Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pebble and RunKeeper Review

Check out the end for an update from my 2nd Pebble/RunKeeper Run...

I think part of the reason why I was able to get into running was because I was able to download a C25K program on my iPhone.  Almost every single run I've been on, I've had my trusty iPhone with me.  Yes, part of it is for personal safety, part of it is for having music and part of it is so I can collect as much data from my run as possible.  When I ordered the Pebble on Kickstarter, I was thrilled since they were already talking about RunKeeper working with the Pebble.  Last December, I switched to using RunKeeper, and found it's a slick app for tracking your runs, shoes (love this function!) and makes it easier to review all of your stats (the engineer in me loves that!).  The app and the website are both very stable (which I can't say for some other free running apps I've used in the past...)

Since I wanted the red Pebble, I had to wait until this month to get my watch.  The red was totally worth the wait!  The color has a depth due to the clear coat over the whole watch face, which really makes it looks a bit slicker than the black Pebble my husband has.  The black Pebble has that serious air to it, while red is a bit more fun and flashy.  We both got the right color! :)

I will say, I was little worried about the size of the Pebble's face.  I knew it was going to be on the large size, to accommodate the required screen real estate.  But I have "girly wrists", so I was worried it was going to look or feel cumbersome.  I have to say, they got the screen size perfect, it's big enough for long winded texts, but small enough that it doesn't stick out past my wrist.

It is surprisingly awkward to take a photo of your own wrist!

I haven't really taxed the battery yet.  I got it on Friday, fully charged it, then wore it non-stop until Sunday morning (yes, I slept with it the first 2 nights, practically hugging it!) and it was fine.  I have charged it each night since.  Pretty much, I head to bed, plug in the phone, plug in the watch and hit the hay.  It's done very well in the real life tests of "Shoot, I got latex paint on the band and it's dry already" (came right off when I scratched at it with my fingernail) and "let's do Diet Coke and Mentos fountains for the Cub Scouts" (I am so happy for the "waterproof to 5 ATM" specification!)

Monday, I took my first Pebble/RunKeeper combo run.  One big downside: I kept looking at my watch, so I kind of missed a loose brick on the sidewalk.  Good news, I didn't actually wipe out :)

Seriously, the combo was really awesome.  Typically, on my runs, I have my tunes going and I'll check my pace by doing that weird twist your arm sideways move.  Having my time, distance and pace on the watch was so much easier.  The best part was the Select Button on the Pebble acts as a pause/resume button for RunKeeper.  Now, I can actually start/stop my timer when I start/finish my run!  This is especially helpful for winter runs, since I don't have the special touch screen gloves.

There was a little lag between my actual pace and the pace displayed, but it understandable with the bluetooth link.  For example, I stopped at an intersection, and my pace increased by about 5 seconds while I was standing still.  Granted, I'm not sure if the pace display is overall or instant.  I did run a pretty steady pace (go me! I'm better at pacing myself), so difference between the two wasn't that much. Either way, it's not that big of a deal for me.  Knowing me, I'll probably do a Run/Walk workout to figure out what's up :)

I think I did find one bug.  Sometimes, when I paused RunKeeper using the Pebble button, the Time disappeared from the watch display.  Miles and Pace were still there, but Time was gone.  And it didn't come back when I resumed.  Not sure why it didn't happen every time.  I tried repeating it this morning and I couldn't figure out if there were contributing factors to it staying or going.  But, since I still had Miles and Pace, it's not a mission critical issue.

From a sweatiness point of view, the Pebble isn't any worse than my RoadID.  The bands are similar material, and, for me, they're not all that noticeable until I stop running.  Then I just take them off, rinse the band with cool water to remove the sweat and minimize salt build up.

One thing I was a little worried about was battery usage on the iPhone.  I turned off the screen, since I had the watch display to view.  The bluetooth uses about as much power as the screen did.  After my run, the phone was at 86%, which is typical for me. So again, Pebble exceeded my expectations!

Overall, I'm impressed with the watch's form and function as well as the RunKeeper interface.  I have a feeling, we'll be spending a lot more miles together!

UPDATE: I ran again after I updated RunKeeper (Love the new summary page!) and the pace is definitely the average pace. And I even walked to check it (yeah, that's why I walked, not because it was humid and I didn't get enough sleep last night!).  I think during my first run, the watch pace and the iPhone pace were off by about 10 seconds.  This time, they were identical. 

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