The Pebble has a phenomenal community of developers building interesting and fun Pebble apps, and with the addition of the Pebble Time Round, the smartwatch startup has upped its game
in the fashionable stakes too.
Needless to say, there are endless features, apps and Pebble
watch faces to play with and expanding the capabilities of the Pebble requires
a little inside knowledge.
Here’s our guide to some of the most important and less-known
features of the Pebble, a top tips for Pebble users if you will..
If you have an old Pebble, download the latest software
Pebble’s devs worked really hard to bring the Timeline UI to the original Pebble and the Pebble Steel so make full use of it. Version 3.8 of Pebble’s software brings unlimited apps and watch faces to the legacy devices as well as the new Timeline interface which lets you scroll forwards and backwards in your agenda.
Use Your Pebble as a
Coming soon to Pebble Health are Timeline pins with activity reminders and motivational messages as well as contextual nudges that work around, for instance, your calendar. If you’re worried about battery life, Pebble’s guide is that Health drains around an extra 5% so that’s worth noting.
If you own an older Pebble, there are plenty of apps,
including RunKeeper, Kilo and Misfit, to get you on your way. RunKeeper is a
particularly good example, sending a detailed live feed of your progress from
your phone to your watch face so you can keep track of your progress as you’re
pounding the pavements.
The existing Misfit for Pebble app was updated to allow continuous data tracking and sleep monitoring and there’s also Jawbone’s UP watch face for Pebble to check out. Standalone apps like Get Up, Stand Up also offer nudges when you’ve been sat still for too long during the day.
Get Siri-like assistance
Pebble has itself been working to bring voice replies to both Android and iPhone and now it’s available on both with preset responses and emojis.
Read this: The best Pebble apps
But if you want something closer to the Apple Watch experience, download the Snowy app for voice commands including adding events to your calendar, taking notes and controlling smart home devices with IFTTT. Snowy will currently only work with the Pebble Time, Pebble Time Steel and Pebble Time Round.
Turn on Standby mode (especially you Pebble Time Round users)
We didn’t pick up on this one straightaway but Pebble Time Round owners, especially, should turn your Pebble’s Standby mode on – you’ll find it in the settings menu under ‘system’.
With the Time Round’s shorter two day battery life, this mode will turn off Bluetooth etc when you take the watch off and set it down. According to Pebble’s CEO Eric Migicovsky it saves up to 30% battery and we have already seen an improvement in stamina.
Quick Launch your fave features
Pebble allows you to quick launch your two most used apps by assigning shortcuts to either the ‘Up’ or ‘Down’ buttons. Need to call an Uber? Have your nearest Prius on speed dial with a Quick Launch shortcut.
Press ‘Select’ ‘Settings’ ‘Quick Launch’ Choose the button you’d like to assign your quick launch to (Up or Down) Select ‘Set App’ to assign your app of choice Long press your allocated button to access the quick launch of your app. Easy.
Back a Smartstrap
It might be a long term strategy for getting the most out of your device but if you want to add sensors or battery to your Pebble, backing or pre-ordering a Pebble Smartstrap now might be a good idea.
Options include FitPay, a payment strap, which was being shown off at CES, the gesture control Aria strap and Seedstudio’s maker/hacker strap which is shipping now. Sadly the solar powered Ripple Smartstrap didn’t reach its target.
Spring clean and reorganise
Long term or power users might want to customise the order that your apps appear – especially if you’re a new recruit to Timeline UI and its ability to run unlimited apps.
Highlight the app you’d like to move then long press ‘Select’ until the app starts shaking. Next you move the app using the ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ buttons before pressing ‘Select’ to complete the move.
While you’re in the tidying up mood, head to ‘Notifications’ in the Settings menu then hit ‘Font Size’ to choose between large and small font sizes by pressing the Up and Down buttons.
Download a Maps app
There’s nothing worse than looking like a lost tourist as you
navigate the city with Google Maps, one hand hovering awkwardly in the air in
front of you. Luckily, the Pebble can stop you sticking out like a rob-me sore
With apps such as MapsGPS for Pebble (formerly PebbGPS) and Maptastic using your phone’s GPS, offering maps to scroll around and specific instructions on your Pebble as you move from point A to point B.
They’re also handy driving companion apps in lieu of a sat nav.
Use your Pebble as a translator
Translate (Vox Populi) is a simple Pebble app that allows you to translate short words into any language (supported by Yandex Translate) using voice commands. We tried it and it actually works plus the developer is aiming to allow the app to save previously used languages in the next release.
Get yourself an
Enhancement apps offer a lot more functionality than your
average watch face, and there are a couple of particularly good ones we’d recommend.
If you’re an Android user, you grab Glance. As well as the weather and date,
you’ll also be able to see unread SMS, emails and missed calls. Plus you can
send pre-configured SMS messages, which is extra useful and – on the Pebble Time series – customise face colours.
If you’re an iOS user then Smartwatch+ is the companion app for
you, displaying the same sort of information as Glance.
You can easily swap out the Pebble band
The original Pebble and Pebble Steel are hugely customisable, and that even goes as far as
the strap. The Pebble supports a standard 22mm band, meaning it’s very
easy to swap out for any watch strap of your choosing.
All you’ll need is a
spring bar tool (although many household items should also do the trick) and a
bit of patience – fitting the new band can be a tad fiddly.
With the Pebble Time, Time Round and Time Steel, it’s a lot easier to swap out Pebble’s own bands. The quick release pin means you can instantly remove the strap from the watch body though we haven’t been able to get it/another one on in quite the ten seconds Pebble promises.
You can even make
your own watch face
None of the bazillion Pebble watch faces quite doing it for
you? Why not make your own? Just head to watchface-generator.de and start
following the steps.
There are a lot of customisation on offer, and you can even
put in your own background image if you wish. The best news is that you don’t even
need to know any programming.
Some watch faces
drain more battery than others
You should get between two and ten days of battery life from
your Pebble, depending on which model you own and how intensively you use it. If you’re looking to get the maximum amount of life out of a charge then
you might want to think about the watch face you’re running.
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the Pebble consumes the most battery power when the screen is changing. So the
more active your watch face, the less battery life you’re going to get.
Use your Pebble as a
security pass to your smartphone
Dislock (formerly Pebble Locker) is a really useful Pebble app, working as a ‘pass
key’ to your Android phone’s lock screen. When your Pebble is within close
range to your smartphone, the lock screen will become disabled. Conversely,
when you walk far enough away, the phone will lock again. Very neat and a popular download for Pebble users.
Share your Pebble tips
Own a Pebble/Pebble Steel/Pebble Time (Round or Steel)? Share a trick that’s changed
the way you use your new smartwatch or start a thread on the Wareable Forum with any burning questions.
Additional words: Sophie Charara, Kieran Alger