[REVIEW] Pebble Time


Dec 25, 2011
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Battery In A Functional World
So the first question is, why buy a Pebble when you can get an Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei, or other smart watch? Well, none of them have the battery life Pebble has. Even the Pebble Time with its colorful e-paper display has a great deal of battery life. Pebble claims up to seven days of battery life, but I never saw more than four days myself. Then again, I've never seen longer than a single day on my Apple Watch. The best part is the Pebble Time costs a fraction of what its competitors do. Why else would you want a Pebble over the competition though? That's easy enough too, you don't need all the bells and whistles. Pebble is great for getting notifications, and the Pebble Time is most definitely no exception. Granted my Apple Watch was on the watchOS 4 beta, and my iPhone the iOS 11 beta, but the Pebble Time consistently received notifications before my Apple Watch. Now it was only a second faster, but faster nonetheless. Faster than Apple's watch working with Apple's phone on Apple's software in Apple's ecosystem. I found that mildly entertaining.

While many of the top contenders for smart watches have activity applications built in, the Pebble Time only has a pedometer. No heart rate sensor or anything, just a pedometer. So if you're looking for a watch to help track activity, the Pebble Time isn't going to be the best option. I have also found the Pebble Time pedometer to be...generous. Side by side with my Apple Watch, the Pebble Time would tell me I walked a good deal more than my Apple Watch did. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that even though I'm comparing the Pebble Time to Apple Watch, I did miss the simplicity of the Pebble. I had a Pebble Steel before getting my Apple Watch, and I would still be quite happy using a Pebble even today. The Pebble Time may not have an all aluminum body, metal buttons, or even a touch screen, but the way Pebble handles the usage of the four buttons on the Time is great. On one side of the Time you have essentially the home button, this will take you back one screen in the menus and if you're on a notification it will take you back to your watch face without clearing the notification. The other side has an up, down, and select button. Up and down move you through options and change volume and the select button will select the currently highlighted option. From any notification, holding the select key will clear all notifications at once, and the up and down keys will scroll through your notifications, this is called Timeline.


I'm not a fan of the watch band that comes with the Pebble Time; it's more of a classic rubber band that you will find on any cheap watch. It also has the same issues as any cheap band on a cheap watch. Pebble though does use a standard watch band connection so you can change your watch band with any other standard size watch band, no proprietary connections there. I mentioned the e-paper display earlier, and the difference between e-paper and e-ink is that e-paper has color. The colors are a little more dull and faded than an LED or LCD screen, but it is also much more battery efficient. One of the drawbacks to e-paper that you will notice is that it can be hard to see in sunlight. E-ink is great in sunlight because it's black and white, but the dull faded color on e-paper will be easily be overrun by sunlight. I found myself having to use my hand as a shield to read the display outside. One of the stranger points of a Pebble is with notifications. On iOS you can have notifications on or off, there really is no way to fine tune them. Also on iOS, if you clear a notification from the Pebble, it will not clear on your iPhone, but if you clear the notification from your iPhone it will clear on the Pebble. There are also some apps that won't work on iOS but do work on Android.

One of those apps that works on Android that I have used in the past is Notification Center. This is an app I loved because I could set it up to clear notifications by shaking my wrist. That is an action that doesn't work with iOS. Contrary to iOS, clearing a notification on Pebble with Android will indeed clear the notification from your phone. All in all, a Pebble will be much more functional overall on Android than iOS, but any built-in functions and features will work with both platforms. When I initially set up my Pebble Time with my Moto G5 Plus, I did get a notification that I should install Android Wear to have it work with Pebble. I did that, and I didn't notice anything different, or any options I could use within the Android Wear app. Maybe I didn't read the notification properly, but I'm not sure what benefit installing Android Wear has with the Pebble Time. All in all though, if you don't need or want all the features of an expensive smart watch, the Pebble Time is definitely something to consider. The Pebble Time is also waterproof up to 30 meters, and Pebble says not to press the buttons underwater so the seal isn't broken.


The Good
  • Affordable
  • Long battery life
  • Water resistent

The Bad
  • Not as great with iOS
  • Proprietary charger
  • Not as functional as competition


So you want a smart watch, but don't want to spend $200+ on one and don't need or want all the fancy features of the more expensive watches. Pebble has your back. Pebble has a wide variety of watches and various price points. The Pebble Time was the first to use the e-paper display and while it doesn't work great outdoors is an otherwise pretty nice screen. I would definitely recommend a Pebble to someone who isn't looking for a lot of features or is curious about a smart watch and doesn't want to spend the money of big name smart watch. I would also note that Pebble works better with Android than iOS, especially considering the Pebble can't clear notifications on an iPhone. It's still worth taking a look at, and you can get some good deals online, I bought my Pebble Time for $50 on Amazon during a sale. So here is the Amazon link. Take a look and decide for yourself if it's worth the cost.
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