Alexander Savin

03 Aug 2015

Pebble Watch impressions

Got myself a new white Pebble watch. After a week of use here are a few impressions. Not in particular order.

  • Screen is nice. I’m a huge fan of Kindle, and also one of my first watches was classic electronic Casio. Pebble screen is great when you shine light on it, and is ok with built-in backlight. Screen is indeed always on.
  • Pebble is quite usable in the dark room studio with safe lights on. Even a dim light is enough to read off the screen without activating backlight.
  • Battery life in reality is 3-4 days. It depends quite a bit on usage and screen refreshing needs. Some watch faces contain special settings for optimising battery life by turning off bluetooth for the night and disabling incoming notifications. I think it’s possible to live on a single charge for a full week, but that would require a bit of tweaking and using watch faces with little animations. Each screen refresh counts.
  • Can vibrate, but otherwise completely silent. No speaker.
  • Also no touch screen. It seemed that many people expected Pebble screen to be touchable and were slightly disappointed to learn that it is proper old school buttons only experience.
  • There are 4 buttons in total and a microphone. Latter is pretty much useless with iPhone, but suppose to shine with Android devices.
  • Smartwatch with timer on your wrist is surprisingly useful when cooking food or developing film. Smartphone is much less so.
  • It is second generation of Pebble watch, and it is fully open for third party developers. All first generation apps and watch faces are compatible. They are also black and white only.
  • There are way too much cool watch faces for Pebble. Some cool apps too. All free.
  • Yes, there is authentic Hypnotoad watch face
  • And Fallout PipBoy watch face, with extra mode displaying radioactive clouds and outside temperature. Activated by shaking your wrist
  • By default shaking your wrist will turn backlight on. It will also start Nyan Cat flight mode if that’s the watch face you’re using.
  • It’s ok to change watch face multiple times a day.
  • It can function without a phone, but its purpose is to be a companion device. It will forward all notifications from iPhone without any extra settings. It will also dismiss them on the phone once you dismiss them on the watch.
  • Waterproof
  • Contains activity tracker. You can have one app at a time having access to it and collecting data. It can also be a watch face - which is basically an app that displays time. Fallout PipBoy watch displays step counter as XP and gives you levels as you progress.
  • You can have a virtual pet app. It can also be a watch face and activity tracker at the same time. Yes, I’m looking at you, FitCat.
  • Not sure if there is limit for the amount of installed apps or watch faces. So far I’ve installed 15 watch faces and 8 extra apps.
  • You will need phone for installing / managing content on the watch. Pebble Time app on iPhone is a bit sluggish when it comes to its own AppStore, but otherwise nice. All apps are free too.
  • Pebble SDK is C language based, but there is also Pebble.js option.
  • When holding both (large) Apple Watch and Pebble Time, latter feels lighter and smaller.
  • Timeline mode is one of the basic features, and feels incredibly natural. It will suck all events from the phone for the 3 next days, as well as weather data and sunrise / sunset times.
  • Someone mentioned that Pebble feels like Nintendo device - nice friendly appeal, animations, with low res graphics.
  • There is Authenticator app for 2-factor generated passwords. With some trickery it’s possible to have same passwords generated on both phone Google Authenticator and watch app. Needless to say, it’s super useful.
  • There is a watch face imitating my good old Casio electronic watch. And about 20 other classic Casios.