs, Hail an Uber and More
Think of Pebble Core as a cube that can serve as your music player, Bluetooth key finder, GPS fitness tracker, SOS emergency message sender and/or Uber summoner. The 3G-connected wearable can track your running pace and distance thanks to its built-in GPS, and will sync with third-party apps such as Runkeeper, Strava, MapMyRun, Google Fit and Under Armour Record.
You can also record voice notes with the Core, play your Spotify playlists without having to lug your phone on your runs and clip the Core to precious items so that you can always find them.
The Core will feature two programmable buttons — one big, one small — that you can set up via the Pebble app on your phone. Pressing the big button will start your run, which can also start streaming a Spotify playlist you've selected during setup (via the 3G connection) or playing music you've stored on the Core's onboard 4GB of storage.
You can configure the small button to summon an Uber to your location (you'll have to be wearing a Pebble or have your smartphone on your to get notifications and info about your ride), send an SOS Emergency message or activate other Pebble apps. Pebble is also opening the Core up to the developer community to create more functions for the Core, making it more useful.
At just $70, the Core has just become next on the list of fitness items I want to buy myself, since it could remove the need for me to bring my phone on my runs.
Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 Watches: Fitness in Focus
In addition to the Core's debut, Pebble is making serious upgrades to its existing Pebble and Pebble Time smartwatches. The Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 now offer heart-rate monitors while remaining very affordable. The $99 Pebble 2 will offer sleep, step and heart-rate tracking in addition to a week-long battery life and water-resistant body when it goes on sale in September. It still features the e-paper display all Pebble watches have, and a microphone for voice replies and notes.
Due in November, the $169 Pebble Time 2 looks like a serious contender for a spot on an active professional's wrist. It has a color e-paper display that Pebble says is 50 percent larger than the one on its predecessor; it also has a higher resolution of 80 percent more pixels for sharper, clearer images. The Time 2 sports a heart rate monitor and microphone, and will reportedly last 10 days on a charge.
Pebble fans have long clamored for better fitness tracking tools on the relatively basic smartwatches, and these new devices seem aimed at meeting that demand. For example, I've had problems with Pebble's Health app — it wasn't very accurate or useful, frequently telling me I've not slept at all even after a sweet night's slumber. However, the company's recent update to its Health app has improved the system's accuracy and utility, adding auto run tracking so you don't have to tell the app when to start monitoring your workout.
We'll bring you full reviews of these devices when they're ready to wear, but for now the Core seems like the most compelling addition to the Pebble family.
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Cherlynn is Deputy Editor, Reviews at Engadget and also leads the site's Google reporting. She graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University before joining Tom's Guide and its sister site LaptopMag as a staff writer, where she covered wearables, cameras, laptops, computers and smartphones, among many other subjects.