Product Reviews

4 Alternatives To The Pebble Watch

Guy McDowell 08-08-2013

I love watches! I love technology! When these two things come together, I pay attention. Do you? I owned a SPOT watch. Did you? Casio Databank? Had one in the 80s. Some say smartwatches are the best thing since Prince George. Others say they’ll be a blip on the radar screen like so many TV shows once Ted McGinley was on them. If the early success of such watches as the Pebble smartwatch is any predictor, I’m saying that they’ll be a big hit. The Pebble E-Paper Watch Pebble Smartwatch Review & Giveaway Smartwatches are the new hottest trend in today's tech world, and the Pebble e-ink watch helped start the fire. The most successful Kickstarter project to date, the Pebble raised over $10 million during its 1-month... Read More (which we’ve just reviewed and will be giving away) has a lot of interesting functions, is highly customizable, and raised over $1 million within 28 hours of being put on Kickstarter. Maybe the Pebble isn’t exactly what you want though. Maybe you’d like a different look or functionality. Money talks, and these other smartwatch innovators are ready to listen. Some of these are concepts and some are already on the market! Which one do you want? Maybe all of them?


Ventura SPARC Sigma MGS – $4,850


More visually stunning than necessarily “smart”, the Ventura SPARC Sigma MGS is a revolutionary smartwatch because of its form and function. If legendary Swiss watch companies like Rolex made digital watches, they’d aspire to the SPARC Sigma MGS. The top piece you see that looks a bit like a window looking down on a DVD tray is actually the power source for the watch. Self-winding watches aren’t really that new, however using a movement-driven micro-generator system (MGS) to make electricity is very innovative.

When fully charged, it can power the watch for up to 40 days. That’s smart. If they choose to delve more into digital technology, they might even come up with a full-feature smartwatch that doesn’t need a charging cable. The watch has a proprietary operating system dubbed EasySkroll v.2.0. The knurled knob inset into the face of the watch is the scrolling mechanism to allow you to change functions through its two time zones, alarm, chronograph, countdown & 100 Years Perpetual Calendar. I think this method of control may be better than such a small touch screen for relatively large fingers.

Take a look at the video to see more about Ventura’s design philosophy and impressive technology. It’s about 4 minutes long and definitely will appeal to the design and tech geek.

Martian Passport – $299



This smartwatch is tailor-made for the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the CEO of Your Family. By blending an analog watch dial with voice-command and a digital display, this watch puts style and function within reach of anyone. If you have a smartphone with Bluetooth capability, this might be the perfect companion time-piece. The watch is made to be compatible with Android and iOS SMS apps such as WhatsApp and LINE. Not only will it scroll the message and sender info across the display, you can set it up to read the messages out loud to you.

It is also compatible with Windows 8 64-bit, Windows 7 64-bit and 32-bit Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 64-bit, so you should be able to issue voice commands to programs on those operating systems that accept voice commands and Bluetooth communications. You really need to see the video to get the full grasp of what this watch is capable of doing for you.

Sony Smartwatch 2 – about $130


It’s no real shock that Sony would be entering the smartwatch race. They are legendary for miniaturizing other technologies like the cassette player, CD players, and even their Betamax version of videotape was a much smaller format than VHS. The latest news on their Smartwatch 2 is that it will function much like the Martian, where it is tethered via Bluetooth to your smartphone. However it will also support NFC What Is NFC & Should You Buy a Phone That Has It? [MakeUseOf Explains] If you’re in the market for a new phone in 2013, you’re probably going to hear about something called NFC, and how it’s apparently changing the world. Don’t be fooled by the sales talk though.... Read More functionality. This sets the watch up for many different capabilities such as working as a proximity key, or even a debit card.


At this point in time, it will only work with an Android-based phone. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since focusing on one format can give your product much greater depth. You can see this by the sheer volume of Smartwatch compatible apps they have on Google Play. The biggest selling feature for me is that it is the first smartwatch with a water resistant rating of IP57. It can take short dunks in shallow water. The Smartwatch 2 isn’t available until early September.

cookoo – $130 [Broken Link Removed]


Focusing on the Apple crowd, cookoo is compatible with the iPhone 5 and 4S, iPad mini, iPad (4th & 3rd gen), iPod touch (5th gen) and communicates by Bluetooth like most of the watches mentioned here. What may set this particular watch apart is that it has an analog face with LEDs that notifies of things happening on Facebook, SMS, Twitter and your phone. That should translate into a smartwatch that has a longer battery run-time. The phone also has its own e-mail address so you can set a up a filter to only have the most important emails trigger your watch alert. You can still control certain functions of your tethered iPhone such as the camera and music player, so it isn’t just a notification system. It is also water-resistant to 5 atmospheres deep. For the outdoorsy Apple crowd, I can see this being worthwhile. Take a look at the video, I’m sure you’ll see many situations where you could use this watch.


The Takeaway

The much lauded Pebble watch is a beautiful thing indeed, yet there are other great options available now or in the near-future. If these alternatives to the Pebble don’t agree with you, you might want to shop through Matt Smith’s reveal of 5 Alternatives To The Apple iWatch That Are Already Available 5 Alternatives to the Apple iWatch That Are Already Available Rumors that Apple is developing a smartwatch have caused a wave of new interest in this relatively small and obscure market. What is a smartwatch? Do they already exist? What can they do? These are... Read More

Smartwatches are here and people are buying them even before they’re being made. They are going to be around a while for certain. If you are in the market for one, there are two things you should think about. First, determine what you will require from the watch then find out if that’s available. Second, you may want to think about which watch maker will be around in 3 years or less. Are they backing a technology that will fade, grow, or simply get them locked out? That’d be my concern with an Apple-dependent smartwatch. If I had to pick just one of these watches, well, I couldn’t do it. Sony has a good legacy, but I’m just crazy about that Ventura micro-generator system. The Pebble’s e-ink screen is definitely the display I’d want as well, for battery life and readability. Maybe those three things will come together in the near future. Maybe Apple is holding back on releasing an iWatch to see what features sell best in these watches?

Do you already have a smartwatch? Which one did you go for? Which one might you go for? What features would make you really want to get a smart-watch? I’m curious and thousands of other readers are too! Talk with us in the comments, right down there.

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  1. Michael taylor
    August 22, 2013 at 5:14 am

    I am really impressed with The HOT Smart watch; it is compatible with Siri! They also modified the design based upon consumer preference on Kickstarter. This company is the real deal! Check out the watch at

  2. Michael taylor
    August 20, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    The HOT Smart Watch is such a useful accessory. I'm quite impressed with the product; The hand gesture for private calls is one of a kind for smart watches! The Kickstarter raised more than twice their goal! check it out at

  3. Eric
    August 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    What about the HOT smartwatch from kickstarter? It's the most attractive smart watch I have seen with it's private phone call feature. The wrist band projects sound into the palm of your hand.

    • Guy M
      August 20, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      It wasn't on Kickstarter when I wrote the article. It looks interesting enough, however I get wearied by talk of cell-phone radiation damage. If they really do cause brain tumors, then they're still doing damage when they're in your pocket - to your safe zone.

      The talking into the hand thing could get confusing at Presidential rallies as well. But it looks nice!

  4. lovetechie
    August 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Still waiting for pebble?... How about this?... Check out the smartwatch with mic and speaker @

  5. David Merkel
    August 11, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    I think should check out for the only true wearable smartwatch. All the others are nothing more than tethers for their smartphones. It should be shipping in the New Year. If you need names for contacts...please do not hesitate to send me mail. BTW - they are located in Durham, UK.

    • Guy M
      August 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Checked it out. Maybe it's the right product for some, but not for me. It's quite large. Almost like a phone with a wrist-strap.

  6. Bassey
    August 9, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I've had the Sony Smart Watch for 13 months now. It is very good. I bought it for a specific function - for sport. I go out running with my Android phone, running Endomondo, in a pocket on my bottle belt. To check on my progress I need to reach around, unzip the pocket, take the phone out, unlock it etc. Same goes when I get a call or text. I was always at risk of dropping the phone plus, when it was raining, my precious phone got wet. So, the smartwatch got around all of that. I have found it to be more generally useful too - but not so much so that it has replaced my day to day watch. My normal watch stays on 24 hours a day. With the smartwatch, I would need to take it off at night twice a week to recharge it which I would never remember to do.

    I've actually just got a Garmin GPS watch for my sport now, though, and the wife is bugging me for the smartwatch. She runs a pub so can't just respond to every call, email, text or calendar reminder as she might be dealing with customers. It would be handy for her to leave her phone behind the bar and rely on the buzzes and alerts from the watch to know when there is something that she really needs to deal with.

    • Guy M
      August 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      I think you've nailed the point of a smart-watch beautifully. An easy way to check the phone, without checking the phone.

      Good idea about using it at work as well. Many service and retail businesses have a no-phones-on-the-floor policy, so these smart-watches might help reach a happy medium. Especially for parents or those in a situation where they may need to respond to a legitimate emergency call.

  7. Mark M
    August 9, 2013 at 2:30 am

    1st off, i'm not big into the "big-face" watches, which all these seem to be and I also go for the sleeker built in my watches as opposed to bulky but I must admit they seem to be so very cool. If I were to get one right now i'd go for the Passport or one of the Sony watches, I like the look of those. Don't know how much I need one though (except maybe to let alert me that I've forgotten my cell phone) cause basically everything they've shown the watch doing I do now with my cell...for me i'd wait awhile before I look into getting one of these "new-fangled" gadgets...

    • Guy M
      August 9, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      I'm usually a wait-for-version-2.0 kind of guy too. But the possibilities are exciting!

  8. Amar
    August 9, 2013 at 12:52 am
    • curts
      August 9, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      Brilliant! Thanks for sharing that link. I will think very seriously about supporting this one.

    • Guy M
      August 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      I had a good reason why I didn't include it. I just can't remember what that reason was now. Looking back, yes, it should be on the list.

      Check out the Kreyos everyone! Still a concept but should end up retailing for about $170 USD. If it meets it's design goals, it will compare more than favourably with any of the smart-watches on the market, or near-market.

      • Amar
        August 9, 2013 at 6:36 pm

        No worries. I have ordered my Kreyos. (still no news from Apple)