When looking to make your choice for a Wear OS smartwatch, there are plenty to choose from. While Fossil and its sub-brands dominate the space, Mobvoi delivers style and unique features with its TicWatch lineup making it a worthy competitor.
We’ve had the chance to review the latest in the lineup, the TicWatch Pro. Here are our thoughts on the wearable.
The TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE is a pretty decent looking, albeit rather bulky timepiece. The frame is primarily made out of plastic (polyamide and glass fiber to be specific) with a stainless-steel bezel around the display and an aluminum back.
The mishmash of materials here places the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE somewhere between a premium all-metal smartwatch and the all-plastic sports models.
Using this combination of plastic and metal has kept the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE lightweight despite its sizeable body, as well as making it plenty durable. In fact, it has an IP68 water-resistant rating and is MIL-STD-810G certified. In other words, it is able to withstand extreme temperatures, shock, dust, and even supports shallow swimming.
Along with the metal bezel, the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE features two metal accent buttons on the right side. Unfortunately, neither of the two buttons functions as a scroll wheel, even though the top button’s texture would make you think otherwise.
Another way the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE positions itself between premium and sports smartwatch is with its soft silicone band. If you would prefer a more premium leather or metal band, Mobvoi doesn’t offer one. Any 22mm band will fit and it is easily swappable.
The display on the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE is where Mobvoi really sets itself apart from most smartwatches. It features a dual-layered display with a 1.39-inch low-power LCD on top and a 400×400 1.39-inch AMOLED panel beneath it.
By using this dual-layered display, Mobvoi has found a way to extend the battery life up to 30 days. However, in order to achieve this, you must run the watch in Essential Mode and forfeit almost all of the smart features. When in Essential Mode you are limited to the time, date, 24-hour heart rate monitoring, and the step counter.
In reality, you’ll most likely be seeing up to two days, or maybe slightly more if you decide to use the hybrid mode. This makes use of the LCD display in place of the always-on AMOLED screen.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been spoiled by other smartwatches and prefer the always-on display. And that’s totally okay. Just because the secondary display is there, doesn’t mean you have to use it. At the same time, it doesn’t hurt to have in case of emergencies. It’s perfect for those days when you may be traveling or in the wilderness and only have need for the “essentials” instead of a full-blown smartwatch.
Getting back to the AMOLED display, head- on the image looks beautiful. It has the deep blacks and vibrant colors AMOLED screens are known for, however I did notice a slight orange tint at extreme angles. In the big scheme of things this isn’t really an issue but it is a noticeable shift in color that I noticed quite frequently.
My time spent with the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE has been an extremely pleasant one. The past few weeks I’ve worn it daily and I’ve been mostly satisfied with the watch. It has been fantastic for everything I typically use my smartwatch for, such as checking notifications, controlling media playback, and of course tracking fitness.
Speaking of tracking fitness, I was super impressed by the step counter. I’ve tried several different fitness bands and smartwatches but none of them were all that accurate at counting my steps. For that reason, I have stuck with a Fitbit worn on the waist for years now.
When comparing the step counter on the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE with my Fitbit I was shocked to see how consistently close it was. So much so, that I stopped comparing them and just started using the TicWatch instead.
In the end, my only real complaint with the user experience came from the buttons. Don’t get me wrong, the buttons work great and have a satisfying click, but there are only two and no scroll wheel.
Having a crown with a scroll wheel and two customizable buttons is one of the best things about the current generation of Wear OS watches. Without having these the experience is still good, but it just comes up a little short.
The accompanying Mobvoi app for the watch isn’t exactly necessary, but it is well worth grabbing if you want to track your fitness. It’s much easier to view on the phone than the watch itself and, while the design heavily mimics the “rings” from the Apple Watch, I’m totally okay with that. It looks good and it works, so copy away Mobvoi.
One of my favorite stats to check is the 24-hour heart rate monitor. It’s so interesting to get an overview of your day and see what got your heart rate up. Don’t be concerned with the gaps in my screenshot though, most likely this is from me wearing the watch a little loose. I prefer a little wiggle room when I wear a watch.
The TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE runs the aging Snapdragon 2100 processor. I know that’s going to be a letdown for a lot of you and I was concerned as well. However, on the plus side, it does have 1GB of RAM, which in my opinion, makes more of a difference with Wear OS than the newer processor.
Wear OS seemed to stutter much less with this extra RAM and felt downright smooth most of the time. It may not be packing the latest and greatest processor, but at least you won’t feel like you’re using last-gen hardware while wearing the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE.
The dual-layer display on the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE may make for great marketing with its claim of up to 30 days battery life, but most users will never see that. You can squeak out nearly two full days if you want to use the secondary LCD display when you’re not looking at the screen though.
As I mentioned above, I’m a spoiled smartwatch user and I choose to use the always-on display. With the AOD, 24-hour heart rate monitoring, WiFi, NFC, and location-enabled I was able to get nearly two days of battery life — pretty darn good.
Even though it’s possible to get two days without charging, over the years I’ve become accustomed to charging my watch nightly. Nevertheless, it is satisfying to see the watch with 50% or more battery life each night when placing on the charger.
I have to note that I did not test the watch on Verizon with the cellular radio enabled because I am not a Verizon customer. I also find cellular connectivity to be pretty useless on a smartwatch and a huge battery drain. In general, I would much rather use a smartwatch with Bluetooth exclusively and enjoy more battery life.
There are a lot of choices when looking to buy a Wear OS smartwatch these days. In my opinion, the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE is one of the top contenders if you want or need cellular connectivity in your smartwatch. It might be lacking the latest generation processor but you won’t feel like that when you’re using it thanks to the 1GB of RAM.
It also makes up for some weaknesses with Wear OS, with a superior fitness app over Google Fit, and a way to cheat the battery life woes if you don’t mind giving up some smart features.