How I'm using my Pebble | Connectedly

How I'm using my Pebble

Pebble Steel
By Phil Nickinson on 19 May 2014 02:18 pm

A key group of core apps helps keep my Pebble on my wrist every day

It's not every day that I effective fall in love with a device. The simple fact is we've got too many toys that come through here, and it's a fool's game to become smitten with one for any amount of time — something newer and better is always on the way. But for several months now — since its announcement at CES in January, actually — for me that's been the Pebble Steel.

I'd used the original Pebble for many months before that and was mostly happy with it. I'm not a watch person. Haven't warn one in years. But the jump from rubber and plastic to stainless steel was too much to resist. So I ponied up and paid for one myself.

What am I doing with my Pebble Steel, a few months into it? On one hand, not a whole lot. I'm not switching watchfaces every day. I'm not trying every app in the catalog. But the ones I do use, I use every day. I'm ignoring email and other notifications, mostly, and instead focusing on the more direct apps and watchfaces.

So here's here I'm using my Pebble Steel.


Pebble watchface

My go-to watchface generally is this one, with the time spelled out and the hour in bold. Not that reading a normal watchface taxes my brain too much — it's just that this one looks different than most normal watches, so anyone who sees it is going to wonder what's strapped to my wrist. (Yes, for me it's a vanity watchface.)

Pebble Modern watchface

Sometimes I'll use the "Modern" watchface as well. It's got a more traditional look to it. I leave the second-hand turned on, as well as the day and date, and the weather. I turn off the Pebble logo, though, since it's also on the face of the Pebble Steel.

Pebble Big Time

If I'm traveling in Europe, I switch over to Big Time. Large numbers, and it does the 24-hour style, as do many places outside the U.S. Again, doing that conversion in my head isn't a big deal. But using Big Time in 24-hour mode means I don't have to worry about it. I just make sure the number on the watch match up with whatever time I'm supposed to be somewhere, and we're good.

Plus, my grade-school-age daughter likes to add the two digit numbers together for fun.

Pebble apps

Pebble Music app

For music ... Probably the app I use most on my Pebble is the built-in remote for Google Play Music. I listen to a lot of music once I get home, and I don't always have my phone in my pocket then. So Pebble makes switching songs a breeze.

Pebble Leaf app for Nest

For comfort ... Second to that is the Leaf app for controlling my Nest thermostat. It ... well, it just controls my Nest. I can turn the temperature up, and I can turn the temperature down. I can set the status to "Away" if I'm gone (and if it hasn't already done it on its own), and I can set it to "Home" if I'm back. And I can tell people "Hey, check this out. I can control my air conditioner from my watch. Which sounds way cooler to me than it does them. But I don't care. It's cool as hell.

Pebble Nav Me Navigation app

For finding my way around ...And then there's Nav Me, which connects to Google Maps for navigation. Start up navigation on your phone, and your watch will relay the basics — directions, distance and time to go, and which way you'll be turning next. Your Pebble will vibrate on each waypoint. I'm not sure if I'd rely on this as my sole means of navigation, but it's a great companion should you miss a voice notification.

Android companion apps

Pebble NotifierPebble Locker

For security ... There are a couple companion apps I use on Android alongside the official Pebble app. The first is Pebble Locker, which lets me use a PIN lock on the entire phone. But so long as the Pebble is connected, I won't have to actually enter the PIN. Pony up a couple bucks via an in-app purchase and the app expands to allow other Bluetooth devices and specific Wifi networks to keep the phone unlocked.

For notifying all the things ... The other app I use is Pebble Notifier. Not every Android app I have will ping Pebble out of the box. Specifically, I like to use it for Tripit for flight and gate information while I'm on the go. It's a lot easier to glance down at your watch than it is to dig a phone out of your pocket while you're lugging a couple carry-on bags through the Atlanta airport. But Pebble Notifier will kick over any notification from any other app you have installed as well.

Reader comments

How I'm using my Pebble


Have you liked battery life? easy to charge? fast to charge? I use an iPhone.. Committed to the ecosystem at this point.. Would changing music or navigation be available like on android?


Yes a lot of the same apps or similar apps are available on iOS. I actually like the iOS Nav app better than the Android version due to features.

Once Android Wear comes out on a REAL watch (if it does half the things it promises), Pebble will need a whole lot of catching up to do. They can, however, say they kickstarted the whole Smart Watch trend. :)

I'm waiting for the Moto watch, but I doubt it will be in the price range of Pebbles. So, I think they will be fine. Not everyone wants all the features on their watch.

Once upon a time a (nearly) long-forgotten brand thought the same thing: BlackBerry. By the time they tried to catch up, well, we all know the story. I don't think Pebble is as troubled, but I don't think they'll just keep it simple and will need to adapt.

Of course I go and check, and my Nav Me trial expired... I didn't use it that much so I'll just wait for the G Watch (yes I know Nav Me is only the price of 3 small fries at McDonald's).

I get about 5 days usage before it says low battery, and I even stretched it to 10% one time!

I use SkipLock to keep the phone locked when not connected to what I have configured. It will keep the phone unlocked if my Pebble is connected, I'm connected to my car, or I'm on my home WiFi. My battery life runs about 3 (maybe 4) days. I just got the Pebble Steel about a month ago and I still enjoy it. I will admit that I may jump ship depending on how the new crop of watches turn out, but I have no complaints so far, other than wishing the battery life was at least 5 days.

You speak truth, sir. I keep trying to tell myself to wait for the 360 to buy another watch, but I somehow have a new automatic diver being delivered Thursday. If it didn't have a proprietary lug design I would have a Pebble Steel on my wrist at least a few days a week.

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Do you use Pebble Notifier with Google Now Notifications? The only app I have found that works nicely with Google Now (Search) is Light Flow.

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Dang it Phillips! I had convinced myself that I was waiting for Android Wear, but you just made me want a Pebble Steel.

I find it very interesting but I'm going to wait a bit and see what brand comes out, what features are available and interesting for me to use on a regular basis. Still want to wear my fancy watch for outings but I'm seeing more potential for a smart watch.

I am teetering on getting a Steel now..

I JUST got my first Pebble, but a girl can have more than one accessory!

Every time I see one of these articles, and I start to think: "hey, maybe I should take the leap and get a smartwatch", I'm always grounded by asking myself the same question.

"Is it worth $200 to not reach into my pocket for the same information?" And the answer is always "no".

I was the same way, until I decided to get one. Now when I get an email, my watch tells me who it's from and should I take the time to pull my phone out of my pocket. I get a text, and I can even respond to it on the watch (pre-written answers, but still). Or I can just shrug it away if the text isn't important. Someone calls me? Look at the watch, Oh its "Phone Spammer" calling, punt to voicemail.

I would rather be the guy that spends a half second looking at his watch and then moves on to the important stuff. Not the guy that gets a notification on his phone, pulls it out of his pocket, unlocks it, sees it isn't important, and then moves on.

Also, not $200. It's now down to $150 :) :

I love the tech and the *potential of smart watches. I had a pebble steel for about a week before i sold it. It just wasn't quite there yet for me. maybe the Moto 360 will do it, maybe something else down the road... maybe i'm just too attached to my old fashioned mechanical watches - a marvel of technology in their own right if you ask me (not that anyone did ;).

co-worker has a Pebble and he loves it, I really think they did a good job at making a good product.