Pebble Time: Early impressions

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We aren't quite ready to run our full review, but Gizmag has some initial thoughts on Pebble Time(Credit: Will Shanklin/Gizmag)

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Pebble's latest watch is launching in a wearable world that looks very different from the one its predecessors faced. Before running our full review, Gizmag has some early thoughts on the new Pebble Time.

Pebble Time is clearly a lower-end product than something like the Apple Watch or LG Watch Urbane. It has huge plastic bezels, a non-touch screen and a default band that feels flimsy, rubbery and cheap.

But it also reminds us what made Pebble a major player in the smartwatch space to begin with. First, the watch looks better than we thought it would: it isn't elegant, luxurious or jewelry-like in any way – but it is cute. The thick lines of that bezel and the border surrounding the screen bleed into the software's visual theme – making the design feel less like a cost-cutting necessity and more like a choice (which could be an illusion, but at least it's an effective one).

Its software is now organized as a timeline. From the main watch face, the down button (again, it relies on four physical buttons, as there's no touchscreen) moves forward in time, while the up button moves back. It's logical, but it might only make sense for people with busy schedules full of lots of calendar events. The process of getting back to missed notifications is actually a bit less straightforward than it was on older Pebbles.

Pebble Time also now has voice control, something no previous Pebble could do. Our early tests showed that it's pretty accurate – as well as fast. One annoyance is that, so far, we haven't found a way to reply by voice to a missed text. It only works if you want to respond to an alert right when it comes in (both Android Wear and the Apple Watch let you compose or reply to messages by voice at any time).

We'll have much more on Pebble Time in our full review, but our early impressions are that it could continue to fill a niche as a cheaper smartwatch. Its physical design looks almost childlike compared to something like the LG Urbane and its software is still more barebones than Android Wear and Watch OS, but for some people it will be all they need.

... mostly calendar-oriented people, as that timeline is heavy on sunrise and sunset times, but missing recent messages.

Product page: Pebble Time

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