OK. So the Pebble was originally promised to arrive in September. What’s five months between Kickstarter friends?
It matters no more, because it’s finally here.
And, well, it’s kinda cool.
We all know that Apple has revolutionised the way packaging can make an impression. The adage that first impressions count has taken on a whole new meaning when it comes to opening an Apple device, any Apple device.
It’s all about the customer experience. And while Pebble has given it a good go but it’s not quite there.
Firstly, the sign off on the design and copy on the box was clearly done before the launch of the latest iPhone and Android handsets. They are missing from the listing of compatible devices on the box.
However, if this had been an Apple product, this box would not have passed quality control.
Am I being finicky?
The top white innards is not straight making the two sections not quite line up when the box is closed. This made the box slightly wonky. But it did not affect the watch and it arrived safely across the pond.
A smear of glue is visible around the outside of the internal packaging. The glue is shiny and immediately detracts from the packaging. It was distracting enough to take my concentration away taking the Pebble from the box.
So, because of that, I’m going to be harsh and score the packaging a 6/10.
However, I do have to admit. Earlier today I unravelled the ear buds from my iPhone5 for the first time, I’ve had no need to use them before today. Unwinding of the cord is kind of amazing. I know that sounds odd but, it is an experience. The cord feels like something you want to handle. And the way the buds and microfone fit so perfectly into the case is a perfect example of elegant simplicity.
So my view of opening the Pebble is probably being tainted by Apple experience earlier in the day.
Still, the comparison will be made. And, if Pebble is to own this space, despite the rumours about an Apple iWatch being in development, it will need to lift its game in the packing and unveiling experience.
All went swimmingly well for getting Pebble paired to my iPhone5.
That was until the Pebble randomly dropped the Bluetooth connection three times in a row.
Repairing did not work. I had to restart the Pebble before its Bluetooth connection stabilised long enough to perform the required software upgrade on the device.
The icons aren’t 100% intuitive but as there are few options under each, exploration only took a few seconds.
There are four buttons on the device. Three on the right, one on the left. They feel a little plastic and dare I say it, a little cheap. But, they work, so I should quit complaining.
After being so used to touchscreens it does feel a little odd to be back clicking manual buttons on the side of a device for basic navigation. Using buttons on a device for navigating through menus brought back memories of my old Nomad II MP3 player or even my old Palm V. Ahhh, those were not the days!
But, once I was in, the message alerts worked instantly. As did caller ID and the music controls. While it’s not quite like getting an Apple device to talk to another Apple device, it’s also not a train wreck in usability either.
Hell. If I can set it up, just about anyone can.
I’m going to give the setup a rating of 8/10 because of the Bluetooth dropout.
But what’s it like?
My eager friends on Facebook, well, those who also ordered a Pebble, are still awaiting their deliveries. They all wanted to know what it felt like to use and to wear. So, here goes.
I can’t complain about the size of the watch, what would be silly.
But can I have a whinge about having skinny wrists? The watch face covers the entire top of my wrist. It is clearly designed for people with wrists larger than mine as the band is on its last notch.
And please, no comments about the highly professional photo of it on my wrist. You try taking a photo one handed. Oh wait, that came out wrong…
On the definite plus side is the weight of the Pebble. It’s light, super light. I don’t realise I’m wearing it, despite it being bigger than my wrist.
The band is nice to touch. Its sort of silky and smooth. The buckle is also smooth and well designed. It looks very retro, actually. The band is replaceable; the device will take most 22mm watch bands. So customising your Pebble is easy.
It’s also waterproof to 5 ATM (Atmospheres) in both fresh and saltwater. That means it will work being up to 40 metres underwater. In theory, I could wear it on my next dive. Someone want to develop a dive app for Pebble? While it wouldn’t replace a dive computer, it could work as a rudimentary backup in case the primary dive computer fails. But for non-divers, this means you can wear it while you do the washing up, in the shower and if you go for a swim.
The screen is easily viewable from various angles and in various lighting. Plus, it’s easy to clean. The screen readily collects fingerprints as you play with the navigation buttons. The coloured versions of the Pebble may make fingerprints more noticeable. But if that’s the worst you can say about the screen, that’s not too bad an outcome for a generation one device.
All in all, I’m having fun playing with my new toy. So far, I’m giving it a solid 7/10. I can’t wait for more apps to be available. I’m not a golfer or a cyclist, so those standard apps aren’t for me.
For those who did not join the Kickstarter campaign to get the device, the Pebble is now available for pre-order.
If you were part of the Kickstarter crew and you’ve received your Pebble, tell me what you think.