Smartwatches at the end of 2017

30 Dec 2017

Or why did I buy a Pebble at its end of life?

I’ve never really wanted a smartwatch before. I felt that they are mostly for notifications (which I generally dislike) and let’s you do mobile phone things but with a clunky user experience.

But over Christmas, I found a Pebble Time Round on sale for about 1400 SEK ($170 / €140) which less than half the price of most other smartwatches on the market right now.

There is a big catch. Pebble is essentially no more and all services will shut down any day now. Good thing is that everything will (hopefully) still work, as long as you (or the Pebble community) do some work yourself. The biggest problem is that the official “app store” will be gone. I can live with that, I mainly want the watches built in functionality and I already have the watch faces I need - and I’m willing to try to develop my own.

In my mind there are mainly three other watches I would consider. The Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S3 (Classic / Frontier) or a Kronaby.

I’ve been an iPhone user for many years so that limits the options and you would think the Apple Watch be a no brainer. It’s the only smartwatch I’ve seen people actually use. But there are two things I dislike with it. First, the display is black (off) most of the time. Second, I don’t like that it’s square (and it’s pretty thick). The Pebble Time Round is super thin and the display is always on.

The Samsung Gear S3 (Classic / Frontier) seems to do this better. It has the option to enable always on display and it is round. It is a huge beast compared to the Pebble though. This is good and bad, for me it’s a matter of visual taste. I was very tempted to buy this thing but the iPhone experience with it is so degraded compared to if you have a Samsung / Android phone. If I did own an Android phone, and I may go that route for my next phone, then I’ll definitely consider this (or whatever similar product is available in the future).

The Kronaby looks like a normal watch (there are similar watches like Skagen Connected - I’m a big fan of Skagen’s regular watches). Thought it looks very good (it looks like any regular good-looking analog watch), the lack of display limits the functionality greatly. Interesting approach, not sure if it’s a good idea or not. If you want do want a regular analog watch, why not get this with some extra tech inside it?

In the end, after having had some issues with the Pebble (requiring a factory reset and re-installing the iPhone app for the bluetooth to be stable), it now works great. Below is the features the Pebble has which I love and what I want my next smartwatch to have as well.

Must-have features

Don’t really care (yet)