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26 Mar

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Pebble – first impressions

March 26, 2013 | By |

It’s too early for a final verdict, but I wanted to share some of my early impression of the Pebble watch while they’re still fresh. I got the watch about 24 hours ago.

For those not familiar with it, Pebble is a so-called smart watch (meaning it connects to a smartphone and, indirectly, to the web), with some built-in sensors and an e-ink display. It was crowdfunded via Kickstarter, where it received some USD10m or so in funding, and just now the first batch has been delivered to the backers. By now it can also be ordered online on getpebble.com, but it might take awhile for them to scale up production.

Pebble

Pebble

So, my impressions. What does Pebble feel like?

  1. The body design is, say, not exactly exciting, but clean and minimalistic and not too bulky, so that’s ok. The strap is made from black rubber, which seems decent quality as rubber bands go, but it still feels cheap. What can I say, it’s a rubber band. I’ll replace it first thing so the watch doesn’t feel like my first Swatch.
  2. The screen is e-ink, so it doesn’t take up much battery and is very easy on the eyes. That’s good. It also has a very low resolution, so the menus on the watch feel like they’re from the deep end of the 80s. Not so good. Functional, yes. A pleasure to use, not so much. As far as I can tell by now, you don’t need to spend much time in the menus.
  3. Connecting the Pebble to your phone is super simple. Absolutely no complaints there.

The big question of course is: How useful is it?

That’s the biggest question for me yet. I turned off all notifications except for calls, SMS and Whatsapp. So when the Pebble vibrates on my wrist, I know someone really wants to reach me.

So far, there aren’t many apps for the Pebble, but the developer kit has shipped by now, so I expect a bunch of apps coming out very soon. That’s really necessary. Right now, I can pause/play music from my watch and read (but not reply to) direct messages. And instead of reading text messages holding my phone in my left hand, I read them pressing a button on my watch with my right hand. That’s not enough.

But I have a hunch that once there are just one or two killer apps, I’ll happily wear it all the time. That is, as soon as I have a new, non-rubber strap on it.