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March 7, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:10am

5 things you need to know about Pebble Steel

Steel adds a touch of sophistication to the Pebble range.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

The Kickstarter-funded company that released the Pebble in 2012 introduced the upgraded Pebble Steel at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2013.

CBR tells you five things you need to know about it.

1. Design

Designed to be a classier version of the original model, Pebble Steel has ditched the polycarbonate and silicon plastic in favour of stainless steel or matte black designs.

Both of the designs, which are thinner and smaller than before, come with two straps, so you can match it to what you’re wearing.

While the model still features the low-power E Ink display, it now has protective Gorilla Glass 2 on the screen, with a small LED notification light in the corner.

Other hardware changes include a new charger, anti-fingerprint coating and physical vapor deposition (PVD) technology for the matte black design, which helps make the body more scratch-resistant and durable.

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However, there is still no touchscreen, camera or microphone, and the processor, backlight and accelerometer of the original watch have not been updated.

2. Application

Like its predecessor, users download the Pebble app to their Android or iOS device and use Bluetooth to synchronise the watch with their smartphone. This way, it can notify you on phone calls, emails, texts and updates from your social media world without having to check your phone.

The software can store up to eight apps at once, while previously loaded apps that are currently unused are added to your Locker, which are sorted by their most recent use.

The apps can be downloaded from the Pebble Appstore, which provides more than 1000 mixed and paid-for apps such as watchfaces, music streaming services, fitness trackers, notifications and games.

Fitness apps can be installed, but most of them require companion apps that users must install on their smartphones..

Steel is also waterproof to a depth of up to 50 metres and has a battery that lasts five to seven days, according to Pebble.


3. Competitors

Steel comes as the market for smartwatch technology grows increasingly competitive. The likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear 2, which boasts a better battery life than the Galaxy Gear, Fitbit and Sony’s SmartWatch 2 are trying to stake a claim, while companies including Apple, Microsoft and Google are expected to jump into it soon.

4. What do people say about it?

While the notifications are "addictive to read", female buyers might be put off the watch’s "sharp corners" and "decidedly masculine" style, according to reporter Molly Wood at the New York Times.

"The shape and thick strap made me feel as if I were wearing my (extremely geeky) father’s watch," she said.

Although Steel isn’t a "must-have", it is ideal for viewing who sent an email or text, said
Hayley Tsukayama in a review for the Washington Post, "which is about 70% of what you want to know from a notification anyway."

She added that limiting users to eight apps at a time "does ensure that you’re using the watch as an aid to your smartphone rather than as a replacement."

Salvador Rodriguez from the Los Angeles Times praised Steel’s durability and the range of "helpful" apps, but the found the Pebble app to be "the most frustrating".

"The app is sluggish, especially when users try to look for new apps to install on their smartwatch. Compared with other commonly used smartphone apps, the Pebble app often took longer to load new screens," he said.

5. Cost

Worldwide shipments of Pebble Steel started on 28 January, which can be ordered at for $249. Pebble also opened the doors of its own appstore for iOS users on 3 February, while an Android version of the appstore is to launch very soon.


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