Always on

by Volker Weber

A photo posted by Volker Weber (@volkerweber) on

With the all the attention Apple Watch is getting, I should share how I am using a smartwatch.

I have tried more than a dozen wearables. The most extreme examples have been the clunky Microsoft Band and the very elegant Withings Activité. Somewhere in between have been fitness trackers with and without display. Most of them have not been waterproof and merely water resistant. Which is a different word for 'not waterproof'.

A couple of things I found to be important:

I came back to a Pebble in between all other wearables I tried. At first I could not really use it because it didn't work with Lumia, but I was on and off the iPhone, so I have used two different original Pebble in black and red, and two Pebble steel in matte black and stainless steel.

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Pebble has been the only one that solved all my concerns. It runs for almost a week. When I get the 20% charge warning, it will still work all day. I don't have to watch the battery level, ever. The display is always on. When I flick the wrist, its backlight comes on. It's a watch and a notification center. I can even answer notifications because it is Android Wear compatible. It could track steps, but I am already doing that on my phone. It couldn't track location, but again, that works beautifully on the phone. It would not work as a sports watch at all. Pebble has proven to be robust. And it's waterproof.

Which leaves just one thing: style. I like the red one because it is an honest plastic watch, much like the original Swatch was. And I like the stainless steel with leather band. The other two were OK-ish.

Would I like the Apple watch? Probably, but I would need to compromise. I find it prettier than the Pebble. And it would be more dominant than Pebble is. Withings was not playful enough, Apple Watch might be too playful.


Beautiful design, perfect build quality. A lot of bright minded decisions in UX/UI. Really like the smurf blue plastic band. Battery capacity is way better than expected. 42 is smaller than I thought it would be.
But: It's not the next big thing, no game changer. 2015 is not 2007.
It's a second screen for bulky phones.
As I stopped using notifications (except phone calls) on my phone lately, I am using the watch as a Fitbit Deluxe. And to know how late I am.
So if you're in notifications and became somewhat obsessed with step counters and such, you may want to get one.

Martin Kautz, 2015-05-01 19:53

Martin, the race is on. Pebble Time, Pebble Time Steel, Apple Watch, or Pebble Stainless Steel. We will see in a few months.

Volker Weber, 2015-05-01 20:10

Is the magic circus getting a Pebble Time Steel for testing?

Craig Wiseman, 2015-05-05 21:01

I have a really strong urge to get the Pebble Time Steel gold version, just to see if people even know how to tell the difference between it and the "ungodly" edition.

Craig Wiseman, 2015-05-05 21:02

Nothing to announce. But I am sure I will before you decide. And no, not gold.

Volker Weber, 2015-05-05 21:04

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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