Pebble Watch – review – a novel piece of technology

Over a week ago I received the Pebble Watch in black. It is currently only available from Pebble directly, so if you live in the UK, custom charges will get added to the overall cost.

First some key facts about the Pebble Watch.

– Battery life is quoted at 7 days plus. I got 6 days on my first run. I suppose it depends how often you use it, but it certainly doesn’t need constant charging. A USB cable magnetically clips on to the side of the watch and then charges off a USB port.

– Watch faces are changeable and the display remains on all the time. In direct sunlight you will still be able to read the screen with ease. There are hundreds of different watch faces.
– The Pebble watch is waterproof to 5 ATM. So you can go swimming, wash dishes etc. The screen is also covered with a scratch resistant coating. The watch strap is a standard 22mm size, so is easy replaceable or changeable to something of your own choice.
– It has a backlight for night viewing. This can be activated by movement.

Setting up is a simple affair. Download the app from either the Google Play Store or Apple AppStore. Yes, it works both on android and Apple iPhones. I used the Pebble with my HTC One but it will work with the iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5 or any iPod Touch with iOS 5 or iOS 6. (iOS 5 and iPhone 3GS have restricted feature sets). Android devices running OS 2.3 and up. Works great with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)!The Pebble app interface looks as follows :

You simply turn on Bluetooth, and activate accessibility settings, pair and voila. Next you can select what type of notifications you would like to receive. With android, there is a third party app Pebble Notifier that allows you to add any app. See screenshot.

Some of the basic notifications available are –
– Incoming Caller ID
– Email (Gmail or any IMAP email account)
– SMS on both Android and iPhones
– iMessage (iOS only)
– Calendar Alerts
– Facebook Messages
– Twitter
– Weather Alerts
– Silent vibrating alarm and timer

Some of the more interesting uses is letting the Pebble watch access the phone’s GPS. This allows the watch to show your running speed, track, or show information while golfing.

So what’s the impact on your phones battery life. I would say about 5%.

So what’s it like to use? Well it’s been rather good in some ways and not so in others. The negative is the look of the watch. It is not sleek and elegant, but maybe some will like a more bulky fit. Here it is on my wrist.

The positive aspects are being able to browse at notifications on your watch and then decide which ones are worth responding too. You cannot respond from the watch, just view. In the car, or out and about being able to control my music was excellent. Pause, play, next or last track. I was surprised how useful I found this. Also in the hot sunny days, it has been a breeze reading the notifications as the Pebble screen loves sunlight. Other wow moments were playing an action game full screen, when suddenly you hear a text bleep. Instead of quitting the game, I just glanced at the watch and could then decide if that person was important enough to respond.

I have found it simple to use and I overall a fascinating experience. However, it is not something I would normally have bought, it was more curiosity that made me purchase it.

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