Smartwatches

Pebble Time: Early impressions

Pebble Time: Early impressions
We aren't quite ready to run our full review, but Gizmag has some initial thoughts on Pebble Time
We aren't quite ready to run our full review, but Gizmag has some initial thoughts on Pebble Time
View 5 Images
We aren't quite ready to run our full review, but Gizmag has some initial thoughts on Pebble Time
1/5
We aren't quite ready to run our full review, but Gizmag has some initial thoughts on Pebble Time
Pebble still lacks a touchscreen, instead relying on four physical buttons for navigation
2/5
Pebble still lacks a touchscreen, instead relying on four physical buttons for navigation
We're handling the black (and Kickstarter) version of Pebble Time
3/5
We're handling the black (and Kickstarter) version of Pebble Time
The watch doesn't look elegant or luxurious, but it is cute – and consistent in its hardware/software design theme
4/5
The watch doesn't look elegant or luxurious, but it is cute – and consistent in its hardware/software design theme
The default band feels very cheap and rubbery
5/5
The default band feels very cheap and rubbery
View gallery - 5 images

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.

The default band feels very cheap and rubbery
The default band feels very cheap and rubbery

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 still lacks a touchscreen, instead relying on four physical buttons for navigation
Pebble still lacks a touchscreen, instead relying on four physical buttons for navigation

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

View gallery - 5 images
4 comments
Deadpan
One of the most advanced personal electronic devices we've ever developed and it features a face clock. smh
RehRek
I'm not as interested in your thoughts on fashion its not why I read this mag or the things it can't do as I am in the things that it can do... What does it bring to the table that the others don't. What did you love about it?
Here's the thing, if I cared what those other watches could do, I would have one... they are readily available to purchase. The problems with those watches is what keeps me from them. Short battery life, can't see it in the sun, a screen that's never on, disorganized UI, not water proof if at all, there are just too many big problems like those that make me look the other way. I'm not looking for a flashy toy, I'm looking for a smart watch that I can actually use.
I hope that your next review isn't as negative as this one.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Need stand alone watch phone with belt buckle proximity charger/battery.
sieler
The look and feel is fine ... but as an owner/user of the original Pebble, I find two main problems with the Pebble Time:
1. the charge cable is incompatible. this seems like a surprisingly bad decision on Pebble's part. The Pebble Time's connector is just a tiny bit smaller than the original's. It would appear that they could have used the original design, in terms of space/fit in the Pebble Time. Also, the cable falls off more easily than on the original Pebble, when charging.
2. the backlight seems weaker and in general is harder to use.
If you get a PT and you have an original Pebble (which you use with an iPhone), be aware: the tiny "startup guide" omits the most critical instruction of all: you need a DIFFERENT app than before! Sheesh! I wasted an hour trying to get the PT to "pair" with my iPhone and Pebble app before I stumbled over this :) Come on Pebble, how hard would it have been to update the original app to support both ... or to at least say "uh, hey, that there watch you're trying to pair needs the new "Pebble Time" app"?
The fact that the PT has some kind of voice control comes as a surprise to me. I'd supported it on KS because of the color ... hadn't realized voice control was available. Now to try to figure out how to use it :)