The Pebble smartwatch grows up with the new Pebble Steel.
First the Pebble smartwatch made some major changes in the operating system, pushing the wearable gear forward in the industry. Now they have raised the bar even higher for the stand alone smartwatch by maturing the look. In between the first launch of Pebble Watch and now, others have entered the race, but none work as flawlessly as Pebble at being an all inclusive smartwatch.
The major flaw of the Pebble Watch is in the aesthetic design. Over sized and plastic, it looks too much like tech gear to be appealing as wearable. The operation complaints were mainly with its simplicity, which has been addressed with an upgraded operating system and custom app store. While it got a completely new look to address its style concern.
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How does Pebble Steel look?
The best word to describe the new Pebble Steel is refined. No more plastic and screen full of scratches. The face is solid steel in either brushed or matte finish with the advanced Gorilla Glass overlaid on the display. Smaller, yet slightly heavier, the size and materials used make a big difference the way the Pebble Steel looks. The screen is still the same size as on the Pebble Watch, but having the scratch-resistant glass screen opposed to the plastic improves on both the clarity and contrast.
Like with the Pebble Watch, Pebble Steel uses four buttons to control the various functions, but having them made of metal makes scrolling and clicking easier to control. Even though it is now comprised mostly of metal parts, it still has a 5 ATM waterproof rating for both salt and fresh water. This means that swimming to a depth of 165 feet shouldn’t hurt the watch and there is no need to take it off before a shower.
The Pebble Steel operating system
Pebble has introduced a more mature operating system as well recently, which is a feature of all their new products including the Pebble Steel. Now it behaves more like a serious software platform with its own app store and access to unique applications. The updated firmware also makes the smartwatch more responsive and you will notice that navigating through the menu and interacting with notifications is almost instantaneous.
The new Android app is not Android Wear, but is a version 2.3 Beta that can work with all devices that run Android 4.3 or higher. All Android notifications are supported without the need for any third-party assistance. It can support Android Wear compatible notifications as well. This is a big improvement over the older system which was very limited in the apps it was able to provide.
It is lacking on some points still though, such as voice support, which would allow for easier responses to notifications like text messages. This takes away a little from the feel of tech wear.
The Pebble Steel app
The new Pebble app now gives the smartwatch wearer access to the Pebble app store. Now there are hundreds of apps and watch faces to choose from available. Even though you will find some of the big name apps, certain features that you would see on a mobile phone are not available. This is more of a marketing scheme then oversight, as the Pebble Steel is not meant to replace the smartphone, but to enhance it.
What makes the Pebble Steel, and all of the Pebble wearable gear is the simplicity in design and operation. Yes it is a wearable tech, but you don’t need to spend countless hours figuring out how it works.
The Pebble Steel retails for $229 in Australia, and can be purchased through their website. Priced lower than most of the other smartwatches that have recently been released, the multi-functions and sleek look make this a good choice to consider if you are still uncertain if you really need a smartwatch.