To smartwatch or not to smartwatch? That is the question

Smartwatch Fans Pebble
By James Richardson on 27 Jan 2014 09:53 am

I have not worn a watch for probably over twenty years. This comes down to a combination of two reasons - firstly, I find it hard to find one that I feel comfortable wearing all day on my wrist and secondly, I always know what the time is due to either being in front of my computer, in the car or (most of the time) having my BlackBerry in my hand. 

However, things have taken a turn for me recently. Since the launch of Smartwatch Fans I've become much more aware of wearable technology and with the great coverage that the Mobile Nations team gave at CES, it's clear to see that smartwatches are going to be a big part of the whole mobile computing ecosystem for the foreseeable future. 

The challenge: 

Although I'm obviously not a watch fan I decided that in order to keep up with the ever changing world of technology I had better test one out — just in case I was missing out on something (you don't know until you try). If you visit most of our Mobile Nations sites you'll know that I spend most of my time over at CrackBerry so I wanted to get my hands on a smartwatch that was BlackBerry 10 compatible. That left me with one option — the Pebble. Unlike Android and iPhone we don't yet have an official Pebble app for BlackBerry 10 but there is a third party one called Talk2Watch which does a great job. 

Task number one for me was getting hold of a Pebble. Now, not being a watch wearer I was reluctant to spend my cash on one so I reached out to the very efficient PR team at Pebble and two days later one arrived to me all the way from America. 

The challenge was now on. Would I be comfortable wearing it and could I make the transition to checking my wrist instead of picking up my BlackBerry when I feel a buzz? 

The results:

I don't mind admitting I'm an addict. A smartwatch addict that now is!  The Pebble and I have become best friends and we are inseparable. 

Although I'm referring to the Pebble in this article as that's the smartwatch that I have, you'll need to imagine that I could be talking about any smartwatch — as there are now a selection to choose from and many more to come. 

In terms of comfort I'm not going to go into any great detail as this isn't a review, but what I will say is that I'm happy with the choice I made, but clearly some smartwatches will offer more comfort than others depending on materials used and size. 

In the week or so I've been rocking the Pebble I have only found one downside, although it's not the end of the world. Constantly having Bluetooth activated on my BlackBerry is not something I'm used to, so understandably there will be an element of extra battery usage. That said, I always have a spare battery on charge, so swapping out is not a big deal. I just need to ensure I take my spare with me if I go out for the day. Being able to do this may well be a big advantage over some other phones as many these days don't have the pleasure of a removable battery. But don't worry — I'm not here trying to sell BlackBerry 10! 

So if like me you've been tempted to delve into the smartwatch arena but have been a bit reluctant, I'd urge to you make that leap of faith. Having the ability to check emails, SMS, etc without having to pull out your smartphone is a huge bonus and from a dinner meeting I had earlier this week, it's also a lot more polite. 

I'm hoping that in the future we will see more and more smartwatches appear in mobile stores where consumers can try before they buy. Spending a few hundred dollars or more on something that you've not tried for comfort and user experience may well put some folk off — let's hope that changes in 2014. 

So for me I'm going to continue wearing a smartwatch in conjunction with whatever smartphone I happen to be carrying. The only big issue I have is that I think Pebble are going to want this one back. If anyone asks, I've emigrated far far away!

Related: Pebble Editorial

Reader comments

To smartwatch or not to smartwatch? That is the question


Good point about the need for smartwatches on display so that potential buyers can try them out before buying. I was pretty sure that I wanted the Pebble because of the good reviews on Mobile Nations. I bought it on faith because there was not a display at Best Buy to try it on. The large Samsung display on the other side of the store allowed me to try on the Gear and to decide that it was too big for me. I'm still happy that I bought my Pebble, but I know that I am going to want to test out the new watches as they become available.



I have my phone (LG G2) on complete silent and rely solely on my Pebble for notifications. The fact that notifications are not activating the display, there is no camera "bulb" flashing, no energy required to generate sounds, and no vibrating buzz on my phone seems to be a greater benefit in battery life than the cost of running Bluetooth all day.

Same here. My HTC One is now always in silent mode. All my notifications come to me via my Sony Smartwatch 2.

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I too haven't worn a watch in 20+ years, due to breaking my arm when I was young and prefering fob watches. I've ordered a Pebble, and it should be here this week. So it's going to be interesting to see how I go with it.

This is something I keep pondering myself. I actually stopped wearing a watch mainly due to suntan lines from riding my motorcycle. Before that, I wore a watch all the time. The idea of a smart watch really appeals to me. I just need to find the right watch that will do what I need it to do. Otherwise, I'm fine keeping the tan lines away,.

It's easy to say " I'd urge to you make that leap of faith" if you've gotten yours for free. for normal people it's quite an investment to pay 150$ (for a standard pebble) if you're not sure whether you'll like it or not... So it is really important I think that those will be in stores where you can try them out. But at least here in Europe you can't do that at all...

Nice article... When smartwatches were initially launched, I didn't see the point of it. But as every day passes I'm more inclined to change my mind. I'm actually all in for smart watches now!

Considering that I wouldn't have to keep pulling my phone out of my pocket to check emails and messages when on the treadmill or at a dinner table, and more... that alone makes it worth it.

I have found that I've come to appreciate the smartwatch concept once I started really using my Pebble. Before it was one of those things I thought it would be cool to check out, but now it's something that I actually find quite useful.

I was at a friend's place tonight and there were three of us with smartwatches, and another person was considering one. The ones with the watches indicated the same thing I mentioned above. So far it seems Pebble is winning out too (at least in my group)

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Haha thanks for the point of view... And more temptation to pull the trigger on a smartwatch. Now to find a good marriage counselor...

I'm hoping my girlfriend doesn't notice I've started wearing a watch. I REALLY hope she doesn't notice it's a smartwatch. She will.

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What got me to first consider a smartwatch is the "trusted devices" feature on my Moto X. I grew accustomed to not having to unlock my phone when connected to my Bluetooth speaker at home or while connected to my car (not that I fuss with my phone while driving...). Call me lazy, but the PIN screen seems like much more of a nuisance now, especially in terms of the always active voice control. If I have to unlock my phone (I refuse to say my PIN aloud) then there is little point of it.

Enter the smartwatch. It's the one item I would always have on me... even more than a Bluetooth fob on my keychain. And now that Pebble has introduced a watch that fits my personal fashion sense (the Steel) I will take the plunge.

Notifications and music control on my wrist, as well as whatever developers come up with, will be very much welcome too!

Posted via the Android Smartwatch Fans App!