- Steve Kovach, Business Insider
Design quirks aside, I think Pebble has pulled off something none of the big companies exploring smartwatches have been able to do.
While there were smartwatches before it, the original Pebble was the first one to catch on with the mainstream public. Three iterations later and the Pebble Time is no longer the only smartwatch on the market. While the Time does sport updated features, for the most part experts point out that it doesn't stray too far from its predecessors. Still, they have made several updates to its design. In contrast to the taller design of the original, the Time has a more square watch face surrounded by a relatively thick bezel. The body itself is thinner overall with a slight curve that allowed it sit comfortably on experts' wrists. Like its predecessor, it does not have touchscreen capability, instead opting for four physical buttons to navigate the various menus and apps. Besides the stainless steel bezel, the rest of the watch is made of plastic from the bands right down to the case. While this allows the Time to be quite light at 42.5 grams, it also lends to what critics describe as a toy-like quality. Despite the non-premium materials, it is quite durable as it is water-resistant and also has a coating of Gorilla Glass to protect the display.
The second generation Pebble comes with an upgraded display. Replacing the old black and white screen is a new color e-paper display. While this is a welcome addition, it only displays 64 colors not the millions an Apple Watch does. Experts found the colors to be fairly muted, but add that is not unexpected given the nature of the screen. They do praise its bright light legibility thanks to the always-on display. They only ran into problems during low light situations as the backlight was not particularly bright nor did it stay activated for very long.
The other biggest update to the Time is the addition of a water-resistant microphone, which is placed below the right buttons. Reviewers quickly discovered its uses were fairly limited. When paired with an Android phone they were able to dictate responses to messages. Unfortunately, they could not activate it whenever they wanted to perform commands like Google searches.
While the hardware changes are the most obvious upgrades, the biggest change is to its software. The Time centers its interface around the idea of a timeline, allowing experts to easily see their day to day calendar events or anything else they've pinned such as the weather for the next day or an upcoming sports game. In general, critics praised this new interface but found scrolling through the calendar via buttons a bit clunky. As well, many found the addition of animations in between each screen a bit tiring as it took a bit of time to execute, further extending the load time of apps. Once they opened the apps though, they found it to be very responsive and snappy.
The Time might not beat out the other smartwatches in terms of display resolution, design or features, but where it does excel is its battery life. Unlike its competitors, experts were able to get a full week of life from a single charge. This makes it perfect for people going on multi-day trips and forgot to bring a charger. Tech Crunch states, "seven days on a single charge feels luxurious…At the very least, it's nice that forgetting top lug in at night won't mean you're definitely going to run out of juice the next day."
Reviewers hail the Time as a huge improvement over the original, but add that it likely will only appeal to a very niche audience. The Verge states, "…the Time is an accessory to your smartphone…For a lot of people…that's fine." CNET adds, "Pebble's simplicity still charms…It's a low-key smartwatch. It's not as forward-thinking as Apple Watch, but it's also a lot easier to recommend."
No questions for the moment.