Pebble Time with Michael
In the past, I was quite skeptical about the real usefulness of smartwatches. Weren’t they just annoying, distracting, and expensive devices that require constant charging? How much better would it be to own one when I’ve been happy with the functionality provided to me by just using my smartphone? So then, what are my conclusions now about the Pebble Time, my very first smartwatch, after owning and regularly using it for a little over 3 months?
First of all, after 3 months of living with it I now actually feel myself just taking my Pebble Time smartwatch for granted. It’s no longer a bright shiny new tech toy that I feel compelled to play with. It’s just there on my wrist. It’s always readily available whenever I need it and it’s always up to the challenge of getting my attention when there is an upcoming event, an email, a phone call, or a message that will likely require my attention. It also provides me with the current time, date, week day, current weather conditions, daily forecast, and battery status all from just a quick glance at its watch face.
Some may claim that smartwatches only move interruptions from your phone to your wrist, but I haven’t found that to be true at all. My Pebble Time ecosystem has been finely tailored by me to only notify me of urgent events and communications, leaving the non-urgent items to accumulate on my phone until I have the time to deal with them. Most importantly, these notifications are silent, delivered with only a brief vibration on my wrist. They are immensely less distracting to me and others around me then the ringtones, beeps, or very loud vibrations that used to regularly emanate from my smartphone.
I only receive notifications for important emails, with all of the Low Priority email messages remaining quiescent until such time as I am able to review them on my phone. Whenever I receive a potentially important email message, I’m gently informed of it and can then quickly review it. I can immediately determine whether I’ll need to stop what I currently doing and deal with it, or if it can wait and I can continue with my current activities. That’s really a wonderful service provided to me by my Pebble Time!
Now, some discretion is still needed when responding to notifications on my watch. For example, constantly looking down at one’s watch during a conversation can send a definite social message – that you are bored or need to be somewhere else. That’s why fine tuning the notifications sent to your Pebble Time is so important – I want to do all I can to make sure that only really important event and message notifications are sent to my smartwatch. I urge all smartwatch owners to please show sensitivity to the feelings of others when you are using your smartwatch. Of course, it certainly is much less distracting and dismissive of others to steal a quick glance at your watch rather than taking out your phone and playing with it!
All-in-all, I’ve found my Pebble Time saves me lots of time and to be minimally distracting to me. I now rarely access my phone at all during the day, unless it’s to answer to the very occasional phone call I may receive. Phone calls are actually fairly rare as most of the communications I have with others is via messaging – through SMS, Google Voice, or Facebook Messenger. So my Pebble Time is especially handy to me in providing notifications of received messages.
My Pebble Time has also replaced my old FitBit fitness tracker. It very accurately keeps count of my daily steps and integrates well with the Google Fit service. That’s all I really need in the way of fitness tracking and the Pebble Time PlexFit app does this job for me extremely well.
Another service that my Pebble Time regularly performs for me that I really didn’t expect to use is its ability to serve as a silent alarm clock. I use the Timer+ application virtually every day to silent alert me when I need to check laundry, put something in the oven for my wife, or any one of a number of timed events about which I want to be alerted. In fact, I use Timer+ so often that I’ve assigned it to the top Quick Launch button on my Pebble Time. PlexFit is assigned to the bottom button.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t use many other Pebble Time apps and have found most to be more trouble to use than they are worth. One very outstanding exception to this is the Nav Me, which I find to be a terrific aid in navigating to my destination when I’m driving a long distance. I also really like how well the ESPN app helps me keep track on my favorite sports teams and how well it integrates with the Pebble Time Timeline. Of course, speaking of the Timeline, I found it to be a very quick and easy tool for reviewing my upcoming appointments and to-dos (see What’s the Most Useful Feature of the Pebble Time and An Extremely Simple Way to Manage To-Dos on a Pebble Time).
Finally, probably the most surprising function of my Pebble Time is its ability to serve as kind of a helper to my Android phone. By using Tasker on the phone I’m able to get notifications on my Pebble Time when my phone’s battery is getting low and when it’s fully charged. I find this a great help in knowing when and for how long my phone needs charging, and all without looking at the phone itself. Another Android app that I make lots of use of in conjunction with my Pebble Time is Life Reminders. All of the reminder notifications from this program are routed to my Pebble Time. I use it constantly for setting up one-time and recurring reminders that I want to be informed of on my smartwatch.
So, although I’m really starting to take my Pebble Time for granted it really has become an invaluable assistant to me for managing communications and events, tracking my steps, reminding me to do things, helping me navigate while driving, and acting as a darned good watch!