It’s been a long time, and finally, exactly when I forgot about it, my Pebble Time arrived. Because the web is full of people excited to review this product, I decided to wear one for 2 weeks before writing this post… and my review is probably different than the others.
During these weeks it was nice to have a device on my wrist that is able to do things rather than just do one single and simple thing: showing the time. I have to admit that the Pebble Time is doing it in a great way: all the custom watchfaces created by people from all around the world are just perfect. My favorite one is the Super Mario one, because I am a real nerd and Nintendo fan. 🙂
The packaging that they used for the kickstarter campaign is really minimal: a box with written on “It’s time”. That label was enough to make me happy, that finally it arrived… but after few hours of usage, I realized that all that excitement just started melting away…
From the hardware side the e-paper display makes everything different: The battery lasts really for days, and the glass seems to be very durable. I was able to use for 4 days at maximum, but my average is of 3 days, since I use it to check-in on Swarm and to track my activities and sleep. The wrist, mine is made out of ribbon, is soft and comfortable but after 2 weeks its all ruined and consumed by wear… and I was expecting this from a longer time of usage!
Besides that, the software is nice to use, but because of a lack of developers and interest in this device (probably due to more appealing competitors), the apps available and useful are really few. The time-line based notification center is really helpful: meetings, weather, alarms and some Pebble Time apps notification are more accessible with that “past-present-future” sorted list… but it not enough. The integration works fine with Android, but not with iOS: I am not able to reply or take a decision from the Pebble Time, but I can only read them and this forces me to take the iPhone anyway.
I have to admit that this device is kinda-useful. Probably we are still waiting for a better understanding of what it means to us to interact with a smart watch: To use it I need 2 hands and it is just tracking my steps instead of showing me some more information about my body. It’s not enough. The Pebble Time is great to read information and perform some basic actions through the few apps available. Even if the bigger winning feature over the competitors is the battery, this device seems made by nerds for nerds… and it is not a game changer.
Linus Torlvalds once said this interesting quote:
There are a lot of people in the software industry who like to show off that they’re using the latest software or programming language. It’s a status thing, like the people who talk about obscure indie bands or foreign movies. Whether it’s Linux or Haskell or MongoDB or whatever, every workplace has at least one guy who spends most of his time talking about closures and how he is moving his blog to NodeJS so it will scale.
At the moment the smartwatches are not ready yet, from my point of view: after wearing one for 2 weeks, and after thousands of people asking me “is it an Apple Watch?” I understand that we are at the very beginning of something bigger. Nowadays people don’t know these kind of devices… or probably they never saw one so they don’t know how to use them.
Therefore my decision of buying a Pebble Time instead of an Apple Watch, is based on the battery life and the fact that probably the next versions of the Apple Watch will make more sense for our everyday life and social interactions as the iPhone is today.