Got your hands on a Pebble Time smartwatch already? Here’s how to get the most from your second-generation smartwatch
It raised millions on Kickstarter, just like the original, but if you’ve read our Pebble Time review then you’ll know that we weren’t exactly enamoured of the Pebble and Pebble Steel successor.
We’re aware that not everyone will share our views on the iOS- and Android-friendly smartwatch, with plenty of early backers out there enjoying every minute with their Pebble Time watch.
For those happily wearing the Pebble Time smartwatch around their wrist, we’ve picked out some helpful tips to ensure you’re getting the very best out of it.
Using the microphone for quick replies
Talking to your wrist isn’t really something we like doing. However, the fact that both Apple and Google are heavily supporting voice interaction with their smartwatches suggests that there are enough people out there who are happy to look like Dick Tracy.
The Time features a single microphone that’s situated just below the buttons
on the right side of the watch. This will allow you to make voice notes
and send quick replies to texts. Currently, it’s only optimised for use with Android phones; an iOS update is expected later this year.
So how does it work? When a notification comes through on the Pebble Time screen, press the middle physical button to bring up your option for dealing with the notification. Select Reply, then Voice and you should see a small red circle appear on the screen. Start talking and the watch will then transcribe six seconds of the message. This means you need to keep it brief and to the point. If you’re a grammar fiend then calling out “comma” or “full stop” will add those in as well.
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How to remove apps from your Pebble Time
Unlike the Pebble and the Pebble Steel, you’re no longer restricted to storing a maximum of eight apps on the Time. But if you want to have a clear up, this isn’t possible from the watch itself.
To send a watch app to the trash, open the Pebble Time app on your phone and head to the My Pebble section. Here you’ll see a list of watch faces and apps already installed on the watch. Tap on the app you want to remove and hit the orange DELETE and bin icon, and it should disappear.
Replacing Pebble Time watch straps
We weren’t the biggest fans of the black rubber straps we received with our Pebble Time. It wasn’t long before they became a bit sticky and they weren’t very comfortable to wear overnight either. Thankfully, you’re not restricted to the one strap.
The Pebble Time uses watch straps that are 22mm in size, just like the Apple Watch and many others, so there are plenty of compatible ones to be found on the Pebble Store or from retailers such as Amazon.
To remove a strap, find the small pin located on the hinge – push it down and then slide it to one side. This should unclip the strap. Repeat the process on the other strap to remove it altogether.
Making your own custom watch face
If you’ve browsed through the current watch faces on offer in the Pebble appstore, then you’ll know it’s a bit of a mix bag. Some are good, but many are just average. Think you can do better? Well there’s a way to make you own.
Head to the Build You Own Watchface website. While this is primarily designed for developers, if you’re good at following steps and can stick with the tutorial then there’s no reason you can’t come up with a design that you actually want to show off on your Time.
Updating to the latest firmware
If there’s one thing the team at Pebble is great at doing, it’s listening to customer opinion and trying to add new features or make simple fixes based on this feedback. A case in point being the latest 3.2 firmware update, which addresses some of our biggest issues with the smartwatch.
If you haven’t already been prompted to install the latest update, you can manually check by launching the Pebble Time app on your smartphone. Select the dropdown menu in the top-left corner and hit Support. At the bottom of the screen you should see a big UPDATE YOUR PEBBLE button. Press this and it will check if you have the latest version.
Changing notification vibration intensity
One of our biggest issues with the Pebble Time was just how ridiculously strong the notification vibrations were. Thankfully, there’s now a way to adjust the strength, which comes courtesy of the latest firmware update.
Open the Settings menu on your watch and select Notifications. Here you’ll see a Vibration option, where the selection button will let you choose from Low, Medium or High vibrations.
How to adjust font size
Thanks to the latest firmware update, you now have the option to pick from Smaller, Default, or Larger font sizes. To do this, go into the watch Settings menu and head to Notifications. Use the bottom physical button to scroll down to the last option, which will offer up text that you don’t have to squint to read.
Improving battery life
Feedback regarding the battery life the Pebble Time can deliver in comparison to its predecessor has been mixed. Whether that’s down to the addition of a colour e-screen, isn’t entirely clear. Pebble claims you can get seven days; we achieved closer to five days in our time with the watch.
Obviously, battery life will vary according to how the watch is used, but there are ways to get closer to that full week of battery life. First, turn off the backlight when it’s not really needed. To do this, head to the Settings and then to Display on the watch. Here you have the option to switch off motion-enabled backlight activation as well as adjust the backlight intensity. This can be altered in the Display Settings menu as well.
Other tips include turning of the notification vibration, in the Notifications menu, and opting for a static watch face as opposed to an animated one that will sap more life from the battery.
Go swimming with your Time
While the Apple Watch isn’t technically designed for swimming, the Pebble Time is waterproof up to 30m – and the Swim.com app is one of the best ways to put it to good use.
Once you’ve downloaded it from the Get Apps section in the Pebble Time smartphone app, you’ll be able to utilise the Pebble Time’s built-in accelerometer sensor to track laps, pace, stroke information. All of your data can then be uploaded to the Swim.com website for further analysis.
Get to your favourite apps faster
If you want to save yourself some time from flicking through menu screens to open up the music player, you can set up a Quick Launch to assign features to the Pebble Time’s physical buttons.
To do this, go into Settings on your watch and select the Quick Launch option. Here you’ll see two options to assign the Up or the Down button to an app. Select which button you want to use and then scroll through all of the third-party and native apps installed on the watch.
Once you’ve assigned an app, you can hold down the assigned button at any time and it will push you through to the app straight away.
Think we’ve missed something? Let us know in the comments section below