The steel variant of the Pebble Time will be available six-to-eight weeks after pre-ordering, although the device is promised to reach Kickstarter backers within a week. The Time Steel is said to bring the design and functionality of the vanilla Pebble Time, but with a body made entirely of steel along with a better display and battery life. For $249, you can purchase one with a leather strap. Alternatively, steel band edition is available for $299.
Early impressions are already trickling in. The Verge reports that after spending six days with the Pebble Time Steel, it didn't require a single recharging, and that while it's marginally bulkier than the standard Pebble Time watch, those criticisms are negated by a larger battery and sturdier build quality.
The Time Steel packs a significantly improved display over that of the Time smartwatch. The tiny 64-color LCD still bears a limited palette and muted colors, but it's notably less reflective, bringing an improved indoor reading quality. Unlike the Time display, the Time Steel also forgoes the air gap located between the glass lens and LCD panel.
Unfortunately, its companion app on iOS and Android is reportedly difficult to work with and, perhaps unsurprisingly, considerably less functional on Apple's devices than on Android. It should be noted that at $249 - $299, the Pebble Steel is approaching Apple Watch territory, which starts at $349 with more optimal iOS compatibility.
While on Android, Time Steel users can respond to messages from their watches with emojis, generic preset responses, or voice dictation, there's no option to do so on iOS. And, unfortunately, it's also impossible to personalize notifications, unlike with Apple Watch.
For the price, unless an extensive battery life, an always-on display, and compatibility across multiple devices are determining factors in whether to purchase a smartwatch or not, it may be a better idea to look elsewhere for your next (first?) smartwatch. This holds especially true if you're on Android considering most watches sporting Android Wear are accompanied by lower price tags than the Pebble Time Steel.