After more than a week of Pebble ownership it’s definitely as awesome as I hoped it would be pending the inclusion of further apps and watch-faces. Having already covered the basics of that initial moment of acquiring the watch and first use (I should note that the Pebble support team did respond to my premature pleas of anguish via email and had found the blog post to ascertain that I was in fact okay and happy with my Pebble).
On battery life – mine’s been happily running non-stop since I charged it overnight from Sunday to Monday. So that’s almost a full week of use, I did have a strange screen issue where the display had become scrambled in the middle of the week. I wondered if that might be a flat battery, but it wasn’t as I shut down and switched on the watch and it’s been normal ever since. So that’s pretty impressive stuff in my book!
Having your phone constantly connected via Bluetooth inevitable rinses the battery more than it would if you didn’t (well, duh!). Generally I have my phone plugged in in the car as part of my music/navigation set up anyway, and will often have it plugged in at work or at home. If you’re going to be out and about for extended periods without the opportunity to charge then you are going to struggle (as, in fairness, you would without the Pebble connection for many Smartphones).
It’s easy enough just to pop Bluetooth off on your phone for a spell, your Pebble will retain the time quite happily – obviously you will miss out on notifications or music control but you will have a functioning timepiece which is of course the primary function. With festival season upon us too it’s good to know it will comfortable go a long weekend on a single charge, indeed, if you disabled Bluetooth on the watch too in the settings I’m assuming you’d extend the battery life a bit on the watch too.
I’ve definitely preferred the text-based watch faces and the Wordsquare one I chose for my previous post wins, I also rather like this one – called ’91 Dub’ it has a deliciously retro vibe that reminds me of the first watches I regularly encountered at school. The drawback of the word-based faces is the lack of accuracy as it rounds time to five minutes (fine for day to day, less so if you’re timing a pizza cooking in the oven!). That’s where switchability of watch faces is rather useful.
On notifications, texts and iMessages worked right away for me, subsequently tweaking my notification settings on my iPhone seems to have also enabled email notifications on my Pebble too. In both cases the sender, subject (for emails) and body text is displayed on the screen and is scrollable. It’s understandably truncated for larger messages. I’m not sure how I managed to activate email notifications, but my primary account has banners enabled on my phone which seems to translate through to the watch.
Other notifying apps like Facebook or Twitter don’t pass through to the watch (which is probably a good thing considering frequency!). In future firmware updates it would be nice to be able to choose which notifications to receive on the watch itself, with a list of those available selectable through the settings menu. It’s a nice-to-have really though rather than a deal breaker – but at the moment it seems you have an all-or-nothing option (the VIP option in iPhones is good here – you could disable notifications for all emails except those you deem important).
Considering the primary function of a mobile phone is, well, a phone I receive a tragically small number of calls. In an age where text-based communication seems to be preferred (I prefer it too, admittedly) – the only calls I’ve had have mostly been from blocked numbers, the one I received from a contact in my address book displayed the number initially then resolved the name of the contact from my phone, as well as the type of number I’d classified in my contacts, and remains as a flag if you miss the call.
Once firmware tweaks kick in (a battery life status option somewhere would be useful – although I’m now comfortable that I could have a weekly charge cycle) and additional apps and watch-faces start to filter through and the Smartphone app evolves to cope with this extra functionality then the watch could continue to throw in a few new surprises, but as it stands it’s a robust bit of kit both in terms of hardware and software and well worth the money and wait for it.
My colleague Ade picked his up last week too so I will be comparing notes with him when he’s back in the office next week, but he’s certainly not sent me loads of messages asking for support so I’m going to assume he’s been having a similarly happy time with his Pebble!