My second generation Pebble, the color eInk smart watch from the folks at Pebble ( https://getpebble.com/) arrived. If you’re not sold on the idea of a Smart Watch the Pebble is a low cost way to find out. The original Pebble is $99. My DA review of the original Pebble is here. The new version, the Pebble Time, retails for $200, less than half the price of the least expensive Apple watch. The Samsung smart watch seems to range in price from $199 to $369.00.
As DA readers know, my Apple watch arrived before the new Pebble. I ended up giving the new Pebble to a family member, code named “Jonquil” for the purposes of this post. She is not technically adept and she hadn’t had a smart watch before. I decided to order the red Pebble Time, so in the pictures, be aware that was my choice not hers.
We had trouble getting the Pebble set up. The issue was partly user error, partly poor instructions from Pebble, and possibly partly an iPhone app store issue. The original Pebble came with an app, but that app is not compatible with the new Pebble. In searching for the app to download to her iPhone, the only Pebble app that was returned was the original Pebble app.
As an aside, I’m going to complain about rotten search results in the Apple app store. I have searched for and been unable to find apps I KNOW exist. So, I blame a lot of this on Apple. But I blame Pebble for not updating the description of the original app to prominently explain that it won’t work for a new Pebble. Basically, it was ridiculously hard to locate the correct app and get it installed.
I had to take over the attempt at installation, which ultimately required deleting the entire application and starting over. However, eventually, we got the correct app and an installation process that did not freeze the app.
Then it was absolutely as simple to set up as the original Pebble. Even Jonquil was able to get the watch communicating with her iPhone without assistance.
After that, Jonquil most wanted an activity tracker. We found Misfit, the app I used on the original Pebble, and she downloaded it without issue.
She’s been happily keeping track of her steps since.
The watch looks pretty spiffy, especially if you like red. It’s a little bigger than my Apple Watch. Jonquil is petite so the watch looks bigger on her wrist than it would on mine.
I’ve been really pleased that she’s enjoying the watch. It’s nice to give someone something that they end up liking a lot. Score.
In her words, “It’s fun!”
Jonquil really likes the watch, and she was also a skeptic. In fact, she was the sort of skeptic who feels a bit overwhelmed by technology—in other words, like lots of people. She happens to be a huge sports fan so one of the things she loves about it is getting game results and sports news on the watch. She has no trouble seeing the watch display, so I have to say that this watch is a total win.
It’s hard to convey the utility of a smart watch to people who haven’t experienced one, but “it’s fun!” is the sort of reaction that drives adoption beyond hard-core geeks. The fact that the Pebble Time comes at a relatively reasonable price is a huge benefit to everyone, including Apple.
Pebble Time vs. Apple Watch
The Pebble Time will do just about everything a smart watch should do, but the Apple Watch does it with beauty and elegance, and it does more. The haptic feedback of the Apple watch is one of my favorite things, but you can see my review of the watch here.
The Pebble Time display doesn’t seem as bright as it does in the pictures at the Pebble site, but it’s still nice and is a step up from the non-color display. The Pebble, of course, does not require that you have an iPhone. It will work with other phones, too.
If the cost of the Apple watch doesn’t make you feel faint, then you might as well start there. If you’re not sure, then the Pebble is a far less expensive entry point.