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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The Pebble Steel gets the core smartwatch functions right; customisable notification control, decent battery life and simple operation. It does lack features compared to the competition, but its reserved design means it'll blend into your life.

We liked

The battery life is a clear plus point for the Pebble Steel, with a strong four day performance on a single charge easily achievable.

That's at least double the life the Android Wear army, and if you're careful you can go beyond that but you'll need to turn off most of the notifications which leaves you with, well, a watch.

It's also a premium looking device, and while I found the buttons to be a little chunky, the Steel looks sleek, professional and discrete.

We disliked

Considering the price is pretty much the same as most of the Android Wear watches, the Pebble Steel lacks massively in functionality.

With just eight apps available at one time on the watch I found I gave up switching them out for others. Smartwatches are supposed to be convenient and the Steel isn't for the power users at there.

There's plenty of choice from the dedicated developer community, from fancy watch faces to some rather useful tools and applications, but it's that app limit which makes it seem like a chore.

I was also frustrated by the way notifications didn't clear themselves on the opposite device (be it phone or watch) once read, making for a slightly annoying user experience.


If you're looking for a simple smartwatch to deliver notifications to your wrist and doesn't require a charge every other night the Pebble Steel delivers, but it doesn't offer great value for money.

The LG G Watch R for example, is only a touch more expensive now, and it outstrips the Steel in terms of features, functions and notification handling.

With the Android Wear crowd sporting similar price tags it's difficult to really recommend the Steel over them, and with Google's backing and a heap more power the future for those is greater than the Steel's.

First reviewed: February 2015

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.