The Pebble Smartwatch made its first debut in early 2013. To date, this previously unknown company still manages to rank high among other smartwatch competitors, and is often considered the best smartwatch on the market. To many, this comes as a surprise given that the original Pebble smartwatch is arguably the most simple smartwatch available today. Even with the recent announcement of Pebble’s next gen smartwatch, Pebble Time, the smartwatch manages to keep things simple while making some impressive improvements.
I like the Pebble smartwatch. I’ve never owned one, but I’ve always been fond of the fact that Pebble has managed to bring out the best in their smartwatch: week-long battery life, affordable cost, and most importantly they haven’t tried to make their smartwatch a complete replacement for your smartphone. It makes for a great option for a smartphone accessory, and I believe that Pebble Time will be a great addition to Pebble’s current line-up.
Pebble Time actually doesn’t change a whole lot about the current Pebble Smartwatch, except for (most notably) two things: a color e-paper display and a new interface called “Timeline”. I suppose in all actuality, those two things change the smartwatch by quite a bit (for a smartwatch, anyway). The actual design of the smartwatch has also evolved to be both smaller and thinner. The price of the Pebble Time will be the same as the Pebble Steel at $199, or $20 less if you pledge $179 to their kickstarter before March 27.
I’m impressed that Pebble was able to make the improvements in Pebble Time without having to sacrifice battery life, which I believe is one of the most important factors to have when it comes to a successful smartwatch. With the addition of a color e-paper display and a smaller form factor, you would expect the new smartwatch to have less battery life. But it doesn’t, and that’s awesome.
Contrary to the opinions of my fellow editor, Evan, I’m actually quite keen on the Time’s design. It isn’t made out of the fanciest material, no, but I do appreciate the evolution it’s undergone from its previous generation. If Pebble had gone with a premium hardware design in addition to the other changes, I don’t think the smartwatch would have been able to keep its pricing. With that being said, I imagine that Pebble has plans in the future for a premium Pebble Time Steel, or something similar. But for what its worth, I consider the Time’s design to be an upgrade from the original.
Although I haven’t yet purchased a smartwatch, I’ve often said if I were to ever buy one, it would be Pebble. Pebble’s hardware might not always be the fanciest, but I find functionality to be the most important part of a smartwatch. I feel that Pebble does the best job of keeping the smartwatch as simple as possible without trying to push the limits of having a smartwatch act as a secondary smartphone. With the introduction of Pebble Time, it would seem that Pebble has kept what’s always made Pebble special among smartwatches with more features and fancier designs, but has improved the smartwatch enough to make it worth a look. Who knows, maybe this smartwatch will be the one to get me on board with the whole smartwatch thing.
It’s still early in the year yet, so there’s no telling right now what competition might come along later that could possibly dethrone Pebble. For the moment being, however, Pebble Time has my vote for best smartwatch. With the longest battery life and one of the most affordable options for smartwatches, it’s hard not to see the value that Pebble offers.