The Pebble Smartwatch is a smartwatch developed by Pebble Technology Corporation and was released in 2013 after receiving huge support and funding through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
The watch comes with a black and white Sharp Memory LCD, a programmable CPU, memory, storage, Bluetooth, a vibrating motor, a magnetometer (aka compass!), an ambient light sensor, and an accelerometer. These make the watch more than just a watch, and extend it to interacting with smartphone notifications, activity tracking, gaming, map display, golf tracking, and more. The Pebble is compatible with Android and iOS devices.
As of February 2014, the Pebble app store had over 1,000 applications developed using Pebble’s free software.
Things I liked about the Pebble Smartwatch
1. Awesome notifications
The notifications you get from Pebble are simply amazing. Besides notifications from calls and messages (with caller ID), I got notifications from Human, the app store, Slack and basically every other app that pushes notifications to me on my smartphone.
You can also easily stay in the know of sports scores through the watch. You add the matching app to your Pebble, and you’re good to go. Unfortunately you only get push notifications for apps that send them to your smartphone.
2. Syncs with tons of apps
The watch comes with a library of apps you can download and ‘unlock’ on your Pebble. A lot of apps are manageable from your wrist. I could check-in on Swarm with two taps. The maps app easily guided me through the city at night without having to pull out my phone. Yelp showed me places nearby I can go to, and my 7 minute work-out suddenly became easier with instructions displayed on the watch instead of having to hold my iPhone.
3. Good battery life
The battery life of the device is solid: I didn’t have to charge my Pebble for a week.
4. Good watch
The Pebble comes with more than 100 watch faces, which means that there is a likable watch for everyone. I mainly used two watch faces: one that displayed my activity (steps/running/sitting time) and one that showed the weather.
Things I didn’t like about the Pebble Smartwatch
1. Difficult to read
The Pebble claims to have a display that is easily readable in daylight, but I didn’t think this was the case. The font is often too small to read, and the backlight could be better. If you want your backlight to light up, you have to shake your arm several times, which looked weird.
2. Bad tracking
The Pebble is not the best tracker on the market. It doesn’t track steps well, and it doesn’t track sleep at all. If you’re looking for a device that tracks your health, this is not the best smartwatch for you. The Pebble is an ideal notifier and device to use certain apps from your wrist instead of from your phone.
3. No touch screen / navigation
To navigate the watch, you have to use the buttons on the side of the watch. It’s 2015—most smartwatches have touch screens, which I would prefer. If you wear the Pebble on the right arm, the buttons are not easily accessible.
4. Difficult to set-up
Since the watch works with apps you have to add, it takes some time to set up. You need at least 20 – 30 minutes before you can start using it.
5. Only 8 (mostly paid) apps
If you want to use certain features of the Pebble Smartwatch, like using it as a remote for your Spotify music, you need to download companion apps that are often paid.
Another limitation is the fact you can only put eight apps on your Pebble at a time, so you need to pick carefully.
For people with small wrists, this is a giant watch with a giant screen. On top of that the screen looks clumsy and has no colors.
Would I recommend the Pebble Smartwatch?
If you are looking for an awesome watch and a way to control your phone from your wrist, you should totally get it (especially since it’s availble for $99, which makes it one of the cheaper versions on the market)!
If you are looking for a health tracker than you should check out the Fitbit Charge HR (great activity & HR tracker) or the Basis Peak (great sleep tracker), or you can check out our buyers guide that will guide you to a better smartwatch.
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