Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Why an Apple User chose the Pebble Time over the Apple Watch

Hello. My name is Ryan, and I'm an Apple user.. with a Pebble

[caption id="attachment_322" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Photo courtesy of Forbes Photo courtesy of Forbes[/caption]

Now that we've gotten that out of the way.. I wanted to share my thoughts on why I chose the Pebble Time as my smart watch instead of the Apple Watch. They're both great options but with some pretty stark differences. Hopefully this post can help with your decision if you're currently comparing the two excellent options.

The thing I enjoy the most about Pebble is their philosophy on a smart watch is delivered beautifully in their devices - it's a tool to accompany your smart phone (not replace it) and make your day more convenient. Admittedly, I owned the original Pebble. It's the first smart-watch I've owned. A co-worker was selling it used for $40 and I figured a smart watch for $40? Heck yes I'll try that out! My verdict on the smart little device has been exactly how Pebble designed it to be - convenient.

The ability to discretely dismiss a notification as low priority from my wrist is pretty darn handy. On the other hand, (wrist?) the ability to quickly act on an important text or call after just a quick glance at my watch has proven extremely useful. When my 20 month old daughter hides my phone in-between the couch cushions and I haven't seen it for 3 hours, I'm not worried about missing my notifications because the bluetooth works really, REALLY well.

All that to say, smart watches are handy. Absolutely not necessary, but the added convenience to people actively dependent on their mobile technology for work and personal life is something worth considering.

Since most of my daily tech is Apple (Macbook Pro, iPhone, iPad) it seemed natural that if I wanted a smartwatch I should get the Apple Watch. After all what smart watch would have better integration into iOS.. However there are some things that really bug me about the Apple Watch. It's certainly a beautiful looking device and most people seem to really enjoy them. But coming from Pebble, I don't know if I'm as easily impressed.

Here are the things I really like about Pebble Time:



  • Always on - even at slightly obscure angles, I can read what time it is without having to shake my wrist like an angry old man

  • Battery life - you shouldn't have to charge a watch every day. The Pebble consistently lasts around a week and I don't have to worry about it dying during a run or extended use. The best part about this is being able to wear it to bed for not only sleep tracking, but silent alarms that don't wake my wife.

  • Timeline - the OS is all about quick, convenient access to your schedule and notifications. There's not a lot of extra fluff for fluff's sake.

  • Waterproof - you can swim without worrying about ruining your $200+ investment

  • Buttons - I actually really like maneuvering the OS by using the physical buttons of the watch. It makes it feel more like a watch and less like a smartphone

  • Weight - the watch is light!

  • Price - At $200, the Pebble Time is around $150 cheaper than the cheapest Apple Watch


The main concerns I have about the Apple Watch:



  • Battery Life - this is the biggest beef I have. I don't want to have to worry about it dying during a run or bike ride. I also want to be able to regularly wear it to sleep for silent alarms. I'm used to 6+ days on a charge - this would be a huge step backwards

  • Shake of the wrist - I really don't like the idea of having to shake my wrist to check the time. It feels unnatural and looks straight up silly.

  • Sluggish - Reports of the OS being slow are popping up. Likely due to poorly optimized third party applications, but when you're expecting the performance of a high powered smartphone on the low powered watch, you're going to be disappointed. This possibly could be fixed with software updates, but my own opinion is that the watch is slightly underpowered for the OS. If it's slow today, how slow will it be in 2 years?

  • Price - $350 for the cheapest Apple Watch is steep. Even $200 for the Pebble Time is more than I'd like to pay for a watch, but these are the big players in the market, we play by their rules.


Perhaps the 2nd or 3rd gen Apple Watch will address these things. By then it will be exciting to see what other players have jumped into the market for some healthy competition! But for now, I'm extremely happy with my Pebble Time!

EDIT Aug 18th
Turns out I'm not the only VMware fanatic/iPhone User who chose the Pebble Time vs the Apple Watch.. Check out my colleague Duncan Epping's post over at YellowBricks
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