Smartwatches rarely have GPS built in. Why? Because it sucks the battery life, which is hardly a smartwatch strong point in the first place. The Powerstrap Pal, a smartstrap for the Pebble Time watch, may be the answer to this problem. Powerstrap has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Pal, which not only has built-in GPS, but also a 250mAh battery to minimize the pain from actually using the new feature.
Pal is designed specifically for the Pebble Time and Time Steel smartwatches, and is able to track speed, distance, elevation, and route for up to 24 hours without the need for a tethered smartphone. Not only that, but the device has an extra battery built right into the strap, which, according to Powerstrap, can give the Pebble watch as much as an extra seven days of battery life.
Of course, there is a cost, and not just a financial one. The strap features a fairly bulky module that’s located where the strap and the watch body meet, that weighs 65 grams overall. That’s about 20 grams more than the watch on its own. Not only that, Powerstrap boldly claims that Pal is able to pick up a GPS signal in a quick three minutes, but for GPS, three minutes really isn’t that quick at all.
The strap isn’t cheap either — it will cost you $80, which is probably more than half the amount you paid for the Pebble Time itself. However, for a strap that adds GPS functionality and extra battery life to the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel, it may be a small price to pay, especially for those who often use their watch’s fitness tracking capabilities.
You can get a Powerstrap Pal for yourself from the product’s Kickstarter page, where it has raised a little over $23,000 of its $80,000 funding goal at the time of writing.