From Apple to Sony, A Smartwatch for Every Wrist

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

From Apple to Sony, A Smartwatch for Every Wrist.

It’s been a productive year for Pebble. Privately held Pebble, the company that kicked off the smartwatch race a few years back, yesterday announced a new addition to its lineup, the “Pebble Time Round,” just a scant six months after unveiling the Pebble Time. The darling of Kickstarter (a record $10 million raised in 30 days), Pebble still retains a sense of community with its 20,000 Instagram followers, 84,000 Twitter followers and 325,000 Facebook likes. While it offers much of the same functionality as its Gear S2 and Moto 360 competitors, it trumps its rivals when it comes to size, measuring a skinny 7.5mm thick and tipping the scales at just 28g.

This svelte profile comes at a cost, however, as Pebble says the Time Round’s battery will make it through just two days, compared to the 10-hour battery life offered by its square-shaped Pebble Time predecessor. One big advantage over Apple Watch, to some users, will be the fact the screen remains on all day long, rather than timing out, as with Apple Watch, even though the device can run for two days on a single charge. This one is pretty much the only choice for people who are deeply embedded in Apple’s services, and anyone who wants to be approached in public constantly by curious passersby. He said that the design is meant to appeal to people looking for a “classic kind of watch look." The $249 Pebble Time Round is the thinnest and lightest smartwatch that Pebble has managed to make. True to the name, the Time Round has an elegant round face (all of Pebble’s previous smartwatches have been square) and will come with straps in both 14mm and 20mm widths.

Beyond that, the smartwatch offers the same e-paper display as its predecessors – albeit surrounded by a chunkier bezel, and runs Pebble’s custom Timeline software. While the Apple Watch is a more or less fully-featured wrist computer with the ability to track fitness stats, display and send texts and emails, and run apps natively, the Pebble line of smartwatches are a little bit simpler.

Its specs are top shelf, the look is straightforward and classic, and the rotating bezel is a natural, practical way to interact with a big circle sitting on your wrist (as watchmakers have known for a long time). Pebble says developers won’t have to rewrite their apps – which are designed to run on previous Pebble watches’ square faces – to run on the new round display.

The original version suffered from a sluggish processor and short battery life, but both problems have been addressed in a new model — and there’s now a size more suited for smaller wrists available as well. The watch body itself comes in black, silver, or rose gold finishes, with five different colored leather bands or metal bands to be released later this year. This $250 waterproof option from Sony has all the Android Wear benefits, plus a GPS unit built in, making it ideal for runners and bikers — or close to ideal, since it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor. Pebble was making smartwatches well before the competition, and they’ve continually improved the design, though you’ll find slightly fewer features on these minimalist devices.

If you want to count steps and check mail but don’t need every little whiz-bang feature of the more expensive watches (these are $250), a Pebble may be a nice low-key choice. Rather than a screen on its face, this has real hands and uses a chip inside to track steps, sleep and other items, which you view in a companion app.

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