Pebble Time Round ships and lands in stores on 8 November

A new smartwatch from Pebble and it's the world's thinnest and lightest to boot
Pebble Time Round ships 8 November

The Pebble Time Round smartwatch broadens Pebble's mainstream appeal considerably with a thin, light design, a new, round display and lots of customisation options available.

Pebble has posted a blog post to say that the Time Round hits Best Buy and Target in the US on 8 November, the same day as pre-orders ship to customers around the world.

There are two band sizes, 14mm and 20mm, and three finishes, Black, Silver and Rose Gold. It weighs just 28g and is 7.5mm wide, from our hands on, the Time Round looks like it will suit women's wrists like no other Pebble watch has been able to.

Read this: Pebble Time in-depth review

But it also does away with some of Pebble's trademarks - at $249 it's no longer cheaper than its rivals and the battery life is only up to two days. Another of Pebble's old tricks is now less of a consideration too. It's compatible with both iPhone and Android and though iPhone users don't get the full Android Wear experience, that is now possible.

In short, Pebble is betting big on a stylish, female-friendly design. The fifth Pebble watch has graduated from geek chic into something altogether more grown up.

Pebble's release doesn't make clear what the watch body itself is made of but we do know that a range of leather and stainless steel bands will be available with Pebble's nifty quick release mechanism to easily swap them out. It keeps the four physical button format but shrinks these down.

The small, 1-inch display is colour e-paper - it's always on which is a bonus for time telling but in our experience, a little tricky to read clearly in certain environments. And as for the battery life, we can only assume that the unit is tiny - believable with that light weight. A consolation at least for loyal Pebble fans is that it charges quickly, to full in 30 minutes.

The OS is identical and includes Pebble's Timeline feature, now copied in Apple's watchOS 2, in other words another unique selling point gone. To account for the round display, Pebble has released an SDK for watch face and app developers to modify their software for the new form factor.

Pebble name checks Uber, Swarm and Misfit as big name app partners though it remains to be seen how many of these will put in time and money to support the Time Round and how many more quality apps Pebble can get on to its store in the next six months.

You can buy a Pebble Time Round at Pebble's website now, as well as Best Buy and Amazon online. Slightly annoyingly, the UK release date for shops is late 2015 - still no specifics yet - and Europe will have to wait until early 2016 to see the Pebble Time Round up close in stores.

With more and more people open to the idea of buying a smartwatch, it might not matter that Pebble has ditched some of its core features, such as a long battery life, with this new device.

Many manufacturers – namely Olio and Motorola – are talking about launching truly compact watches in 2016, but Pebble has got in early. The Time Round is as small, light and pretty as it looks in the lifestyle pictures meaning Pebble could break out from its indie wearable tech position.


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