The Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel are getting an awesome little accessory this week in the form of the TYLT VU Pulse. The case, which adds heart rate tracking and wireless charging to the two Pebble smartwatches and starts at $39, just hit Kickstarter and unsurprisingly it’s already raised $50,000 of its $100,000 target.
There’s only 1,000 VU Pulse cases available for $39 and after that the price rises to $44 for Early Birds and $49 after that. Shipping is set for August 2016. It attaches to the Pebble Time’s accessory contacts, adds 3mm to the height and width and works with both Pebble bands and regular 22m watch bands.
Read this: A beginner’s guide to Pebble Health
When the 4.4mm thick case is attached to a Pebble Time, it can be charged with a Qi wireless charging pad. It will recharge to full in about two hours which is a lot longer than using Pebble’s proprietary charger but it’s also potentially less hassle.
There’s also an optical heart rate sensor which has two modes – passive mode takes your heart rate every 30 minutes and active mode takes your heart rate ever 10 seconds for workouts and running. TYLT’s advice is that using the heart rate monitor for one hour in active mode will reduce your Pebble Time’s battery life by around 8%.
What’s nice is that the VU Pulse integrates with Pebble Health so you can add your heart rate data to your steps, activity and sleep stats. With the VU Pulse app for Pebble Time, you can press the centre button on the watch to start tracking steps, heart rate, calories burned and access a timer. You can only see the HR data within that app for now but it syncs with both Google Fit and Apple Health, like Pebble Health itself.
“Heart rate and wireless charging are the two most requested features on the Pebble developer forums and two of the key features in other smartwatches, so utilising the accessory port to add these features with a protective, co-molded case makes sense,” TYLT’s VP of product management Kannyn MacRae told us.
“We are pioneers in the wireless charging space and have developed battery case products for several years now. The construction and electronics is quite similar and since this product is going directly to Kickstarter backers, we’re able to keep the end price down for our early adopters.”
The VU Pulse isn’t a Smartstrap exactly but it’s the exact kind of accessory that Pebble users will snap up. It’s not designed to be attached to your Pebble Time 24/7 but with these two features, that’s OK. Head to Kickstarter asap to get an Early Bird unit if you’re sold.