Pebble Time Steel hands on initial thoughts

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So here it is at long last. I’ve had my Pebble Time Steel a little over a week now and it’s time to discuss first impressions of the watch that does things differently.

Unboxing

The Pebble Time Steel ( which I’ll shorten to PTS from here on ) comes in fairly decent packaging. You can see the watch through the front of it and mine came with the grey leather band on. I was very fortunate to have my steel band included in the package but I understand many backers are still waiting for theirs. Included in the packaging is the magnetic charger, a leaflet on getting started and some stickers.

Set-up

This is very simple. Make sure you’ve got your bluetooth on first as this is how the PTS communicates with your phone. If you have an older device best check your phone is compatible before you consider buying one. Then head over to their Google Play Store or the App Store for iOS and download the Pebble Time app. Make sure you choose this one and not the app for the original Pebble or your PTS will not work!

The app nicely walks you through setting up and pairing the watch. You’ll be asked to choose an initial watch face ( Enigma is the one you’ll see in the photos ), some apps to get started with and then which notifications you want. Don’t worry about your choices as you can always go back and change them on your phone at any time. At some point there was a firmware update to do and again this was easy to do and nice to see its getting plenty of love and quick updates out of the gate. As luck would have it the watch got a new update for featuring Quiet Time and Standby modes as I wrote this!

Looks

My immediate impression was it looked solid and well constructed. Some photos I’ve seen made it look a bit cheap and perhaps these were not the finished consumer models because it looks much nicer in person. It has a reassuring weight to it so that it feels like a premium watch and the contoured back means that it’s really comfortable to wear. It’s light yet sturdy so its comfortable to wear all day and as its waterproof to 3 atmospheres and has Gorilla glass screen you can leave it on all day safe in the knowledge you can’t damage it easily.

The screen is lovely and clear and the screen doesn’t feel to recessed behind the glass. It’s a nice smooth curved finish to it as well although you’ll never have any need to touch the screen as you use buttons on the sides to control the watch. These buttons much to my relief look and feel nice. On the previous model I thought they stuck out too much and the alignment of them was often out. On my version they are all spot on and the edge of each button has a nice textured edge to make pressing them more reassuring. The up, next and down buttons on the right side are easy to use without even looking perhaps because the next button is ever so slightly more raised than the other two, just enough to make you aware where it is by feel alone. This is a subtle but clever piece of design.

Here is a selection of photos I’ve taken:

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The screen

My initial feelings about the screen were disappointing. When it’s not active and just showing the watch face the display seems pretty dull. Having said that you can still read it fine and this is just for telling the time, date and maybe a little more. It does make watch faces with vivid colours a let down as these look cool on your phone but then when you’re with the watch face without the back light it looks dull and lacklustre. Whilst the back light is just about bright enough and can be adjusted to be brighter it’s not going to blow your mind. The other down side of it is that when the backlight is on it washes out and changes the colours on-screen. As an example the red on my watch face becomes pink.

However perhaps part of the reason for the display sacrifices brings me nicely to the next point

Battery Life

I wasn’t expecting too much right away with the battery as it often takes time for battery life to settle and at first set up and subsequent days you tend to use your device a lot more than normal. As of writing my watch has only been recharged once in 11 days and currently stands at 40% so I suspect I have a few more days left on it yet. I found I was getting some notifications that I didn’t really need like that an app is updating or that I’d finished downloading a podcast so we’ll see what effect turning off those kind of notifications has.

So, with the caveat that its very early days, I’m pleased that I’m not a slave to the charger with yet another device. It really is a joy just to charge up once a week. Which reminds me, where is my charging cable?….

I think I’ll talk in more detail another in another post about the software as that’s a whole other topic and I’m still getting to grips with it and have two new features as of writing to check out!

I’m pleased to say I’ve managed to create a short video on the new Human v2 YouTube channel about the watch and the bands and I hope you enjoy it so please leave me a thumbs up and subscribe for more videos to come!

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Learning to use Pebble Time OS

2 Comments

  1. Looks much nicer with the steel band on! I’ve been using a Sony SmartWatch 3 for the last few months, and the PTS feels much more like a regular watch. I wish the bevel wasn’t as huge though, and it’s going to take me a while to get used to not having a touchscreen!

    • humanv2

      The bezel I am learning to live with and yes it feels odd not having a touchscreen but the buttons are lovely tackle and quick. One thing I will say is that its passing under the radar of most people. Nobody has really noticed or asked about it unless they have seen me interacting with it. Depends if you want to be noticed I guess. I’ve even had one person tell me it looked like something from a cheap market stall. If they’d taken more than a two second glance at it perhaps they may have changed their minds but you know what they say about first impressions!

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