Pebble might have been one of the first companies to enter into the smartwatch arena back in 2013, but it has faced some stiff competition as new players have entered the market. Google threw its hat into the ring with the Android Wear operating system last year and hence gave birth to a number of smartwatches including the Motorola Moto 360 and the LG Watch Urbane. Likewise, Apple launched its Apple Watch earlier this year, and has seen a great amount of success in the market.
Pebble hasn’t exact stood still; it announced the Pebble Time with a 64-color e-paper display and followed up with the Pebble Time Steel, which ditches the plastic body for, well, steel, and slightly longer battery life. But all of those Pebble watches had one thing in common — they all featured a rectangular display, whereas most regular wristwatches sold today have circular displays. And as we’ve seen with the Moto 360, G Watch R, Huawei Watch and Samsung Gear S2 there’s a receptive market for smartwatches with a circular display.
So that brings us to the Pebble Time Round, which as its name implies, comes with a fully circular display. But there was a pretty big compromise that had to be made to allow for a round display; just look at that extremely large bezel. It’s just hard to ignore. Some people may be able to fool their brain into dismissing the “flat tire” on the Moto 360 (both generations), but no mental trickery can dismiss the bezel on the Pebble Time Round.
With that said, the Pebble Time Round measures just 7.5mm thick and weighs in at feathery 28 grams (Pebble says that this is the world’s thinnest and lightest smartwatch). The Pebble Time Round is also available in a number of finishes (black, silver, rose gold) and band sizes (20mm or 14mm). The smartwatch is even compatible with Pebble’s smart strap platform.
If the large bezel is a big downer for prospective customers, we have an even bigger downer to present if you’re accustomed to seven-day (or longer) battery life in previous Pebble smartwatches. In order to achieve its incredibly svelte profile, Pebble had to really neuter the battery. As a result, the Pebble Time Round is rated at an un-Pebble-like two days between charges. That puts the smartwatch on even footing with vastly more capable Android Wear smartwatches on the market, and puts it behind the recently announced Samsung Gear S2/S2 Classic.
If there’s any concession, the smartwatch can suck up enough charge to last 24 hours in just 15 minutes. Pebble says this quick-charging capability should be a fair compromise given what the company went through to deliver such a pint-sized package.
The Pebble Time Round is available for preorder today from Pebble.com with a starting price of $249 and it will ship in November.