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CES 2014: Hands-On with the new Pebble Steel smartwatch

Published on Jan 9, 2014 1:52 PM

Similar to the original Pebble, the Pebble Steel is waterproof up to 5ATM (atmospheres) - the equivalent of water resistance of up to 50m - and has a week's battery life. There is a small upgrade in system memory from 4MB to 8MB. But otherwise, the innards are essentially the same as the original. It is the Steel's outside that gets a major overhaul.

Unlike the plastic finish of the original, the Steel sports a smooth metallic finish that comes in black matte or brushed stainless. Included in the box are a black leather strap, the charging cable and tools to change the length of the metal band.

Pebble Steel feels comfortable to wear and does not have the kind of "roughness" associated with some metallic watches. Its design is a throw back to the classic metallic watches of the past. While some might think it is too old-fashioned, the design is quite timeless in my opinion. The Steel's watch face is also smaller and shorter than the original - ideal for those with slimmer wrists.

While Steel has the original's ePaper display, it is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass with anti-fingerprint coating instead of the original's plastic face. There is also a subtle RGB LED light at the bottom of the watch face to indicate charging status. One downside is that the new design requires a new charging cable, so you cannot use the original's charging cable on Steel or vice versa.

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