So I got my hands on a pebble smart watch (black).
My initial reaction was to the feeling of the wrist band (made of TPU rubber). Its a 22mm wide band and has pogo pins so easy enough to replace them with better straps, I’m not much of a fan of rubber straps on watches (I don’t like sweaty wrists).
Contrary to popular belief it uses a monochrome(1 bit) LCD display and not an e-ink display it uses a lot less power than a color LCD but more than an e-ink. It’s crisp and has a back light that’s just bright enough not to blind you in the middle of the night. One thing to note is that in certain lighting condition rainbow patterns will appear on the lcd but on a positive note it has a very wide viewing angle. I can read the display at a 10 degree viewing angle.
I find Its sleek looking built entirely of polycarbonate the front is scratch/ shatter resistant although a bit bulky on ones wrist. The buttons on the pebble are a bit tough to push down( likely do to them being sealed against water entry)
The second thing I took note of when i opened the package was the bizarre connectors on the left side, after about two seconds of thinking the make perfect sense; the fact that they want the device water tight (to 5 ATM), you cant do that with a standard USB plug and socket design. Unfortunately it only supplies power to the watch to charge the battery, so all the data stuff has to be done via Bluetooth. It’s done most likely do to the size (they wouldn’t want any unnecessary components). In any case the charging cable fits well, and is held in place by two (probably neodymium) magnets. Although it falls off rather easily and will go and stick to something else made of ferrous metal. I was worried it may be causing a dead short fortunately the designers thought of this and molded a small ridge structure that is taller than either pin so it wont short (also probably to keep the proper orientation).
It is reported to last 7 days on 2 hours of charging I haven’t tested this as I haven’t had it long enough as of writing this but its been running 3 days straight as of now)
It runs off of Bluetooth version 4 so yay for power saving and I can connect with my phone on the opposite side of the apartment just fine (~15 m).
The vibration is strong enough to get your attention
but I doubt it will wake me up (upon testing the alarm will bring me out of deep sleep). That brings up another point its silent no speaker peizo or other wise to be seen granted its not a positive or negative note just something to point out
Works in the shower and submerged I was using it as a remote for listening to music and yes I like listening to metal in the shower deal with it.
its been reported to work to 80 + feet I don’t go SCUBA diving so I cant confirm.
The android app:
OK…. not a strong point but not bad either its fairly easy to navigate but I have some issues with it.
I had some issues with connecting to the pebble
and when ever you restart the app you need to re-setup your watch on the app
and I would often have it stuck “connecting” but once I stopped messing with the connections and finally got a good connection to the watch it went quite well.
It contains only a very limited number of “watch-apps” only being different displays (or watch faces if you will ) and to get more you need to hunt through the play store (or one of the apps that hotlinks to other play store apps) some i understand like needing access to network or GPS but many of them just push notifications and it would be nice if the official app gives a better selection so you don’t fill up your installed apps page with a bunch just for pebble infrastructure.
I cant seem to find a bloody stopwatch /timer app for it I would assume it would be standard install (given that I had cheap digital watches with that function 16 years ago. Upon further investigation I found a site (mypebblefaces.com) that has user crated apps and faces many of the timers are meh and I cant find a simple stop watch but plenty of nice watch faces.
The watch UI:
What I like:
Quite clean and intuitive to navigate and can select various faces from the get go, but can get a little more complex with the addition of various apps. I like the use of the accelerometer you can tap or shake the watch to make it light up.
What I don’t:
1. There is to auto wrap on the menus so yeah scroll to the bottom then 2 seconds later need to scroll all the way back to the top, it auto scroll’s very quickly but still not as good as an auto wrap
2. The music app needs some work I would like to be able to adjust the volume like holding the next/last song button or double taping
3. The back-light is about 2 seconds too short for my liking and would like to configure it other than on/off/auto
4. Text that’s too long is just truncated with … and I would rather have it scroll into view (or at least give the option)
My wishlist for the pebble (in order of importance):
1 Auto wrapping menus
2 Built in stop watch/ countdown timer
2 The music app
3 Options for the wrist strap
4 Adjustable length of back-light
5 More space for apps (this may just be a hardware limitation barring that have something built in to the phone app for easy swapping of watch-apps)
6 Scrolling text of things that don’t fit on one line
7 Pushing alarms to the pebble.
8 a battery level indicator that always shows you the current level (at least 5 segments)
What I’m running (I’ll probably do a review on a couple of these):
1 Music Boss (not a watch app)
2 Canvas for Pebble
3 Pebble Bike
4 Pebble Dialer
7 Ring my Phone
9 Just A Bit ( I like reading BCD)
Over all I would give it a 7/10
It looses points mostly for the android app and some missing / “could be better” functionality that may be addressed with future firmware updates. Its useful but not a necessity if you don’t own a watch and want a good quality one grab a pebble its only $150