Pebble Time vs Apple Watch

As regular readers of this blog will know I am a huge fan of the Pebble smart watch. So it was a great disappointment when the the company collapsed and the assets were bought by Fitbit. Pebble did at least return the money that had been pledged on Kickstarter for the next generation and, due to currency fluctuations, I actually received marginally more back than I put in. However, that’s not much consolation for not getting what was looking like a great watch.

For a few months I persisted with the Pebble Time but as time went on it developed, well, lets call them hiccoughs. These were particularly apparent with anything that required a link to the internet, like getting location on Swarm. I found myself resetting the Pebble app on my iPhone just once too often for my liking.

And then my wife bought an Apple Watch…

Never before had I been in a position where a member of my own family had a gadget before me! My position had always been that I was happy with my Pebble and who’d want a watch where you have to charge it every day even when the screen is blank most of the time? With Helen getting a watch my resistance was weakened and I started to take a closer look.

I quickly established that the decent watch straps are hideously expensive if bought through Apple and similar designs can be bought for less than a tenth of the price elsewhere. The next step was to decide between a series 1 and a series 2 watch and this too proved pretty easy – I have no use for a waterproof watch nor onboard GPS so a series 1 would be all I would need. So I ended up buying a series 1 in space grey which comes with a horrible black rubber strap which I replaced with a gunmetal link strap from Amazon.

The transition was, I have to admit, painful. All the buttons are in different places and a click on the Pebble is a tap on the Apple and so on – getting back to the watch face I found particularly unintuitive coming from the Pebble. I was also surprised at the number and limited nature of the apps and while the Swarm app works correctly now there isn’t an app for Remember the Milk which I used regularly before. The biggest pain is that the battery doesn’t last anywhere near as long as the Pebbles – I get just under 48 hours of battery time if I put it on airplane mode over night.

However, there is much to like. It does, of course, work well with the iPhone and the AirPods, which should come as no surprise. The touchscreen is a nice, well, touch and useful for swapping tracks etc but you feel that there is still much more could be done by developers to make use of it here.

So now I’m all Apple as the two last pieces of tech I regularly carried with me, the Pebble and my Fitbit, are now both gone, both replaced by the Apple Watch. I’m genuinely sorry to see them both go but particularly the Pebble as I’d been with them from day one. Time will tell whether I grow to love my Apple Watch as much as I did my Pebble Time.

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