Pebble has been one of the few indie successes in the wearable game, which has quickly become dominated by large corporations with giant marketing and development budgets. You could even go so far as to say that Pebble helped create the wearable marketplace by being one of the first big name wearables and the fact that it came up through crowd funding. Now though it’s back with a new smartwatch, the Pebble Time. Can it stand up to its predecessor and offer something worthwhile for those that are considering an upgrade?
The Pebble Time is another Kickstarter success, raising over $20 million from 70,000+ backers. It is however a bit more advanced than its older brother, coming with a colour display. While that might make some people suck their teeth in fear that this will lead to the same battery life issues as other wearables, they needn’t be worried. This one is capable of lasting for up to seven days at a time, though depending on usage it may be a little less than that.
It also features a new operating system, that is faster and more featureful than before, and has a built in microphone, so if you want to have conversations with your wrist like a secret agent, it’s now doable.
Built in sensors for orientation and fitness tracking include a tri-axis accelerometer, compass and an ambient light sensor and it’s water resistant up to 30 metres. Wireless connectivity is handled over Bluetooth 4.0 LTE.
The Pebble Time also comes in a Steel variant, which has a more powerful battery capable of providing up to 10 days of life. That means it’s a little thicker, but only by a millimetre. It also has a steel and leather strap, versus the standard silicon of the Time.
At the time of writing you can pre-order the Time for $200 (£130) though it was available for $180 during the Kickstarter.
While most seem to like the faster Time hardware, the display is said to be a little hard to read indoors. The marketplace is also much more saturated now than when the original Pebble was launched, meaning that you may well find a better product for similar money if you look around.
The Pebble Time is a nice addition to Pebble’s line up of products, but when it comes to its next generation it’s going to need to do more to differentiate itself from the competition.