Science

Pebble Smartwatch iFixit Teardown: Can It Be Repaired Easily?

By Jordan Mammo , Mar 14, 2013 08:12 AM EDT
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The Pebble smartwatch has arrived, and that means it's time to take the entire thing apart.

Any time a new electronic product arrives on the scene, the website iFixit likes to rip it apart in order to judge how easy it is (or isn't) to repair should it break down. They've done so with pretty much every tablet out there (heads up: never try to open a Surface Pro), and it looks like they're going to start doing it with smartwatches, too.

The Pebble is a unique device in that it's the first smartwatch available for customers. It can be synced up with your iPhone or Android device to receive notifications and text messages, eliminating the need to constantly whip out your phone to check it. It can control your music, get calendar reminders and receive email. Sounds like a crafty little device.

What if you broke it?

Since there are no visible screws on the Pebble, iFixit had to resort to its special iOpener (used to pry open an iPad) to gain entry. Like the Surface, the Pebble is laced with a load of adhesive, making it is essentially impossible to open without splintering the watch's screen. If that's not enough to stop one from tinkering with the device, then maybe knowing there's not much inside will. Once iFixit shattered the screen and broke through, inside the Pebble was a "single simple assembly, boxed within a light plastic frame."

Considering that the Pebble is the first smartwatch that iFixit has torn apart, it couldn't quite give the device a repairability score. Instead, it simply noted some significant observations. Obviously the watch cannot be opened without basically destroying it, but such inaccessibility also means replacing the battery becomes unfeasible, therefore limiting the watch's lifespan to between six and 10 years.

The good news is that Pebble is currently developing a recycling program for watches once they die, so expect to hear more about that in the future.

Otherwise, the wristbands are easily replaceable. So at least there's that.

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