Pinetime First Impressions
I ordered a Pinetime smartwatch a couple weeks ago and it finally came on Friday. Here’s some of my first impressions so far, which I hope might be useful to someone seeing as how most of the videos and articles you find out there are at least a year old and it looks like the software has come a long way since then.
I’m impressed with the build of the watch given its price. It’s obviously not super premium or anything. In fact it’s clearly pretty cheap, but in a practical, well-built sort of way.
So far over 48 hours my battery has gone down by 25%, so I’m expecting it to get around a week out of a charge.
Other than that, the hardware is pretty unremarkable. The exciting thing is what’s running on it.
The Pinetime is completely open source and ships with an OS tailor-made for it called Infinitime. It’s pretty good. It’s easy to use and feels mostly mature. The few areas where it might be slightly lacking are easy to look past since development seems pretty active and has an engaged community.
Pulling in notifications from my phone is great, but I had to get used to its quirks. Clearing notifications on one device doesn’t get rid of them on the other, for example. I’ve learned to treat my phone as the one source of truth and my watch just as a notification feed. From what I’ve found out, notification syncing is supported by Gadgetbridge (the phone companion app I’m using), I think it just has to be implemented in Infinitime.
Right now there’s six watch faces to choose from with good variety. Unfortunately adding new watch faces involves modifying the firmware. It’d be nice to have that process streamlined, and judging by recent updates they might be laying the groundwork for that.
There’s some basic health features like a step counter and heart rate monitor. I don’t super care about them and can’t say how accurate they are, but they’re there.
I’m looking forward to tinkering a bit with the software when I get some time. Maybe I’ll try to make my own watch face. There’s also some alternative OSes I could look into, but honestly Infinitime is good enough where I don’t feel the need to.
One Last Thing
I think the vibration motor on my unit is faulty? It’s just never worked for me. I’ll try contacting Pine64 soon to see what they say about it, but honestly I don’t see it as a big deal and I might even prefer not having it. I almost always have my phone on me where I can feel it go off anyway and when I don’t it’s usually because I’m trying to focus on something. Having another device trying to get my attention could be annoying.
It’s not perfect, but based on my couple of days with it so far the Pinetime seems like a decent watch that’s made excellent by its cheap price and open source nature. It works well, respects your privacy, and will likely be maintained for years.