I ordered a Pebble smartwatch as a Christmas Present
to myself from my wife. Caught the Black Friday sale, which was even better. It took about a month to get here, even though Pebble is based in the US, all the watches are shipped direct from Singapore.
The watch itself is very nice, it’s black hard plastic, with a mirror-like surface. It has an e-Ink display, which makes for a very long battery life. It averages two to three days on a charge, that’s with everything updating, and a “classic” face that updates every second. I’ve since started using the text face which lasts an extra day.
I had bought a Sony LiveView when they came out, that isn’t even on the same playing field. The LiveView was literally just a bluetooth display, it couldn’t even tell time without being connected to the phone. The Pebble on the other hand, runs a Linux (of course) RTOS, and is capable of functioning as a standalone unit.
One surprise was the Pebble’s charger. The LiveView also had to be removed from the strap to charge, and had to charge daily. The Pebble is waterproof so they couldn’t really put a port on there. There’s two terminals on the left hand side, and two magnets. The charger attaches magnetically to the watch, with USB on the other end. The strap stays on. If I have one complaint, it’s actually the strap that came with the watch. It is rubber, and feels cheap. They’re very upfront with the dimensions, and encourage personalizing it with your own strap so I had already made a leather strap before the Pebble got here.
It shows right on the watch, and vibrates when someone is calling, or when a text message or email is coming in. It’s unbelievable how convenient it is to not have to pull out my phone, especially when at the store, or driving. That was good enough out of the box, but the real fun came with the 2.0 Beta software. Pebble has released a developer API allowing anyone to write apps that run right on the watch! So far I can dial my phone and answer calls, but it’s a short stretch to controlling lighting in my house from the watch.
I had been keeping an eye on them since the original kickstarter campaign, but couldn’t really justify the price until now, especially never having the chance to see one let alone use it. Having now used one, I can honestly say it’s a “shut up and take my money” kind of thing.