More (and this time actually useful) thoughts on the Pebble watch

Pebble FaceOk, so I’ve already gotten a (valid) complaint at how useless my “first impressions” post so here is my actual review thus far:

It’s a watch; it mostly tells me the time. I’ve played with a few of the watch faces but I’ve been warned by other reviewers not to use any of the faces that have a second hand since that will kill the battery so I’ve mostly stuck with the “text-watch” face pictured in my previous post. I do wish that instead of displaying “one five” it would display “one oh five” or something like that but it doesn’t. This works well for “one fifteen” and “one fifty one” but not so much for “one five”.

Navigation is pretty simple and the buttons were easy to figure out. I’m sure there are instructions somewhere but of course I didn’t read them. (The buttons are “menu/select”, “up”, “down”, and “back”.)

Connecting to my phone: This one was a bit annoying. You’re supposed to be able to just press the “connect” button in the Pebble app on the phone to pair the watch to your phone via Bluetooth. I could not get this to work. Instead I ended up going to the phone’s Bluetooth settings (Android) and pairing via that interface. This worked and once paired the app immediately recognized the watch.

Power: three days on a single charge so far. I plan on letting it run until it’s dead under my “typical use” scenario and will let you know how long it lasts. The charging cable is USB at the “wall” end but is definitely custom to the Pebble on the other end so if it dies, there’s no generic replacement that I’m aware of. The cable also attaches to the Pebble magnetically instead of plugging in, so that’s a nice design feature.

Alarm: I tested the alarm feature this morning and it’s a basic vibration alarm. I did not wear it on my wrist all night and left it sitting on a soft-ish surface but I did hear it go off. (Granted I set it for three minutes before my usual wake up time so that may have influenced its success.) I’ll try it again another time and leave it on a harder surface to see if it wakes me again.

Notifications: Based on prior reviews I installed the separate Pebble Notifier app which gives me more control over which notifications I receive on my wrist. Through that I turned on notifications from only certain apps such as Facebook, my e-mail client, and my SMS client. I’ll probably turn off Facebook as it’s annoying, but the SMS notifications are nice. As for e-mail I’ve set my client to only get new e-mail manually so being notified that I have new e-mail seconds after I tell it to check for new e-mail seems a bit redundant at this point. However, the slight vibration and the text on my wrist is handy since I don’t have to pick up and turn on my phone’s screen to see the message.

Form factor: Again, I’m not used to wearing a watch so I’m going to keep away from claiming it’s too big as many others have. I don’t trust my own judgement on this one. What I will say is that the rubberized band is causing sweaty wrist syndrome for me, but that could also vary from person to person.

So there you go. An actual, hopefully useful, review for you.

5 Replies to “More (and this time actually useful) thoughts on the Pebble watch”

  1. So *as a watch*–I have the choice of a $50 Timex where using it “with the second hand” means the battery lasts two or three years, or this thing where the second hand kills the battery. Gotcha.

    So, basically, it may be great for its other functions, but it pretty much sucks as a watch.

    (Must admit, I wondered why somebody who obviously doesn’t like wearing a watch would be…wearing a watch, and a big’un at that. Since I neither carry a smartphone nor feel the need to know RIGHT AWAY if somebody sends me email, clearly I’m not in the target market. That actually is useful information.)

  2. Walt, I wouldn’t say I don’t like wearing a watch, I’m just not used to wearing one. I didn’t decide to stop wearing one, I just didn’t replace my last one when it broke.

    But yes, I will agree you get this for the “features” not because it’s a watch. Honestly, I’m not even sure I’m the “audience” for this thing beyond the fact that my life centers around experimenting with new technologies. Like with my RaspberryPi, I don’t really have a “use” for it beyond the experience of it.

  3. I don’t use a smartphone, but it might be worth looking into, IF this watch could be set up to notify me of my schedule every 30 minutes (so I will do my prescribed tasks, instead of getting too focused on tangents.) And maybe throw in an inspirational quote every few hours to perk up my mood. Any thoughts on this?

  4. Using the Pebble Notifier app I can choose to send, or not, all notification from any app that would issue a notification. So, if you’ve got a to do app that sends notifications it would just be up to you to schedule your tasks accordingly. Or, via the calendar, if I’ve set a 15 minute reminder for a meeting I now get it on my Pebble. (So, I guess you could use your calendar to issue a task reminder also.) I’m sure there’s some app out there that could give you a quote every so often and so, as long as its done as a notification I guess you could do that too.

    As to whether it’s going to work well enough to justify the expense of a smart phone and a Pebble, I’ll leave that up to you 😉

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