Pebble Smartwatch with iPhone and iOS
If your choice of smartphone is iPhone, you may be thinking that your only choice for a smartwatch is the iWatch. However, Pebble Smartwatches have always worked with iPhones, and integration has improved recently.
As stated elsewhere, the basic function of a smartwatch is to mirror the notifications from your phone, onto your watch. Once paired with your iPhone (and the Pebble app downloaded from the iTunes store), any notification that appears on the iPhone will appear on the Pebble. You can also control your music playing on your iPhone with your Pebble. This works with the iOS Music app, Spotify, Google Play Music and most others.
Starting with iOS7, you have more fine-grained control of notifications that are sent to your Pebble watch. Prior to iOS7, you had the option of receiving standard notifications such as SMS, alarm, e-mail, etc. With iOS7+, you have more integration, and choice of which notifications you would like to receive.
In numerous tests, using the Pebble Smartwatch with iPhone has shown to have negligible effect on the battery life on your iPhone.
It should be mentioned here that users of Android phones enjoy deeper integration with Pebble smartwatches, and this is down to the more closed nature of the iOS operating system. However, all of the primary functions of a smartwatch work seamlessly with the Apple mobile operating system, and Pebble offers a much cheaper alternative to the Apple watch.
Pebble Smartwatch Battery Life
If there's one thing that sets the Pebble Smartwatch apart it is the battery life. While most of the current crop of smartwatches need charging daily, Pebble smartwatches last anything up to ten days on a single charge. Following is a table which outlines the pebble watches, and their battery life:
|Pebble Watch Model||Estimated Battery Life|
|Original Pebble||7 days|
|Pebble Steel||7 days|
|Pebble Time||7 days|
|Pebble Time Steel||10 days|
|Pebble Time Round||2 days|
One thing that should be noted is that because the battery needs charging much less often than other smartwatches, the battery's useful life will be much longer (because it will be going through less charging cycles). It estimated that the lithium-ion battery in the Pebble Steel, for instance, should last six to ten years.
When a Pebble smartwatch battery is nearly depleted, the watch goes into "power saver" mode, which mutes notifications, and displays a minimal face which displays only the current time. This means that, even if you have been too long away from the charger, you have a considerable time left before the device stops functioning as a watch.
However, for those among us who wish to eke the most possible battery life from their Pebble smartwatch, here are a few tips which should help you to get the best of the Pebble smartwatch battery life:
- Pebble's built-in watch faces can be relied upon to provide the most battery life because they have been optimally designed by Pebble.
- The way that the Pebble display works is that it uses power only when it is updating the display. Therefore, watch faces that update the display the least will make the most of the battery. Many watch faces enable you to suppress display of the seconds. This can help.
- With the later versions of the Pebble operating system, applications are allowed to run in the background. This is useful for applications such as fitness and sleep trackers. Although I have personally found this to have very little impact on battery life, it is worth remembering that if you are trying to extract the very most battery life, these kind of applications will have an impact.
- Your experience with the many independently-developed watch faces and applications will vary, but it sometimes happens that you will find a rogue application which will impact your battery life negatively. If you find a sudden drop in battery life, you can try removing the watch faces and/or applications that you recently added, and load them back again one-by-one. You can usually find the culprit using this method, and avoid that application in the future.
- As stated previously, the Pebble display only uses power when it is updating the display, so the more "complications" a watch face has (such as weather updates, temperature, etc.), the more battery will be used by that application. Generally, the simpler the watch face, the less battery it uses.
- Finally, the amount of notifications you receive on your watch will impact your battery life. It is a simple matter to control and limit unnecessary notifications using the Pebble smartwatch app that is installed on your phone.
Overall, us Pebble smartwatch users have the luxury of having to worry far less than others about battery life because ours is stellar to begin with. There will be times, though, when we wish to get the most possible (such as when we are away for a few days, and haven't brought our charger cable with us). These tips should help you to just enjoy your Pebble smartwatch, and have one less thing to worry about!
What Can You Do With a Pebble Watch?
At its most basic level, any smartwatch serves to mirror notifications from your connected device (usually your smartphone) onto your wrist. This may not sound like a great deal, but you soon come to realize what a time-saver that is. Not having to fish your phone out of your pocket or bag numerous times a day really adds up, time-wise.
Of course, Pebble allows you to interact further by taking actions on those notifications. You can, for instance, dismiss a call to stop your phone ringing. You can delete e-mail messages, or open them on the phone. To give an idea of what can be achieved with a Pebble watch, I have made a couple of lists below. The first list contains native functionality, and the second contains functionality derived from apps loaded onto your Pebble Watch.
Native Pebble Functionality:
- Select from hundreds of different watch faces. A selection is provided on the watch, but hundreds can be downloaded and placed on your watch. These watch faces provide not only time, but often weather information and things like battery status, missed calls, etc.
- Read any notification which can appear on your phone (Android or iOS).
- Dismiss notifications.
- Set Alarms (watch vibrates at the appointed time).
- Control music on your connected device (start, stop, change track, adjust volume).
- Receive e-mails. You can dismiss, delete, archive, open on your phone, view the conversation or reply. Starting with the Pebble time, you can use the microphone to dictate a reply. With the original Pebble and the Pebble Steel, you can send a stock message or an emoticon, which is chosen from a list on the watch.
- Receive text messages. You can dismiss, open on your phone, view the conversation or reply. Starting with the Pebble time, you can use the microphone to dictate a reply. With the original Pebble and the Pebble Steel, you can send a stock message or an emoticon, which is chosen from a list on the watch.
Pebble Functionality with Apps
Of course, the sky's the limit as far as apps go, but here are some examples of things that can be provided by downloadable applications:
- View your calendar and agenda.
- Activity and sleep monitors such as Misfit, Up, etc. These use the Pebble's built-in accelerometor.
- Tip calculator.
- Timer and Stopwatch.
- Weather forecast and alerts.
- Social Media Integration (Facebook, Yelp, WhatsApp, etc.)
- Sports scores sent to your watch.
- TV Remote.
- Transit/Public Transport Times.
- Dialler (initiate calls on your phone)
- Control your thermostat at home.
- Pay for your purchases (such as Starbucks, etc.)
These are just a sample of things that can be achieved through applications added to your Pebble watch, and more applications are written every day.
Lastly, worth mentioning here is Pebble's ability to interact with the tasker application on your phone. This really open up a world of possibilities, and people have used this set up to do anything from sending location information to emergency contacts, locating their phone, controlling their phone's settings, initiating audio or video recording, taking photographs and even opening their garage door!
As you can see, smartwatches open up a whole world of possibilities that really are only limited by your imagination!
Pebble Watch Charging
One of the great things about the Pebble watches is their great battery life compared to other smart watches. Many Pebble watches get seven to ten days' battery life, while others struggle to make it through one day. Here's a quick tip to make it even better:
Many user have reported that if they take the watch off of charge as soon as it reports 100% (or in the case of the Pebble Steel, the charging light changes to green), they don't get as much battery life as they could. For that extra longevity, consider leaving it on for an extra thirty minutes after 100% charge has been reached. Many users have reported considerably longer battery life using this tip.
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