(This isn’t actually my Pebble Time—I take better care of my cuticles than that—but the one I bought is in almost as bad shape…)
So I’m making a bit of an about-face from my proclamation last April that Pebble had already won the smartwatch wars. I still think their Timeline UI makes the most sense, but the honest truth is that within a month of receiving my 2nd-gen Pebble I stopped using it and went back to Android Wear. And if I’m really honest I don’t even use Android Wear all that much.
Here’s why I gave Pebble the boot:
The photo for this post comes from a redditor who had his Pebble Time for all of 45 minutes before the bezel got scratched. Had the PT been “unapologetically plastic” like the original Pebble this wouldn’t have happened; while it’s great that the Time has a metal bezel, it’s quite infuriating that said metal bezel has a PVD coating that scratches off far too easily. Expect this same issue to plague the more expensive Pebble Time Steel, as well—the black one, anyway.
A not-so-easy fix is to sand off the coating with steel wool, which only makes me wonder why on earth Pebble decided to coat the bezel in the first place.
tl;dr Pebble records EVERYTHING. Your GPS location, log files, mobile phone details, what other apps you run on your phone, information about Facebook events, info about any text you enter with text-to-speech. Not just in anonymized form, but specifically identifiable to you.
Even worse is that Pebble explicitly reserves the right to sell this information to third parties. No thanks.
3. Customer Support
My experience with Pebble support has left a rather bad taste in my mouth. You’ll recall that I actually got a pair of Pebble Times from the company’s Kickstarter campaign; the white one, intended for my girlfriend, went unused. I took advantage of a 30-day return policy and shipped it back to Pebble, at my own expense. They received that shipment on August 17th, but have yet to issue a refund. I contacted support this week and was told to expect it “in 10 to 14 business days”—or, in other words, a full month and a half after they received it. ಠ_ಠ
The most maddening thing about all of this is that the money I’ve spent on Pebble could have instead financed a fancy second-generation Android Wear device like the Huawei Watch. But I keep having to remind myself that smartwatches in general have yet to prove themselves as a must-have companion to a proper smartphone.