The Pebble Smart Watch was a pursuit of mine for quite some time. After a month with the Pebble, does it meet expectations?
The logic behind the watch is pretty flawless. It connects to your smart phone via Bluetooth and retrieves information such as weather, emails and other notifications. Pebble innovatively utilizes e-ink, a kind of digital paper which is very light on battery use, allowing the Pebble to last 3-5 days on a single charge. I’ve also noticed very little battery drain on my HTC One, even though my Bluetooth is running constantly. Good start Pebble, as they were my two greatest concerns.
So you can download thousands of watch faces, ranging from traditional to ultra modern. I’m currently using a GTA style one (seen above), but at the press of a button on my watch and it’s a stylish minimalist time piece or a traditional analog ticker.
The peak in innovation comes with the Pebble app store.
Here you can download a plethora of apps, of which you can have 8 installed on the wristpiece at any given time. The best of these apps so far are Nav Me, Music Boss and Canvas. Nav Me offers step by step navigation through Google maps, allows you to work your way through unknown territory without taking your phone out of your pocket. Music Boss allows full control of your phones music player – great when combined with my Bluetooth headphones. Canvas is the bread and butter of the Pebble, allowing you to create your own watch face, customizing the information shown on your wrist.
Canvas also makes evident the fundamental flaw inherent with the Pebble in a broader context. It is quite complicated for the everyday smart phone user. I remember reading a comment on the Pebble message boards stating “I want to love my Pebble watch so much, but you are making it so hard”. Boy does that resonate with me.
The watch frequently disconnects from my phone, often requiring me to remove it from my paired list and re-pairing it. Updates are regular, but often bring as many problems as they fix. I just cannot imagine the average smart phone user taking to the watch in the same manner as they may take to the main stream, restrictive but much simpler Samsung Gear. While the Samsung Gear is to smart watches what the iPhone is to the mobile industry, the Pebble is to smart watches, what Android is to the mobile phone world, the more complicated but more functional product, which requires the user to venture into unknown and slightly technical territory.
All in all, I can look past the failings of what was born from the the biggest Kickstarter campaign of all time. For me, the good outweighs the bad, but I fear I’m in the minority.
So approach with caution and be willing to learn. Once you don’t expect every day with your Pebble to be a movie made perfect romance, then it may be the watch for you. Finally do be cautious if ordering from the US. The watch is available here, but you will pay customs on top!