The Pebble Smartwatch, the jack of all trades!
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Today we’re going to review the Pebble Smart Watch. Yes, we know that this device is close to being two years old now, and yes, we know the Apple Watch is out and yes, we know that there is a new Pebble coming but since all our reviews are based on actual usage and the scoring system is based on comparing products to each other, we needed a baseline for our smart watch comparisons which this Pebble Smart Watch is going to provide.
The Pebble Smart Watch is a very simple smart watch. The stock functionality of the Pebble is quite limited but its biggest strength lies in the 3rd party apps for the watch. In the long run, this $100 dollar device is a great addition to your smartphone and other wearable devices.
Based on our time with the Pebble, we gave it a score of 3.2 Eh’s out of 5. In our opinion, the Pebble Watch doesn’t fare as well as some of the newer smart watches but again, this isn’t new tech. If you want to see all the other smart watches that we’ve reviewed, check out the comparison tool.
Compare With other
(out of 5)
|Top Buy Buttons|
- Easy to use
- Cheap (when compared to other smart watches)
- Lots of 3rd Party Apps
- Not that "smart" (no heart rate sensor, GPS)
- Looks a little bulky
|Potential Problems||Potential Problems:|
- Scratches fairly easily
- Doesn't show excessive wear/tear
- Strap is noticeable (especially when using a laptop)
- Looks bulky and awkward
|Battery Life||Battery Life (5/5):|
- 7 day batter
- Charges using a custom cable type
- Attaches magnetically but comes off easily
- Water resistant to 50m
- Not terribly scratch resistant (coins will scratch the face)
- Mobile device sync only
- LOTS of 3rd party apps to enhance the Pebble
- Not touch enabled
- Buttons are responsive
- Viewable in direct sunlight
- Backlight easily activated by flicking wrist
|Information Display||UI (5/5):|
- Decent # of possible notifications
- UI is responsive
- Lots of customization possible
- No GPS
- No Heart rate sensor
|Bottom Buy Buttons|
Design – Looks a little….blocky
In terms of design, the Pebble Smart Watch didn’t show any issues in terms of excessive wear/tear. The watch isn’t terrible comfortable to wear as we found the band to be quite noticeable when working on a laptop and the strap holder had a tendency to move resulting in your watch growing a pseudo tail every couple of hours.
We’rem not terribly thrilled about the look of the Pebble Smart Watch but what it looks like will definitely vary from person to person. To us, it literally looks like somebody glued a screen to our wrists though there are a couple of color options which adds a bit of character to the Pebble. While making this review, we kept thinking that Pebble forgot to hire an actually designer and let the engineers run with what they thought looked good.
Durability – 7 day battery is awesome
In terms of durability, the Pebble Smart watch has a 7 day battery which is nice, especially when compared to some of the newer smart watches. Charging the watch is done through a unique cable that attaches magnetically. However, it’s quite easy to detach the cable so you need to be careful when charging the unit. Lie it down flat on its back!
In terms of protection, the front of the Pebble isn’t terribly scratch resistant. For this Pebble Classic Review, we took coins and keys and discovered that light pressure will do a number on the screen. With that being said, if your watch doesn’t spend a lot of time in your pocket, its something that you shouldn’t worry about. In terms of water, the Pebble smart watch is water resistant up to 50m.
Functionality – The best part of the Pebble are the 3rd Party Apps
In terms of Functionality, this is where the Pebble shines especially with its integration with 3rd Party Apps. In our opinion, the Pebble is a great 2nd screen for your smartphone as it allows you to quickly consume tiny bits of important information without having to actually use your device.
A good example that elaborates on the 2nd screen comment is the Jawbone app which allows you to quickly check out your fitness stats from your Jawbone Up. Instead of pulling out your smartphone (Android only) and launching your app, you can easily see that being a reviewer results in a small amount of steps taking.
There are a plethora of apps for you to install on your Pebble and this is one of the biggest strengths of this smart watch as this eco-system that Pebble ensures that despite being a “dumber” smart watch, people are still going to get lots of use out of it.
You’re not going to be consuming a lot of information through the Pebble and anything larger than a small text is going to be annoying to read but we did find that we didn’t have take our devices out as much which is great.
In terms of syncing your Pebble, the most common method is via your smartphone. There isn’t a desktop application or a web-application but this shouldn’t be an issue for most people. The Pebble isn’t touch enabled and navigation is handled through the buttons on the side of the watch. The watch face is pretty clear to read in sunlight and is backlight which can be activated by shaking your hand slightly.
In terms of the UI, you can easily customize what you see with 3rd party apps. For some odd reason, Aaron likes to know what the temperature is outside so all he had to do was to download an app that showed both. The notifications generally work well and are dependant on the notifications settings of apps so you get more than just receiving notifications for your texts and calls..
In terms of sensors, there is an accelerometer that provides distance and bearing for apps but there isn’t GPS which may be a bummer for runners who want to see where they’ve gone. With that being said, there are many apps that utilize the GPS on your device and uses the Pebble as a 2nd screen for directions/maps. The moment your Pebble gets out of range of your tethered device, you lose the maps/directions.
For this Pebble Classic Review, we noticed that there are no heart-rate sensors on the Pebble so you’re not going to get an overly encompassing fitness outlook unlike some of the newer smart watches out there.
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