While far from a household name, the Chinese manufacturer Mobvoi continues to crank out full-featured smartwatches at a fraction of the price of the bigger names in the industry. Their latest release -- the TicWatch Pro -- features an impressive spec list with an affordable price tag. But does the experience sour the value?
While many budget-conscious smartwatches use plastic and rubber to keep costs low, the TicWatch Pro includes a stainless steel bezel and rear cover. The replaceable 22mm silicon wristband is lined with Italian leather for a touch of class at an affordable price. Reviewers agreed that apart from the larger, 45mm face, the watch offers a look that is at home at both the gym or the office.
The TicWatch Pro is IP68-rated for water and dust resistance. So you need not worry about rain, sweaty workouts, or steamy showers. The bezel also includes two buttons for added control flexibility.
The only design complaint focused on the minute markers on the front bezel. Since the bezel doesn’t rotate, right-handed use would cause the markers to be upside down.
The screen itself received positive reviews. The watch uses a dual 1.39-inch screen design -- one monochrome display and one 400-by-400 pixel OLED color display. When not using the smart features, the monochrome display makes it easy to check the time, steps taken, or heart rate without requiring power to the OLED display.
Reviewers liked the feature but noted that the monochrome display lacks a backlight. So you must tap the screen to switch to the color screen at night. Some reviewers also mentioned a slight blurriness to the OLED screen when viewing it through the monochrome one.
The phone runs the same chip as a wide range of other smartwatches made in the past 2 years -- Snapdragon Wear 2100 with 512MB of RAM. But until Fall 2018, that is the only chip available. It also runs Wear OS -- previously Google Android Wear.
The processor and software allow a range of apps plus notification mirroring and SMS or email replies. Other features include GPS, heart-rate monitor, microphone, speaker, and NFC.
While it’s not the snappiest experience, it’s about as good as Wear OS devices get until the next generation of Snapdragon Wear chips release. Reviewers noted sluggishness when loading apps, but found performance respectable overall.
On the fitness tracking features, Ausdroid notes, “A comparison of step count and heart rate tracking with a Fitbit Ionic and Huawei Watch 2 saw all three giving not exactly the same, but very similar data so I’m happy with those results.”
If you’re looking to ditch your phone while working out, there’s no 4G/LTE connectivity. So you are restricted to offline apps and data collection. Reviewers also note that the GPS is slow to connect. Though once it locks, it stays locked and provides accurate locations.
The star of the watch is the 415 mAh battery with magnetic cradle charging. Capable of a full charge in 90 minutes, it offers 2 to 3 days of standard use in a single charge. Using the Essential Mode -- which restricts the phone to the monochrome screen only -- Mobvoi manufacturer claims you can reach up to 30 days between charges.
Overall, reviewers loved the watch. But some were hesitant to recommend it until the new Snapdragon Wear chips drop in the fall of 2018. If you’re not worried about features or performance increases the new hardware might bring, the TicWatch Pro offers good value in a well-designed package.
Pocket-Lint says, “Need an attractive smartwatch that you can wear to work and wear during your workouts? The TicWatch Pro is that watch. Don't need the sports stuff, but want a Wear OS watch with great battery life? TicWatch Pro is that watch too.” New Atlas says, “Wear OS is more or less the same on every Wear OS watch, but aside from that dual-layer screen, this wearable is comfortable to wear, looks good on the wrist, and is responsive in use.”
No questions for the moment.