Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pebble Smartwatch

Pebble reviews are plentiful due to the hype created by their Kickstarter success and the previously poor smart watch attempts by other manufacturers. I'll give my opinion on the matter and the product itself.

Pebble is currently under-featured, yet the potential remains high. The vision is what I bought. The possibilities of what this watch can do once the apps start to roll out will be awesome. Waterproof up to 5 ATM and contains a 3 way accelerometer? Yes. The fitness and "quantified self" communities will adopt en mass if this potential turns kinetic. I'd personally love to roll my FitBit functionality into this watch. Just want to point out that the FitBit is not waterproof(glare).

What I Like(aside from the aforementioned potential):
  • Increased battery life on my phone - This surprised me. I expected the Bluetooth link to eat my battery. While it is consuming power, the overall battery consumption has dropped by ~15% due to the fact that I can glance at my wrist for the time and notification statuses. No longer lighting up that power hungry phone screen.
  • Controlling music from that watch - fiddling with a lockscreen to change tracks while running will end in an injury or a destroyed phone sooner or later.
  • Vibrating alarm - no more waking up the spouse or kid with an audible alarm in the morning.
  • Customizable watch faces - I made my own that shows the Date, Time, Unread SMS, Unread GMail, Phone battery % left
  • Notifications - Not needing my phone on me all of the time. I have Google Hangouts, Wunderlist tasks, Evernote reminders, Calendar reminders, all hitting the watch if I need to be attending to something or someone wants to chat.
  • Safety increase - I no longer have to ignore my incoming communication while driving. You know that you are guilty of picking up your phone to see who is calling or texting or even what alert is going off. Now, a split second glance at the Pebble tells me all I need to know and I never had to take my hands off the steering wheel.
  • Peace and quiet - My phone is on silent so often now, I was taken by surprise when it played a notification sound when I left the volume up from YouTube link I clicked on earlier.
  • A short range flashlight - A quick flick of the wrist lights up the back light, which is great for navigating back to bed after getting up in the middle of the night or trying to get your key in the front door deadbolt if the porch light isn't on.

What I Dislike:
  • The wrist band - an adjustable silicone strap that is comfortable due to being soft yet doesn't breath at all. I found that the size I needed for my wrist was not accommodated. I fell between two size slots built into the band. I bought this adjustable band in place, Chums The Band and I have been much happier.
  • Proprietary charging cable - While I do love the magnetic connection, I do think that the same technology(micro-pulse signaling) could have been applied to at least an adapter to standard phone chargers.

What I will love - Coming Soon:
  • GPS/Compass readout - great for running or hiking.
  • Parking location indicator - readout showing the direction back to your car and how far away it is would be awesome for city life, or even getting back to your car if hiking an unknown trail.
  • Digital Pedometer - listed above, but will be something I will love

Pebble has more in the win column with me currently. Their price point will become more justifiable once the apps start increasing functionality. Their supply shortage is hurting adoption for a lot of people. 

I recommend the Pebble smartwatch.