As if Pebble needs any more publicity.
This Kickstarter darling raised more than $10.2 million from almost 69,000 customers taken with the concept – an e-ink watch that talks to your Android or iPhone, alerting you of phone calls, texts, emails, and generally reappropriating your wrist as a window into your smartphone.
What about apps, you ask? It’ll run apps too.
The promise here seems twofold. First, it’s a watch in every conventional sense, displaying the time without breaking a sweat. Second, it keeps you more engaged as you no longer have to remove yourself from a social situation to check a ringing phone. A quick glance at your wrist is all it takes now to see if you absolutely must take that incoming call or return that text message.
Appearance and design
Pebble is as comfortable as any watch I’ve ever worn. After a couple hours I had forgotten I was even wearing it, and I’d consider that a credit to the design – who wants to be consciously aware of a giant miracle watch occupying his body’s real estate? The Pebble is unobtrusive and low-key enough that people won’t be asking you about it unless they already know what it is.
I loved the e-ink display, which proudly shows perfectly legible time and menu options in even the most direct sunlight. Navigating these menus with the three buttons on the right side of the watch is easy as well. The top and bottom buttons move you up and down and the middle selects whatever option you have highlighted.
For those instances when you need to know the time in pitch black darkness, Pebble is backlit. Just touch the button on the left or give your wrist a small shake to activate the light.
The face of the watch is larger than a conventional watch, but much smaller and discreet than other smartwatches I’ve seen. I found the larger-than-usual size to be perfect for navigating and reading menus, so I have no complaints there.
I considered Pebble to be instantly-accessible portal to my iPhone. In this sense, it does one thing well and that’s all it takes for me to get on board. When someone calls, my phone rings as it normally would, except now I have caller ID on my wrist. When someone texts, I can read the incoming message without even touching my phone.
Pebble also vibrates, meaning you never have to worry about not feeling your phone vibrate in your pocket. I loved that aspect of it.
The customizability here is great as well. A number of custom watchfaces are ready for download. I imagine many, many more will be on the way since the company recently released its watchface API, letting people create their own ways of displaying time.
Best of all, the Pebble lasted about two days on a charge for me, much longer than your smartphone.
An app API is on the way, which will let people create their own watch apps that can be bolstered by your smartphone’s capabilities. For runners, your phone’s GPS could track your total distance covered and display your mileage on your watch, for example.
But until this happens, Pebble’s functionality is slightly basic. You have to decide if its current abilities are enough to merit the $150 pre-order.
Should you buy it?
If you’re down with Pebble’s current functionality (a dashboard for your phone), then this is a great purchase. Grab it here for $150.
If you expect more from a watch at that price, you’d do well to wait until its app ecosystem takes off to see what developers can come up with.