an aaron tsuru pebble watch review (because people keep asking & why not).
As many of you know, outside of this art stuff & my day job, I’m a cyclist and a runner. While I only started running seriously last year, I’ve been cycling for forever! Used to log in five-to-six thousand miles a year. Moving to NYC has changed that though. While I love riding my bike to work, the lack of open road (sorry, but if I ride the Hudson path and 9W one more time, I may just go insane) had me seeking out new challenges. Thanks to my good friend Sole’s training to do the NYC Marathon last year and her willingness to let me run with her, I fell into the miserable sport known as running.
NYC is perfect for running. In cycling, I needed to do 40 to 80 mile bike rides to get a good quality ride in. Not only is this time consuming, as previously mentioned, there are no open roads nearby, not to mention the roads here in the city (the one you have to travel through to even try to find an open road) truly suck for nice road bikes and their weight-weenie tires & gear, and, well, frankly, it gets lonely riding alone (I’ve tried, but I never clicked with any of the groups).
Running on the other hand is great here. A quality run for me is between 5 and 10 miles. Living in central Brooklyn, I can go in any direction, run in parks, through parks, on sidewalks, across bridges, wherever! And, my runs can be one-way because there are subways & citibikes all over to get me back home. Perfect.
Finally, being a full time Mama Bear and with all Megs & I’s art adventures, time is tighter than ever. I get a more comprehensive work out with one hour running than I do with 3 hours riding my bike, and I don’t have to worry about flats (my absolutely least favorite aspect of bike riding), crashing, or getting lost in New Jersey.
The point of all this is to let you know what I do and why I do it. I’m pretty much commuting by bike 5-8 miles each way, 3 to 4 days a week and running twice a week by commuting one day and doing a weekend run. Not too shabby, eh? I’m pretty happy with my routine. Good exercise, good mental health, fresh air, freedom from packed subways, I’m a happy person!
why a smartwatch?:
As every longer distance road cyclist knows, bike computers are awesome. They give you all the info you need at a glance: time, distance, speed, average speed, and more if you want. For me, they also act as little coaches. I look down and see I’m only doing 18mph when I know I can do 21, well, time to kick it up a notch.
As every NYC bike commuter knows, anything that isn’t screwed or welded onto your bike you can consider it stolen. So, no bike computer on my commuter bike. Instead we have apps. Strava is king, but if you got $6 and an iPhone, iSmoothRun is a truly awesome app. Pretty damn accurate, super comprehensive, can export to Strava or whatever, and is set up to track running, cycling, hiking, whatever. I love the app and have been recommending it to all my friends who run and ride.
Get. It. Grrrrl.
One other thing about iSmoothRun? It works with the Pebble smartwatch.
But here’s the thing, I don’t get smartwatches. The smartphone has replaced the watch (and for many, the PC as well). The smartwatch just adds redundancy. Do I really need notifications on my wrist and in my pocket? Is it really that much of a hassle to pull out the phone to see who’s calling? I already do it to see the time! The phone is significantly more capable than a smartwatch. The whole thing just seems to be something the gadget companies are trying to make happen that doesn’t really need to happen.
But… what about when your hands aren’t available because, like me, they are gripping onto handlebars or you really don’t want something in your hands when you are running? And remember the bike computer? Wouldn’t it be nice to have that back and something can also tell you your running info like pace, splits, time, and distance?
Ugh and what about important calls & texts you miss because your phone is tucked away in a backpack or running belt? Happens a lot when you are the Mama Bear in the home.
Boom. In comes the Pebble watch.
Buying it via iSmoothRun’s discount link for $79, (I mean, c’mon, compare that to the Apple & Android options in the hundreds and thousands) I load up iSmoothRun, start riding or running, and I got my bike/running computer on my wrist. Boom.
My daughter texted me on my ride home Monday night. Message received. Boom.
When I get to work, I turn off bluetooth and just got a watch on (I got the white one, it looks like something MoMA would design and I love me some modern art). I forgot how much I like having the time and date on my wrist. Time to ride home? Flip on bluetooth, reconnect, start the apps, and go! When I get home, pile it with my keys and wallet and shit until tomorrow. Boom.
Oh. And it’s got basic music controls so no fiddling with the headphones if a crappy song comes on or the volume is too low or high on something while you are running. Like I said. Boom.
Are there other apps/functions on the watch? Sure, Pandora, Spotify, you can do a movement tracker thing like a fitbit if you want. All those are pretty much inline with how I use it, so if that’s what you are into, cool!
They also got games and calendars and evernotes or whatever, but honestly, I got my iPhone and computers all over the place for that stuff. Some watch faces have weather and there are weather apps, but coming from Florida and being outside a lot, I’m a bit of a weather geek and need more the indepth info that full websites & deeper phone apps offer and besides, I check that stuff before I go for the run or ride, so not much use for it on my arm.
Ooo.. and also, skins! I mean, I HAD to, right?
And, battery life is like a week. A fucking week. I mean, c’mon! Remember when those old Nokia phones did that? The fancy smartwatches last a day, maybe. Do we really need a satellite smartphone on our wrist that we have to manage like our actual smartphones? I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
How often do you find yourself in situations where you can’t get to your phone a lot? And in those situations, do you need to know if someone’s trying to reach you or other is there other key data from your phone that you really wish you had? If you answered yes to both of those, then maybe a smartwatch is for you. If you aren’t looking for a phone strapped to your wrist ala Apple & Android, then I definitely recommend the Pebble.
They got fancier looking Pebbles and a color one is coming out soon, but honestly, for $79 for the original one, I’m a happy person.
Anywhosals, there you go! Hope this helps. Enjoy and let’s run & riiiiiide!!!!