Features and apps
While the watch itself runs on its own Pebble OS, it supports both iPhone and Android. In a market of Android-only smartwatches, this earns it bonus points from the very start. For this review I primarily used iOS 7, though I also tested it out with Android too.
In order to get the Pebble up and running you'll need to install the official Pebble app. Like the watch itself, it's an extremely basic-looking piece of software but it gets the job done. As soon as you're paired via Bluetooth 4.0, you're good to start playing.
Out of the box, the Pebble is primarily a notification device,requiring little interaction with the watch. One baked-in feature gives you control of music playback happening on your phone, letting you skip and pause tracks. It also displays incoming phone calls and will let you accept or reject them using the watch buttons.
What you can't do is actually have a phone conversation through the Pebble, but I consider this a positive rather than a negative. We might have marvelled at the Dick Tracy watch back in the day, but now it's a possibility we've realised that no one really wants to speak into their wrist.
It says a lot that even after all these years we still make remarks about people who walk down the street talking into their Bluetooth headsets. Chatting into a watch is the same sort of deal.
But it's notifications that are the most useful and impressive aspect of the Pebble. Notifications on your phone are almost instantly transmitted to the watch, which will give you a gentle vibrate to get your attention. What's more, the recent 1.3 firmware update has given the Pebble full support for iOS 7 and its Notification Center, bringing it closer in line with the Android experience.
Texts, tweets, Facebook alerts, Google Maps alerts, Snapchat notifications - you can have as many or as few of them as you wish. The Pebble is great news for phone-checking compulsives in this age of endless notifications; if your wrist isn't rumbling, there's nothing significant to report.
Yes, the perceived liberation from your phone is ironic given that you're now essentially wearing it, but if that means less pocket fumbling every five minutes then I'm all for it.
But chances are you'll soon be over the pre-installed features and want to see what else is out there. This is where the Pebble really takes off.
There's a massive developer community supporting the Pebble, even a Pebble Subreddit. Venture out and you'll find all sorts of apps, from Runkeeper to maps, from remote camera controllers to actual games. There are a number of apps on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, but that's really just the beginning.
And when you do find a new app you like the look of, all you need to do is download it to the phone, open it in up and install it to the watch. Simple and easy. That's the Pebble way.