Review: Pebble Time — cool for the summer

Pebble Time (image via Pebble/http://smartwatch-im-praxistest.de)

Pebble Time (image via Pebble/smartwatch-im-praxistest.de)

If the tech industry has an underdog, it would be Pebble. Founded on some of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in the history of ever, Pebble is the guy you want to root for in the smartwatch field. Back in 2012 Pebble raised over $10 million in funding in just over a month on Kickstarter, and it soon became a giant in the smartwatch arena. But it’s now 2015, and Pebble’s far from the only game in town. Big names like Apple and Google/Android have already entered the ring and competition is fierce. So, enter Pebble Time, the company’s second-generation smartwatch. It trades the original Pebble’s black and white display and huge bezel and frame for a colour e-paper display and a slightly less humongous bezel and frame. There are some improvements under the hood as well. So, how does it stack up? Well, I hope you have time for another epically long review because I have a lot to say.

Display

The Pebble Time’s colour e-paper display isn’t that bad as long as you know what you’re getting. It certainly isn’t a high-end, high-resolution Retina display like what you’d find on the Apple Watch, but that isn’t as much of a drawback as you might think. The rather low-resolution e-paper display is part of the reason why the Pebble Time can manage to stay up and running for up to seven days — and that’s particularly impressive because the display is always on! Most other smartwatches put their display to sleep when they’re not being used, and they need to be charged every night or so or else they’ll crap out on you on day two. (There’s much more on the Pebble Time’s battery life below.)

The Pebble Time is also pretty readable in the sunlight without a backlight, which is something that I don’t think most of Pebble’s competitors can say. It seems to summon supernatural strength to use the sun to make itself more readable. Most other modern devices with traditional screens need to pump up the brightness when used in sunlight, which in turn hurts the battery life.

I found that the Pebble Time's backlight was acceptable for low-light situations

The Pebble Time’s backlight should be acceptable for most low-light situations

There is a backlight for those low-light situations, though. You can activate it by giving your wrist a vigorous shake. Some have complained that the backlight isn’t bright enough, but I found that it’s perfectly fine for those moments when you need to use your watch in the dark.

Because the Pebble Time uses an e-paper display, don’t expect to see any of the crazy graphics that you might see on an Apple Watch or Android Wear device. The watch’s graphics resemble what you’d see in the primitive days of computers and video games for the most part, and its graphics definitely maintain the charm of that era. That’s not to say you won’t see a few apps that go with a modern design, but they’re obviously constrained to the restrictions of the Pebble Time’s display.

Size/Look and Feel

While it's a perfect fit for me, most people have far larger wrists than mine

While it’s a perfect fit for me, most people have far larger wrists than mine

Unlike the Apple Watch, the Pebble Time comes in one size, and it’s on the small side. While it’s perfect for someone like me who is essentially a walking, talking skeleton with a blog who makes Nicole Ritchie look like Honey Boo Boo’s mom, I’d think there’s a chance the Pebble Time might look awkward on those with bigger wrists.

Since the device itself is rather small, the screen is pretty puny, too. Actually, it’s hard to imagine how the screen could get any smaller because it has a huge bezel (and another huge frame around the bezel). I’m not too sure if Pebble chose the small screen size to make it easier for the device to last a whole week or to keep the device slim, but I think a bigger screen (by narrowing the bezel and frame) would’ve been nice. It would also be great to see a larger model for those with bigger wrists, too.

The strap on the Pebble Time isn’t anything special. It’s pretty soft, but if I recall correctly, it got a bit uncomfortable with sweat or with water when I wore it; however, I wouldn’t say it was that bad.

The Pebble Time has a bit of a curve at the back. I didn't notice it much when I was wearing the watch (image via Pebble)

The Pebble Time has a bit of a curve at the back. I didn’t notice it much when I was wearing the watch (image via Pebble)

The Pebble Time curves a bit at the back, but it’s barely noticeable when you’re wearing it. I’m not sure if it actually does much to make the device more comfortable to wear, some online have said that it does, for what it’s worth. There’s also a spot to charge the device at the back. It’s not the greatest connector, but it works. “Pebble” is also engraved on the back, and near the bottom of the back of the watch you have some goop-de-goop text.

The Pebble Time Round, Pebble time Steel and PEbble Steel might make for more stylish options than the Pebble Time (screenshot via pebble.com)

The Pebble Time Round, Pebble Time Steel and Pebble Steel might make for more stylish options than the Pebble Time (screenshot via pebble.com)

If you haven’t picked up on it already by the photos, the Pebble Time looks a bit like a toy. I’d say the black one is passable for adults (just barely), though. If you’re looking for something that looks a bit more sophisticated than the Pebble Time and want to stay in the Pebble family, try the Pebble Steel, the Pebble Time Steel or the brand-new Pebble Time Round. (They’re crazy creative with their naming schemes, aren’t they?)

But I still think the look and feel is one area where the other watches (including the newer Pebble Time Steel and Pebble Time Round) have the Pebble Time beat. There are several great Android Wear models that pull off the classic watch look and give you the same and even better smartwatch functionality. While better looking than the Pebble Time, I’m not too sold on the Apple Watch as a fashion accessory, though. It’s an Apple product, and you can probably guess that it’s solidly built and that you definitely wouldn’t be able to call it ugly. It’s just when you put the Apple Watch up against particularly stylish traditional watches and even some Android Wear watches, it looks … different.

Input

With only four buttons and a mic, the Pebble Time is rather limited

With only four buttons and a mic, the Pebble Time is rather limited

When it comes to actually using your Pebble Time, you’ll find that it has four buttons and a microphone, and yes, together they’re all a bit of a bummer when it comes to navigating the device.

First of all, if you’re on iOS, forget about the mic because you can’t really use it. If you’re on Android, you can forget about the mic as well because there’s barely anything out there that uses it … yet.
Apparently you can use it to reply to text messages and make notes on Android phones, but that’s about it. This will likely change very soon, though, considering that Pebble just made it possible for their developers to take advantage of something called the Pebble Dictation API. It will make it possible for Pebble developers to include text-to-speech and other goodies in their apps.

So that leaves us with the four buttons. You have one on the top left side of the screen and three on the right side. The buttons aren’t labeled, but you’ll easily discover that the button on the left acts almost exclusively as a back button (holding onto it takes you out of the app you’re in immediately); the top button on the right typically functions as an up button; the middle button primarily acts as a select button; and the bottom button usually functions as a down button. Some apps go crazy and use the buttons differently, but even when that’s the case, it’s usually pretty obvious what each button will do.

Surprisingly, the Pebble Time is more intuitive to use than the Apple Watch, that’s particularly noteworthy because Apple has been known for making products that are easy to use and just work. With the Apple Watch, they’ve failed miserably in the ease-of-use department, in my humble opinion.

Just for comparison’s sake, the Apple Watch has a touch screen where a swipe up from the bottom brings up glances on the watchface, and a swipe down on the watchface brings down notifications. Pressing and holding on the screen brings up additional options. You can use the Digital Crown on the side to scroll through text or options or simply swipe up and down on the screen instead. You can’t pinch-to-zoom on the Apple Watch so you have to use the Digital Crown to zoom as well. So, that means sometimes you won’t know for sure if the Digital Crown will zoom into things or scroll. Pressing the Digital Crown will take you to the home screen or watchface. Holding on the Digital Crown brings up Siri. Double pressing the Digital Crown takes you to your last app. But there’s one more thing: There’s a button below the Digital Crown. You’d think that would be a select button or a home button, but it, illogically, is a button that brings up your contacts.

If the Apple Watch sounds like a bit of a nightmare to navigate, imagine trying to use it for the first time without knowing any of that. You’d probably give up on it within a minute, which is pretty much what I did when I encountered it at the Apple Store for the first time.

While the Apple Watch is overly complicated, I’d say I’d take that complication over the Pebble Time’s four buttons. It’s not because I’m a masochist — it’s actually quite the opposite. When wearing the Pebble Time, I found that pressing on the buttons usually yanked the hair on my wrist along with it. It was a bit painful and uncomfortable. I wouldn’t say that I’m a particularly hairy person at all, but here we are.
To make matters worse, the buttons on the Pebble Time can feel a bit stiff at times, and pressing them can hurt as well. That wouldn’t be a problem with the Apple Watch, that’s for sure.

Watchfaces
 
You can load a ton of unique watchfaces onto the Pebble Time (screenshot via Pebble Time)

You can load a ton of unique watchfaces onto the Pebble Time (screenshot via Pebble Time)

While we’re still on the Apple Watch, it’s worth noting that it has maybe a dozen or so watchfaces, and I think this is where the Pebble Time completely blows it out of the water. If you’re looking for a wacky watchface, a traditional one, one jam-packed with weather information or one that looks like an old school Mac, then you’re in luck. It’s all here and then some. Much like the apps, which we’ll get to later, finding watchfaces is a chore; however, you’ll find one you’ll like if you look long enough, that’s for sure.

There’s your traditional Mickey watchfaces. But gamers have a bunch of watchfaces to choose from, too. Like Doom? There’s a watchface for you. Miss your old Game Boy? There’s a Game Boy watchface as well. There are Pacman, Pokemon and Mario-inspired watchfaces, too.

“I wish I could have Nicki Minaj on my watch” — no one ever (screenshot via Pebble Time)

“I wish I could have Nicki Minaj on my watch” — no one ever (screenshot via Pebble Time)

If you’d like your watch to swear for no damn reason, there’s a watchface for that as well. Did I mention weather watchfaces? There are a ton of them. I found an ESPN watchface, three Bacon Pancakes watchfaces for Adventure Time fans and two MTV watchfaces. For some reason, I came across three Katy Perry watchfaces, too. Remember the cover art for Nicki Minaj’s single Anaconda? That’s a watchface now. Want to see the time next to Nicki Minaj licking a lollipop? That’s apparently a thing now as well. While you can OD on watchfaces featuring pop stars, video game characters or cartoon characters, there’s only one Obama watchface, oddly enough. I blame Trump.

It’s also worth noting that some of the watchfaces add more functions than just giving you the weather. I found one that lists local public radio stations.

Software

The timeline on the Pebble Time

The timeline on the Pebble Time

As the Pebble Time is a watch, you’ll typically have it on a watchface most of the time. But any old watch can tell you the time — where’s all the fun stuff? I’m glad you asked. To see what’s coming up ahead on your schedule, things like when the sun will set or the weather for tomorrow (if it isn’t on your watchface already), you simply have to press the bottom button on the right side of the watch. That will take you into the future part of what Pebble calls the timeline. It takes you a day or two into the future, until you hit a brick wall and you reach the end of whatever it wants to give you. When you’re on a watchface, pressing the top button on the right side will take you to the past so you can see events, scores and other tidbits.

Apple shamelessly knocked off Pebble’s timeline feature with something they call Time Travel for WatchOS 2. It’s essentially the same thing, but you move the Digital Crown forward and backward to scroll through events in the past or near future. It’s always weird to see Apple clone features in existing products, but then get all up in arms when they feel people “stole” from them.

It may be hard to tell, but this is actually Pebble Time’s app launcher

Anyway, pressing the centre button on the right side of the Pebble Time gives you your applications. You can use the top right button and the bottom right button to navigate through them. The apps appear as squares and you might be able to see the name of the next app, but that’s it. You have to scroll through your apps one by one until you get to the one you want. It can be very tedious if you have a lot of apps. You can rearrange the apps using your phone, and you can set a particular app to open from the watchface in the settings app. To open an app from the watchface, you need to press and hold the button that you have set your particular app to.

Notifications

Notifications work pretty much flawlessly until this happens. However, you can't do much with notifications if you're on iOS

Notifications work pretty much flawlessly until this happens. However, you can’t do much with notifications if you’re on iOS

One of the primary reasons anyone would get a smartwatch is to get notifications from your phone to your watch, and the Pebble Time delivers … kinda. While it has you covered for notifications no problem (unless your phone loses its Bluetooth connection to the Pebble), you can’t do much with the notifications if you’re on iOS. To make matters worse, I wasn’t even able to find a way to clear the notifications individually. So, without being able to do much with notifications on the Pebble Time, it is essentially a pager for the 21st century — a pager for something that’s almost always in your freakin’ pocket or bag. What a world! Thankfully, at least notifications come in almost instantly on the Pebble Time and stick around on your watch for a while before they take off.

While notifications aren’t actionable, you can choose to accept phone calls with your Pebble Time, but when you do, you have to rush to your phone because you can’t answer calls on your Pebble as you can with the Apple Watch. Notifications are one of the primary selling points for smartwatches, but Pebble Time fumbles the ball not because it doesn’t handle notifications well, but because you can’t do much with them, or that’s at least the case if you’re using the Pebble Time with an iPhone. Unfortunately, that’s not really Pebble’s fault; Apple tends to randomly lock down some of their devices for whatever reason.

Apps and Games

Because all Canadians should know the traffic conditions in Luxembourg (screenshot via Pebble Time)

Because all Canadians should know the traffic conditions in Luxembourg (screenshot via Pebble Time)

While the Pebble Time’s screen doesn’t bother me that much, the Pebble Time’s app selection does. While there are a ton of apps available on the platform, many of them aren’t particularly useful and several are quite obscure. (Want to see the traffic in Luxembourg on your wrist, anyone? How about the price for new and/or used NES games?)

There are several apps that you’d want to have on your Pebble Time, but they simply aren’t there. I couldn’t find official apps for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Flipboard, Wunderlist, MyFitnessPal, Gmail, Skype, BBC News, CBC News, Fox News, CNN, NBC News/MSNBC, Instagram, Gmail, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian or any banks or mobile phone companies that I know of when I looked for them.

If they are there, Pebble sure as hell doesn’t make it easy to find them. There isn’t a traditional top apps chart as you’d find on the App Store or Google Play for phone apps. You can easily waste a few hours digging through the tons of apps available. Pebble’s appstore gives you some broad categories and you have to plow through a lot of crap to find something worthwhile. It’s also easy to dig far into a category only to be thrown into the main menu and have to start all over again. Pebble apparently doesn’t filter apps by language so you’ll come across a few apps in languages other than English as well. Super helpful.

ESPN probably has one of the best Pebble apps (screenshot via Pebble Time)

ESPN probably has one of the best Pebble apps (screenshot via Pebble Time)

Evernote, ESPN, Eventbrite, Uber, TripAdvisor, Pandora, Yelp, Swarm by Foursquare, eBay, Mercedes-Benz and Domino’s Pizza (U.S.) are some of the only names you’ll recognize outside of fitness brands like Endomondo, RunKeeper and Jawbone. Pebble has really pushed the few big-name apps that you can get for their gizmos, but when you head over to their appstore, you realize that they’re pretty much the only big-name apps. It’s quite disappointing to say the least.

While many official apps are missing from the platform, indie developers have stepped up to the plate to provide clients for Gmail, Google Authenticator, Google Calendar, Twitter, Tinder, Roku and Wunderlist for the Pebble, which is nice, I guess, but are you okay with handing over your user name and password to them?

Something called The Fapp got more likes than the Bible (screenshot via Pebble Time)

Something called The Fapp got more “loves” than the Bible (screenshot via Pebble Time)

Some of the other indie apps are useful as well, but others aren’t that helpful, really awful or just seemingly exist for the sole purpose of trolling people. There’s an app called The Fapp that you can use to “train your speed and endurance.” It has more “loves” than the Bible. God help us all. There’s another app called Beer Counter, which does nothing but count beer. There’s also an app called Dare, which “is probably the first adult pebble [sic] app to challenge your partner.” I guess you wear it in bed and it suggests stuff to do. So, yeah, that’s a thing now. If you want to destroy your Pebble, there’s something called Pebble Toss that encourages you to toss your watch, catch it and “marvel at height thrown.” (Perhaps that’s not an indie app, maybe Pebble’s competitors snuck that into the Pebble appstore.)

There are so many apps on the Pebble appstore, SO many, but you’ll have a very hard time finding good ones. The few apps that are useful are limited by the fact that Pebble primarily relies on buttons for input. If the Pebble had a touchscreen, apps would likely be a lot better.
The lack of a touchscreen makes it pretty frustrating to play games, too, and having only four buttons doesn’t help much either.

You can play Pokemon on your watch, kinda, sorta, not really, not at all (screenshot via Pebble Time)

You can play Pokemon on your watch, kinda, sorta, not really, not at all (screenshot via Pebble Time)

You don’t have to look much further than Imgurmon, a clone of Nintendo’s Pokemon games, to see how limited gaming on the Pebble can be. You walk around by moving your wrist left, right, forwards or backwards, which is kinda awkward. When you encounter the “Imgurmon” you don’t have the option of catching them or running away. You just have to play until you win. To make matters worse the area in Imgurmon is almost the size of your backyard.

Pixel Miner is probably one of the few games that actually gets gaming on the Pebble, which is kinda sad because you’re simply watching a guy dig an endless hole to nowhere. Sometimes he encounters treasure, which you can sell, and the pixels he collects can be spent on more powerful devices or to increase his speed. It’s pointless, but fun.

Chess, anyone? (screenshot via Pebble Time)

Chess, anyone? (screenshot via Pebble Time)

Sometimes the worst offending Pebble apps and games are the ones that try to do too much with the limited screen space and buttons. For example, you can play solitaire on the watch, but the tiny screen and limited input methods make it a bit ridiculous. There’s an app to read the complete Bible on your watch, but why would you? It would take you forever to navigate to the right book, chapter and verse. It just makes more sense to pull out your phone to do any of that stuff. An app that gives you a verse a day, or better yet, puts it in your timeline would make more sense. Blackjack would be far more logical on a watch than solitaire, too, and of course there’s a Pebble app for that already.

Be prepared to wait on some apps....

Be prepared to wait on some apps….

Unfortunately, however, apps and games can be a bit slow to load, too. Many folks have complained that the Apple Watch is sluggish, but I think you could say the same thing here. Sometimes apps load in an instant, but other times you’re presented with a rather slow-moving loading screen.

The apps and games on a whole are rather disappointing. I had a first-generation Sony SmartWatch, and it was able to give me my Twitter, Facebook, emails and RSS feeds. That’s on top of music control, pictures, text notifications and additional apps. The Sony SmartWatch was considered a dud, but I loved it. Actually, I think if you stack the first-generation SmartWatch up against the Pebble Time, the SmartWatch might have a good shot of coming up on top in terms of functionality, which is pretty depressing when you think about it.

Fitness

I’ll be the first to admit it — I’m not an athlete. I’m the guy who would shoot a basketball and have it go over the backboard. I’m probably the only guy in the world who the four strike rule applies to in baseball. (I wish I was joking. In high school I was so bad at baseball that they allowed me to get four strikes before I was out. The joke is on them because I hit the ball after the third strike. Ha!)

The app on the Pebble Time says that I walked 546 steps, but...

The app on the Pebble Time says that I walked 546 steps, but…

Anyway, I didn’t do much in terms of fitness with the Pebble Time. I did have an app on my watch that measured my steps, but I found it woefully inaccurate. At one point the watch said that I walked 545 steps, but at the same time I went over to the Health app on my iPhone, and it said that I walked 1,432 steps. I felt at the time that the iPhone’s reading was far more accurate. I’m not sure if it was the app on the watch that was giving me problems or if it was the watch itself that was the problem. The Pebble Time didn’t help me with getting to the bottom of the mystery by limiting activity tracking to one app at a time.

...the iPhone says I walked 1,436 steps.

…the iPhone says I walked 1,436 steps.

Anyway, I’m not sure that I’d trust the Pebble Time with my fitness tracking. Even if I did, I couldn’t see myself being that happy with it considering that it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor and the aforementioned problem of it limiting activity tracking to one app at a time. (Apparently there will be smartstraps in the future that will add to the watch’s functionality. Rumour has it that one of the things the smartstraps might bring would be a heart rate monitor.)

However, if you’re considering the Pebble Time as a fitness tracker, take a look at what others have said online.

Battery Life

Apparently leaving your Peble Time on a game like Pixel Miner will severely affect the battery life

Apparently leaving your Peble Time on a game like Pixel Miner will severely affect the battery life

Pebble says that the battery on the Pebble Time lasts a whole week. I personally wasn’t able to get anywhere near that, but I’m sure that’s because I usually left my Pebble Time on a game rather than a watchface. When I left it with Pixel Miner open, I got just under two days of battery life before I received a low battery notification and felt compelled to charge it. I did notice that when I left the Pebble Time on a watchface, that it sipped battery. So, I’m guessing it would be possible for you to get a much longer life out of the watch if you don’t play with it as I did.

While there’s a big hullabaloo about the Pebble Time’s long battery life, I don’t think it really matters. You charge your phone, tablet and laptop every night if you use them frequently, so is it a big deal to charge your watch every night, too? I suppose if you want to sleep with it on (perhaps for sleep tracking), I guess a longer battery life would allow you to keep the watch on during the day and night without skipping a beat.

I doubt most people would want to wear a smartwatch 24/7, but if you do, you likely know who you are already. For the rest of us, however, I think the week-long battery life is really a non-feature when it comes to actually using the watch.

Music
 
The Pebble Time awkwardly fumbles music

The Pebble Time awkwardly fumbles music

Music control seems like a no-brainer feature for a smartwatch, but I had a few issues with controlling music on my phone (in particular Spotify tracks) using the Pebble Time. For example, sometimes when I’d control Spotify from my watch, Spotify would shuffle the songs randomly. I have no idea if that was a glitch or if I did something stupid on my end, but in any case, it was annoying.

However, with that glitch aside, you’re limited with what you can do with the watch because the Pebble Time only has four buttons. (Do I sound like a broken record yet?) The top and bottom buttons are to skip back a track and to go forward one. If you press the centre button, then you can pause a song or turn up the volume. You can press the top and bottom buttons to turn up and down the volume without pressing the centre button by just holding one of the buttons down. Aw screw it! It’s a bit complicated to explain, but I think you’re better off getting a pair of headphones with inline controls because they’d do the same thing.

Instead of mere playback and volume control, I would’ve preferred to see a list of my tracks and be able to skip down to a specific one with my watch. Perhaps there’s an app for that, but who wants to deal with the jungle that is Pebble’s appstore?

Cost
 
The Pebble Time may be available at Best Buy, but I don't think it will be the best purchase you'll make

The Pebble Time may be available at Best Buy, but I don’t think it’s the best smartwatch you can buy

Now that we’re near the end of the review, let’s get to the stickiest part — the price. While the Pebble Time is cheaper than the Apple Watch, it isn’t cheap. It’s $250. So, you’re really going to have to ask yourself if buying a watch that can give you notifications that you can’t respond to, that has really flakey apps and that completely misses out on some of the other big smartwatch features like answering your phone’s calls from your wrist or monitoring your heart is worth $250.

Yes, the base model of the Apple Watch (the cheapest one), known as Apple Watch Sport, starts at $449, and the Pebble Time is nearly half the cost of the entry-level Apple Watch, but comparing the two is like comparing, well, apples and oranges. The Apple Watch does have more features, but is that still worth $449? When you can get an iPad or a laptop around that price, probably not for most people.

Frankly, it’s hard to justify buying either the Pebble Time or any of the Apple Watches when looking exclusively at the cost. You really have to look at your lifestyle and see if either watch would really enhance your life. If one would, you’re going to either have to put off buying it and hope the price comes down or just spring for it and avoid looking at your credit card balance for the next few months or so.

The Apple Watches range from obscenely expensive to your-head-will-get-blown-clean-off-your-shoulders-when-you-hear-the-price expensive (image via Apple)

The Apple Watches range from obscenely expensive to your-head-will-get-blown-clean-off-your-shoulders-when-you-hear-the-price expensive (image via Apple)

While the Pebble Time and Apple Watch Sport are expensive, we haven’t even touched the ludicrous prices for some of the other Apple Watches. The most expensive Apple Watch models, the 38mm (yes, that’s the smaller of the two sizes available) 18-carat rose gold and 18-carat yellow gold Apple Watch Editions are $22,000. For comparison sake, you can buy a brand new Chevrolet Spark for $13,745, a new Chevrolet Sonic for $15,895 or a new Chevrolet Cruze for $17,675 and still have a few thousand dollars lying around to spend on AshleyMadison.com or whatever else people with too much money do with their money.

If you have $22,000 to spend on a watch, I’d suggest you forgo the Pebble Time, buy an Apple Watch Sport or a middle-of-the-line Apple Watch, which Apple has conveniently called Apple Watch to confuse the hell out of all of us (it starts at $699), and use the rest of that money to buy me a new Chevy. Hell, you’d still have thousands left over if you did that instead of buying the most expensive Apple Watch Edition.

Maybe the purpose of the Apple Watch Edition is to make other smartwatches not look so obscenely expensive. If that’s the case, they failed miserably, and Apple just looks bonkers for trying to pass the Apple Watch Edition off as a legitimate product.

Final Thoughts

Just try to explain to some people what the Pebble Time is particularly useful for

Just try to explain to some people what the Pebble Time is particularly useful for

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I don’t think I’d be able to recommend the Pebble Time for most people. I can’t see the typical person needing notifications on their wrist, and I can’t see many people being able to make use of the Pebble Time’s apps. As a fitness device, I don’t like how the watch only allows you to use one app at a time for fitness tracking (although that might change with a software update), and that it’s missing key fitness features like a heart rate monitor. Yes, you may get that feature with a smartband later on, but who knows how much that would cost?

I do think the Pebble Time might make sense for a few people out there, though. There are some people who would like notifications on their wrist and aren’t too fussy about not being able to do much with them on their watch. You probably know if you’re that person by now, and a Pebble Time would likely be a good fit for you.
You should still ask yourself if a colour screen matters to you. If you’re just relying on your smartwatch for notifications, it might not. If that’s the case, check out the original Pebble or the Pebble Steel. You’ll save yourself the cash if you do. I’ve heard that both the original Pebble and the Pebble Steel have some more dramatic limitations on the apps and watchfaces you can install. So if you go that way, be sure you know what you want and what you’re getting.

If you are the type of person who would like to get notifications on your wrist, but you would also like to respond to notifications from your watch (i.e. Using voice dictation to send texts for iPhones or having the option to favourite a tweet), then the Pebble Time isn’t for you yet. You should look at an Apple Watch or an Android Wear device.

When it comes to apps, just be sure you know the Pebble Time’s limitations. There are only four buttons, and you’re not dealing with a touchscreen here. The mic is pretty useless on the device as well, or that’s the case until developers really take advantage of it. Also, you’ll have to do some research to see if there’s an app available for what you want to do with the device. Many major news organizations don’t have Pebble apps, so you’ll have to do without them or find a workaround. Same goes for most social media apps, email clients and banking apps. You will get notifications from those apps on your watch if you have them on your phone, but you won’t be able to do things like skim Twitter at your leisure on your watch without turning to a third-party app. If you need to respond to texts with your watch, skim the news or control your Apple TV, then the Apple Watch is a no-brainer if money is no object for iPhone owners.

Some people might be attracted to the Pebble Time for some of its unique features such as its week-long battery life, an always-on screen and a ridiculous number of watchfaces, I’d say look into if those features would truly make much of a difference in your life. I think having the functionality of an Apple Watch of Android Wear device would trump all of that, but that might just be me, though.

The Pebble Tie may have been cool for the summer, but it has been usurped by many smartwatches, including some from Pebble itself

The Pebble Time may have been “cool for the summer,” but it has been usurped by many smartwatches, including some from Pebble itself

Pebble has released not one, but two models just weeks after they put the Pebble Time on sale on May 24. That move has pretty much left the Time’s cool factor a relic of the summer of 2015 alongside licking random donuts, the Toronto Pan Am Games and whipping and nae naeing. I have a feeling many people woulThey b choose the newer models over the Pebble Time, if they really have their heart set on a Pebble and don’t mind the cost. The Pebble Time Steel is a classier version of the Pebble Time and has better battery life. The Pebble Time Round is, well, round. Both add a lot of the style that the Pebble Time is missing, but you’ll have to pay $50 more for them, and you’re inching closer to Apple Watch Sport pricing.

Despite all of the smartwatches out there (Pebble and non-Pebble), I can’t help but feel underwhelmed. No one has seemed to nail the platform yet, and that’s especially troubling now that Apple and Samsung are on the scene. It’s all leaving me wondering if there is any hope for smartwatches or if they will be abandoned and looked back at as fads a few years from now.

(Featured Image via Pebble/notebook.de)
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