I’ll skip all the introductory information - if you know nothing about tremendous Pebble's Kickstarter success and Pebble itself - read up here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android
I have to admit, that I had a limited trust in Kickstarter, so I decided to wait with my order for the final product (if it appears on the market) and that’s why I had to wait longer than initial Kickstarter backers. Significantly longer, as clearly Pebble's success has surprised its creators (and caused manufacturing and logistical issues they didn't expect). At the end, word-wide famous
Polish Post brought up some more issues, but that’s a completely different story (avoid them at all cost!).
At the first sight …
Finally, I got my Jet Black Pebble few days ago. How does it feel? Not bad at all - it’s quite big (“bricky”), but still very light, mainly because it’s made of plastic - no steel / titanium, etc. As a result, it doesn’t really look as a high-tech device (some would even say that it looks cheap), but IMHO it still looks better than other smart watches available at the moment. My only anxiety is about how fragile it may appear - I didn’t hit anything with Pebble yet, but my feeling is that it won’t be hard to scratch it (or worse).
Pebble has 4 buttons: back, up, proceed, down. They provide a nice usability and their usage in menus is very intuitive, but there are some issues with the way they work (the feedback you get while pushing is not 100% clear) - not a big problem, just saying. I love the way Pebble is recharged - it’s a dedicated Pebble specific cable that doesn’t require you to use any force, you just touch the side of the watch in a designated spot and it works (pretty much the same way Surface recharges). Some may prefer standard cables (like micro USB), but I don’t mind.
Initial setup, phone binding and menu navigation - all of those are easy and straightforward. Non-technical person should do just fine.
What about watch itself then?
It’s very, very crude and simple. What it can do is to display time & date using customized watchfaces and receive notifications from the phone. You can’t make phone calls using only watch - without phone in range, it’s just a normal watch (well, with e-ink display :>).
Watchfaces & display
Pebble comes with few (quite nice) watchfaces, but you can download many more from sites like http://www.mypebblefaces.com/. Unfortunately, the average quality is really poor - there are just few “diamonds” between tons of crap ;/ Anyway, creating your own watchface seems really easy, so feel free and have a go :) The display itself is made of e-ink, but it has a much better latency than Kindle (so, reasonably looking animations are feasible) and it’s covered with glossy, transparent plastic layer. Unfortunately, it supports just 2 colors: black or no color :) But with some dithering it’s sufficient.
In theory, there’s an SDK that is suppose to enable developers to create applications that would utilize Pebble. Unfortunately, there’s anything really interesting for the moment. But remember that Pebble is still in its infancy period - things still may happen.
Definitely, it’s not a smart watch. It won’t replace your phone, even partially - it’s just a nice addition to the phone if you’re interested in the notifications (because your phone ring is usually muted or you keep in somewhere where you don’t feel its vibe). Ability to create your own watchface is awesome, but underutilized yet. But personalizing your own watch in that way is already a great reason for spending 150 USD on Pebble. I just hope it will appear durable enough and I won’t have to go back to my old watch anytime soon.