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Pebble Steel - Week One

Pebble Steel with Leather Wristband
Smartwatches are definitely a piece of technology that no one needs. That being said, it's a piece of technology that almost everyone can use. Assuming, of course, that you have the right phone!

Last Saturday, Amanda presented me with a Pebble Steel. I've been wanting to dive into the world of smartwatches but it wasn't until Black Friday that we finally pulled the trigger on one of them.

Setup

Nothing to it at all. The watch paired to my Nexus 6 without any issues and the instructions were clear enough that anyone could get setup. You don't need any expert knowledge on this one.

Apps

Now here's the big shocker. I haven't downloaded squat for the watch outside of the official Pebble app from Google Play on my Nexus 6. Since then the device has worked without any other tinkering. It shows me notifications for e-mail, text, hangouts, etc. without any special configuration outside the few setup steps in the Pebble App. 

There's a lot of health kit options in the app store, but I haven't bothered downloading a single one.

Watchfaces

I did download a handful of watchfaces, but ended with a simple design that gives me the time and temperature.

Wristband

I was under the impression that the watch only came with the leather wristband, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that mine came with both the black leather and the metal wristbands. I had planned on dropping another $20 for a new band but now I don't have to worry about it! I'll note here that I got mine directly from Pebble, so maybe that plays into it somehow?

Using the Device

Head's up: it's a watch. The truth of the matter is, most of the time the device is good for two things:
  • Time
  • Temperature
As a tech guy the watch has a lot of other benefits, but let's be honest here... the two things listed above are the primary reasons you will look at your wrist. That being said, having a quick glance to know the time has saved me the effort of pulling my phone out of my pocket about 100 times this week.

Now, those heavy hitters out of the way, I'll go on to praise the other things this watch has done for me:
  • Text Messages
  • Hangouts
  • Mail
  • Phone Calls
So, these are super helpful for a few reasons. E-mail is a plus because it helps me get a quick glance at those annoying messages that I don't care about. For those, I don't have to pull my phone out thinking I have a new message waiting for me. That's probably about another 50 pocket fetches of my phone removed this week.

Most importantly, SMART LOCK has saved my life.
As an Android user, I don't like going through multiple swipes just to unlock my phone. In the new release of Android, users can setup a smart lock to work with their smart phone so that the screen will remain unlocked when in connection range to the external device. That has saved me about 1000 swipes across my screen this last week alone. I am overjoyed by this function.

Comfort

The leather band was quite comfortable, but I wanted the metal wristband because I have a small wrist and knew that with the metal band I can get a better fit. I got it to what was probably a little too loose of a fit, but figured that I could get used to it. Unfortunately, when I went to work the next day I was suddenly in great pain as the metal band was ripping hairs out like it wanted to clear my entire arm of hair by the end of my work shift. So, after getting home that night I took out one more metal piece and the band fit much better... probably a little too tight to be honest, but I'm not losing any arm hairs now.

Size

The watch is actually much smaller than I thought. Every article I read on the internet prepared me to unbox a hideous watch that would gobble up my entire wrist. The Pebble didn't come across that way at all once I had it out of the box. In fact, I would be willing to bet that my Nixon watches are bigger than the Pebble.

Recommendation?

If you're looking for a watch that will let you know what's up on your phone then I think the Pebble is a TOP contender. In fact, if you're using iOS until the Apple Watch hits next year it's one of your ONLY options.

I was fortunate enough to be gifted an LG G Watch (Android Wear) for the holidays this year and I've put Amanda to the test on using it with her own Android phone to see what kind of interesting tidbits she might get from it. The Android Wear smartwatches start around the $199 window, which matches up with a normal priced Pebble Steel. 

Personally, I think that the market has to come down on pricing with these devices. If this Pebble Steel was $129 I would shout to the world that everyone should pick one up for the holiday season, but for $200 it's hard to justify the purchase by telling yourself that the biggest benefit is pulling your phone out of your pocket less each day.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for a new watch anyway? Give the Pebble Steel some attention. It's a great looking time piece and it can keep you informed of what's happening on your phone even when you can't be bothered to look for yourself. 


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