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Pebble smartwatch review

Smartwatches - must-have vision of the future, or simply an attractive accessory?


Compatibility • iPhone • iPad

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Available from:

Price: £110/$150

Evolution is a slow, but necessary, process. The Pebble smartwatch realises a future that was, without question, envisioned by the upper-middle class folk of the Sixties. Finally, the pager has leapt from the waistband and onto the wrist. The Pebble may not be the first commercial smartwatch to hit the market, but it is certainly the first to impress. Available in five colours, it features an easily replaceable wrist strap and offers customisable watch faces. Crucially, the Pebble effortlessly syncs with your iOS device via Bluetooth and handily pushes (among others) your phone, text, email, Facebook and Twitter notifications to your wrist. Oh, and it also tells the time.

For the tech enthusiast, it’s a must-have purchase – if only because there is no other product on the market that delivers the same service with such accessibility. In reality, many of the Pebble’s functions can be completed by simply pulling your phone out of your pocket – but once you spend some serious time with the smartwatch, you’ll wonder how you ever went without it. Screening calls while in meetings at work, reading incoming texts while out to dinner, or perhaps you want to skip a music track but are apprehensive about exposing your iPhone to the rain. The Pebble has you covered.

While the Pebble quickly integrates itself with your day- to-day life, that only goes to expose how limited this first- generation hardware release truly is. Notifications will only display up to four lines of text – and even then, there’s no local storage. Not yet, anyway. Pebble is releasing a dedicated app store in February, which will not only give easy access to all compatible applications and new Backlit screen Clicking the button to the left will illuminate the screen for a few seconds – or instead, simply raising the watch in a quick motion will also activate the backlight Watch faces While it comes pre-loaded with three out of the box, the community has been hard at work designing new watch faces. Get these through the Pebble iOS app watch faces – it will also bring the ability to retrieve notifications and messages after you’ve clicked off them. Sadly, there’s also no way to respond to text messages with pre-written responses, though this is likely an issue with Apple opening up its software to third-party developers more so than a misstep on Team Pebble’s part, but it is somewhat disappointing nonetheless.

Impressively, the Pebble manages to not only survive for the better part of a week after a charge, but you may even see your iPhone battery life increase, simply down to the fact that your phone isn’t being pulled out of your pocket every time it vibrates. The Pebble lets you know when something can be ignored or whether it requires your immediate attention.

It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and Pebble still has a long way to go in terms of app support, but it has taken the basic functionality of a pager and integrated it with what has become a natural extension of our lives – the iPhone. For what it lacks in scope and application, it makes up for with a massive amount of ambition. This is the first step towards smartwatches becoming the must-have accessory of the 21st Century – greatness surely awaits, but as we said before, evolution is a slow process.

Buy now?

Pros Easy to use, fantastic build quality – an exciting proposition

Cons Very limited, but the arrival of a dedicated app store will help

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