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Early Review: Is Pebble 2 Worth It?

To quite figure the Pebble 2 out, and actually decide if the new smartwatch is anything worth the price tag and big name it’s inherited, we’ll focus our beams of review to what the Pebble 2 has that the original, the hugely revered Pebble Classic (or simply the original Pebble), doesn’t have, answering the question: Is Pebble 2 worth it?

And whether the new additions measure up, or like its hit predecessor, go beyond the design and functionality scopes of the horde of smartwatches that have come up in the space between the release of the Pebble Classic (2013) and the new Pebble 2 (October 2016). Best Buy has already pegged an October 15th release date on its pre-orders.

But with the Pebble 1 already such a value-for-money device, why would you need to pay more for an upgrade? Here are some insights before we hop onto conclusions.

Pebble 2 price when reviewed: $127.07

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Early Review: Is Pebble 2 Worth It?

Early Review: Is Pebble 2 Worth It?The new Pebble is somewhat slightly smaller, thinner, lighter, and more aesthetically appealing than the Classic. At 31.7 grams, it is some 6.3 grams lighter.

Pebble 2 stretches over some (39.5 X 30.2 X 9.8)mm compared to the (52 X 36 X 11.5)mm of the Classic Pebble. The body makes a comeback with the same polycarbonate (with 10% glass fiber) and silicone strap (with a quick-release pin mechanism) of the original Pebble.

If the original Pebble feels something like archaic to you, thanks to the limited color options (red and black only), you might be pleased to learn that the new Pebble 2 will match your mood and wardrobe thanks to its black, aqua, white, lime and flame color options. So the Pebble 2 is quite 2016!

What’s so not state-of-the-art though is the lack of a capacitive touchscreen to ease up operation—in fact, there’s no touchscreen at all. However, if you’ve used a touchscreen fitness buddy before and it kept “operating itself” from contact with accidental brushes, you might like it that the Pebble 2 comes with three physical buttons for BlackBerry-like navigation.

User Experience

Speaking of navigation, you will still have to scroll and browse the menu from a black and white, e-paper display. The screen is still an always on, daylight readable display—a definite great thing—but also added a 0.01-inch to the screen’s real estate, if that even makes any difference. Still, you get a microphone to input audio here. But the Pebble 2 won’t be sporting a speaker. That means you will not be able to play out any sounds off of the 8 GB storage space allocated for such things in this thing.

Other Features

What’s changed is that you can now avoid the maddening scratches you might have experienced on the Pebble Classic, which lacked the flat Gorilla Glass 3 extra layer of protection featured on the Pebble 2.

Another change is that the Pebble 2 is 20 meters less water resistant than the 50 M depths capability of the Pebble 1. But most people never deep dive below 30 M, so this may not pick a Deep Blue Sea bone with you.

Pebble 2 Early Review: Software and Special Features

Google did shelf Android Wear 2.0 release until the autumn breaks, so no major innards and controls are to be expected here, or so one would think. Fresh off the Pebble labs is the company’s latest OS—the Pebble 4.0—and it will feature boldly in the new Pebble 2 when it is first released as reward for the over 66,000 backers who crowdfunded the making of the Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2, and Pebble Core over at Kickstarter for well over $ 12 million (against the $ 1 million sought by Pebble).

The Pebble 4.0 OS’s main serving must be on improvements made to the health and fitness capabilities of the Pebble 2. After all, the thing is supposed to be the “ultimate fitness watch”. Here’re the mouth-watering bits to come:

  • Heart rate tracking — which was long overdue (since 2013, for crying out loud) but will definitely help improve the accuracy of tracking other related vitals’ stats such as calories burned.
  • Sleep tracking — the Pebble 2 is shipping as a sleep tracker as well.
  • Improved Pebble Health — the new step tracking feature, at least, makes the Pebble 2 a real, Made in 2016 Pebble.

The improved Pebble OS means there are over 13,000 Pebble 2 compatible apps to spoil you too. Those include RunKeeper, Uber, Pebble Health and TripAdvisor. The updates also mean anyone in charge of a Pebble can update their Pebble Mobile app to the latest version to enjoy new Pebble Possibilities, including heart rate and step tracking, and improved Pebble Health newcomers and the good ole’ Pebble classics such as Pebble Timeline.

Pebble 2 Early Review: Battery Life

This is perhaps the most prevalent reason for buying a Pebble; excellent battery life (makes up for the black and white display anyway). On paper, the Pebble 2 will last up to 7 days—of course depending on use. Details are scant on the battery capacity so we might have to wait and see if the new, extra software updates (over the Pebble 1) will suck the life out of the battery capacity.

Pebble 2 Early Review: Pebble 2 Price

If you did back the campaign on Kickstarter, then you are sure to get yours for $99. If you didn’t, you will have to shell out about $126 for a Pebble 2 come the October 2016 mass Pebble 2 release dateline.
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