Wednesday, December 23, 2015

From Pebble to Wear

Last Christmas, I received my first Smartwatch, the Pebble Classic. Over the past few months it began feeling glitchy. Several times throughout the day I noticed screen tearing.

The one thing I really enjoyed about the Pebble was notifications. If I got a text or email it would pop up on my screen. I also loved the battery life, the ability to get a weeks worth of use before a charge was great.

The big negative was the glitchiness. Screen tearing seemed to be a general theme from the Pebble Forums. I noticed some of this after a few months use, but it went away when I limited its use to notifications. This increased over time and I found myself getting more irritated by my Pebble.

The Pebble was a "keep it simple" product and the big benefit of such a product is it just works. While I had not decided on getting a wear watch, I had decided I would not upgrade my Pebble to another model.

As I was buying gifts for others, I kept noticing the LG G Watch with a price point cheaper than last year's Pebble. The "older" square design did not bother me much because I was getting it for notifications not to impress some fat cats at a party. I decided to make the great leap forward and bought the LG G for $90.

I have been very happy with my LG G Android Wear watch. While the battery life is considerably less it easily makes it through a day and I have to charge my phone anyways. I love how its full  color when I am looking at it, but then goes into this black and white low energy phase.

With my Pebble I seemed to have continual issues with weather not being updated. I found myself avoiding weather clock faces as a result. With Android Wear, I have never experienced the glitchiness of weather data not showing up.

Another app I installed was Wear Launcher which gives me access to several apps I have on my phone. I love the ability to go directly into Hangouts and see a more detailed stream of recent messages. Previously on my phone I had installed Wear Audio Recorder but never used it much. Now I simply select the app on my watch and start talking, Dick Tracy anyone. The recorded message is synced to my phone and Google Drive.  I also love that if I start playing music on my phone I can control it from my watch. I have even noticed this for stuff like NetFlix.

My favorite part of Android Wear is its integration with Google products, specifically, Google Keep. I am a big Keep user and with Pebble the best I could do was send a Google Keep notification to my watch.  With Android Wear I have the entire app formatted to my watch. I can access all my notes and even check off my Keep lists. This makes it so much easier at the grocery store.

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