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Pebble Steel teardown reveals easy-open case, removable components, and more storage

The Pebble Steel is easier to crack open and repair than the original Pebble smartwatch and has twice as much storage.

The Pebble Steel is definitely more stylish than the original Pebble smartwatch, and thanks to its metal body and several design changes, it's also easier to disassemble.

Now playing: Watch this: Cracking Open: Pebble Steel

The Steel is a clear step up from the original Pebble watch in both design and construction. Its display is covered with Gorilla Glass, it has a steel body, and it comes with both leather and metal bands.

The watch weighs just under two ounces, which is about a half an ounce more than the original Pebble . The body however is actually a tiny bit smaller. The Steel also has redesigned buttons, a slightly different magnetic charging connector, and a new LED, which shows the charging status.

For a complete list of Pebble Steel specs, real-world call tests, and an extensive look at the user interface, check out the full CNET review .

On the inside however, the Steel has basically the same hardware as the plastic Pebble--an ARM Cortex-M3 MCU, a tiny bit of storage, a three-axis accelerometer, magnetometer, and an ambient light sensor.

For a step-by-step teardown guide of the Pebble Steel, check out TechRepublic's full Cracking Open gallery.

Cracking Open observations

  • Easy-open case: Unlike the original Pebble watch, the Steel is surprisingly easy to open. The back cover is held in place with four Torx T4 screws. After removing the screws, the cover comes off without much fuss.
Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
  • Some removable components: Although the battery is soldered to the main circuit board, you can remove both components as a single unit. Unfortunately, the Steel's "e-paper" display, button contacts, and internal plastic frame appear to be glued to the metal body. If any of the components were damaged, you could likely remove and replace them. But, removing them without causing damage seemed difficult, if not impossible.
  • More storage than original Pebble: Neither the Steel nor the original Pebble watch have what I would call a lot of internal storage. Compared to the average smartphone, it's paltry. That said, however, the Steel's 64Mb is twice the original Pebble's 32Mb.
Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic

Steel is a step in the right direction

The Pebble Steel is definitely a smart-looking smartwatch. And thanks to its removable back cover, you can replace the internal hardware if it gets damaged. A plus over the 2013 Pebble.

I only wish Pebble had made all the parts more modular. Doing this would have made it possible for Steel owners to upgrade their watches as new hardware was released, instead of having to toss out their entire $250 watch.

For a detailed list of the Pebble Steel's internal hardware, check out the full version of this story on TechRepublic.