Pebble Review

Pebble Time

So, I’ve had my Pebble for a few months now, and worn it (almost) every day. Up until I got it, I’ve had several watched in the past, none of which I’ve worn so consistently. I’ve always had a pretty good smartphone in my pocket that has been able to tell the time, so why would I ever have wanted to wear a watch? That has all change (mostly, I still have a pretty good smartphone in my pocket that still tells the time…). 1 year on, they are still on pre order, demand has continued to be so high for them, but you can do so here

TL:DR The Pebble is a Kickstared smartwatch that connects your phone’s notifications to your wrist so you can quickly and easily see what is happening. The SDK makes it possible to make apps and almost control your phone from your wrist.

But first, some background. Around 15 months ago, (April 2012) I made my first pledge on the often visited but never pledged site Kickstarter. The device that made me take the plunge; The Pebble. At $125 it was a big gamble. It was a smartwatch. These devices had not been successful (or good) but they seemed like a good idea. Could the little guy beat the giant at making a useful smartwatch? The project still hadn’t reached world wide fame, and I’d never used Kickstarted before. What if these guys took my money and ran? I was fairly confident they wouldn’t, and the seemed like really decent guys. They had already made one smartwatch for Blackberry’s several years earlier, so it seemed like they knew what they were doing. Angel investors turned them down, so they turned to Kickstarted to tell the world about their great idea, and hope that people would share their vision of a smartwatch. Over $10 million later, the world seemed to agree. I was hooked, and started the countdown to shipping day! After various delays (they took wayyy more orders than they were expecting and had to re-evaluate their manufacturing procedures. Around 1 year later mine finally arrived, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Pebble box

First impressions were good. The watch looks really nice, it fits really well and seemed really well made. A quick install of the app on my phone and before I knew it they were both synced and I had my texts, emails and calls appearing on my watch! Less time spent taking my phone out my pocket to read an email or text that didnt need replied to. I can change the music playing on my phone with the press of a button and change the watch face that was displayed. It took less than a week for me to go from never wearing a watch to feeling lost without having a watch. Not just for the ‘smart features’ of it, but for the convenience of having a watch. One that looks good and does ‘more than a watch’ is a huge added bonus. The SDK has now been released for it, so we are now starting to see people make apps that allow 2 way communication between your watch and your phone. People can now send texts from their watch (writing a full text isnt going to be practical, but sending a preset quick reply will be handy). So it doesnt matter is you have an ugly plastic Samsung phone, you can keep it hidden in your pocket. Answering and rejecting calls from your wrist will save time. Seeing your running or cycling progress without having to buy an expensive device that only tracks running seems a waste when your phone and watch make a great team. It even has some feature that I didn’t know about, but are really really handy… It takes 2 hands to turn the backlight on on your watch. One to have your watch on it, and one to press the button. The Pebble allows you to ‘shake to light’ the backlight. A quick shake of your wrist and you can see the time. It is a really nice feature. I would now feel lost without a watch, let alone one that does so much more. This piece of wearable technology is really really handy.

Of course there are some downsides. Having your watch vibrate or flash during meetings can be rude. You are naturally drawn to look at it when it goes off. I’m not sure which is worse, checking the time or reading an email during a meeting. This does both 😉 Some people may also deem the ‘short’ battery life an issue. I get ~10 days out of 1 charge. I’m so used to charging a array of devices every day, sticking my watch on charge overnight once a week or so isn’t the end of the world. I got used to it in about 10 days after I charged it once.

If you’re in the market for a new watch and have a smartphone I’d really recommend getting one. They look good, perform well and will only get better with time! Your old Casio won’t.