Pebble Steel: the best smartwatch you can buy now has build quality to match

Our favourite smartwatch gets a metal makeover at CES, plus Gorilla Glass screen protection and leather straps

The Pebble is our favourite smartwatch, fighting off all of 2013's wearable foes. The one downside is its plastic build: we've always yearned for something a little more premium. And now it's here, in the form of the Pebble Steel.

Two flavours of this second iteration of the Pebble smartwatch have been revealed at CES today – a brushed stainless steel model and a matte black steel model. Both stick much more to the design DNA of a classic watch than the retro, toy-like Pebble with a complete overhaul of the smartwatch's build. 

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The most exciting thing, besides the new materials, is the price. At US$249 (or RM820) it seems bang on the money for a smartwatch that not only lasts and lasts on a charge but is more reliable, easier to read and now looks better than its rivals.

While the internals remain the same, the e-paper screen has been slathered in scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass (not quite the sapphire crystal glass of the Wellness Watch, but not at all bad) and a choice of metal and leather straps will also be available. We don't know the weight of either configuration yet. 

There are no interface changes just yet, so anyone disappointed that the content of WhatsApp messages won't show up (for example) will stay disappointed. But with the number of Pebble apps and watchfaces set to skyrocket over the next 12 months, the little smartwatch that could is set to become more and more useful. 

Stay tuned for hands on impressions from Las Vegas and a full, in depth review closer to the 28th January launch, when it will be made exclusively available at getpebble.com. Oh, and for those of you who don't mind plastic encasing your Mario watchfaces and email notifications, the original Pebble will still be sold as before alongside the Pebble Steel. 

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