Pebble Watch – review

Please keep in mind I have only had the watch for a few days. But with that:

So the Pebble watch, for those that don’t know, was a Kickstarter project to make a watch that connects via Bluetooth to your phone and passes along notifications as well as being able to control music and so on. So I backed it. I love watches. I love gadgets. This was perfect.

And well there was a delay but they built their theoretical schedule on selling 1,000 watches. They sold 80,000 so I understand the problem. Still.

The Pebble uses an e-ink screen so hooray for that. It has a lot of watch faces you can choose from and they say they will release a tool to create your own soon enough. Right now I am enjoying the text time watch face:


The watch isn’t overly large or bulky. It isn’t the sleekest thing in the world, either, but it certainly isn’t an ugly device.

The back of the watch has a nice “Kickstarter Edition” on it which is worth, well, exactly nothing. But it makes me laugh.

On the right side are three buttons. If the watch is just telling you the time any of the three will turn on the backlight for a few seconds. Otherwise they are (from top to bottom): Up, Select, Down.

The left side has a single button: Menu, as well as the magnets and nodes for the magnetic charger to attach to. The watch comes with a usb cable that mags on to the watch and charges it.

So what about the watch itself and the functionality?

When you get a text the watch buzzes and shows you the text. Same with Gmail. Here’s the thing:

It buzzes once and shows you the notification. If a second notification comes in it wipes the first and shows you the second. It can only display one and doesn’t hold any for future looks. I got two emails within a few seconds. Watch buzzed twice and showed me the second email.

If you get a notification and don’t look at it – it will vanish in a few minutes. Now, to be fair if you can’t look at the notification in a few minutes chances are you don’t care but you feel the buzz so you know something happened, anyway.

Phone notifications are not forwarding to the watch at all. I don’t know why. But the phone rings and the watch never displays anything. I don’t know why. I have removed the option and put it back and rebooted stuff but it doesn’t seem to get phone stuff right now.

Music control only seems to work with the Google music player. This was a problem for me as I was using DoubleTwist, but my reasons for using it specifically are moot so I can happily use the Google player instead and get the music controls.

Now here is a load of caveats for you: I am using a Samsung Galaxy Note II, on T-Mobile. I have, in looking at forums, seen people who have different problems that I don’t have and so on. But you need to remember this is a new device, with new firmware and hardware.

If you bought one you really should have known what you were getting – slightly experimental stuff. It isn’t perfect and will be hinky, but I knew that going in and I know they can fix most of this going forward with updates.

So in the end – there are issues. Some are nit-picky (I would change the font on the fuzzy time clock and reverse the black/white on all of them) and some are function issues (phone calls) but for all that it works within the parameters I expected – a 70% full functionality and reliability for now. Frankly it is somewhere up in the 90% range. Which is awesome.

Is it worth it for you to get one? Who knows. That’s on you. Just know what you’re buying first.

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