Times a-changin’: Pebble reinvents the wristwatch

Bluetooth can be switched off if needed, putting the smartwatch into what is essentially a flight mode, so you can check your wristwatch on an aeroplane, instead of just switching it off.

We’re also fans of being able to change the design of the watch, even if we’re relying on the ideas other people are generating.

Three faces are built into the watch, with two text based and one analogue model always there and not possible (at this time) to be removed.

Domo eats the clock. NOMS!

The more code friendly people out there will no doubt embrace the SDK and start working on their own watch faces, and as of the time this was published, there were 342 designs outside of the included three for you to install.

Apps can also be installed, and already some smart cookies have come up with games such as Tetris, Asteroids, a tiny version of Pong, a calculator, timer, and metronome that you can use.

Seeing that you can turn your watch into a tiny game and app station is pretty impressive, but then changing your watch face with a simple push of an up or down button is very cool, too.

And seven days of battery life isn’t bad, either. We managed about a week after a full charge, though two of those days were spent disconnected from a smartphone while we reviewed another handset.

Basically, expect five days of constant use, and if you ditch the reminders, a full week.

Depending on the light, reading the watch can be difficult, especially in comparison to an analogue watch.

Looking at your watch can be strange, and thanks to the overly reflective watch glass, some situations make the LCD harder to read than you might expect.

While we hear that the screen is based on electronic paper technology, the normally light resistive technology doesn’t quite match an overly reflective screen, and depending on the type of light you have, your experience can range from fantastically readable to moving somewhere better than where you are.

Build quality is a mixed bag, though.

On the one hand, the plastic casing holding all the parts is solid, the cover glass looks quite resistant to scratches and knocks, and the overall wristwatch feels like it should last a few years, but then there are the tell-tale signs inside the watch.

This is the Bluetooth device selection screen, and yet the way we shot it, we can see odd oil-like marks under the screen.

Looking down at the screen in different types of light, you might see the glue mark under the LCD – or what we think are the glue marks – as they resemble oil slicks, and there is no way we’ve spilled anything remotely close to that on this watch.

It’s enough to make you worry that you have a defective product, but seems closer to a first generation flaw, and is something we truly hope is ironed out in subsequent generations of the Pebble Smartwatch.

The buttons can be hard to push at times too, often with delayed responses, but then bugs are the other flaw in the Pebble equation, with some of the lagged reactions in Pebble crashing the watch.

These crashes generally take between five and ten seconds to clear, and often just result in the watch resetting itself, but in other instances, you find the software renders all the text too small to read and you need to reset it, or the watch just becomes slow and unresponsive for a period.

Ultimately, Pebble is a new product, and with credit to the team working on it, patches and updates are rolled out regularly, meaning fixes for these issues can happen without you realising it, but until everything is ironed out, these are things to be aware of.


Technically, the Pebble is a limited release first-generation product, so while this is a review, it’s worth noting that you can’t actually go online and buy this device. Rather, the makers of Pebble used the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter to allow early investors to help them fund the exercise and subsequently purchase one of these early time keepers.

At the moment, the makers of Pebble are gearing up for a proper release of the product this year (from what we hear), and while we suspect there will be some changes, the device we’ve looked at probably won’t be too far off.

We’re looking forward to more features being unlocked by Pebble and other developers in the coming years, and our first glimpse of this was an app for Android that practically messaged us with every notification: weather, email, Gmail, Twitter, etc.

Other apps will communicate too, including golfing and fitness apps, and we’re particularly keen to see how the Pebble can become even more informative.

Still, it won’t be for everyone. Some people just want a watch to be a watch, and for those people, there’s always the option to have zero notifications on anything, and just a changing the look if they so choose, or not as the case may be.

For us, it’s a neat concept that shows what the future could hold, and we can’t wait to see what the second generation of Pebble has planned, and if it will be the start of the changing face of watches everywhere.


Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Neat concept; A watch you can change the look of whenever it suits; Easily controlled by both iOS and Android; Works really well as a wireless music controller; Flight mode (by switching Bluetooth off) means you can use your computerised watch during flights;
Glue marks for the screen show up under different light sources and look like oil marks; Buggy; Buttons can be less responsive than you'd otherwise like;