Pebble watch review: small size large value

Reviews SmartWatch

A wrist watch is a device that displays time quickly and conveniently to you, and has been a device that has gone through many iterations through out history. In the past, analog watches emphasize fashion, mechanical movement, waterproofing, and rugged durability. More expensive analog watches focus on longer battery-life, and quality of material. On the other hand, digital watches appeal to sporty individuals who want more functionality at the gym. Many of these digital watches focus on sport features not limited to timer, and stop watch capabilities. Gradually, a watch revolution emerged. It began with rumors spreading throughout the internet that Apple, Inc. was interested in expanding the digital watch industry to appeal to growing tech junkies. Tim Cook had trouble keeping secrets, and Sony, Samsung, and Motorola caught onto these trends. They invented a new category of watches, smart watches before Apple. However, these smart watches typically last a day before needing to recharge, which is quite inconvenient. However, the great news is, the Pebble Smartwatch is different. The Pebble is a smart watch that was built by people who were actually smart. Without a LCD color display, this smart watch provides you with the smartphone integration you love without the need to charge your watch daily. But just how good is it?  Continue to read our Pebble review.

 Pebble review: Exterior features

Looks and feel

Pebble Smart Watch side

Right side the Pebble (301BL)

Our first impression of the Pebble is generally positive. The exterior of the Pebble (301BL) is made of a poly-carbonate material. It feels solid, and light. The screen features a 144×168 px resolution E-paper screen technology. Reminds us of an old school Tamagotchi device. Pebble stated that the screen is scratch resistant; however, the community forum at selfscreens.com had contrary experiences, and many recommend purchasing a pebble screen protector such as the Skinomi Techskin  Screen Protector to protect their investment. Unlike conventional e-ink readers technology, the screen of the Pebble does not need to refresh every time the screen changes, and is very easy on the eyes. There is also a back-light that allows you to view your watch in low-light, so you wont need to turn on the lights to view the time. If you are in a dark situation, and you need to view the time quickly, you can manually press the menu buttons to force the back-light to turn on.

Fashion and Style

Pebble Smart Watch otherside

Pebble (301BL) – Left Side

However, in terms of fashion, the Pebble would go well with casual styling; however, it’d be difficult to impress with this watch as it is a bit bland. If you do not like the plastic feel, the Pebble Steel has a metal casing and wrist band for $199.99. Functionality wise, the Pebble Steel works exactly the same, except for a few external differences. The wrist band, and casing is made of metal. If you want to make your Pebble look fashionable without buying the steel edition, there are a few inexpensive options to jazz up your watch.

Slipwrap had created these stylish looking skins to spice up the appeal of the front face of your Pebble. While installing these skins will not make the durability of your Pebble to the level of the Pebble Steel, it is a low cost solution to making your pebble more personalized and will only set your wallet back around $9.

 

If you do not like the original Pebble strap, there are alternatives; however, you should be careful. Pebble and the Pebble Steel wrist clips are a bit different, and different straps are made for different watches. It was difficult finding a steel wrist band for the original Pebble as there are not many; however, we included one that is of decent value in our review. It is made of metal and under $20.

Steel wrist strap for Pebble

Steel Wrist Band For Pebble (301BL)

On the other hand, there are many Pebble Steel wrist straps on the market, but we found the original steel wrist band the best. There is no need to switch out the stock wrist band unless you want your strap in a different tint of steel or leather.

Functionality

The Pebble and the Pebble Steel functions relatively well as a smart watch. Having 5 to 7 days of battery life certainly night and day compared to other smart watches out there such as the Samsung Gear, and Sony SmartWatch (2-3 days, and 2 days respectively). The only contention is the 8 app limit, and lack of touch screen technology; however, it might not have the same amount of battery life if they expanded on these features. One of the most loved functionality quibbles of the Pebble is the on-watch notifications. We found it very convenient just looking at our watch to see the message that was sent to us with out having to take out our phone. If your phone is in your bag, you can look at your Pebble to see who messaged you and the actual message; however, we were hoping for an easy way to reply to messages. Perhaps next time, they could make pre-programmed messages into the Pebble App or some way to reply to the message conveniently. Other smart watches, seem to have that function nailed down.  Also, the Pebble Nav Me App is really useful. This app shows your Google Map directions straight onto your Pebble, so you wont have to look down on your smart phone while traveling to your destination. Furthermore, the Pebble made changing music very convenient as well. You no longer need to take out your phone when suddenly a song you didn’t like is playing.

Recommendation

Overall, the Pebble is a well executed Smart Watch developed by Pebble. Even though Pebble was just a small kick starter company, they managed to make a product that both, integrates well with a smart phone, and creates value by giving smartphone information conveniently to the owner.  The 5 to 7 battery life is its killer feature, and we would recommend this watch over other smart watches.

Pebble gives their users a multitude of styling options, from build your own pebble, to the classy Pebble Steel. You cant go wrong with either of these watches as they are both the same device. One just has a cherry on top, and the other one you can put a fake cherry on top (with third party accessories). Additionally, you will be spending relatively less if you purchase the original Pebble compare to the Pebble Steel. ($99+ $29 vs $199) However, you receive a more durable device if you buy the e Steel version. So in the end, it’s just a preference of whether you have the extra cash or you want to save up for the next Pebble.

There are lots of growth opportunities with this smart watch. Perhaps the screen resolution and overall presentation of this Pebble will be improved in future revisions. My guess is that they will name it Pebble HD or if they managed to add color to the Screen, Pebble Color. Or even Pebble Color HD.

Steve is a co-founder of DeviceCritique. He is a technology expert who takes a unique perspective by blending humanity, technology, and business. He visions that there are many untapped technology products that have yet to emerge, and plans to explore those ideas with you in his articles. Steve is currently working toward his Bachelor of Commerce while simultaneously juggling work and his passion in writing.
  • Guy S

    I saw, I hankered, I read, I bought. Can’t wait! The battery life and waterproof aspects sold me, as well as the simple functionality of seeing calls, texts (and other updates), alerts and map directions. And the new watch faces via the apps look great. I’m wondering if I won’t need the iWatch after all…

    • Zach Ackert

      Its definitely the best bang for your buck smartwatch out there! I currently have had it on my wrist for well over a year! Just a sec… got a notification 😉

  • james

    The pebble beta software for android supports adding your own canned responses for texts & emails. It also plugs into the AndroidWear api so any actionable notification can be addressed on the pebble. I.e. dismissing notifications or launching navigation from a reminder. (Which will also launch Nav Me if it is installed.)