Sunday, January 1, 2017

From Pebble Time to the Striiv Fusion Bio 2

As we all know, the Pebble smartwatches are a thing of the past.  I did owned the Pebble classic and the Pebble Time.  After the Fitbit acquisition of the Pebble company, I was a bit worried that my lovely Pebble Time would turn into a nice light paper weight...

In my search for an alternative smartwatch, I did review the whole internet for the next best thing.  The main features I was looking for was battery life time and a good notification system.  I don't really care for health tracking data.  It's nice to know how many steps I did today, but I am more into getting my notifications on my wrist.

This got me to think about on how I was using my smartwatch...  Basically, I look at the time, read my notifications and that's about it.  Even if the Pebble Time can display thousands of watchfaces and supports many apps to play with, the main usage is still looking at the date and time.

So I started to consider those trackers/smartwatches having less features but providing a good battery lifetime, a good readability and displaying notifications from my iPhone.  And the price became an issue as I did spent a few bucks on those fancy watches...

I finally found the Striiv Fusion Bio 2.

As I said earlier, the price became an issue.  I actually bought the Fusion 2 for 50$ (CAD) at Best Buy...  I did get lucky and got the Fusion Bio 2 instead for the same price.  For some strange reason, the package did show the Fusion 2, but the content was actually the Fusion Bio 2 priced at 100$ (CAD).

This is mainly a health tracker but it does have some nice features:  30 days battery lifetime, displays all notifications from my iPhone, heath tracking data is a nice and this is a touch interface so no more buttons.  The Fusion 2 is small and good looking.  It does everything beside heart rate monitoring.  Since I was lucky enough to end up with the Fusion Bio 2, I do have also the heart rate monitor.

Look at the detailed features here:

Compared to the Pebble Time, it does lack apps and custom facewatch but it does it's job nicely for a fraction of the cost.  For 50$, I still get the time, notifications and alarms.  I have a better battery lifetime (5 days to 30 days...).

It was nice to have all these possibilities with the Pebble Time but in the end, I did not need them that much.  Was it worth it the price?  I don't think so...

So if you're looking for a nice alternative for a good price, check out the Striiv Fusion (Bio) 2 at your nearest retailer...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fitbit buying Pebble: What will happen?

If you've read the news this week, it seems that the Fitbit company will buy Pebble.  From a business point of view, it does make sense.  For the Pebble community, it may be the end...

Currently, the smartwatch market is saturated with all kinds of products from all major brands like Garmin, Apple, Fitbit, Pebble, just to name a few.

Apple is targeting the high-end use with its Apple Watch.  Not a bad product, but the price may actually drive away a lot of people.  Other manufacturers are more into health monitoring like Fitbit and Garmin.  Even Pebble has moved into this health market with the Pebble 2 and the latest firmware available for almost all Pebble smartwatch.

If you are running, swimming or climbing the mount Everest, there is a lot of choices available for a smartwatch.  Let's be honest, I'm not part of that market, like 80% of the population.  I have nothing against training but having a device dedicated at providing me my health stats is not my cup of tea.

That's where the Pebble smartwatch was shining.  A cool smartwatch, with apps and a few extra features.  I don't care about my heart rate, I want to reply back to my tweet with my watch.

The Apple watch and the Google Gears do implements those "Dick Tracy" features but at a higher price.  For around 150$, Pebble can do it (and the battery lasts for a week...).

My main concern is what will happen with my Pebble Time...  If Fitbit shuts down the whole Pebble ecosystem, my Pebble Time watch won't work anymore...  No more updates, no new apps, no new watchface...

Currently, there are not alternative to the Pebble, for the same features, for the same price.

Let's hope that we have a few more years ahead of us before we are forced to use a "HealthWatch" instead of a "SmartWatch".

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Best of iOS, Android and Windows 10

When you are looking to buy a tablet, there are so many choices available.  I personally own an iPad 4 (iOS), an Asus Memo 10 (Android) and recently the RCA Cambio (Win10).

I can safely assume that I have enough user experience with all three major operating systems on mobile devices.  With iOS, I've been a user starting with the iPhone 3GS and I do appreciate the Apple ecosystem.  I also got my hands on on several Android devices mainly tablets.  Windows 10 is a bit new to me as I always used Ubuntu on my computer.

My main factor when choosing a mobile device is the experience.  I do not care about the CPU speed or device weight.  All that matters is the user experience with the device and how well it will integrate into my daily tasks.

Let's compare the three of them from my point of view...


The diversity of available apps is amazing on all of them.  iOS and Android do have a few featured apps that is not available on Windows 10 but on the other hand, Windows 10 being a full operating system, you do have access to more apps and software.

I would consider the three operating system on par, with a slight advantage to iOS for providing great apps like GarageBand or iMovie out-of-the-box.


The Apple AppStore, Google Play and Microsoft Store are great.  They do provide a way to search easily for an app, a movie or anything else.  I would consider that Google Play and Microsoft have a slight advantage over Apple and they to provide more suggestions and searching for something is easier...

Online accounts

Interacting with your online accounts is a must these days.  iOS and Android are clear winners on that level but I can also say that Windows 10 is not far behind.  The notifications are well implemented on all three OSes, but there are a few missing players on Windows 10 (Side note: Instagram finally made it on Win10 last week...)

Online files, movies, music

Accessing data, movies and music on a remote storage is something that Windows 10 can handle without any issues.  In second, Android does have a few apps that do the job and in the last place, iOS where you need a specific app to reach those file.


One of the worst thing for me is when the device is lagging.  You start an app and then you have to wait for it to be ready...  only to find out that it does lag and you have to wait...

iOS is almost flawless on that level.  Even my old iPad 4 is still fluid after many upgrades and whatever app I may used.  In second, I would choose Windows 10 over Android.  Surprisingly, on my cheap RCA Cambio tablet, Windows 10 is fluid and smooth.  The only lagging experienced was with some heaving 3D games pushing the limits of the hardware.  With Android, I've always been disappointed had all devices I've had or tried, the apps are slow to open, the keyboard is often unresponsive as I type.

Maybe it's just me, but Android is far behind in terms of fluidity, even with a 300$ tablet...


Not much to say here: iOS and Windows 10 are clear winners with frequent updates.  As for Android, it all depends on the brand you got and it's has safe as the weather forecast.  I think that an old Nexus 7 is still being updated by Google but it was so slow that I gave it to one of my kids...


When speaking about integration, I mean interacting with your life.  iOS is amazing on that level has you can even copy and paste from your iPhone to your MacBook (if you have the latest...).  Start browsing on your iPad and continue on your iPhone later one.  Apple has made an amazing job at making it work, easily.

Android does offer a great alternative with Chrome and ChromeCast.  There is no true ecosystem as on a computer, you have Google Chrome mainly.  So it's a matter of integrating your Google account more than having dedicated devices.

Windows 10 does fall behind as there is no serious integration between devices and computers.  Of course, since it's Windows, you can actually installed whatever you need to make things work.

In the end...

Overall, they are all great, depending on what you want to do.

  • iOS: Amazing apps for media creation, best ecosystem, long term updates
  • Windows 10:  Smooth and fun.  On a tablet, it's the best of both world.
  • Android:  It's Google!  If you live by Google, this is the way to go.

Personally, I would recommend iOS for casual stuff and when it should just work.  For more serious stuff like working on douments or creating softwares, Windows 10 is the way to go.

I do like Android, but it has often disappointed me to a point where I won't consider buying another Android device again.  iOS and Windows 10 are sure bets in my mind as opposed to Android.