Here at Chip Chick, we’re always on the lookout for smartwatches that fit wrists of all shapes and sizes — and we’ve found the slim-wristed to be the most underserved. That’s why we’re excited about the Pebble Time Round, the latest from the little wearable company that could.
One of the best examples of a Kickstarter success story, Pebble has made its way from a successful campaign for its debut e-paper smartwatch to not needing a crowdfunding campaign at all. The Pebble Time Round is available for preorder directly from Pebble, and it’s looking like a great choice for any smartphone owner. Like always, the smartwatch works with both iOS and Android devices, using its own cutesy UI on a color e-paper display to push notifications from either operating system. The hardware is similar to what’s in the Pebble Time Steel — the big change here is that it’s Pebble’s first round smartwatch.
The 38.5 mm, 7.5 mm thick watch face is on the small side itself for smartwatches, but what we’re excited about are the strap options — 20 mm and 14 mm, the latter being the slimmest strap available for any smartwatch we’re aware of. Initially, the Pebble Time Round will be available in five watch face/leather strap color combinations (three 14 mm straps, two 20 mm straps), including the 2015-essential rose gold/white combo. The straps have quick-release pins, so you won’t be limited to the strap that comes with your purchase, although you will need to buy other straps separately. Metal straps aren’t available yet, but are in the works.
Pebble’s strength has always been in its smartwatches’ simplicity and superior battery life. While the latter won’t be as impressive as earlier Pebble watches at two days, it’s still very good considering that Pebble watches are always on thanks to their e-paper displays. If you do get into battery trouble, Pebble says a 15-minute charge will give you a day’s worth of battery life on the Pebble Time Round.
Pebble’s software is still strong, allowing for voice commands and enjoying the benefit of a robust enough app store. You’ll be able to get notifications and fitness stats with Misfit’s tracking app. You can find custom watchfaces on that app store, too, making it just as customizable as other smartwatches. Apps made for Pebble’s older smartwatches will need to be tweaked to fit the round display, but Pebble has already sent out a new SDK to developers to expedite that process.
The new watch still uses four physical buttons — three on one side, one on the other — for navigation, while incoming notifications are made available at a glance. Meanwhile, the Timeline UI still lets you move to old or future notifications and calendar events, similar to what you can do with Time Travel on the Apple Watch.
Despite its small size, the Pebble Time Round does enjoy a degree of toughness thanks to IPX7 splash resistance and 2.5D Gorilla Glass on the display. You probably won’t want to test that toughness too much, but it should hold up to everyday wear and tear.
Pebble Time Round can be preordered now for $250 and is scheduled to ship sometime in November. If you’re a Pebble Time Steel Kickstarter backer and want in on the round style, Pebble is offering a special deal — if you had reserved a Pebble Time Steel at any tier, you can preorder a Pebble Time Round and get $50 discounted when the watch ships. Once you have both watches, you can take 30 days to test both, then either keep both or send one back. If you choose the latter, Pebble will refund the rest of the money you spent on the Pebble Time Round, regardless of which watch you choose to keep.
We know that e-paper isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a slim, simple smartwatch that works (and can be trusted not to die on you in the waning hours of the day), the Pebble Time Round looks very enticing.
Update: Check out our full review of the Pebble Round here.