I’m going to try something a little different today. That’s right, a tech review! As a gamer, I do enjoy many different gadgets as well (don’t worry there’s a tie-in to gaming for this anyhow)
I got a Pebble Smart Watch last Christmas and I have been using it long enough to the point where I feel comfortable giving it a full honest review.
Let me start by saying that I tend to buy watches that last. My last two have been Casio Waveceptor watches, that are powered by a solar-receptor face and receive daily time corrections by satellite. These are great watches and they still work great to this day. But I’ve been wearing my Pebble every day since receiving it (unless I am going to go do yard work or something, then I will wear my elder of the two Casios that I have)
For those who don’t yet know, the Pebble Smart Watch is, well, a Smart Watch. In the same respect that one has a Smart Phone. It is Bluetooth connected to your android or iOS device and is capable of sending notifications that are displayed on it’s ePaper (think first-gen Kindle) screen. The screen allows it to be highly power efficient. I have never had the watch die on me, but I am told that it lasts a week, sometimes more, on a charge. And the charger is magnetic–no plugs, so it can remain water resistant. Very cool.
Every time I get a text, email, phonecall, or notification (that I tell the platform I want to see on my phone, e.g. facebook or twitter updates) the message will appear on my watch screen and it will vibrate briefly to let me know something appeared. I can use the buttons on the device to scroll up and down or dismiss it entirely. This is especially useful when driving, I can ostensibly glance at my wrist to see if something is potentially important rather than digging my phone out and devoting my attention to it which is much more dangerous. If it is a phonecall and I don’t want to deal with it right now, I can dismiss the call to voicemail straight from my watch.
I was a little disappointed that they released a model with a metal band after the holidays, I would have much rather had one like that than a resin band, but it isn’t so bad, really. At $150 for the base model ($250 for the “steel”) though it really isn’t a big detraction. When people ask about mine I find myself telling them pretty often that most people, myself included, have spent more on watches that do a whole lot less than this. It is pretty unobtrusive too, I don’t feel like I have a small TV on my wrist, it’s very compact.
There are more features I’d like to see and I can understand that this technology is still largely in its infancy, but on the whole, this is a really great product and I recommend it highly.
Oh, and the watchfaces. The glorious customizable watchfaces. The watch can store 8 “apps” which range from a screen that will tell you the time, date, and weather conditions all at once, or one that will roll RPG dice for you (see? I told you I would get back around to gaming on this!)
- $150.00 Price Point for the base model
- Highly efficient ePaper screen, long battery life
- Magnetic charger
- Water Resistant
- Great variety of watchfaces and apps, tons of nerd-candy to be found– including games!
- Awesome solution for “screening” communications that come to you- at a glance
- Vibration-based notification function is always noticeable no matter what you are doing
- Intuitive interface, good integration with phone (Android is my platform, I’m sure it’s similar with iOS)
- Too dark to see? It’s backlit, just shake to make it glow.
- Bluetooth tethering is highly reliable, best experience I have ever had using the protocol
- Vibration unit only. No speaker in the watch. (This is my number 1, biggest disappointment with this product)
- Not a touch-screen (not incredibly necessary, to be honest)
- Most communication is only one-way to the Watch, very little watch-to-phone functionality
- The Pebble Steel may be a little overpriced at $250. a $50 markup for the metal band seems more appropriate; but I haven’t handled one myself to say for sure if it is worth it.
MAYBE WITH THE NEXT MODEL?:
- Give me a speaker so my watch can make this sound when I get a message (in addition to viberation)
- Solar screen or kinetic charging would be nice
- Headphone jack to play music over bluetooth? (might cause waterproofing issues, so I can understand either way)
- If color ePaper screens ever get fully developed, this is a perfect candidate. (In contrast to the Galaxy Gear, which to my knowledge is a color LCD screen and has poor battery life)
SHOULD I BUY IT?:
If you have a smartphone, wear a watch every day, and tend to buy things that you want to last…then yeah, this is a pretty solid bet. If you tend to buy your watches off the bargain rack because you are paranoid about losing or damaging them, then maybe stay away because $150 is certainly a non-trivial expense. I buy my sunglasses at the dollar store because I have a 3-year-old at home…so I get it. But I stopped getting cheap watches about ten years ago and this is my third one since then, so this is a really good investment in my opinion. Awesome especially if your job requires a lot of communication via email or phonecalls. Makes things worlds easier to just look at your wrist; it’s a bigger benefit than it might sound like.