TicWatch Pro review: the best battery-powered smartwatch beats big brands

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hardware image 1 of tICWATCH PRO

Quick verdict

Do you need an attractive smartwatch that you can use to work and use during workouts? The TicWatch Pro is that watch. You don’t need sports equipment, but you want a Wear OS watch with long battery life? The TicWatch Pro is also that watch. It is difficult to think of many smartwatches at this price that offer something so complete.

Wear OS, the old wearable operating system from Google Android Wear has undergone a change in recent years. As fewer traditional technology companies are building smartwatches, more brands of designer watches are taking the day off, which is where you’re most likely to see Google’s presence. However, there are some technology companies still building them, like Mobvoi, which makes the TicWatch line accessible.

Now, Mobvoi may not be as well known in the west today, with its reasonably basic TicWatch models below 200 pounds that do not have the broadest range. But your TicWatch Pro is worth your attention. Promising incredible battery life, featuring an unusual double-layer screen and all the bells and whistles you could ever want from a wearable device, does the Pro live up to its name?

Attractive and durable design

  • Stainless steel back cover and bezel
  • 22mm strap with quick release
  • Nylon box with fiberglass infusion
  • Water resistant IP68
  • 45mm x 12.6mm

The TicWatch Pro is a clear departure from the most affordable and plastic models in the line, instead of using more suitable materials for the design of next-generation smart sports watches. With its stainless steel panel and back cover at the bottom, the Pro is a robust and elegant looking device – especially in its dark gray and black combination.

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This glossy bezel contrasts with the matte black finish of the case, giving it a stealthy look, further enhanced by the two minimalist design buttons on the right edge.

At the bottom of the watch, the stainless steel cover houses precise cutouts for the small windows that allow the heart rate monitor to work. There is also a small pill-shaped cutout for the 4-pin contact point, which is where the magnetic charger connects.

This charging stand is a pleasant surprise. It is good to have a cradle that fits perfectly every time, thanks to a strong magnet and protruding guides that ensure that it fits only one way. And since it’s not a low power Qi wireless base, it’s not as slow to recharge as others we’ve tested recently.

Another element that we really appreciate is the choice of the design and materials of the belts. It is predominantly made of silicone, making it comfortable to wear, but covered with a thin layer of Italian leather, so it is versatile for smart clothes or sportswear. If you don’t like the bracelet, you can easily exchange it for a standard 22 mm quick release.

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In addition, the watch case itself is IP68 rated against water and dust, so you can run in the rain and everything will be fine.

  • IP water and dust rating: What do they really mean?

Overall, the TicWatch Pro is comfortable and – although it may be quite large for some wrists (it’s 12.6 mm) – it is far from the most robust smartwatch we’ve reviewed. Compared to the Casio WSD-F20, which has a similar dual-screen configuration, it is positively thin.

Double screens: more than a trick?

  • 1.3 inch OLED main screen (400 x 400 resolution)
  • Second monochrome FSTN screen
  • Google Wear OS operating system

We’ve seen double-layer screens before on smartwatches, like the big Casio watch outdoors. The theory is that a secondary monochrome panel can show time constantly without using too much battery. In the case of TicWatch Pro, it automatically enters when the watch enters standby mode after a few seconds of inactivity. In addition to saving battery power, it is also much easier to see daylight.

It is worth noting, however, that this monochrome panel is not illuminated, so you cannot see it at night. But this is not a real problem, as you can summon the main OLED screen with a simple flick of your wrist or by touching the screen, which brings lighting.

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As the smartwatch displays go, this 1.3-inch OLED panel is as good as what you’ll find in your competitors. Its 400 x 400 resolution doesn’t look like much, but nowadays it is quite standard and, in fact, guarantees a good level of detail and sharpness at arm length. If there is any criticism, it is difficult to see daylight, even with the brightness increased to the maximum level.

In normal Wear OS mode, you can interact with Android notifications, download and launch smart watch apps, customize the watch face, and so on using the power of touch. The touchscreen experience part is identical to virtually all other Wear OS, although there is no rotational crown for control here, just these additional buttons.

Battery for days (literally)

  • 415mAh battery capacity
  • 90-minute charge

Although it does not have a battery very different from the capacity of many other watches powered by Google, the difference in battery life of the TicWatch Pro is notable.

Used as our daily smartwatch, including our daily 30-minute workouts, we can comfortably spend between four and five days of use on a single full charge. This is double what most other Wear OS watches will offer, which is largely due to the presence of the low power secondary monochrome display.

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In addition, with a total recharge time of about 90 minutes, it takes about half the time to recharge it than the wireless charging types from Skagen, Fossil and Diesel.

TicWatch also has an Essential Mode, which basically turns off all the smart elements of Wear OS, leaving only the monochrome display active. Using this mode exclusively, Mobvoi claims that the Pro can last up to 30 days between charges. However, it was not designed for this, it is for the rare occasion when you almost run out of battery and still want to know the time. This mode is also slow to load, avoid it, unless absolutely necessary.

One thing we can’t help thinking about is how much better battery life it would be if Qualcomm had upgraded its Wear OS watch processor. The 2100 chipset used in TicWatch is the same that can be found on almost all Wear OS watches in recent years and has not been updated since 2016. It should be updated by the end of 2018, but that does not help at all. for TicWatch Pro.

Family performance

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 Platform
  • 4 GB of storage and 512 MB of RAM

If you’ve ever used an Android Wear of Wear OS smartwatch, TicWatch will feel right at home on your wrist. As with all these watches, six out of a half dozen others are: that is, their performance is the same. This means relative speed, with some small delays (pressing the fitness button to start a session usually takes a few seconds to start the fitness app, for example).

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Wireless connectivity proved solid during use, although you need a phone or network, as there is no 4G / LTE on board the watch. We never had the dreaded “disconnected from the phone” icon on the screen, which happened to some competitors.

As a Google system, TicWatch Pro is aimed at Android phone users. It is also compatible with the iPhone, but you will not have the same ability to respond to messages and emails from your wrist.

Tracking and sports app

  • GPS / Gyroscope / Accelerometer
  • Heart rate sensor
  • Dedicated fitness apps

The TicWatch Pro is not a dedicated sports watch in itself, but it is not far off: tracking our HIIT running and kettlebell sessions provided enough accurate information for daily use.

We tested it in a few 30-minute sessions and 25 kettlebell sessions, and compared to Garmin Vivoactive 3 (which we use in the same sessions for review purposes, not because we like to use dozens of wearables at once), it ran too.

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TicWatch also takes time to lock on a GPS signal, for more than a minute. This saw us waiting for the signal before running. Once connected, however, it remains strong.

The results are different. As a comparison: TicWatch added 50 meters to a 4 km run compared to Garmin. So either Garmin is a bit stingy with measurements, or its competition just isn’t as accurate.

As for heart rate monitoring, TicWatch Pro has done a much better job than Garmin in recent months. Our HIIT kettlebell exercises with wrist devices usually mean really inconsistent data as it is a difficult activity to monitor, but the Pro painted a better overall picture than the Vivoactive.

The only real downside to the Pro’s health tracking capability is the Mobvoi smartphone app.

The user interface doesn’t make it clear how to view your fitness tracking data, for example, so we had to look for multiple cards to find our individual recordings. Once accessed, we could see general statistics, a map of our routes and graphs showing cadence and heart rate. It’s all basic information, they just need a better layout, as the calories burned and the distance are hidden by more layers, instead of being visible on the main screen.

Unfortunately, the app also doesn’t allow you to sync with third-party apps. That means no Strava, which is annoying. But you can simply download and install the Strava Wear OS app from the Play Store, if that’s crucial to you.Verdict

Do you need an attractive smartwatch that you can use to work and use during workouts? The TicWatch Pro is that watch. You don’t need sports equipment, but you want a Wear OS watch with long battery life? The TicWatch Pro is also that watch.

Certainly, Mobvoi could create a more in-depth fitness tracking app, with a better user interface for the more serious sportsmen, but for most users its sporting capabilities will be broad.

The TicWatch Pro is a reliable, practical and durable smartwatch that will survive the daily routine, will not cause battery anxiety and does not depend on a major brand to sell itself. No, this smartwatch is sold because it is smartly priced and specified with a genuinely useful dual-layer display.

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Alternatives to consider

Huawei Watch 2 sport review image 2

Huawei Watch 2 Sport

The Huawei Watch 2 is a kind of surprise package: great for independent control on the go, without a phone, thanks to 4G (optional), well built and full of high specification hardware and features. This Huawei watch costs more than the TicWatch Pro.

samsung gear s3 review image 2

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Samsung Gear S3 Frontier / Classic

The place where Samsung smartwatches are successful is in the user interface. Samsung’s wearable operating system is simply more attractive and intuitive than Google Wear OS. In addition, there is the added convenience of the swivel panel that functions as a kind of scroll wheel. Once again, however, Samsung cannot match the TicWatch Pro in price.

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