Thursday, April 25, 2013
Pebble Smart Watch Review
When I backed the Pebble project about a year ago on Kickstarter, I never expected the watch to take this long to finalize and ship to the backers. Nonetheless, I waited patiently for it to arrive to my doorstep and finally, my prayers were answered a few weeks ago. Having used it for about 3 weeks now, here is my review of this new and innovative product.
To be honest, to the average person the features are pretty limited for now. You can receive texts, emails and phone calls to your watch and control your phone's music if you feel like it. Now those features (although limited) are pretty impressive. Being a physical education teacher, I move a lot with the kids and don't wait to carry my phone with me all day, so now I can leave it in my office and if someone sends me a message, a small vibration on my wrist will alert me and I can go on teaching.
Our school gym also has a Bluetooth enabled boombox that is also linked to my phone so while teaching I can control the music from anywhere in the gym. Those two features where enough for me to want the pebble and I am glad I got it.
Now being the geek that I am, my phone is also jailbroken which allows me to receive other notifications to my watch (facebook, twitter, etc.) Also, as of last week, a primary watch face sdk was released which allows third parties to also create watch faces for pebble.
Pebble promises many upgrades to come such as high efficiency Bluetooth, runkeeper integration and an all out App sdk but we do not have a precise time frame for those features.
Pebble has managed to make somewhat of a stylish watch. The watch band can be replaced by practically any other one that might fit your style. The all plastic and rubber combo does however make it look and feel a little cheap. The watch does not feel particularly sturdy, all four buttons feel a bit flimsy and wiggle a bit if not pressed fully. Its screen has been reported as being very scratchable but mine is still intact (note that I have applied a skinomi screen protector on mine).
The watch works great... most of the time. Now I don`t know if the following is typical to all watches but here are some problems I've had with mine. First off, the charger cable. It is a usb cable that magnetically attaches to the watch to charge it. The problem is that it is very sensitive to movement and I always have to jiggle it for at least ten seconds for the watch to register it's attachment it start charging, As far as longevity of the charge, it varies. The official website states that it should last a week but I've gotten a low battery indicator after using it moderately for less than 2 days.
The watch faces are easy to install. Simply find the one you want on a website and tap on it. Then, chose open with the pebble app and voila! You now have a new watch face. Sadly, many are very buggy and cause my watch to crash and restart multiple times. Some also drain the battery extremely fast.
It's the best of its kind but mostly because it's the only of its kind. Pebble is paving the way for other companies to improve on the concept. In other words my pebble is pretty much a placeholder for my iWatch. I love my pebble but it is lacking in many departments. I wish it was sturdier and more stable, but primarily, I wish it had more features. The pebble is a great product that has yet to reach its full potential and I doubt it will in time to compete with the multitude of watches that are about to flood the market.