Pebble Steel review

An E-ink screen lost in a sea of colour

Pebble Steel review
Sleeker, shinier, but still as connected

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Compared to its predecessor, the Pebble Steel has come on leaps and bounds in the design department with a slicker, more premium finish which makes the watch look less like a child's toy and more like a professional piece of technology.

Unsurprisingly the body is finished in marine-grade stainless steel (see what they've done there?), and it feels robust. The display does have a sizable bezel around it, which is a shame as there's space for a larger screen, but it's not the end of the world.

I'm not totally won over by the Steel's design, the chunky buttons on either side of the watch makes the smartwatch look a little dated compared to the Android Wear fleet, but it sits subtly on the wrist.

Pebble Steel review

Where as offerings such as the Moto 360 dominate the wrist and draw attention to themselves, the Pebble Steel is more reserved and for some a discreet smartwatch is exactly what they want.

I found the Steel to be a good size (46 x 34 x 10.5mm), and even those with smaller wrists shouldn't feel too swamped.

Pebble Steel review

At 56g the Steel is also a comfortable weight, just heavy enough to let you know it's there, but not distracting or painful.

You can take the Steel for a dip in pool or a soak in the bath thanks to it's IP68 rating, making it waterproof up to a depth of 50 metres.

Pebble Steel review

As I've already mentioned the chunky buttons - three on the right and one on the left - do appear a little dated, although they are easy to hit.

The left key acts as a back button, the central key on the right is select and the two flanking that are up and down.

Pebble Steel review

It's simple stuff and it didn't take me long to get used to the system - apart from the times I was frustratingly jabbing at the screen forgetting it's not touch enabled.

The Pebble Steel comes with a leather strap by default and I much prefer its finish over the leather straps bundled with the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R which just feel cheap in comparison.

If you want to smarten the watch up more you can invest in a steel band to replace the leather option, but it will set you back $20 (around $20, AU$25).

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.