Not too long after releasing its Pebble Time series, Pebble has just introduced its new Pebble Time Round. Moving away from the typical square and toyish design, the new Pebble looks like a traditional watch with a variety of colours and bands to match. Furthermore, it is the lightest and thinnest smart watch yet weighing from just 28 grams with a thickness of 7.5mm.
Like the new mainstream smart watches, the Pebble Time Round comes in 2 strap sizes, a 14mm size for the ladies and a broader 20mm version for men. It is slightly narrower than the typical 22mm size on the previous Pebbles and the bands are easy to swap with its quick change mechanism. For now, it comes with just leather bands and the metal versions would be made available later. In total there are 3 options (Silver, Rose Gold, Black) available for the 14mm Pebble Time Round and just 2 (Black and Silver) for the larger 20mm version.
In terms of design, it looks pretty sleek with its marine grade stainless steel body and the watch display is an always-on colour E-Paper unit, just like the Pebble Time. It has the same buttons with a back button on the left and the typical 3 navigation buttons on the right, so usability hasn’t changed if you’re using the current Pebble Time. It still gets a built-in microphone that’s used for voice commands. When compared to other smart watches, you’ll notice a much thicker bezel but Pebble somewhat has managed to mask it with a variety of patterns from circular lines to numeric markers for the hour and minutes.
The biggest sacrifice of going round and thin would be its battery life. Instead of the usual 7 to 10 days of use, the Pebble Time Round is rated to last just up to 2 days on a single charge. According to Pebble this is a worthy trade off for style and the new Time Round also supports quick charge, giving 24 hours of use with a quick 15 minutes charge. So a full charge for 2 days use in theory can be done in just 30 minutes, which is heaps faster than the Apple Watch. Charging is still done with its magnetic USB charger that snaps onto the back of the watch.
Another trade off for the Pebble Time Round is it isn’t as water resistant as before. On the previous Pebbles including the Time Steel, it can be submerged under 30 metres of water with its 5 ATM rating. The Pebble Time Round however is only splash resistant even with its IPX7 rating. The product page has explicitly mentioned: “Pebble Time Round is splash resistant but not waterproof. Incidental exposure to water–like unforeseeable rain–won’t ruin your device, but submerging the watch is not recommended.”
No doubt the Pebble Time is more basic in “smart features” as compared to the Moto 360, Samsung Gear S2, Huawei Watch and LG Urbane. For Pebble, it isn’t about cramming the most tech but the main focus is on building a functional watch that tells the time 24/7 without sleep with the capabilities of notifications and apps. It is a pretty looking thing but we expected them to at least maintain the impressive 7 days of battery life. The good thing about Pebble is that it supports both Android and iOS devices, giving it a wider compatibility than other smart watches out there.
If you’re interested, it is available for pre-orders now at US$249.99 (RM1,095) with shipping to start sometime in November. Want something simpler? The original Pebble Classic is now going for US$99 (RM438).
Hands-on Photos by Gizmodo
Pebble Time Round Product Images