Pebble

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The Pebble is a little something I’ve been craving ever since I heard about it on Kickstarter. Unfortunately back then I was a proud owner and a fan of Windows Phones, so I decided to wait until they added WP support. But as I recently switched over to a LG Nexus 5, I ordered my Pebble with little hesitation. It is a smartwatch that combines the smartness of the phone with the watchness of a.. uh.. watch.

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I have been using the Pebble for over a month now and there are still things I learn about it every week. Whether it is a new app or a functionality. After all, the Pebble community is developing new apps for the watch constantly.

While I never was a big fan of watches, I have to admit, this is the one for me. With my hectic lifestyle I am constantly on the move and with the smartphones getting bigger and bigger it really makes it easier to read new e-mails, Facebook updates or Fleep messages on the go – I can see and read everything on the screen. The screen itself is a black and white 1.26-inch 144 x 168 e-paper display with an LED backlight. You can activate the backlight with a flick of your wrist with the help of the 3D accelerometer. And the screen really is readable no matter the time of day.

 

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Pebble looks and feels sleek – while some users might want a more formal and classy watch, for them, is the Pebble Steel. Basically a Pebble with a metallic or leather band. But for me, the rubber band is perfect and suits my everyday attire. If I feel that my watch needs to be a bit more classy, I switch the watchfaces to something more suitable.

It connects to the phone with Bluetooth 4.0 which doesn’t really seem to affect the battery consumption on the phone itself. But that means, that without the phone around, your watch is simply a watch. Inside the watch lies a 80 mHz ARM based processor that has yet to turn laggy or unresponsive for me.

 

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While yes, the Pebble isn’t the only smartwatch out there, I have to say, that it looks the best and has quite a few other advantages over some others. Namely the battery – Pebble lasts for up to a week without the need to recharge. Okay, while the concept of recharging your watch might seem odd – the battery inside the device is truly awesome and recharging no longer feels like an additional chore. Simply plug the cord to a USB socket and that is all you need. On the downside, the cord is not universal – you can’t use any mini-hdmi cord to recharge the battery – but since you really need to only recharge once per week, it doesn’t tend to be that big of a problem.

 

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The package the Pebble was in looks decent and included the watch, the cord and a manual to get started. Nothing excessive, just like the phone itself. I really do hope Windows Phone users can, at some point, also start using a Pebble. The phone is really app-dependant. Without any applications you can simply use it as a watch and receive notifications from a few apps, ones that have been integrated with the Pebble phone app. But with a few additions I can get the phone to send the right notifications to the display.

 

3Yes, I can even play a version of Flappy bird on the phone. While not as comfortable to play, the frustration of the stupid bird not flapping where it should definitely makes up for it.

The Pebble is priced at $150 and $229. The higher priced ones are the Pebble Steel. Between the Steel and original, there isn’t any real difference, but the visual looks. You can get the original Pebble in five different colours – Jet Black, Grey, Arctic White, Orange and Cherry Red. The Steel comes in Black Matte and Brushed Stainless – both available with either a leather or a metal band.

Overall: I am most satisfied with the Pebble experience – being able to really check everything on the go means a lot. Being able to decline phone calls (and see who is calling) via the watch is a great advantage. The battery has been most surprising as I didn’t really expect it to last a week with heavy usage, but it seems that the battery lasts a week regardless of how intensely it is being used during that week. It has become a part of my everyday attire, it is definitely a good addition to my geek gear. While there are some that do not like the design of the Pebble, I can’t disagree more – the Pebble looks sleek and feels solid. After all, it isn’t a regular watch – and doesn’t need to look like a regular watch.