Name:  pebble-2-se.jpg
Views: 64
Size:  356.0 KB

Ah, it's good to be back. And if you're curious, that watchface looks even better in colour! But I'm getting ahead of myself here...

Seeing how I will shortly be in possession of an almost $1,000 CAD Pixel 3 I've been getting reacquainted with the comparably-expensive smartwatch equivalent—that is, Wear OS. For the country wedding I attended last weekend I charged up my first-generation Skagen Falster to match my other fancy duds.

And then, of course, I met someone there who was wearing a Pebble. They didn't have to charge their smartwatch for the entire weekend; I had to charge mine twice.

So upon my return to the big city I immediately re-paired my Pebble 2 SE (I also have a Time and Time Steel) and was quickly reminded of at least five reasons why this cheap and cheerful line of smartwatches is still, almost two years into obsolescence, the best solution for me:

1. Battery

At three weeks plus the Amazfit Bip may still be the endurance champ, but the seven to ten days I get from any of my Pebbles is still ample. Even a 48-hour Wear OS device couldn't have made it from Toronto to Vancouver to Taipei to Brisbane to Auckland on a single charge; my banged-up Kickstarter Pebble Time, however, powered through with battery to spare.

Part of what makes the Pebble lasts so long is its e-paper display, which only needs to light pixels when something changes, which brings us to...

2. Display

Sure, colour Pebbles can look a bit washed-out when using their built-in backlight, but for outdoors there is no smartwatch more legible than Pebble. The closest equivalent on Wear OS is the transflective LCD on the Casio Pro-Trek (also visible in the image above) and TicWatch Pro. And both of those displays only show basic information; with a Pebble you get the whole watchface, plus whatever complications come with it.

Also, no lift-to-wake nonsense here. As with any proper timepiece the time is always visible.

3. Buttons

Another thing my Pebbles excel at is skipping ads on podcasts while I'm on a walk. To do the same on a Wear OS watch you'd need to first launch the Media Controls app and then try to skip ahead using the touch screen. I say "try" because if the screen is cold it doesn't always work, whereas with a Pebble I can do it without even looking.

And in case you were wondering the Amazfit Bip doesn't have media controls at all.

4. Size

I suppose the Skagen is closest in size to my Pebbles, but it's considerably heavier; my all-plastic Pebble Time and 2 SE are so light that I quickly forget I'm wearing them—that is until a notification buzzes through. So I'm far more likely to wear a Pebble around the house, without needing to carry my phone in tow.

5. Services

Having taken over Pebble's backend servers, The Rebble Alliance is now providing weather and voice dictation to every Pebble that supports it. With a paid subscription they've got a unique and (hopefully) sustainable business model, ensuring that their users can continue to enjoy the full Pebble experience for years to come.

And that, in a nutshell, is why my Skagen Falster is going back in the drawer.