I'm posting this here and not in the smartwatch forum with the intention of hopefully reaching a bigger audience. Hope that's OK with the staff!
My gold-plated Pebble Time Steel arrived today. I have some history with smartwatches. I've owned a Meta Watch which was terrible, and wore a Garmin Vivofit for approximately a year before it started driving me crazy.
So I want to make something clear here right from the start - I can't stand the idea of being enslaved by technology. I'm of the type who tends to prefer notifications turned OFF. This is what ultimately made me so fed up of the Vivofit.
So why did I even get a Pebble then? Well, take a look at the title of this thread, and that picture up there. To me the idea of a watch with added functionality makes sense. I've been very tempted at times by the Casio digital ABCs + thermometer, and I also owned a Phosphor Touch Time, which wasn't a smart watch but was marketed as a 'smarter watch' - essentially a touchscreen digital watch with extra functionality. Unfortunately for Phosphor, despite the 1 year battery life of the Touch Time, none of the extra digital apps were terribly useful, and the touch screen was poor, leading me to get rid of that watch fairly quickly. I still really like the idea of a digital watch with as much functionality as possible though.
Which is how I'm treating my Pebble.
First impressions of the Time Steel are good. It feels pretty nicely made, the only let down being the 'leather' strap - I'm not entirely sure but it feels as if the underneath is leather and the top is some kind of fortified cardboard. It's a standard 22mm though so I'll probably go looking for a replacement in my jewellers next week.
The software feels pretty mature, and is generally smooth and quite intuitive. The screen is ALWAYS ON which is great and compares favourably to say an Apple Watch. The button on the left takes you back, while on the right the top bottom scrolls up, bottom button scrolls down and middle button selects. I actually find this extremely intuitive and picked it up really quickly. Should be emphasized THIS IS NOT A TOUCHSCREEN - quite possibly a good idea given the size of the screen.
Battery life is meant to be up to 10 days, most people seem to get about 7 in practice. Considering I'm using it basically solely to permanently display the weather, I wonder if maybe I'll push a little higher than 10. You can see in the topmost photo in this post the battery life indicator just under the time - I haven't seen it deplete yet in the hour or 2 I've had the watch.
The Pebble app on my iPhone 5 is also good, generally intuitive. The biggest hassle is just setting yourself up with a Pebble account at the start, but even that's hardly any hassle.
A word of warning to those with extreme OCD - you're going to have to leave Bluetooth permanently on, and you also have to leave the Pebble app running in the background, can't swipe out. Neither of these is particularly an issue for me.
My only real issues so far are that despite what it shows in photos above, it's difficult to stop it from 100% never vibrating, and the weather app/screen can cack out, meaning you have to manually input your city.
Overall, considering I only paid £130 for this watch, I find it compares favourably to a digital ABC with superior weather displaying. Charging once a week or less often actually takes out a hell of a lot of the hassle, and there are clear advantages (screen always on, battery life) to the Pebble Time Steel compared to smartwatches from other brands or even other Pebble models. The number of colours and resolution of the screen are both on the low side and yet with some imagination on the part of developers the clouds in the weather app still look good! Overall the device feels pretty premium and edgy and I recommend it possibly even to people who may not have thought they wanted a smartwatch...