Pebble Steel Review

Pebble Steel Smartwatch Following the huge success of the original Pebble watch launch, comes the Pebble Steel Smartwatch, which is essentially the same thing, but in a more premium metal case.

Again, the Pebble Steel was launched via a Kickstarter campaign, and the original backers of the watch received it with the leather strap, and a steel strap. Thereafter, the watch arrives with the leather strap, and the metal strap can be purchased 

separately. Color choices are the stainless steel (pictured) and a black version. There is a stainless steel and black metal strap available to complement either.

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Specifications

Phone Compatibility:  Android 2.3+, IOS 5+
Screen Size (Diagonal):  1.26"
Screen Resolution:  144 x 168
Screen (crystal) Material: Flat Corning Gorilla Glass, with oleophobic (anti-fingerprint) coating
Sensors:  Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Magnetometer, E-Compass
Water Resistance: 50m (5 atm)
Estimated Battery Life:  7 Days
Weight:  56 Grammes

 

What's in the Box?

Pebble Steel ReviewOpening the box reveals the Pebble Steel watch, the charging cable, and a quick-start guide to help you get the watch set up. Like its predecessor, the Pebble Steel smart watch is charged via a supplied charging cable which magnetically attaches to the side of the watch. The charging cable has a USB connection at the other end. There is no charger supplied to plug into a wall socket, and the assumption is made that you either charge it by connecting to your computer, or use one of your chargers with a USB outlet. These things are quite ubiquitous nowadays, so I didn’t find that to be a problem.

Design, Look and Feel

Pebble Steel ReviewIf there was one thing that polarized people before about the original Pebble Watch, it was the plastic build. I’m happy to report that Pebble have listened to those people who wanted a more premium look and feel, and the Pebble Steel exhibits a much more refined air which would not be out of place at the most formal of occasions, and with the most formal of dress. In fact, until you start interacting with it, many people would not even notice that it is a smart watch you are wearing. I combined it with the available metal strap, and am very happy with how it looks and feels. It is reassuringly heavier than the original Pebble watch at 56 Grammes.

Talking of straps, it is worth noting that Pebble uses a non-standard strap connection which severely limits your choices for using after-market examples. I purchased the steel version from Pebble, which I found to be well made, and comfortable. Some people have reported the metal strap catching on hairs until it is worn in (or possibly you lose your hairs), but I didn’t find this to be so. I am used to wearing metal straps.

Pebble Steel Strap
(Click image to check price on Amazon)

If there is a weak point to this watch, I feel that it is in the buttons. The buttons on the Pebble Steel are metal, but they lack tactile feedback, in my opinion. In fact, I had to send my original Pebble Steel back because it was starting to present issues where the middle button was sometimes not responding. I have searched around the Internet, but wasn’t able to find anybody else with this issue, so maybe it was just an anomaly with the one I originally received. This did at least enable me to experience Pebble support. I found Pebble to be extremely responsive and helpful during the return process, and they sent out an advance replacement promptly, and with continual communication. Good job, Pebble.

Finally, the screen. I find the screen on the Pebble Steel to be easier to see in dim conditions than the original Pebble watch. I think this is a function of the Gorilla Glass covering the screen with less of a gap between the cover, and the screen itself. Not that visibility was at all bad with the original, but I find the Pebble Steel improves things slightly in this respect.

Battery Life

Battery life is much the same as the original Pebble watch, that is to say, excellent. I average five days on a charge, but I have seen seven!

Unlike the original Pebble watch, where I was sometimes unsure when the watch was fully charged, the Pebble Steel features a handy multicolor LCD, which shows orange when charging, and turns to green when fully charged. I found this to be a great feature.

One thing I did find was that if I left the Pebble Steel charging for an extra 30 minutes after the green light showed, it exhibited some great extra battery life. This is what I usually do now to get the very most battery life from it.

Conclusion

At the risk of losing my impartiality here, I have to say that the Pebble Steel smart watch is my favorite among the Pebble range—even including the later models. I don’t want a smart watch to try to be a replacement of my smartphone on my wrist. I want it to complement my phone, and to do so in an efficient manner requiring the least amount of “babysitting” on my part. And I want it to look good while doing so!

That is not to say that the Pebble Steel doesn’t allow some very smart things should you want it to. My Pebble Steel, for instance can do such things as send my location to selected contacts in case of emergency, start and stop voice recording on my phone, ring my phone in case I cannot locate it and more. All of this in a premium-looking package. What’s not to love?

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