April 11th 2012 10:49 am

final rating

reviewed on
this review has been viewed 3423 times

Criteria Comments Rating
  • Features So far the watch, SMS notifications, and RunKeeper integration seem to be the highlights for me. poor
  • Display The screen is relatively easy to see. There is a slight oil-slick like sheen that occurs at certain angles. so-so
  • Battery life So far I have not had to charge the unit for the past 5 days. On and off usage for a typical 10 hour day. good
  • Ease of use Four buttons and easy to remember their functions. Buttons are a bit too stiff and don't always register presses. good
  • Storage capacity No comments
  • Design and form factor The size seems just right. Smaller and less garish than a G-Shock and better looking than the Martian. good
  • Portability (size / weight) Good size for a 1st gen "Smartwatch" My old Fossil Palm watch was heftier than this. good
  • Durability Really wish they didn't have the entire front covered in glass. I had to scrape off a slight bit of excess glue from the edges of the unit out of box. poor
Detailed review
My first foray into the SmartWatch scene was with the Fossil Wrist PDA running Palm OS 4.1.2.
I wore it for a full year before the hassle of charging and syncing every day wore me out.
Ten years later and I wanted to see if things have changed. The Pebble watch caught my eye and I finally broke down and purchased one from my local Best Buy.

I convinced myself the main things this watch will need to do well for me to keep it are:
Decent battery life and screen
RunKeeper compatibility
Notifications for SMS and Calendar
Decent back light
Consistent connection to my phone.

The watch hits most of these items.
So far, this watch is able to last through 5 days of use, I haven't lasted through the whole 7 days, but I don't think that it would be a stretch to see this make it through.
The screen is nice and crisp but at certain angles, as mentioned in their support forum, certain lighting conditions and angles cause an annoying discolored look to the screen. I guess it's normal for a curved glass screen to do this on an LCD, but I can see why other Smartwatch companies are keeping the screen flat. It's annoying tilt the screen to just the right angle and I find myself doing this fairly often to look at the screen.

RunKeeper works in that it shows me my Time, Distance, and Pace. Somehow this just didn't seem enough for me. It does what it's supposed to do and has a nice feature where you can pause/resume your run, but that was is. I just wished it could also cycle through different font sizes or additional information like the amount of calories burned and average min/mile time.

I do like the Notifications for SMS, and the ability to answer calls was nice. No calendar intergration in iOS yet. I get too many emails, so I didn't try the Email notification.
I do wish there was an option other than small, and large for the font size.
Adding a medium size and bold to the display font settings would do wonders for the limited space on the screen. Small is just too tiny to read while trying to navigate walking and reading. Large just becomes comical and I have to scroll through large sets of text.

The back light is nice and even and I do like the option to flick my wrist twice to turn on the display, but it just stays on for far too short. It would be nice to have the option to control the back light time as I find myself pressing the keys again or flicking my wrist to turn on the light again.

I downloaded the awesome Futura and Roboto watch apps. They both show the weather and update every 30 minutes, or so I'm told. The watch seems to always disconnect or stop updating weather and the watch will vibrate when it reconnects to the application.
I do wish the watch would have an option to alert when the watch becomes disconnected like some of the other watches coming out.

The buttons are large enough to press, but sometimes I feel I have to press at just the right angle or slightly off center for it to register.

The watch came in a smaller box than what was originally shipped with when it came out. But when I took the watch out. I could already see the bits of glue that was pressed out of the sided of the watch and had to scrape it away. Not very comforting after spending $149.
I wish the screen was slightly recessed and flat. The glass screen already shows some slight scuffs and I hate to have to buy a screen protector for my watch. My Casio Illuminator for $20 went nearly two years before I got a scuff on it. This thing is only 5 days old.

I have another week to see if this will stay on my wrist or go back to the store. It feels like a $99 watch in term of features and build. The Pebble app community seems to be growing, but I don't think it's just what I'm looking for right now. It does what I was expecting, but I think I want to be wowed by it.
review history
Edited comment on Features
Updated detailed review