Pebble Time (after)

In photography, words by webmeister Bud

This is the sequel post to Pebble Time (before).

I am a geek.

But just because I drool over (and often tell everyone about) the latest tech sooner than the average bear, it doesn’t mean that I actually have said kit. Far from it. I do work in radio, after all. 馃槈

However, there are some exceptions. I owned a smartwatch in 2004. Very “early adopter” of me (or rather, of my wifey, who got it for me).

20150616 - Pebble Time-0001Canon EOS 70D 路 Tamron 60mm f/2.0 macro 路 60 mm 路 1/250 s 路 f/4.5 路 ISO 200

T’was the Microsoft SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) Watch, which received news, sports, weather, movie listings, MSN messages (ooOOoo, jump back), and a special alert every time a famous person died. My friends took to calling it “The Death Watch.”

Eleven years into the future, I find myself once again pretty close to the front of the curve with another just-released piece o’ gear, and it happens to be another smartwatch.

This go 鈥檙ound, 鈥檛is the Pebble Time. I backed a black PT on Kickstarter as one of 10,000 early birds, and received it today (hence my incredibly rare late Tuesday posting).

Gleeful squeaks were heard far and wide upon its arrival. To wit:

This is the third version of the watch (first was the b&w screen OG Pebble, followed by the classed-up b&w Pebble Steel), and second major update.

It now has a 64-colour ePaper screen, a microphone for voice replies to calls or texts, and a brand new interface called Timeline which lays out your life in terms of past, present, and future, using the tactile side buttons to navigate forward and backward through your life. Apple just repurposed this concept for their watch and called it “Time Travel.”

My belief when it comes to smartwatches is that they’re not meant to be mini-phones, replacing or reproducing the in-the-hand experience on your wrist.

They’re meant to be a bite-sized information conduit to the larger timesucker in your pocket.

A smartwatch should be, IMHO, a dang good watch first, a curator of the most important alerts from your phone second, and a geeky little tech gadget third.

20150616 - Pebble Time-0002Canon EOS 70D 路 Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM 路 35 mm 路 1/500 s 路 f/1.8 路 ISO 100

To me, a smartwatch should decrease the amount of time you spend on your phone, and increase the amount of time you spend in the moment.

Get a wrist buzz, look at your watch, quickly act on the notification (dictate a reply to a text message, look like a science fiction time traveler), dismiss it from your attention, get back to your life.

Not get a pocket buzz, pull out your phone, unlock it, find that notification, act on it, check a few other notifications while you’re here, act on them as well, lose half an hour to Reddit or Candy Crush in the blink of an eye . . .

20150616 - Pebble Time-0003Canon EOS 70D 路 Tamron 60mm f/2.0 macro 路 60 mm 路 1/500 s 路 f/2 路 ISO 100

The OG (this stands for Original Gangsta, were you curious) Pebble, released in 2012, spearheaded the current adoption of smartwatches, now all over the place thanks to other major players like Android and Apple in the game.

The Pebble Time ain’t the most powerful smartwatch known to man 鈥 indeed, its specs are rather humble 鈥 but this works to its advantage.

The highest battery drain in most modern tech is due to the screen. Not having a backlit LED screen means that the PT’s display is always on (where most smartwatches require a wrist flick or button press to see the time on your otherwise blank screen), and the battery life is in the neighbourhood of 5鈥10 DAYS, where most smartwatches need to be charged nightly.

20150616 - Pebble Time-0004Canon EOS 70D 路 Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM 路 19 mm 路 1/500 s 路 f/1.8 路 ISO 100

Having pored over every kilobit of information about the Pebble Time since late February, I’ll have to say that, in person, the Pebble Time is a glorious little piece of tech which I’m sure to love and pet and pat and call George.

My only gripe about it is the visibility of the screen during what I could only call “medium light.”

At night (“small light”), a flick of the wrist turns on the backlight, which is great. Outside (“large light”), where most other backlit screens are impossible to see, the Pebble truly shines (all of the photos here were taken in direct sunlight). But, under regular indoor light, I’ve found it a bit more challenging to see than I’d hoped.

I’m coming from a couple of years with a metal watch/band combo and, comparatively, the PT is as light as a feather. I may have to seek out a thicker/heavier/metal-ier band (also because I find the silicone band a bit on the sweat-collecting side), but that’ll be easy as cake as the watch accepts any standard 22mm watchstrap.

This isn’t a review. I’ve only had this thing for, like, ones of hours, and have spent most of my time with it making the media you see here. I undoubtedly don’t know half of the things this watch will be able to do, but I can tell you it’s fun, slick, and a good balance of geeky and glorious.

There’s only so much that photos and video can show you (says the guy showing you more photos and video). You’ve gotsta gotsta to see this thing in person. So, y’know, as the button says, “Be sure to ask me about my Pebble Time!”