The Pebble Time Round: A Smartwatch for the Masses


George Crowley

By George Crowley ’16, Tech Desk Editor

The Pebble Time Round is one of the most recently released Smartwatch from Kickstarter-backed company Pebble. The Time Round is their first foray into a more traditional watch design; all of their previous watches are somewhat uninspiring-looking squares that sit awkwardly on the wrist. But the design of the Round is really something special. At only 7.5mm thin, it is the thinnest smartwatch on the market. Other innovations include an “e-paper” screen, like that on the Kindle, which means that you can actually read the watchface in sunlight! Other smart features include a microphone for dictation and a two-day battery life. Compared to the other Pebble models you sacrifice battery life;  their other models can last for a week without being charged. The Round is also only water resistant, as opposed to it’s waterproof cousins. But no other sacrifices are made; the processor and other main components are largely unchanged. In my opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons. Who needs a watch that lasts a week when your phone only lasts a day?

So what do I think of the watch?

I love it.

While some might see a smartwatch as a little pointless when you have your phone right there in your pocket, I quite like it. I’ve always found watches a convenient way to check the time, and the Round is the next step in convenience. From it you can respond to or dismiss texts, check the weather, and set reminders. Apps can be installed on it, so I can have a personal assistant–think a Siri that will set alarms, send texts for me, or show Google maps on my wrist. Not only that, but simple games like Flappy Bird have been adapted for the watch and are available for download. Different watch faces are also available, ranging from classic analog-style designs to digital and abstract designs. With the huge app store of watch faces, you’ll be able to have a different watch face every day for a few months before you run out. Some of the watch faces even include weather or other useful information. In addition to all of this, a good amount of features come built into the watch. Like the health app, which will track how many steps you take during the day and how well you sleep at night.

In my opinion the Pebble Time Round is exactly what a smartwatch should be. It’s not a wholly separate device from your phone; there are many things you’ll never be able to do with it, even some things the Apple Watch can do. But in my opinion, for anything that requires more than a quick glance at your wrist, you should be pulling out your phone. And the Pebble excels at providing the information you do need at a quick glance. There are no actions on the Pebble that require more than a few button presses, or some other arcane commands, and that is a good thing. Anything that complicated is best left on your phone, not your wrist. You won’t be holding drawn out texting conversations on the Round, but you will be able to see what that notification was about without pulling your phone out of your pocket.   The Round is not meant to replace your phone, only compliment it, something it does spectacularly well.

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