Pebble smartwatches have always taken a more basic approach when it comes to cramming functionality into a wearable. But for those hoping their Pebble was a little more capable as a fitness tracker, Tylt has designed a simple case that upgrades the Pebble Time with a heart rate monitor.
Tylt is probably better known for its vast catalog of charging gadgets, including inductive charging pads. (Which explains why its new VÜ Pulse Pebble Time case also adds Qi wireless charging capabilities to the smartwatch.) But it’s the integrated optical heart rate monitor that will have most Pebble Time users considering the easy snap-on upgrade.
The VÜ Pulse doesn’t appear to add much bulk to the already svelte Pebble Time either. What thickness it does add seems like a worthy trade-off for gaining additional fitness tracking capabilities that instantly work with the existing Pebble Health app. So there’s no need to download a third-party app, and more importantly, no awkward hoops to jump through to get your heart rate measurements into Apple Health or Google Fit.
To help preserve the Pebble Time’s amazing battery life, the VÜ Pulse only takes heart rate measurements every half hour in its passive mode. But when a workout starts, you can switch it to an active mood which instead takes measurements every ten seconds to give you a comprehensive look at your fitness level. More readings obviously hurt your battery life.
The best feature of the VÜ Pulse, though, might be its price tag. Tylt is using Kickstarter to help bring the case to market with a crowdfunding campaign trying to raise $100,000. The first thousand backers can preorder one for just $39, with delivery expected sometime in August. That’s far cheaper than even a dedicated heart rate-capable fitness tracker. Suddenly your Pebble isn’t so sedentary after all.