Pebble Time Steel

The Pebble Time Steel may not have the bells and whistles of other smartwatches, but it is certainly more than a watch. Created by a company called Pebble, that was formed via a kickstart venture, the Pebble Time Steel symbolizes a culmination of research on previous models with the largest upgrade being to extend battery life.  Assimilating to a "less is more" feel, this is a solid contender in the smartwatch world. If you're expecting voice commands and to be able to smoothly reply to messages, the Pebble Time Steel may not be best for you. But if you are pleased with staying "in the know," managing your daily routine, and rocking out to your music on a tracked run, it may be just what you're looking for. An attractive watchface with a simple design and buttons, instead of the guesswork of a touchscreen, all work together to make this upgrade to the Pebble Time worthwhile; however, the feature that is most celebrated is its battery life. Touted as among the highest lifespan among smartwatches, it boasts 7-10 "always on" hours. With minimal charging time, most are impressed with this revision though it does fetch a higher asking price. And this larger pricetag does leave some puzzled as the watch is not updateable and technical support is disappointing to some. However, the overall feedback is encouraging and positive.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Upgrade to former model - Pebble Time - has improved battery life boasting 30 hours
  • e-paper display for easier readability
  • Water resistant
  • Allows access to smartphone functions like calendar, texts, and calls
  • Stylish
  • Band options that are easy to change out
  • Navigation control through textured buttons ¬†- no touchscreen technology
  • Cons
    • Fairly expensive
    • Low tech compared to other available options
    • No heart rate tracker
    • Can't make calls with it
    • Lack of technical support as the company, Pebble, was bought out by FitBit.
    • Key Features
      The Pebble Time Steel has been described as more of a watch than a smartwatch but it still does its fair share of computing. It has a built in fitness tracker called Pebble Health. It can track running and walking automatically which gets categorized as "active minutes." However, it will not give you much in the way of detail. It also has a step counter and sleep tracker that users enjoyed.
      Basic Features
      The Pebble Time Steel's basic features include time, timer, and step counter. If you are looking for a watch that will give you a little more detail, such as your pace and distance on a run, you will want to consider another watch. While this is a smartwatch, fitness tracking capabilities come at a bare minimum.
      Advanced Features
      The Pebble timeline is a customizable experience for each user. It allows wearers to incorporate information and updates from their most used apps and streamline them into one easy to read format. In addition, the Pebble Time Steel also has a port to take advantage of other useful tools created by third parties, for example, straps that offer built-in heart rate monitoring, wireless charging, and GPS.
      Though users have claimed that tracking workouts is not overly comprehensive or completely accurate, it's important to keep in mind, that while Pebble was acquired by Fitbit, this is not a Fitbit devoted solely to that purpose and is a smartwatch integrating many features. Overall, wearers are pleased with the accuracy provided. With the addition of an external application that is being marketed for use in geocaching and biking apps, GPS accuracy can be increased without draining the internal battery.
      The Pebble Time Steel uses Bluetooth technology and is compatible with both Apple and Android products. Most feel it is decidedly more accurate and better suited to Apple but is made for iPhone 4S and above running iOS 8+and Android devices with version 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and above. Some claim that the Bluetooth connectivity is sometimes fickle, especially with Android but not enough to cause any significant complaint.
      Built-in apps for the Pebble Time Steel include Pebble Health with its activity and sleep tracker that can compile data for review, along with standard features like calendar, email, and messaging. Apps are available through Pebble's store and third party sites. One can download fitness and running apps like runkeeper and music apps like Pandora but there are hundreds to choose from. Some users were not thrilled with the microphone making the use of some apps difficult but Pebble had stated that future software updates would help to that end.

      The Pebble Time Steel is lightweight with a marine-grade stainless steel casing. Wearers claim it feels comfortable on the skin. The included leather band is reported to feel comfortable in standard situations but it is not water resistant, as the watch is, and can feel uncomfortable when wet from a rainy run or time in a pool.
      Many seem to find the look of the Pebble Time Steel pleasing. While it comes only with a leather band, an upgrade to the stainless one really creates an attractive look, according to some wearers. Some feel the metal bezel detracts from the overall look but most are pleased with the look of the face. There are different color bands and metal watch combinations available as well, such as Black, Red, Silver, and Deluxe Black.
      The Pebble Time Steel is marketed as waterpoof up to 30 meters meaning it is shower safe and even acceptable for snorkeling. Pebble does warn users to keep the seal free from debris to keep the watch operating optimally. For example, they inform users to be sure to clean up saltwater from the crevices. Its waterproof ability seems to please reviewers across the board. In addition, there has been mostly positive feedback regarding the lifespan of the Time Steel and some attribute that to its basic features and simplicity.
      The Pebble Time Steel has a thin, curved, ergonomic design at 10.5 mm with an included 22 mm leather band. The face is not touchscreen, instead relying on four side tactile buttons for control. It is a larger display that previous models and some feel, it looks luxurious with all the metal, on the face especially when paired with the not-included 22 mm stainless band. Some agree that the metal bezel is the least attractive feature but, overall, are still pleased with the readability of the color e-reader and backlit screen, noted to be markedly better than its competitors, especially in full sunlit conditions.
      The Time Steel comes standard with a leather band. But with a quick change up system, many choose to purchase the stainless one, sold separately, and do a quick change up for a more polished look. Other options are available from the retailer but many wearer feel the one metal one is the more suitable fit and likely would have been a good thing to include for the higher ticket price.
      Sizes Available
      The watch measures 2.48 x 4.57 x 4.57 in. with a 10.5mm ergonmic profile, and the band is 22 mm. There is only one size available.
      Ease of Use
      With no touchscreen interface, users navigate the watch's features by way of four textured buttons on the sides. With one on the left and three on the right side of the face, toggling between menus is a breeze. It seems simple in the face of other more advanced navigating methods and it may not have as many options as other smartwatches but what it does showcase, it does well.
      Power Source
      Battery life is the name of the game with the Pebble Time Steel. Blowing its competition out of the water, this smartwatch claims one of the longest battery lives on the market. At 7-10 hours, users can track their fitness, keep track of appointments, and monitor the news with the "always-on" easy to read screen. Many have found that the claim of 10 hours has been legitimate and even when power has run down, a short stint of 1-2 hours on the magnetic charging strip cable can fully replenish the battery. Users also have the option of adjusting watch settings to fully extend the battery life.
      As a minimal revision to the Pebble Time, some were surprised at the heftier pricetag. Considering the main upgrade is battery life, even as impressive as it is, the cost seemed non proportional. Some argue that for the cost, the preferred and well-matched 22 mm stainless steel band and a heart rate monitor should have been included. With a recent drop in price making the purchase easier to stomach, more reviewers are pleased.
      The charging cable is a magnetic strip cable that clicks into place recharging in a short amount of time. With a port included on the Time Steel, there are accessories that can be plugged in as well. the most notable is the Pal GPS strap that offers wireless charging and heart rate monitoring. It does this without using the internal battery as it is independently powered with a 250 mHz battery. Also offered to improve your overall experience are many band options as well as screen protectors.
      Key Features
      - The Time Steel has an easy to read color e-reader display.
      - Navigating is easy with textured buttons instead of a touchscreen.
      - This smartwatch takes advantage of a simple interface and an attractive design.
      - Proven to be waterproof up to 30 meters.
      - The Pebble Time Steel features one of the most extensive battery lives among smart watches providing 7-10 days of "always on" screen time.
      Bottom Line
      For those looking for a watch with all the bells and whistles, the Pebble Time Steel is probably not your best bet. However, for those that want a sturdy, accurate, stable watch with impressive battery life, and can afford to open up the pocketbook a little more can strongly consider this option. With its "always on" and always readable display and easy navigation, the Pebble Time Steel is worth a good, hard look.
      Where to Buy
      By Kristin R.
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 30. 2021

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