Peb­ble Time Steel


Fol­low­ing tra­di­tion, Peb­ble has both plas­tic and steel ver­sions of their new Time se­ries of watches. How­ever, un­like the orig­i­nal Peb­ble and Peb­ble Steel, the Time and Time Steel have an al­most iden­ti­cal de­sign. Vis­ually, the only ma­jor dif­fer­ence is the size of the bezel; the Time is thicker while the Time Steel has a slim­mer frame. How­ever, that doesn't mean that the LCD size is larger on the Time Steel. It re­mains the same 1.25-inch color e-pa­per dis­play, so you ac­tu­ally just get a black bor­der be­tween the bezel frame and the LCD. While the Time Steel is stain­less steel all around, it's worth not­ing that the Time's bezel is also made of stain­less steel; only its case is poly­car­bon­ate. So the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two is even less ap­par­ent in terms of build qual­ity and feel.

The only other phys­i­cal dif­fer­ence is a thin 1mm band sur­round­ing the Time Steel be­tween the case and the bezel. This al­lows the Time Steel to pack in a larger bat­tery, boast­ing a 10-day bat­tery life as op­posed to the 7-day rat­ing of the Time. All other hard­ware spec­i­fi­ca­tions and func­tion­al­ity re­main iden­ti­cal be­tween the two watches. As I've re­viewed the Time back in July, I won't go into specifics again and will in­stead dive into the im­prove­ments made so far and the value of the Time Steel.

Peb­ble has con­tin­u­ously rolled out func­tional im­prove­ments via firmware up­dates that ad­dress many of our orig­i­nal con­cerns with the smart­watch, chiefly the lack of con­trol over ba­sic func­tions and low vis­i­bil­ity of the LCD back­light. As of firmware v3.4, you can now ad­just the in­ten­sity of the back­light and the du­ra­tion it stays lit. You can also ad­just no­ti­fi­ca­tion vi­bra­tion strength and font size. The lat­est firmware, v3.6 adds sup­port for Peb­ble Dic­ta­tion API for iOS. While there's still no na­tive voice com­mand for iOS, de­vel­op­ers can now build third­party apps that will sup­port voice in­put. All th­ese make for a more func­tional prod­uct that con­tin­ues to gain from strength to strength.

The main draw of buy­ing a Peb­ble watch re­mains its long-last­ing bat­tery life. Now, we all know that you're go­ing to charge all your de­vices at the end of the day any­way, so does it re­ally make that much of a dif­fer­ence?

Let's look at it this way. I agree that the Ap­ple Watch does many things bet­ter: bet­ter screen, bet­ter col­ors, pret­tier in­ter­ac­tive apps and games, but the main prob­lem

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