Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Pebble Steel vs. Pebble KickStarter - showdown

Band/bracelet: The original rubber strap of the KS and the leather strap / rubber bracelet are adequate, but not exceptional. I have ordered adapters for the Steel and will switch to quality nylon or leather NATO straps as soon as I have them. The bracelet fitting mount on the Steel is a bad design feature, and requires a further investement if other straps are to be used without modding them. Winner: KS.

Screen: The Steel screen is sharper to view, better than the KS but not enough so to be a deal-breaker. Reflection on the Steel screen is significantly more of an issue than the rounded screen of the KS. The sharp edges of the Steel tend to trap dust. On the plus side, the Gorilla glass is more scratch resistant (although a screen protector is cheap insurance for the KS) but the deal breaker for me as a runner is the elimination of the moire effect in sunlight. Winner: Steel.

Buttons: the Steel buttons have an excellent tactile feel, but the KS buttons also have a good feel, or "click". Certainly not a deal breaker. Winner: even.

Potential for future software upgrades: Steel has increased memory and a LED light, both of which may give advantages in the future. Winner: Steel.

Charger: The Steel has slightly stronger magnets, but the KS charger really works fine, so no deal breaker. LED lights on the Steel are nice-to-have. Winner: even.

Weight/wearability: Steel is slightly heavier and smaller. The weight is certainly no issue on the arm, even when running. I like the size of both, the KS is bold where the Steel is more refined. Both fit well on normal wrist sizes. Subjective opinion here so... Winner: even.

Vibration: Finer, slightly "tinny" vibration on the Steel is easier to miss. This may be due to the steel bracelet I am using, which also appears to amplify the sound of the vibrator motor. Certainly useable on the Steel, I prefer the vibration of the KS, but need to try the Steel on a NATO strap before delivering judgement.

Appearance: KS is more sporty, Steel more refined. As someone trying to project a refined, sporty image (yes, I said it!) I like the appearance of both. KS can be made more refined by fitting a wrap from GadgetWraps and a fine, oiled leather strap, Steel can be made more sporty by choosing the Matte Black with adapters and a NATO strap. Winner: even.

Conclusion: I give a slight edge to the Steel due to its elimination of the moire effect in sunlight and future-proofing. I will have to wear the Steel for a few weeks for the novelty effect to wear off, and try the adapters/NATO combination before I can decide which one to keep. If I was forced to choose one right now, I would keep my trusty KS - set up to my taste - mainly due to my irrititation over the strap mounting system of the Steel.

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