There's been so much confusing information and controversy about smartwatches. The Apple Watch is great--no, it's a failure. Android Wear is wonderful--or maybe not ready for primetime. Should you get one? Shouldn't you get one? Is the whole smartwatch craze just a passing fad?
Unlike a lot of reviewers, I've been using the same smartwatch every day for the past six months--the original Pebble. I love it. Here's why:
1. It cost $99.
I don't mind paying good money for technology I know I'm going to use. But when it came to smartwatches, I had no idea beforehand whether I would like using one or find it clunky and annoying. The low price of the original Pebble made it easy to just give it a try. It's even lower now, at $89, with the Pebble Steel, whose design many people prefer (although I'm not one of them), at only $149. Pebble just came out with the Pebble Time, a great way to find out with relatively little risk whether a smartwatch is for you or not.
2. It's lightweight.
A lot has been said about the stylishness or lack thereof of many smartwatches, including the Pebble. Until I encountered one in person, I'd assumed it would be too big and heavy for me to wear comfortably. I was pleasantly surprised when I happened on a Pebble in a Best Buy. It's not a watch I'd have bought for fashion, although the text time display has a definite cool factor. But it's not too huge and definitely not too heavy to wear. Plus, it's waterproof.
3. I never miss phone calls, instant messages, or texts.
To me, this is the killer functionality of any smartwatch. Since moving to Washington State, my husband and I are only using mobile phones, seeing no good reason to bother with a landline. The only drawback has been that I would occasionally miss a call because I don't carry my mobile phone with me around the house. The Pebble's bluetooth stays connected to my phone throughout the house, so the watch always alerts me by vibrating when a text, call, Facebook message, or Google Hangout message arrives. I'm far easier to reach now than I was before the Pebble.
4. I've retired my ringtones.
It's always embarrassing when your smartphone rings during a meeting, movie, or yoga class because you neglected to turn the ringer off. Those days are over for me, because with phone calls and messages vibrating on my wrist, there's never a need to turn the ringer on. One less thing to bother with.
5. All the other stuff.
Because Pebble has been around for a while, there's an ecosystem of apps for it. Using various apps, I can use my watch as a remote control for my Roku; track my walking speed, time, and distance; follow turn-by-turn directions; check my email; check the weather; and send texts from a wide menu of pre-chosen messages. And that's just me--there are all sorts of apps to choose from, including finance and sports. Another nice feature is the ability to use the Pebble as an alarm clock, since it's much less unpleasant to be woken by a gentle vibration on your wrist than a loud alarm sound. None of these are in themselves a good reason to get a smartwatch, but all of them add to the appeal.
So there you have it--I bought a smartwatch and I'm glad I did. What about you--are you going to try one? If you already have, what do you think of it?