Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 03:00 am PT (06:00 am ET)
Review: Pebble smart watch is worth the hype
A question you should ask yourself when determining whether or not you need a smart watch is, what do you want to use it for?
So far, I've found that I want a watch that is:
* Easy to read
* Easy to navigate
* Shows messages quickly from the phone to the watch
* Long battery life.
Those are the absolute requirements. The music player is desirable, but it has to be easy to operate, with obvious transport controls.
Other watches add things like browsing the calendar, weather forecast, stocks, or phone battery status - but the above list are the essentials that have to be right.
Pebble ticks every box.
That isn't to say that there's no room for improvement.
One problem I've had when testing Pebble is the intermittent failure of iOS notifications. This can happen when the Bluetooth connection is broken, forcing you to toggle certain notification settings on your iOS device. The Pebble team is hard at work with new firmware updates, however, and has recently dealt with a number of minor issues with the latest release.
The main launcher menu was also simplified in v1.9. Pebble says, "We've also made a lot of changes under the hood on the text rendering engine, making it easier and faster for developers to display text on Pebble."
At $150, Pebble is one of the most affordable smart watches available, and you can't go wrong with it. Even so, when you're laying out $150 for a wrist watch, a good question to ask is, "How is product support?" I'm pleased to say that @getpebble on Twitter and email support via the support button in the Pebble iOS app were both responsive to requests for help. Kudos to their social media team who responded in minutes on a Saturday evening.
All told, Pebble is absolutely worth the price of admission.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
- Good user interface
- Good screen legibility
- Ability to change bands/straps
- Lack of availability
- No out-of-the-box support for IFTTT and other external apps
Disclosure: the writer of this piece is a backer of the Kickstarter project.
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