Today I lift the lid on some slightly different tech in the form of the Ticktime, a digital countdown timer that makes a statement while keeping you on track.
The Ticktime sits firmly in the functionally fun tech space that had Chris speeding down his local street on a Swagtron recently and we think that there’s a possibility that this diminutive package might come in handy next time our hardware team wants to time their best lap around the block. Manufactured by Nllano, the Ticktime is a compact desk-side companion that easily sits in the palm of any hand and acts as a very cool stopwatch.
Getting to grips with the Ticktime for the first occasion, the sturdy white cube that this ships in doesn’t overwhelm the average palm. Sitting at just a few centimeters in length this polyhedron is immediately striking when it makes an appearance. What seems to be a lightweight metallic set of faces give the whole device a premium industrial feel that should earn it a place on desktops and countertops. This aesthetic is set around an LCD indicator that takes pride of place at the front of the timer. A series of light up numbers accompany this front facing panel. These are carved into every surface surrounding the Ticktime and present a range of preset countdowns ready for immediate action. More on these later. Flipping the diminutive timer over reveals a plastic backplate that plays host to a brightly lit information screen. This feature is the primary interface for the Ticktime and counts the minutes or seconds as they speed by. A micro USB charging port and two multi functional buttons round up the externals of the Ticktime.
Initial impressions of the Ticktime are that it is clearly meant to sit alongside high end peripherals or office furniture without looking particularly out of place. The angular lines and smooth surfaces are appealing to the eye and make it attractive to hold, although I would have loved it to have a heftier weight. As a counting machine, the Ticktime does not ship with a long list of specifications to unravel at this point, but this focus on function clearly leaks over into the product design. With just two buttons either side of the Ticktimer’s LCD display panel, users can set up a countdown by pressing either button to manipulate seconds and minutes. Kicking off this countdown is where the Ticktime reveals an ingenious trick. Rather than rely on a mundane stop start button, the Ticktime seems to incorporate a gyroscopic sensor that engages when the timer is placed horizontally on a surface. If all those buttons seem utterly medieval then the gyrosensor enables an easy to initiate countdown by rotating the device over so a bright blue numbers stares up at the ceiling. These, of course, correspond to a pre-configured countdown and begin as soon as the Ticktime lands on your desk. With a quick flip, we were able to set a 3, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 30 minute count.
Likewise, a stopwatch function that will count from zero is initiated by flipping the object over onto the back surface, only stopping when it is picked up for inspection. While this is busy incrementing, the front face LED pulses and light up numbering around the Ticktime continue to provide feedback on just how long things are taking.
The Ticktime is an inventive way of keeping track of quite how long a gaming session is taking, or how much screen time you’ve had without having to go buy anything as unattractive as a stopwatch. It also makes a definite impression on desktops.
The Ticktime is definitely interesting and attractive but I do wonder what it can do that any modern smartphone isn’t capable of. In essence, the answerer is nothing. Beyond this question, the Ticktime would benefit from a quick reset function. While the device timer will stop when placed back in a horizontal position, resetting the timer between functions can sometimes require flipping the Ticktime over more than once. A quick shake to reset the selection mode feels like it would have been the obvious choice.
As I’ve already stated, the Ticktime looks great but in hand. It might be a little light to hold but that doesn’t detract from the sleek surface and colorful light up displays. It’s fun to play with and perfectly accurate. The Ticktime might not be threatening your smartphone any time soon but it’s a discrete tactile device that puts a new twist on a simple function, just don’t try to head out on circuit laps with it. The Ticktime is yet to release so you’ll have to head over to the official website and register for updates while you count down the days until release.
A preview sample was provided by the manufacturer for this article.