Pebble makes the best damn smartwatch in the world, as far as we're concerned — full disclosure: it works with iOS! — but for some people the bright colors and plastic material just wan't classy enough for all occasions. It was an iPhone 5c without an iPhone 5s. Well, no longer. Pebble has just announced the all-new Pebble Steel — in silver and black — and here it is!
If you've watched Phil Nickinson and my visit to Pebble HQ, then you know the backstory already. They had one the most successful Kickstarters in history, and then spent a year getting their product out. All except for their industrial designer, whose original job, at that point, was done. So, he was set loose on something next.
Pebble had gotten a lot of feedback about their smartwatch, and some of it came down to fashion. The plastic and the colors just weren't something everyone felt comfortable wearing in every situation. There was demand for something more elegant, more like a higher-end watch.
Obviously, Pebble had to keep the same screen size. That was both for economy of scale, and software compatibility reasons. Just like Apple with the iPhone and iPad, Pebble needed to avoid fragmentation. They also kept the waterproofing which they, rightly, believe is key to any smartwatch.
There are, however, some changes. The charging connector is different. The distance between the lugs is shorter for a better, tighter feel. It's thinner and sleeker, with less bezel. It's heavier, but in the right way. The spacing between the buttons is shorter and tighter, and feels better. The only drawback to my eyes — big honking Pebble logo front and center on the display. Apple doesn't do that on the iPhone, iPad, or iPods, and I wish more people followed their lead on that.
It ships in a brand new, more watch-style box, and both the black and silver versions include optional leather straps. Very nice.
It'll be available for pre-order starting today at getpebble.com, and ships January 28. Price is a hundred bucks more than the plastic Pebble — $249.
For more on the Pebble Steel, keep it locked to our newest site: SmartWatch Fans!