The Pebble Watch

This is my review of the Pebble Watch which I have been using for the last few days now. Of course the watch has been out for ages now, so there is nothing new - just another view point. Notice that I did not label it as a Smart Watch for that is something which has a long way to go before a watch is really smart.

The Display

The watch has an eInk display. What that means is that the display is always on - unlike the other Android watches. The eInk does not use any battery while it is on, only while changing anything on it ( e.g. changing the minutes). So, it should last longer than the other watches in the market. e.g. For Android watches, you need to charge it every day. Even the Apple Watch will need charging everyday. So far, I have seen that the battery goes down by about 10% every day. It seems to indicate a 10 day life, but the official figures are around 7 days.

Since the display is a fully electronic one, it means that the watch face can be customized in many ways. There are 3 inbuilt faces, but you can get a lot of others from the pebble store. Some of these that I am using are :




The other fantastic thing about this display is that it is readable in broad sunlight.

Another difference from the other watch displays is that it is always on. This is a big thing. Usually android watches displays switch off to save on battery, so what you have is a blank display. True, they have motion detectors for turning on the display, but that makes it feel less and less like a watch.

The only drawback of the display is that it is monochrome ( where art thou colour eink?) and the pixel density is less, so lines look jagged.

Connectivity

The watch requires a phone to work with. It works with either Android phones or iPhones using bluetooth (BT). Everything is fed to the phone through your phone. To add more functionality (in terms of apps or watch faces) is done through an app on the phone.

The amount of apps is limited to just 8 - which I find very very small for a device trying to be smart.

Another problem is that with BT on, your phone will discharge faster.

However, there are quite a lot of advantages of having this on all the time. Some of these that I really like are :

  • When you move out of BT range, the watch will vibrate. This is extremely useful when you forget your phone ! 
  • When going for a run, it still needs your phone for gps, but instead of looking at your phone (which I usually carry in my pocket), the display shows the details of how far you have gone, the time of the run, etc. 
  • Notifications come on the watch, so you don't need to take out the phone or even look at it till you get something you have to respond to. Sometimes, e.g. with whatsapp, the notifications become too much - so I usually turn off notifications entirely, or just mute the whatsapp group from the phone. 
  • Notifications can also be changed to have only phone calls show up. I think this will be a godsend when I am on the bike (not yet checked it out) as it will show up the name of the person when I am riding. Or, when at home and I am in a different room than where the phone is. 
  • It updates the temperature using the phone's data connectivity. I now no longer need a dedicated weather app on the phone. 

Apps

I am still trying to figure this out. Some apps that are cool are : 
  • A whatsapp app to see the last few conversations
  • Pedometer apps
  • Go Pro remote !
So far, I am really liking this watch. I do wish it had a lot more features ( see my earlier post on my expectations from Apple's smart watch - though it would apply to all smart watches) . It has become my defacto watch over the last few days, and my earlier timex lies neglected :-/