Pebble Time Round vs Moto 360: face off

-May 02, 2017

In a recent post, I mentioned that I'd supplemented my wife's testing of a Pebble Time with my own purchase of a Pebble Time Round. Pebble is no more, as I noted at the conclusion of that past piece, but I still decided to proceed with a product review given that acquiring entity Fitbit has promised no disruption of service through at least the end of 2017, and given that I've found Pebble Time Round to be so radically different than the Android Wear-based first-generation (2014) Moto 360 smartwatch I've been consistently using of late.

To that latter point, the diminished battery life on my initial Moto 360 also finally became so pathetic that I could no longer ignore it; I couldn't even make it through a few-hour snow skiing session without the watch dying (and after all, being able to monitor work email on the lift is how I'm able to pull off skiing on weekdays!). So I was in search of a smartwatch platform successor, since I didn't seem to be able to get my second Moto 360 working.

Good news on that last bit, by the way. After I stubbornly tried one more time (again without success) to pair the replacement Moto 360 with my Moto X smartphone (or any other Android smartphone or tablet, for that matter), I manually terminated the Android Wear app on the Moto X and then re-launched the utility. I then noticed that the "Connected" setting had for some reason been disabled by the app during the unsuccessful "updating" process. Manually switching the setting back on resulted in a stable connection between the smartphone and smartwatch, in spite of the latter still being on its original v 4.4w.2 factory firmware.

The watch subsequently prompted me to update it (twice); it's now running the latest v6.0.1 firmware release. And its battery life is much improved over its predecessor; I'm re-embracing to my original theory that the embedded battery's usable life steadily degrades with increased use and number of recharge cycles applied to it (and also can't be user-replaced, of course).

Back to the Pebble Time Round, which I'd pressed into service first. Here are a few snapshots of it on my wrist:

versus the Moto 360 precursor:

As I'm sure you can already tell, the Pebble Time Round is quite a bit smaller than the Moto 360, although the band widths are nearly the same (20mm vs 22mm). It's also quite a bit lighter. Comparative specs follow:

Case Diameter
Pebble Time Round
Moto 360

My wife thinks the Pebble Time Round is actually a bit too small for me; the flip side of that particular coin is that IMHO it's the more unisex of the two designs. In fact, it (versus its bulkier Pebble predecessors) was designed specifically with women in mind, especially when paired with the even narrower 14mm band option. Whether you prefer the design of the Pebble Time Round or not, I think you'll find it hard to argue with my claim that versus the Moto 360 or pretty much any other smartwatch out there, it looks much more like a conventional watch (furthering the analog watch similarity, the above photos on my wrist show it using the Classique face).

The Pebble Time Round's face is not only smaller than that of the Moto 360, its display doesn't come close to filling the available face real estate. Only about 45% of the face is available to display information, to be precise; the face is 1.5" in diameter, while the display is 1" in diameter. And the Pebble Time Round display is also quite low resolution; 180 pixels max in diameter. Conversely, the Moto 360's LCD, which is 320 pixels max in resolution, uses nearly all of the smartwatch's 1.8" diameter face.

Source: Wikipedia user Frmorrison
Versus the larger, thicker, and more rectangular styling of the Pebble Time (right) that my wife had briefly tried out, the Time Round makes compromises in both battery life (two days versus seven) and waterproofing (IEC rating of IPX7, i.e. "splash resistant," versus ISO 22810 water resistance).

Its built-in sensor and other peripheral allocation:

  • six-axis accelerometer
  • gyrometer
  • ambient light sensor
  • magnetometer (i.e. compass)
  • Bluetooth
  • haptic vibration motor
  • microphone

is similar to that of the Moto 360, although you'll note a few differences. The Moto 360 doesn't include a compass, for example, although it supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and it also employs a dual-microphone array for ambient noise suppression purposes. The Moto 360 also includes an optical heart rate monitor; a similar feature was planned for the second-generation Pebble Time family, which was canceled commensurate with the company's software IP acquisition by Fitbit.

In the next post in this series, I'll cover the remainder of the primary feature set differences between the Pebble Time Round and Moto 360, focusing in particular on the comparative screens and user interfaces; I'll then discuss aspects of these differences that play in the Pebble Time Round's favor. Until then, I welcome your comments on what I've shared so far!

Read the whole series:

Also see:

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