So with the demise of Pebble, I decided to dive into Android Wear earlier this year and hang up my trusty Pebble Time. I had found the small screen on my Pebble a bit of a struggle to read at times for my tired old eyes and it would be nice to scroll through all the text of my emails. I got an Asus Zenwatch 2, good price and nice bright big screen. The swipe UI is a bit more intuitive if less precise than the Pebble. But after 6 months have finally given up with it. Having to charge it every day and sometimes twice was a complete pain as I often forgot and it would die on me. Then there was the screen which was pretty impossible to read in daylight. The vibration is really feeble compared to the Pebble’s jackhammer and I constantly missed notifications.
I love smartwatches but let’s face it, they are not, unlike smartphones, one of life’s necessities. To all but absolute die hard simple lifers, smartphones have become, for good or ill, an indispensable part of our all too busy lives. Take my 20 year old son who is into all things retro (like, way back to the latter years of the last century), said one day that he was going to eschew his smartphone and the whole interweb thing, Facebook, Whatsapp etc,etc for an old style ‘brick phone’ - yeah right, lasted nearly a whole week. So charging the damn things every day is an accepted fact of life in our brave new techno world. Smartwatches on the other hand are, in my view, a convenience but not a necessity; great for seeing who is calling, emailing etc and whether you need to dig out your smartphone from wherever you left it. However this convenience is unfortunately completely outweighed by having another device that needs daily charging. Hence their slow demise. Which is where Pebble got things nearly right.
Back to my Pebble - oh deep joy, I had forgotten what a brilliant product this was/is. Dug it out again after some 6 months gathering dust in a drawer, charged to 80% in 30 minutes but assumed most if not everything would be dead. Downloaded the app, paired and waited for inevitable tedious resetting and other pairing problems. Nope, all my settings, watch faces all popped back straightaway, no problem. I can read the screen, like all the time!!! Don’t miss any notifications and it is charge and forget.
This has convinced me that the key problem with Android, Apple and their ilk is quite simply, as has been said many, many times before, their crummy battery life which most people can not be bothered with. As an analogy, they are at at the same point of evolution as the early mechanical wristwatches which had to be manually wound every day. They still exist but only purist watch nuts ever bother with them. They have been long superseded by automatic movements and long lasting battery, solar and kinetic powered quartz. Once the Smartwatch industry can develop a longer lasting battery arrangement and a screen where you can see the time at a glance like, oh I don’t know, a watch possibly, then maybe they would start to sell. Pebble came pretty close to cracking it.
So I have been reconciled with my first love Pebble and it’s lovely. But I’m hopelessly fickle as my wandering eye alights upon the latest glamorous sexy new model. The Xiaomi Amazfit Pace, good battery life, larger always on transreflective touch screen and most important of all, cheap. Hm - ticks most of my boxes and might give that a try. Has had mixed reviews so probably will all end in tears and have to go running back to Pebble. Will let you know
If you have been, thanks for reading