In “Buy a watch, save your brain”, I wrote about how I hoped to buy a wrist watch (at the time, it was the rumoured “iWatch”), and reduce the amount of distraction I caused myself each time I checked the time on my iPhone.

Well, the “Apple Watch” announcement has come and gone, and (admittedly) after the hype wore off, I realised that I don’t really want the Apple Watch, for the following reasons:

  • I want a waterproof watch. I have a small child. Enough said.
  • I want an affordable watch
  • I want a watch, which is a fitness tracker, which monitors my sleep, which means..
  • I want a watch with a battery that doesn’t have to be charged every night
  • Apple Pay is unlikely to be a big deal in New Zealand, ever

So after much research, I bought myself the Pebble Smartwatch.

As it turns out, my timing was almost perfect. Although Pebble has been around for more than 2 years, it’s only recently (as in the last few weeks), that it finally meets all my criteria.

  • Pebble Firmware 2.6 was released, adding background activity tracking
  • Pebble dropped the price of the Pebble watch from $149 to $99
  • Pebble Firmware 2.5+ and iOS8 combined for reliable connectivity and dismissible notifications

(Note: I actually ordered my pebble before the price drop, but Pebble were good enough to refund me $50 on the purchase price. I promptly used this to buy a second Pebble watch for a geeky friend).

I did seriously consider the Pebble Steel, but at the time it was $250, and I decided against it because of the difficulty of obtaining aftermarket straps in New Zealand, and a fear that the sharp buttons would scratch my kids when I wrestle them (my dad used to have to take his watch off before he wrestled us). The one benefit of the Steel that I missed out on was the Gorilla Glass screen, but I’ve ordered a set of GadgetWraps’ Screen Protectors to hopefully protect the plastic screen a bit.

It’s been only a couple of days, and while there are some minor issues (MisFit app sync, I’m looking at you), on the whole I’m very happy with my decision, and have already noticed a decline in my smartphone habit.

So which faces / apps am I currently using on my Pebble? (there’s a limit of 8 slots for faces / apps)

  • Modern watchface - I like the bold, chunky style
  • Mickey Mouse watchface - My son loves Mickey
  • Plex Remote - I can control my media center from my watch!
  • Evernote - Check-able checklists are great for avoiding having to whip out the smart phone while grocery shopping
  • Misfit - Sync issues aside, it’s great to have an activity/automatic sleep tracker
  • SimonRemote - I can control iTunes/Spotify on my mac from my watch!
  • Pbfoscam - I’d hoped this would let me display snapshots from my IP cameras, but I haven’t managed to get it working yet)
  • The Weather Channel App - Having a 3-day forecast on my wrist is useful
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