My first smartwatch…

Something like this, perhaps…

smw51sVUgmGgKL._AC_UL320_SR306,320_

 

 

 

 

Nononono, definitely not. Neither an Apple product. My first foray into wearables of the smartwatch type is a Pebble Time.

PBTime

 

 

 

 

 

I’d been looking at smartwatches ever since the original Pebble Kickstarter got launched. I honestly found the watch ugly as *beep*, so I wasn’t going for that one. After a while the original Android Wear smartwatch (the Motorola 360) got launched. While it’s a lot nicer on the eyes, it had several issues that I really didn’t want to deal with (and still don’t): the price tag, the size (and I really don’t have small wrists), and the laughable battery life. I already tote around one device that I need to charge on a daily basis, don’t need another that I really need to watch (pun intended)

The OS also was in its infancy, but thanks to the pressure Apple was putting on the market, I was sure this would improve.

While I’m willing to spend some money on a device that I know I’ll use on a daily basis (eg. my phone, which handles my calendar, mail, GPS, social media, …), I wasn’t sure I actually wanted a smartwatch. The geek inside of me wanted one, but did I actually have any use for it? Wasn’t it just going to sit on the shelf after a week? This made me doubtful to spend any amount of money on such a device.

Bring around 2015, and Pebble got round to launching the Pebble Time (Steel) Kickstarter. A whole lot nicer to look at, but still pricy for what would be an experiment. Doubts remained.

In the beginning of 2016, iBood had a sale of Pebble Time watches, at a pricepoint I could get round. So I ordered one (in black).

mypebble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First thing I did was stick a bezel and screen protector from GadgetWraps on it, as I had read everywhere that the thing is very easy to damage. (you have no idea how weird it feels to dunk a technologically advanced device in water – check the installation videos). After that I put it on, installed the Pebble app and started tinkering away…

Things I absolutely love about this watch:

  • It’s a watch. It’s always readable. Even in the sun. The screen is always ‘on’ (not really, since it’s E-Ink). I honestly prefer looking at my watch for the time than at my phone, definitely in a work context.
  • Even when the battery is nearly dead, it’s still it’s basic function: a watch. Forget that with the other devices.
    deadpebble

 

 

 

 

  • It’s battery is rated for 7 days. I’ve gotten 10 days out of it.
  • Waterproof up to 30m. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m not really bothering taking it off all the time I come near a water source.
  • Nearly monthly updates. Every month I’ve gotten new functionality :)
  • Step counter / fitness stuff (if I didn’t have a Fitbit, I’d actually use it). First release was gimmicky, but every app update has been better and better.
  • The plethora of watchfaces and watchapps you can find for it
  • (Actionable) notifications! This stops me from pulling out my phone and checking what the notification was for. If it’s urgent, I’ll get the phone if I can’t make due with the canned responses. If it’s not urgent, I’ll ignore it and reply at a later time.
    pebble_gmail

 

 

 

 

  • Voice dictation. I’d never thought I’d actually use that, but while driving this is great – you get a notification, check it, quickly with a glance to your wrist, and with two button presses I can send a reply on it’s way. It works fairly good, but well, YMMV.
    pebble-dictation-screen-shot-2015-06-20-at-2-32-28-am

 

 

 

 

  • Music control. I use a streaming app on my phone, and being able to pause/skip songs without having to unlock my phone is bliss.
  • pebble_music_green

 

 

 

 

I mentioned watchapps and watchfaces earlier… There are just too many to choose from. Anything that might be your fancy, it probably exists. Do keep in mind that animated watchfaces will eat the battery like crazy, so the less updates the screen has to put, the longer your Pebble will live.

My current selection:

WatchApps:

WatchFaces:

But there are so many more to explore.

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