Over the course of my birthday, I posted links to my Amazon wishlist. Generous folks out there in internet land provided me with some of my medically necessary dietary supplements, a few new wigs I’ve had my eye on, and… a new smart watch.
As I mentioned last week, I took a gamble on getting a bargain basement smart watch to go with my new smart phone, and it was a huge mistake. My reasoning was “Maybe it won’t do much for that price, but I really just need it to tell time and give me notifications without having to dig my phone out.” What I got for the price was a phone that tries to do everything you might want a smart watch to do (including take pictures, place and answer calls, etc.) but fails at most of them. It can barely make or hold a connection to a phone. The interface is terrible, the touchscreen is non-responsive, and most of the functions are not accessible without a third party application that will not install on my phone and/or a SIM card or memory card inserted into a watch that has no aperture for receiving such.
The watch worked just enough to make me see the value of a good one. I asked Twitter for recommendations. Weird thing: if I say anywhere on the internet that I’m thinking about getting an X or that I’m having Y problems with Z, I’ll have people falling over themselves to give me advice that is often unneeded or inapplicable, being based only on the iceberg-tip view of what’s going on that my blog provides. But when I threw out a request for information, I got exactly one response.
Now this might be a side effect of the fact that I have been kind of vocal about the unsolicited advice thing lately, in which case it’s a matter of people learning the wrong lesson… which I was pretty sure was going to happen. But, oh well.
The one recommendation I got was for the Pebble. After looking into it, I listed a couple of models on my wishlist (one a bit older), with the intention of saving up for one. From my quick research, it seemed like the Pebble was pretty much the epitome of what I was looking for: rugged, with a long-battery life, capable of both telling time and delivering me messages from my phone, and not a lot of extra bells and whistles like trying to be a phone itself or having a tiny, awkward camera.
The pills and accessories did not surprise me, but I was floored when I opened a box today and found a Pebble Steel in it. It’s the older of the two I had listed, but it is, indeed, exactly what I was looking for. Solid and sturdy seeming. Simple. No touchscreen or even color display, just an old-fashioned LCD. But it paired quickly and easily, and hasn’t dropped its connection anywhere I go in the house relative to the phone. So far I’ve read text messages and emails on it. It has limited ability to respond to them (pre-sets only, basically), but at the point where I know I need to respond to an alert, I am perfectly willing to get my phone.
It does do more than my bare minimum, but not by enough to be a distraction. It has a timer function, which is great, as I use timers in my writing, but the web-based timer I’d previously used no longer works reliably with my browser, and having to dig out my phone to set a timer kind of throws me off my game. I also find I like the gentle pulsing buzz on my wrist (this device does not appear to have any speakers) much more than I do any alarm sound.
The neatest thing about this watch, though, is something I never knew how much I wanted until I had it: a virtual watch face that tells you the time in words, as in “SIX eleven”. I can read an analog clock, and in fact, I was pretty sure I would be using a virtual one when I saw that the face could be customized. But there is something so adorable and charming about a watch that just says “SIX twelve” (now) in so many words. Welcome to the future.
Anyway, this is just to say thank you to everyone who sent me something—even a message or well-wishes—for my 36th birthday. The start of my awesome year of awesome is officially underway. Stick around… you’re really going to see something.