Starting off with the design and build quality, this scale has followed the same finishing standard as the new studio line of Stagg EKG kettles.
The top surface is a glass, which works really nicely in combination with the tack sharp OLED display that we’ll talk about the responsiveness of a little later on. The weighing platter is made of metal which also feels very premium, and eliminates the need for any additional heat protection like you’d see on a plastic scale such as the Acaia Pearl.
One area throughout all Fellow products that always confuses me a bit are the dials. This one, just like on their kettles is technically a metal surface, but just feels wobbly and cheap. For a high touchpoint area, on premium priced products, I have no idea why they aren’t making the clicks have a more satisfying feel, maybe even with knurled metal finish in the button itself. It would TOTALLY change the feel of the product, and better suit the asking price, but so far, they haven’t heard my suggestion…
However, even with the wobbly knob, the fit and finish on the Fellow Tally is still head and shoulders above the Acaia Pearl’s 100% plastic build. While some might prefer the Pearl’s simple looks, there’s no denying that the Tally is the more solid of the two. And it should be, because here’s something you don’t hear very often, the Acaia is actually the CHEAPER of the two scales in this comparison.
Something that absolutely contributes to the price tag and that they are very vocal about is the fact that Tally IS designed for commercial use, so you can expect the internal parts to match the same quality we’re seeing on the outside.
One final note about the designs that leads me into the user experience is cleaning both of these scales. The Tally has far more nooks and cranny’s for dust and debris to collect in, and it’s harder to get it out once it does. The Pearl on the other hand is clean after one wipe across the surface. It might seem like a small thing, but this was definitely something I noticed after a few weeks of real world use.
When it comes to using these two scales, their functionalities are largely the same, with each having one or two “smart” features.
Both are USB-C rechargeable, both have 0.1g accuracy, both have simple weight, and weight + time modes, and neither are suitable for espresso use due to their size and lack of water sealing. The maximum capacity is slightly larger on the Tally at 2.5kg vs the 2kg of the Pearl.
Modes on the Tally are selected using a dedicated mode button which cycles between weight only, weight + time, and the smart Brew Assist mode which gives Tally it’s mathematically themed name.
When in brew assist mode, Tally will automatically covert the detected weight into the required water volume based on the brew ratio which you can select using the dial. Once you have you dose in your brewer, you then confirm by pressing the timer dial, which tares the scale, and then waits for you to start pouring. Once you do, the timer automatically starts, and the scale starts counting up towards the calculated target weight. Once you reach the weight, the display turns white, which has actually saved me from overpouring a few times when I simply wasn’t paying attention.
Overall I find this to be one of the best “assisted” brewing integrations I’ve seen to date on a scale. It doesn’t require an app, it doesn’t require any fussy inputs, it just unobtrusively walks through your normal brewing workflow, while also allowing you to use EXACT brewing ratios without a second thought. And it had better be good, because that’s really the only “feature” of on Tally.
It doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity, or flow rate analysis like the Acaia Pearl, but to be honest, those were never features I really find myself using. Needing to pull out an app is way beyond my desired level of interaction, and my recipes simply aren’t to the point where I’m worrying about mL perfect flow rates. The brew assist on the other hand, I not only tried, but genuinely kept using every day since getting it.
Apart from accuracy and build quality of a scale, probably the most important but least talked about aspect of performance is reaction time. And here, Fellow really nailed it.
The OLED display on Tally not only looks fantastic, but it is very fast to respond. I tested both the Acaia Pearl and Fellow Tally using the 120fps setting on my camera, and concluded that the Tally was actually responding as fast as the display could refresh, which was around 70 milliseconds. The Pearl, which is not a slow scale, was taking almost twice as long to react at 125milliseconds. And I was happy that those backed up what I was subjectively noticing, which is that the Tally is a super snappy and responsive scale.
So, should you buy the Fellow Tally?
Well, from a pure value for money perspective, I have a tough time justifying the price tag in order to give this product a whole hearted recommendation to you. It is expensive.
However, if you are planning to use it in a commercial setting, or just strongly strongly value the build quality and aesthetic elements of your daily coffee routine, then the Tally might just be my favourite scale I’ve used to date. It’s rock solid, super responsive, the OLED display is beautiful, and the brew assist mode gets out of your way and is just genuinely useful.
Not to mention that it fits in perfect with all the other Fellow gear. The brand is really creating a super compelling product ecosystem nowadays, and I’m excited to see what comes next.