I need a new smartwatch, finally
I've been on the Pebble Time Steel since the Kickstarter, however many years ago that was (I have the special Kickstarter rocket edition, even) BUT I think, as much as I hate to admit it, it's time for a new smartwatch. I still love my Pebble, but it's not supported anymore now that Pebble is owned by Fitbit, and while it still works, features have been dropping slowly over the last year and a half, even with Rebble support. It started with the ability to access weather information, and most recently (the last straw as it were) my favorite customizable watch-face is no-longer customizable (I get a github 404 when I try to go to the customization page). I'm also losing battery life pretty badly. It could go for nearly two weeks when I got it, and now it's down to 2-3 days.
I had been waiting for Fitbit to use the IP they bought and release a new comparable watch that was essentially a Pebble with a Fitbit name on it, but that didn't happen. So, I guess I need to stat looking for a replacement which is not a Pebble. I'm still looking at the Fitbit Versa as one of the closest to what might have been a Pebble successor, but it feels very fitness focused (of course) and I want to make sure I chat with my smart friends about it before I make a decision, especially since I haven't really been paying much attention to the smartwatch space since I've had my Pebble Time.
So here's the deets:
I fell in love with the Pebble Time for its e-paper screen that allowed it to last for a couple weeks between charging, and have an 'always-on' face, so that I don't have to 'activate' it somehow, just to see the time. I'm pretty sure no one picked up the e-paper screen torch when Pebble was bought out, but if someone is doing something similar, I'd like to hear about it.
Battery-life is a concern, of course, as I like to wear it while I sleep for sleep-tracking, and wake alarm.
I've also really enjoyed having a customizable watch-face, so that I can change it up to match the band or occasion.
The must-have, killer app on the Pebble for me is called "Gentle Wake" and it's been my alarm clock for years now, and I'd like to make sure I can have something comparable on my new watch. Gentle Wake monitors my sleep, and specifically tries to wake me up when I'm at a light portion of my sleep cycle, leading to more pleasant wake-up times. Not sure I can live without that app now. Having to switch back to a normal alarm clock on the nightstand or whatever would be hard (partially because without the need for an alarm clock on it, I don't even have a nightstand anymore...
I also have an app that give me turn-by-turn directions on my watch from google maps. losing that would be a shame.
Also, I'd like to avoid proprietary bands, if I can, especially considering the extensive collection of NATO bands that I've been using on my Pebble, would hate to have to replace that with just one or two very pricey bands that only work on one watch.
I don't care much about games. I have little desire to play games on my watch, so that's whatever.
I also don't need a lot of fitness features. I like the sleep tracking, and simple steps tracking is nice, but I don't need a heart-rate monitor or anything like that on my watch.
My budget is not much concern. I only buy a smartwatch once per decade, apparently, and having one that does what I need is pretty important to me so, as long as I'm not burning money for no real reason, I'm not too worried about cost.
Thanks in advance for suggestions.
Wow, I didn't even know there were ever smart watches with e-paper. Sounds doap!
I'm a Garmin user but because my primary use is the fitness stuff, so not helpful for you perhaps :-D It does get through close to a week without charging, depending on how much I use the GPS. Faces are pretty customizable with most brands now as far as I have seen. Vibrating alarm is also standard now (mine doesn't have the ability to make any sounds at all). I think most are fitness focused apart from maybe the apple and android watches which are more smart-phone feature focused. My Garmin Vivoactive has a touch screen and phone notifications too, but fewer of the smart-phone sync features. Touch screen vs no button based might be a dividing factor for you.
Betsy thinks I should get a Garmin, and I don't dislike them, BUT I'm not super fond of what's available in the app store, and how the apps seem to run? Like I looked through the app store on her Garmin, and the only apps I could find that had the features of Gentle Wake, also had warnings that you have to remember to turn the app on before you go to bed because it can't run in the background, and that would be really hard to remember to do. Garmin's still on my considering list, but that has me concerned.
Over on Discord, Sono recommended the Ticwatch Pro 3, which seems to have all the features I want, BUT it's really not my style. It's a big, round MAN'S WATCH with a large-diameter face, a numbered bezel, and gigantic buttons hanging off of it like barnacles. If they made a nicer looking case for it, the Ticwatch Pro 3 would be at the top of my list right now, but the aesthetic is not really me.
I have had a Garmin Vivoactive 3, Marie also has one and it is a really great fitness watch, easy to use app, automatically synchs with Strava. It has many features and is very well loved and usable with GPS for mapping runs/etc. Just recently upgraded to a Fenix 5S and its also great, would recommend this watch as well, has all the usability of the Vivoactive 3 kicked up a notch.
Also have the Vivoactive, its been great for all the reasons others have said. Probably going to upgrade to a Fenix for good GPS mapping, but the Vivo is a great basic watch.
Finally made a decision.
I still really like the TicWatch Pro 3, but I just cannot get over how ugly it is, so I decided to go with a less powerful, but more attractive watch from Fossil. The Carlyle 5 (In grey steel): https://www.fossil.com/de-de/products/herren-smartwatch-the-carlyle-hr-5.-generation-edelstahl-grau/FTW4024.html
Update. After over a month with the Carlyle, I like it well enough, and it does MOST of what my Pebble used to do, and it does a few of those things better like navigation and displaying messges (I can actually see the pictures that people send on my watch instead of just the fact that a picture was sent :O), BUT I hate the battery life. Sometimes it needs to be charged twice in one day if I use it for something like making a call or getting directions, and that makes me not want to use those features.
Like: I might be out and want to get walking directions to somewhere, and I remember my watch can do that, but then I just do it on my phone because otherwise my watch wont last 'til morning, so it might as well not have those features.
It also doesn't have the sleep tracking and gentle waking features I liked from Pebble. There is an app I can download called Sleep with Android that's supposed to do the same thing, but it doesn't interact with the watch's native sleep tracking, so my sleep is being tracked twice, and the Sleep with Android doesn't track as accurately, so the gentle wake alarm is not as accurate. My mornings have not been as nice since getting the new watch. From the reviews I've read Sleep as Android is the best option for this, but it's still not ideal.
However, I think it's the best I'm going to find now that pebble isn't making new watches anymore, so I guess I just have to get used to these issues.