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Pebble teardown deems smartwatch unrepairable, long-lasting

updated 09:39 am EDT, Wed March 13, 2013

Adhesive for waterproofing partly to blame

A teardown of the Pebble smartwatch found it to be a fairly unrepairable device, though its expected longevity is a saving grace. The team at iFixit declined to give the Pebble a repairability score due to its uniqueness, but did praise the combination of its low-power e-paper display and weekly charging cycle, which gives the non-replaceable battery a lifespan of between six and ten years.

The waterproofing, allowing the Pebble to operate in water as deep as 165 feet, used a sufficiently high amount of adhesive that, when combined with the bezel surrounding the screen, makes case separation almost impossible without damaging the 144x168-resolution e-paper panel. A single cable housed all four buttons, three LEDs, and the Bluetooth 2.1 antenna, while the motherboard, battery, and vibrator assembly were held together with delicate soldering, making the parts extremely difficult to replace individually, and more likely needing to be replaced together.

The included battery from Fullriver, is rated at 3.7 Volts and 130mAh, and after being charged by a USB cable, it can remain powered for up to seven days.

Originally a project on Kickstarter, Pebble raised over $10 million from almost 69,000 backers over its funding run. Shipping to backers since January, the Pebble is on sale individually for $150.

by MacNN Staff




    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-13-13

    Guess What?

    An old fashioned wind-up watch is difficult to repair too. I don't really get the importance of saying a watch is difficult to repair. Seems like a non-story. My eye glasses are difficult to repair, my remote control is a tough one, my home stereo would be quite a challenge, the condenser on my fridge... forget about it. What about the $100 Monster cable I use, that would be a tricky repair. Just saying.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-17-99


    none of the things you mentioned are difficult to repair by qualified repair personnel. I think this watch's sealed nature makes it difficult, even for someone with the relevant skills to do so.

  1. ElectroTech

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-26-08

    iFixIt is a dinosaur.

    In this age of miniaturization, iFixIt is way out of date and living in the early industrial period. There is no way to repair a transistor on a CPU because it is integrated. With the level of integration we have now, there is no way to repair almost everything. iFixIt seems to want the world to keep old technology standards so that their business can flourish and have little regard for the technology moving forward.


    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-13-13


    Agreed... I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek. But at the same time, I just think it is kind of silly to make a story about a circuit board, battery, and screen the size of a watch that is not easily repaired. The headline seems like a bad review of a perfectly fine product. Maybe iFixit will eventually write a smear headline about Compact Flash cards... "Lexar CF teardown deems them unrepairable" :-)

  1. andrewbw

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-31-01

    I love ElectroTech!

    ElectroTech, did you know you actually have fan club? There is a group of us at our office that scans MacNNs comments for the juciest bits of cognitive dissonance and you are currently a "fan fav" on the little whiteboard we keep tracking the looniest of frequent commenters. Please keep up the excellent work! Never stop being an angry fanboi, the internet would be a darker place without you. Our IT group salutes your efforts!

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