Since launching in 2013, the original Pebble has engraved itself in the wearable realm. With its simple, sporty design, it breached the fitness world. When the Pebble Steel was introduced, things got sexy. The best part: it was affordable.
Fast forward to 2015, and following the Kickstarter footsteps of its predecessor, the Pebble Time is here. And it’s just what it needs to be, for the most part.
Sleek, stylish and small
With the Pebble Time you won’t find the bulk that’s present with the Moto 360, the larger Apple Watch or the LG G Watch R. It’s not a device trying to be a watch, it is a watch, and it doesn’t take up too much of that precious wrist real estate. It’s thin, and the form factor is comfortable and doesn’t grasp at your ever-so-sensitive arm hair.
Presented in technicolor
What many (myself included) loved about the original Pebble was its electronic-ink screen. That fascinating tech found in all of Pebble’s products, as well as Amazon’s vanilla Kindle line, is just so darn basic and beautiful. But here, it’s in full, washed color. A simple, yet necessary addition.
One of the flagship bullet points of the Pebble Time campaign was a new feature called Timeline. This easy-to-read list brings weather, sporting events, reminders and more into a digestible format with the most fluid little animations you could ever imagine.
It’s affordable. Like, really affordable
For someone engraved in the Apple ecosystem, the Apple Watch is still a hard sell. What does it offer me? Will it break? Which model should I get? Pebble makes it easy. The base model starts at $199 and comes in three colors. You can change the strap, and there is a Steel version on its way sometime in the near future.
At its entry cost, the Time is $150 cheaper than the smallest, cheapest Apple Watch. While it faces some competition on the Android Wear side of things, its simplicity helps it outshine its touch-screen, LCD brethren.
Sure, everyone remembers pressing the crown on their wristwatch to make it light up just a little bit, but back then we were only telling time. Now, with Timeline, texts, weather and more, we need a bit more light than we’re used to. Not Game Boy snake light luminosity, but full, backlit brightness. Of course, that would mean a hit in battery life, which right now stands at a whopping seven days.
iPhone doesn’t play well with others
Though the Pebble Time boasts full compatibility with Android phones and iPhone 4S (you can get one too, Grandma!) or newer, it lacks some features on iOS that users will find on Android. The biggest of which is the ability to respond to text messages with voice.
For the first time on a Pebble product, there’s a microphone on your wrist, but if you have an iPhone you can’t quite use it yet.
For a device as simple as it is, where are all of the apps? There are some, like ESPN and Yelp, available through the Pebble app store, but as of July 2015 there is not an official Twitter or Facebook app. It’d be nice to scroll through the latest news without having to take your phone out of your pocket.
For now, users can enjoy third-party apps that offer some of this capability.
– Simple, stylish design with downloadable watch faces and interchangeable bands
– Affordable entry price of $199 for base model
– A week of battery life
– Color screen with Timeline, a new way to look at your day
– Backlight leaves a bit to the imagination
– iPhone support isn’t at full power
– Lack of apps, but can still track fitness and control music
Should you buy it?
If you’re in the market for a nice, new piece of tech that can become part of your everyday life, then yes, the Pebble Time is for you.
It’s what smart watches should strive to be: Not much more than a watch at a not-so-insane asking price. Smart watches may not be catching like wildfire, but maybe that’s because we need less, rather sturdy features more than the ability to send hearts and emojis to each other.
The Pebble Time is, well, worth your time.