Pebble Review Part 2: Finding a Watchface

Previously – Pebble Review: Part 1 – Running with Pebble

It could be argued that the most important part of a smartwatch is what type of watch face you choose. Fortunately for Pebble owners, there is a dedicated group of people continuously making new faces for the Pebble. If you go to a website like My Pebble Faces, you’ll quickly see that there are thousands of faces that suit almost any need. If you don’t see something you like there, you can also use Watchface Generator to make your own custom watchface from scratch.

I’m currently using 2 watchfaces, switching between them as I choose. The first is Weather, a watchface that simply shows the time, date, and current weather conditions (based on my GPS location). It’s a delightfully simple watchface that shows me just a little more information than a normal watch can. With a quick flip of the wrist, this watchface will also show the 3 day forecast. I wish that I could have it who me a Dark Sky-like hourly forecast, but that doesn’t seem to exist.

My other watchface is technically an app, but it works great as a watchface. Misfit is a great activity monitor app that runs in the background on Pebble, constantly tracking your activity and sleep patterns. This watchface turns my Pebble into the fitness tracker/watch that I always wanted my FitBit Force to be. Since the screen is always on, I don’t have to press a button to see the time or my step progress, it’s always there. What I really like about this app is that it is tracking your activity in the background, so you never have to tell it to start tracking or that you’re going to sleep, it tracks everything completely automatically.

One disadvantage of using Misfit as a watchface is that the current time is in pretty small print, so quickly checking the time is a little harder than I like.

Of course this is just where things start. There are 1,500 watchfaces on My Pebble Faces and more on the official Pebble app store, so you can go and find one that works for you. If you want something simple, this Domo face is excellent. The time is clearly displayed, and Domo gets angry with you whenever you shake him. It’s playful and a lot of fun. You can even search around the web for forked versions of the watchface that will show you more information.

If you want something more data-oriented, SmartStatus+ could be just right for you. I use this one sometimes, but I don’t feel like I get that much value from always seeing how many unread messages and emails I have. That’s not the sort of stress I want to have everytime I look at my wrist.

In the end, I’m pretty happy with the watchfaces available for the Pebble. I do look at some of the Apple Watch designs and wish that I could have something as beautiful on my wrist, but those designs are obviously not possible on Pebble’s lower-res, black and white display. The good news is that if I wanted something similar, all I have to do is learn how to code one of these watchfaces, and make my own. I’m starting to think this is what I need to do.