The Pebble Watch is a great product that should please most early adopters. It is impressive for a Kickstarter project to come to market with a simple and useful product that works as promised, but the Pebble is lacking some features needed for mass-market appeal. I was able to get the Pebble out of the box and connected to my phone within 5 minutes and was giddy as my next text message appeared on my wrist. After using the Pebble daily for the past few months, I have come up with a list of pros and cons of the device.
– Easy to connect to the phone- Just turn on the Pebble with one button, make sure Bluetooth is activated on your phone, and voila.
– Quick, simple, and useful controls– After spending a few minutes with the Pebble, you will be able to switch tracks in one second with your eyes closed.
– Crisp display that is easy to see– The 144×168 pixel black and white e-paper display is easy to see during the day, and at night you can activate the backlight by pressing a button on the watch, or shaking your wrist since it can use the built-in accelerometer.
– Large buttons– There are 4 buttons on the watch, and they are all very easy to press and have a good feel to them. After using this watch daily for a few months, the buttons have not become harder to press.
– Battery Life– The watch will typically last a week or so before needed a quick and easy recharge.
– Lack of options– The watch does make it simple to see notifications and control music, but there are many more possibilities with this technology. The Pebble developer community is working to build more applications for the Pebble, which will help fill this void. Pebble applications will be available through the Pebble Appstore launching in early 2014.
– Few good-looking watch faces– One of the reasons I was so excited for the Pebble was the number of watch faces that would be available. Although there are hundreds to choose from, there are only a few that look nice.
– Connectivity problems- It is generally pretty easy to get the Pebble to connect to the phone, but occasionally the connection will be lost and you need to open up the Pebble app on the iPhone and reconnect to get it to work again. It doesn’t happen too often, and it is easy to fix, but it is a nuisance.
– Style- The watch does not look that great on the wrist, it is just a functional screen with buttons. The stock band is also pretty cheap and simple, I would suggest replacing it with a better band.
– Impact on phone battery- Since the Pebble Watch is a Bluetooth device, you need to have Bluetooth activate on your phone. This will kill an extra 5-10% of your phone’s battery each full day of use.
Having the ability to use the Pebble to quickly pause and skip songs on my phone is much more beneficial than I had imagined. Since the display will also tell you which song is playing, it is a great tool to quickly find that perfect song you are looking for. The watch will also display info from supported apps. For example, I will use the RunKeeper app to track my runs, so I can quickly glance down to see how far I have gone and my current pace instead of taking my phone out. Even better, if a text or call comes in, I do not have to take out my phone to see who it is. All of these features make the Pebble worth the price, but it is not quite a must-have product.
The Pebble team still needs to sort out some connectivity issues and work on a design that can leverage some new technologies that have been coming to market in recent months. Although I have been impressed by the success of the Pebble, I am inclined to bet on the bigger companies being able to offer a better package by the end of 2014. Samsung recently released the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, which was met with mixed reviews, and only worked with one phone when released. Other majors companies are rumored to be developing competing devices, and smartwatches will only become more popular as the technology improves and developers have more time to build useful apps for these devices.
If you want a device that will allow you to check notifications from your phone without taking it out of your pocket, you will enjoy the Pebble Watch. If you are looking for something stylish with tons of functions, I would suggest passing on this model. Keep an eye out for new smartwatches though since this market is only going to grow in the coming years.
[box type=”shadow” ]About the Author – Michael Himelstein — A tech junkie and PS4 gamer, Michael is an MBA candidate at the University of Denver with experience working in online marketing and electronics components distribution.[/box]
The Pebble is a useful product that is lacking some key features.