Today we’ll take a look at the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, a relatively new wearable in the Wear OS space that runs about $300. With a full suite of hardware, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 processor, it looks great on paper. How does it fare in practice? Read on to find out.
The TicWatch 3 Pro GPS isn’t a huge departure from the previous Ticwatch Pro 4G/LTE I reviewed last year. It has a slightly larger 1.4-inch AMOLED display with a higher 454 x 454 resolution. Plus, there’s not a massive unsightly black bezel around the display like on Fossil’s smartwatches. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a larger bezel than I’d like, but Mobvoi was at least smart enough to hide some of it with a metal frame.
As far as the quality of the display, in short, the screen looks fantastic, the colors are vibrant and everything looks nice and crispy. Also, unlike the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE, there was no orange tint on the display present at extreme angles.
While we’re on the subject of displays, the secondary low-power LCD display is one of the standout features of the TicWatch Pro lineup. This time around it has a new layout, and in my opinion, it’s a lot more stylish.
However, the thing that impressed me the most about the design was how Mobvoi was able to make the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS slimmer while also including a much larger 577mAh battery. That’s no small feat, and I commend them on this bit of engineering, because it not only looks better, but it also increases the battery life.
The design of the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS isn’t perfect though, and I have two main criticisms. For instance, I wish for a “Pro” model it would use more metal and that Mobvoi would include a rotating crown. This will forever be something I envy about Wear OS watches from Fossil and its sub-brands, and I will continue to hope with each new release that Mobvoi will finally give me a rotating crown.
The watchband on the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS has a leather-like appearance embellished with orange stitching to further sell the illusion. Upon closer inspection, you’ll realize it is actually a silicone band. This is a nice compromise in my opinion because it looks fashionable while also providing the comfort and durability needed for exercising.
For better or worse, the charging cradle for the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is the smallest one I’ve ever seen for a Wear OS smartwatch. On the bright side, that makes it ultra-portable, but it also forces the watch to sit at an awkward angle while charging.
It’s not a big deal, but I would prefer for the watch to lie perfectly flat while charging. And if you were going to redesign the cradle I would have preferred to see one that holds the watch vertical, similar to this replacement charger I bought for the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE.
Even better, I would have loved to have seen the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS go with wireless charging. I know it would have made the watch thicker, but I think it’s a fair trade-off.
The user experience on the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is pretty similar to most other Wear OS watches, except for all the extras Mobvoi has packed in. For example, I noticed a new app launcher with two columns of app icons and a mode to change the level of the auto-brightness adjustment.
I wasn’t a fan of the new launcher, and thankfully it can be disabled in the settings. However, the option to adjust the auto-brightness setting is a welcomed improvement to Wear OS. Some other new helpful settings I discovered include options to change the display time out, different DND modes, and the ability to take screenshots.
Besides some additional options in the settings menu, what truly makes the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS standout is the range of Tic apps. This includes TicBreathe, TicExercise, TicHealth, TicHearing, TicOxygen, TicPulse, TicSleep, and TicZen.
Some of these apps overlap with Google Fit such as TicExercise, TicHealth, and TicPulse. However, the rest of them make up for much of Wear OS’s shortcomings as a fitness smartwatch.
I must admit, one of the main reasons I love the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is because of the Tic apps. They allow me to monitor my 24-hour heart rate, blood oxygen levels, as well as track my sleeping, exercising, stress levels, and more. It gives me everything I’ve wanted out of my smartwatch for years now, and makes up for all the foot-dragging Google has done with Wear OS.
Now that you have the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS and all the Tic apps keeping an eye on your health, you need a way to view all of this information. That’s where the Mobvoi app comes into play. Using the app, you can check all of your stats collected by the watch and check your progress for the day, week, and month.
Unfortunately, Mobvoi updated its app not too long ago, and I must say, I’m not a fan. Previously, the app displayed the 24-hour heart rate monitoring with an easy to view line graph that was color-coded based on how high your heart rate was. That has been replaced with this monstrosity of a vertical line graph which is just a mess.
Additionally, the new blood oxygen reading and stress levels are displayed as minuscule dots on a small smartphone screen. I have perfect vision, and even I found it difficult to make sense of these tiny dots scattered all over the screen. A simple line or bar graph would have done wonders here as well.
Fortunately, the Mobvoi app syncs with Google Fit and will allow you to at least view your heart rate with the traditional line graph view. It’s just a pity the stress monitoring and blood oxygen levels aren’t supported in Google Fit at this time.
The TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is the first smartwatch running Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor, which promises up to an 85% increase in performance with longer battery life. Mobvoi also made a good decision to include 1GB of RAM which Wear OS seems to require for smoother performance.
All of this adds up to the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS being the quickest and snappiest Wear OS smartwatch I’ve ever used. While that may not be saying a lot if you look at the rest of the watches on the platform, it still makes a huge difference in day to day use.
Most smartwatch companies tend to overestimate the battery life of its watches by listing times achieved with optimal use. Mobvoi is no different here, claiming the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS will get you 72-hours of usage in smart mode.
If you’re like me though, you want to take full advantage of your smartwatch and you enable all the things as well as using the always-on display. Well, I’ve got good news for you, even if you do that, you’re going to get nearly two and a half days of battery life off a single charge. That’s far better than charging once a day like I’ve had to do with most other Wear OS watches.
While we’re on the subject of charging, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the TicWatch has a history of bricking the charging dock. Many users have had issues with the charger dying after plugging it into a fast-charging brick.
If you want to ensure this doesn’t happen to you, then only plug your charger into a brick that supports 5V at 1A or use the USB port on your PC. Rest assured if you do brick your charger, Mobvoi will send you a replacement one after you talk to the support team.
The TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is an impressive showcase device for the latest Snapdragon 4100 Wear OS chipset. Not only does it offer some of the smoothest performance you’ll experience on Wear OS, but it impresses with stellar battery life and a range of helpful fitness apps.
Put simply, the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS has the fastest performance and best battery life out of any Wear OS smartwatch I’ve ever used, and it’s also one of the most functional thanks to the Tic apps.
Regardless, I think it still comes up just shy of perfection. If Mobvoi could add a rotating crown, wireless charging, and make some tweaks to the Mobvoi app–it would be the holy grail of Wear OS smartwatches.