The Pebble Time vs. Pebble Watch


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The Pebble Time vs. Pebble Watch

 

The Pebble Time is an evolutionary improvement to the Pebble Watch. It addition to the unchanged 1.25 inch e-paper display, 7 days of battery life, 3 axis gyroscope and magnetometer, it now includes a new chassis, a 64 color display, and a microphone.

 

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The Chassis
 
The old Pebble Watch's chassis looked like a children's toy that was designed to look futuristic- in a cartoonish way. I would wear it at home and on weekends, but anything work related I would hide it from sight.
 
The Pebble Time is a completely different song. It now sports a chic stainless steel bezel surrounding the front of the watch with a convex surface and rounded corners. The sides of the stainless steel bezel have a shine like the chamfered edges of the iPhone 5. Below the bezel is the (black, white or red) polycarbonate body which is rounded at every edge and corner and the back is curved inwards to match the curvature of your wrist.

 

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It

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HawkMan

The original didn't actually use an e-paper display, even though it was sort of called that an offered about the same battery time. just ftr. 

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Brandon H

very nice little review :)

 

I can't wait to get my Kickstarter Time Steal in the mail next month :)

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tsupersonic

You got yours already? I should have mine hopefully soon.

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akctechdoc

The Verge didn't have a very positive review about the Pebble Time. They did like the battery life, though

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HawkMan

But according to iFixIt it uses an e-paper display?

 

https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Pebble+Teardown/13319#s45410

 

*shrug*  they may call it that but, it's actually some kind of regular LCD. 

 

in fact it's specifically this kind of LCD http://www.sharpmemorylcd.com/1-26-inch-memory-lcd.html

 

Also they're using confusion by calling it e-paper which doesn't reference any kind of display technology, but most would assume "oh, it's got E-ink display". it's a good display but it's not e-ink and doesn't have quite all the advantages of e-ink. 

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HawkMan

The Verge didn't have a very positive review about the Pebble Time. They did like the battery life, though

 

The Verge wasn't overjoyed by something without an i in front... I'm shocked, I really am...

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  • 2 weeks later...
tsupersonic

I've had mine for a week now. I got the shipment notification last Friday, saying it was going to arrive that day, so that was a surprise. This is my first true smart watch, so it's an interesting device. I've had the Basis B1 as my past device, but that was more of a fitness device than a smart watch. Here are my pros/cons of the Pebble Time: 

 

Pros:

  • Notifications on your wrist. Probably the best purpose of a smart watch. You never have to listen to notifications/ring tones again. 
  • Battery life. I'm getting 3.5-4 days on a full charge. Also, great magnetic charging mechanism.
  • Apps/support - the community is filled with nice watchfaces & apps, more than I imagined it would be
  • Voice dictation works well for responding to text messages. 

Cons:

  • Music player only works for GPM, not the stock music player/app. 
  • Pebble Time app on Android is very slow.
  • Watchfaces: Some of the watchfaces are configurable, but there is no standard options screen...
  • Price and functionality.

While I enjoy getting new gadgets, my initial conclusion of owning a smart watch is correct, for me. There is still no good use case for a smart watch, and no company has made a compelling reason for owning one (not even Apple). The best feature is having the ability to receive notifications/calls on your wrist. It's nice not having to look at your phone for notifications, and I also noticed I would have about 5-10% more battery life left on my phone at the end of the day. There are some nice apps available, but again, nothing that really excites/"gotta have."

 

Bottom line, if you love gadgets, get this device. Otherwise, I would save your money and stick w/ your smartphone. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
thefonz

My kickstarter backed black time should arrive TOMORROW so very excited!!

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      Fitness and health tracking
      What it does do is track over 95 types of exercise, including support for automatic detection of six types of it. There's a little less that it can do compared to more expensive smartwatches like the Honor Watch GS Pro, and that's because a lot of sensors aren't here, like GPS, barometer, or altimeter. The lack of GPS doesn't mean you can't track your outdoors workouts; like the OPPO Watch I reviewed earlier, it can obtain GPS data from your phone if you have it with you.



      I have a major problem with this, though, because the watch lets you start tracking outdoor walking and running, but it won't actually grab GPS data from your phone if you do that. For it to track your movement, you need to begin the workout using the Huawei Health app on your phone, which will then tell your watch to monitor your activity. What's even weirder is that the watch doesn't give you the option to begin tracking outdoor cycling - only running and walking - even though it does include an option for indoor cycling. But if you use the smartphone app, you can track your cycling outdoors. It just confuses me why some options show up on the watch and some don't, and the ones that do show up still don't track your movement anyway. Why even offer any of the outdoor options on the watch if it can't grab the GPS data from your phone automatically?

      Either way, once you get used to starting these workouts with your phone, tracking works as expected. In some ways, it's actually better than my experience with the GS Pro , since my exercise is at least being labeled correctly by the Huawei Health app. On the watch, though, it constantly says the workout intensity is at the max level, no matter what my heart rate is.



      The Honor Watch ES does have a very interesting feature, though, and that's the workout routines. Similar to how the Honor Watch GS Pro has different running courses with instructions on what to do, the Honor Watch ES offers courses with various types of workouts, which focus on different parts of your body. There are 12 courses in total, spanning four intensity levels, and each lasting between three and 18 minutes.



      These workouts tell you which exercises to do and for how long, along with animated guidance showing you how each exercise should be done. I'm still relatively new to fitness, but in my experience, these workouts can get pretty intense, and they definitely feel like a good place to start if you're looking to get fit. I focused mostly on level 1 and 2 routines, and I tried to string two or three courses together to make a longer session, and I always ended up very tired by the end of it.

      For my indoor workouts, I'm mostly used to working with Nintendo's Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch, and this is very different. Ring Fit Adventure is better for me in a few ways, because it doesn't just tell me what to do, it strongly encourages me to do it. It won't accept that I've done a rep of a certain exercise until I've actually done it, and I also have to hold that position for a few seconds. I like that better because it lets me do things at my own pace, while also ensuring that I actually do them. On this watch, a lot of the exercises are timed, and for those that aren't, they still count the reps automatically assuming you're following the exact timing of the animated guide. That means it's easy for you to stop moving and just let it keep counting, and that means that, for me, there's a little less incentive to try harder.



      Another small problem I have with this feature is that there's not enough feedback on what you're doing. For example, the watch will vibrate when it counts down before you start an exercise, so you know when to begin, but it doesn't vibrate when the timer ends. Usually, this isn't a big problem, because it starts vibrating again when it counts down for the next exercise, but for routines that include breaks, that means you might continue doing an exercise during the break because the only way to know the break has started is to look at the watch.

      Another thing to note is that these workouts don't get registered in your Huawei Health app for some reason. Don't let those gripes make you think this is a bad feature, though. It's still a pretty good way to get started with exercise, and with enough motivation, I feel like it can help tremendously with getting in shape.

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      Conclusion
      Overall, the Honor Watch ES is great at what it sets out to do. It's an affordable smartwatch that gives you all the features you need to get started with fitness, including guided workouts, which is a great feature for people like me who aren't used to exercising. I did have some gripes with the way they work, but they don't make it a bad experience, and it's still a great way to get started if you have the motivation to keep going.



      The design of the watch also makes it very suitable for anyone to wear, just because of how small it is. It's designed for the "modern" lifestyle, and I think it does that well. You can wear this to the office or anywhere you go, and it won't stick out. Plus, some of the guided workouts make it easy to get some exercise in throughout the day so you can stay active.

      Personally, I'm a bigger fan of smartwatches with more smarts, like those that run Wear OS (and yes, I know I'm likely the exception here), but for its target audience, the Honor Watch ES is great. Plus, it offers battery life that's leagues better than most Wear OS smartwatches.

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      Now, the second generation of the Alpha is here, and it is called - rather unimaginatively so - the nubia Watch. A key difference between the two products is that while the former device was touted as a ‘wearable smartphone’, the latter is actually meant to be a smartwatch. In line with this, the nubia Watch doesn’t have some of the features that its predecessor did, such as a camera.

      Initially launched in China towards the end of July, the global version of the nubia Watch was announced last month with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign. nubia has since achieved well over its targeted goal and is on track to start shipping the device internationally next month. This review will look at the global version, which has one major difference as compared to the Chinese release: no eSIM support.

      Specs
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      Software
      Just like the Alpha, the Watch also uses the custom nubia Wear OS designed for the gorgeous form factor. Overall, the UI is user-friendly and runs smoothly for the most part. Compared to the previous model, the OS has improved and does not have as many glitches. Features of the smartwatch include a calendar, several health and fitness modes, a clock, a music player, a heart rate monitor, a sleep tracking feature, and the ability to make and answer calls.



      The Kickstarter page for the nubia Watch claims that the device can view and answer emails and messages from social media apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Line. Unfortunately, none of these features worked for me. I could not even view, let alone reply to, a single SMS received on my phone. I did not get push notifications for any of these things either. There were some other problems as well, such as the calendar app would not always view my scheduled plans.

      When it comes to customizable themes, the smartwatch has plenty of options to offer. The Watch has many skins to choose from, ranging from professional-looking watch faces to more colourful, fun looks. Users can also opt to create custom watch faces using images. These watch faces can be created on the mobile app which is compatible with Android as well as iOS.



      Apart from fitness and health, the other features - or rather, the lack of features - of the smartwatch kept leading me to the same question: Why? Sure, the device looks spectacular, but its actual functionality is pretty limited. After last year's release, I was really hoping that nubia would take advantage of the brilliant new form factor. While the company did make improvements to the product, it cut back on too many features.

      The decision to scrap a camera for the second-generation of the flexible device makes sense, as nubia was trying to focus on creating a true-blue smartwatch. But then taking a speaker out of the equation is mind-boggling. The nubia Watch does not even have an image gallery or an alarm that rings out loud. Instead, it is full of gimmicks such as the scrolling marquee feature and pretty dynamic themes. Considering the retail price and potential of the device, I was hoping that I would be able to do a lot more with it.



      Battery life and performance
      Rather disappointingly, nubia decided to stick with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 for the second-gen Watch as well. Seeing as how several generations of the Snapdragon Wear SoC line are already out, this move is puzzling. Not only is the Wear 2100 more than 4 years old, but it has also already been succeeded by the Snapdragon Wear 2500, 3100, 4100 and 4100+ chipsets for smartwatches in that order. Factoring in a smaller 425mAh battery and the same RAM and internal storage specifications as last year's model, it just doesn't make sense.

      nubia claims that the Watch's battery will last users up to seven days in power saving mode and 36 hours when used normally 'between charges'. I put this to the test by fully charging the wearable device and using it as I would normally, raising my hand frequently to check the time. Additionally, I also left the Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS on. This lasted me a little over 36 hours, which was a pleasant surprise.



      Once my test was complete, I realized that one of the hardest parts about using the Watch was charging it once drained. Despite the official 85-minute charge time detailed by nubia, it took me a little over two hours to fully charge up the smartwatch. Considering the smaller 425mAh battery, I was pretty disappointed.

      As I mentioned earlier, there were performance issues as well. I did not receive push notifications for anything other than phone calls. Answering calls was a major issue as no compatible device could play the call audio, even though the music player worked perfectly fine. The raise to wake gesture was pretty terrible, triggering the Watch's display to turn on at random moments throughout the day. And lastly, the calendar app seemed to have a mind of its own, displaying my phone's scheduled events one second and appearing completely blank the next.



      For the Alpha, nubia released a companion application called Nubia Wear to help users set up and manage their devices. This app was full of bugs and made it incredibly difficult for users to execute the simplest of tasks such as syncing contacts. For the new nubia Watch, the Chinese electronics company developed a second app without fixing the previous one. In fact, the old Nubia Wear companion application has not been updated since April 2019. This stands as a testament to the quality of support provided by nubia in the long run.

      Conclusion
      Overall, the nubia Watch is a device best described as an innovative and fun piece of technology held back by software limitations. Aside from trimming down the bulky edges and improving the design, I was hoping that nubia would also take advantage of the unique form factor. The large flexible AMOLED display offers an intriguing premise that the OS fails to take advantage of.

      Other than the foldable screen, the Watch has very few features that make it any different from other wearables in the market. On the contrary, there are countless other smartwatches out there with smaller screens that clean up much nicer, offer more functionality and cost a whole lot cheaper, like the OPPO Watch.



      So the question that I, as the user, kept coming back to was "why?". Why would someone go out of their way to purchase a $399 smartwatch that cannot even view or answer messages? Sure it has a heart rate sensor and a decent number of fitness modes, but it lacks some very basic features like a speaker and proper push notifications. At least the presence of a camera would have helped build a case for the device, but unfortunately, the maker decided against it.

      I had a lot of hopes for the nubia Watch, and it could have been all those things I imagined. As a fashion accessory, it serves as the perfect flex. Personally, I love how it looks and the screen is beautiful. But the software and functionality need a lot of improvement. Another problem is the price, at $399 this thing is far too expensive. Improve the usability, add more features and decrease the price and then the smartwatch could actually stand its ground.