Pebble smartwatch hard to fix without breaking it, iFixit says

An inner exam of the watch reveals that it can't be opened without destroying it, making repairs difficult at best.

The Pebble smartwatch.
The Pebble smartwatch. GetPebble

Taking apart the Pebble smartwatch proved a challenge for the folks at iFixit, so it's definitely not something you'd want to try at home.

Beyond just telling you the time, the Pebble smartwatch can sync with iPhones and Android phones to alert you to incoming calls, e-mail, instant messages, and appointments. In its quest to see what makes the watch tick, iFixit employed its usual tools and tricks to go behind the scenes.

Prying the watch apart, iFixit found a lot of adhesive designed to keep out water. Opening the watch cracked its face, though, so Pebble owners will want to avoid that maneuver.

Eyeing the Pebble's e-paper display, iFixit discovered that battery juice is needed only to refresh the display and not maintain a constant image. Pebble's manufacturer, GetPebble, says that the rechargeable battery can last more than seven days on a single charge, a claim that got the nod from iFixit.

"This seems like a challenge to us, but with the use of e-paper, we believe that even heavy use would allow for such long battery life," iFixit said.

Calling the Pebble a unique device, iFixit doesn't yet have a score for it. But the iFixit team did highlight the following pros and cons:

• Low power consumption decreases the frequency of charges, increasing the battery life.

• Watch band is a standard size and easily replaceable.

• Inaccessible battery limits life of the device to 6-10 years (by our estimates).

• It is impossible to open the device without destroying it or at least compromising its waterproofing, making internal repairs infeasible.

GetPebble also told iFixit that its design people are working on a plan to recycle dead Pebbles.

So as long as you don't drop, step on, or try to pry open the device yourself, your Pebble watch could last as long as 10 years. That strikes me as a lifetime in these days of short-lived disposable devices.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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