Pebble Steel: the Good and the Bad

June 8, 2014 5:22 pm Leave your thoughts

pebble steelFinally I have a chance to write something about the Pebble Steel, a combination of me being busy with multiple projects and the long shipment delay. In any  case it’s good to get my hands on the Pebble Steel both the silver and black ones.

The two units that I  ordered came with both steel and leather wristband which was a welcome combinations. I’m sure you have read many reviews about the Pebble both good and bad, so I’ll be a bit more concise on this post today. In general I will outline the good and the things that needs to be improved if Pebble wants to stay ahead of their competitors.

The Good Stuff

Let’s talk about the good stuff first, since there indeed obvious improvements over the original Pebble. I am an original Pebble backer on Kickstarter by the way so this post is purely from my experiences.

Better lens

The Gorilla glass lens is much better than the original curved lens. There are less light refraction which caused the “rainbow” effect on the original Pebble. I also think that because this is a much better lens, the yellow overcast on the original Pebble does not exist in this version. In short, the display is gorgeous and very clear under daylight condition.

As you can see from the picture above that I have taken of the Pebble Steel, the display looked very sharp and easy to read. I think they have done a very good job in this area.

Good watch body build

The body of the watch is constructed solidly, there are no loose edges or rickety sound at all. It almost seems that the watch can withstand quite a bit of usage, though that is left to be discovered.

Better charging port

In this new version, the charging port has also been re-designed. Though it basically does the same thing as the original, it helps enhances the watch’s design aesthetics.

Things that Can be Improved

However good the Pebble Steel is, there are some things that need to be improved. The smart watch market competition is getting more and more crowded and can be quite fierce. Since the Pebble launched there are notably more and more competitions such as Samsung Gear 2 SmartwatchSamsung Gear Fit Fitness Tracker, Sony Smart Watch SW2, COOKOO, Martian Watches and the heavily rumoured Apple smartwatch. Therefore if they do not address the points below, I’m afraid their competitors might actually get the best of them.

Folded link chain

The Pebble Steel shipped with folded metal link watch band as opposed to the solid metal link. While this might be okay with cheaper watches, it’s not appropriate seeing $250 watch shipped with this, as a matter of fact the $290-ish Tissot watch like this one (Tissot Men’s T0354101105100 Couturier Black Dial Stainless Steel Watch) comes with solid metal links.

The problem with folded metal link is when you have to go and resize the watch band, which most people would do. In order to unlock the link, the link must be pried open, leaving dents around the link even with utmost carefulness. This is especially true with the black Pebble Steel. Now if you don’t ever have to use the link again, that’s probably okay, but in the event that you have to put the link back you’ll end up with dented links on your watch. Little things like this can be very annoying.

Sharp button edges

Perhaps not so much of a flaw as it actually looks good, however a few people that I know off have complained that the buttons are cut very sharply and it does feel like being cut when sliding your fingers across the buttons. Perhaps the nest design should take this kind of things into considerations.

Slow shipping, handling and communications

This in my opinion is the greatest weakness of Pebble as a company. I can understand that it took almost a year to build and ship out the original Pebble, yes it was a venture into the unknown for Pebble as a company. However the Steel Pebble should not have taken that long. The moment the notifications that Pebble Steel is released, I hit the pre-order button, thinking that it would take just a months estimated. In reality it actually took them almost 4 months to finally ship the watch to me. Email communications also take longer than 24 hours when enquiring about the watch order, not very impressed in this department.

I would again compare this with Tissot as they are one of my favourite watchmakers, the customer representative for Tissot is very responsive when I had to go and service my Tissot watch. I did not have to wait 2 days to get e-mail turnaround. I also don’t have to go into the forums in order to find out what exactly happen to my orders like what I had to do with the Pebble.


The Pebble Steel is still a very good buy, the software community is solid and the product itself despite some of its flaw is one of the best in the market so far. In order to survive in the smartwatch market, I think that Pebble must continue improving and explore new technologies. Perhaps some day we might even see a coloured screen Pebble watch!



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