April 18, 2021

I completely underestimated the usefulness of a smartwatch

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For the most part, I buy fairly basic things. I drive a Corolla; most of my clothes are brand-less, plain pieces without many patterns or textures; I buy most of my groceries at Aldi, which is off-brand heaven, but I always feel like I make off like a bandit with the prices (and the quality is pretty good, too). Yet, despite some of the basic aspects of my life, I’ve come to realize that everybody has their vice. In my case it’s smartphones. I spend an exorbitant amount of money on smartphones.

But my leniency ends there. You’d think that once I decided to get a smartwatch, one of the hottest accessories for smartphones, I’d want to spend a lot of money on a high quality one to match my expensive phone. However, the main reason it has taken me so long to buy one is because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that I wasn’t even sure I would use. In fact, I was sure that I wouldn’t use it more than anything. I didn’t think I needed an accessory when I could do everything on my smartphone, which I usually already spent a lot of money on.

It’s been three years since smartwatches really started to take off, thanks largely in part to smartwatch company Pebble. Although Pebble has always had arguably affordable smartwatches, with time those prices have lowered to be more affordable than ever, especially when compared to the competition.

Pebble might not seem like it’s a big deal anymore with today’s smartwatch offerings, but it’s still able to hold its own against the competition with affordable pricing and long battery life. I always said that if I ever decide to pick up a smartwatch, I would get a Pebble. As luck would have it, I found a deal on a Pebble Time that I couldn’t pass up: $45 for a lightly used model. If I wasn’t willing to buy a smartwatch at that price, I probably wouldn’t ever buy one. At this point, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it.

The day it arrived, I was surprised at how light it felt. It’s still pretty big compared to a “normal” watch, but lighter than I imagined it would be. I’ve never been a big watch-wearer, so the biggest adjustment for me is having something attached to my wrist in the first place.

I’ve had it for about 4 days now, and I can truly say that I underestimated its usefulness. I find that I’m spending less time using my phone knowing that my wrist can alert me when I need to look at it. Not checking my phone every few minutes (you know, just in case I missed a notification, or feeling a phantom vibration) also means that I don’t get sucked into finding other ways to use my phone. My phone is like a handheld rabbit hole sometimes. I’ll unlock it intending to simply reply to a text or something trivial, but the next thing I know I’m browsing Imgur or reading up on who’s monitoring the next presidential debate. I lose a lot of time during the day getting sucked into little irrelevant adventures. Not so much when I wear a smartwatch.

One thing I love about Pebble’s smartwatch is that I don’t have to charge it every night. I’ve had it for 4 days and it’s currently at 50%, so it’s on the right track to make it through the 7 days that it’s advertised to last for. I even wear it to bed so that I can use the Smart Alarm function, which works alright. I’m not sure that it makes me feel more well rested or not, but it does wake me up.

The other thing that I love about the Pebble Time is its display. It uses a low-power LCD display, or “e-paper” as some people refer to it as (not e-ink), which is a big reason why its battery lasts so long. It’s great for outdoor viewing – no glare or anything that would make it otherwise unreadable. I’ve turned down the brightness when it lights up too, so if I need to check the time at night it doesn’t blind me at 3:00 a.m.

Other features that I’ve grown to like is Timeline, which is just a quick view of events from the recent past (steps taken, sports scores from last night’s game), present (weather, news headlines), and near future (forecast, tomorrow’s events). It’s been handy to have, especially with the rollercoaster hot and cold weather we seem to be experiencing in my area. Being able to control music from my smartwatch is pretty nice, too.

Overall, I’m still learning exactly what I can use it for, but already I’ve been proven wrong in just how useful a smartwatch can be. I could definitely live without it, but for $40 I’m feeling really good about this purchase. Pebble Time is a great smartwatch for people who aren’t sure they need all of the bells and whistles of some fancier smartwatches on the market, and has been out long enough to where you can snag some great deals on them.

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