Ticwatch 2 review: Smartwatch with own operating system for $169.99
Smartwatches were the next big thing a few years ago; but the market for these wearables has yet not really started rolling. The Apple Watch is now in its third generation, Samsung is the biggest competitor with the Gear 3. Some jewelry brands also brought their interpretations of smart watches onto the market. The smartwatches we tested so far from China were mostly not very convincing. So we are all the more excited about the new Ticwatch 2 Smartwatch, which not only differs from other models because of its high price.
- TicWatch 2 Smartwatch
|Display||1.4 inch OLED, resolution: 400 x 400 pixels|
|Pocessor||MTK2601, dual-core @ 1.2 GHz|
|Internal Memory||4 GB, not expandable|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, GLONASS|
|Operating System||TicWear, English, compatible with Android, iOS|
|Features||heart rate measurement, pedometer, notifications, phone, messages, Google Play Store, Google Maps, camera/music remote control|
|Display||dimensions: 44 x 11.95Tape: 285 x 20 mm|
|Scope of Delivery||Ticwatch 2, charging station, USB cable, english manual|
Classic design – elegant execution
With the Ticwatch 2, the manufacturer Mobvoi is not keen to experiment and follows a classic watch design. The display and the clock itself are round and not rectangular like the Apple Watch. The dimensions of the watch are 42 mm in diameter and 12.2 mm in thickness. The strap is 19.4 mm wide and 28.5 cm long. This makes the Smartwatch optically comparable to the Huami Amazfit Smartwatch, but even thinner.
The actual watch is made of aluminium, while the strap is made of silicone. This means that there are no problems with sweating or wetness. The watch is IP 65 certified, i.e. dust-proof and protected against water jets. With a weight of 44 g, the watch is also pleasantly light. I can also confirm a good wearing comfort at this point. However, the wearing comfort of the Huami Amazfit Bip, which I usually wear privately, is even better. This also reflects in the slightly higher weight of the TicWatch.
The TicWatch 2 is really a very stylish and excellently crafted Smartwatch. This is evident already while unpacking and this impression is not lost during use. The matte black surface finish contributes to this. So there is nothing at all to criticize here. The Ticwatch 2 is available in different colours. Geekbuying currently offers them in black, brown and metal.
TicWatch 2 with OLED display
However, the main focus of a Smartwatch is the display. The 1.4-inch OLED screen has a resolution of 400 x 400 pixels and a pixel density of 287 ppi. Mobvoi uses sapphire crystal to protect the display panel.
It was the right choice to rely on an OLED screen. The resolution is outstanding and razor sharp for such a small display. But it is especially exciting when the screen is in standby mode. This happens within a few seconds due to the standard setting. Then the panel is no longer illuminated and the TicWatch 2 TicWear app appears. The display, i.e. the time, can still be read without the watch having to be taken out of idle mode.
One point that really impressed me was the accuracy of the input. For example, if you enter the WLAN password, the keyboard opens. For a 1.4-inch display, the entries are precise and reliable. It should be noted, however, that greasy fingerprints become visible after use. You can only see them when the display is in standby mode.
The display supports three different brightness levels. I would prefer a more precise gradation, for example in five steps. Nevertheless: Especially at the highest level, the display shows what it can do and it is even more fun to operate the TicWatch. The colors of the icons are very strong and the fonts are crisp and sharp.
Most of the handling is done via the touchscreen display. This also works quite well because it is very touch-sensitive. Personally, I think it recognizes the vertical swipe gestures better than the horizontal swipe gestures. The difference, however, is only marginal. The touch screen is not the only way to operate the Ticwatch.
On the left side is the power button. Press and hold opens a menu where you can either turn off the clock, restart it or take a screenshot. It also resets the watch from sleep mode by pressing once.
The right side is also touch-sensitive. This can be used to scroll, adjust the brightness or adjust the volume. I think that only makes sense with the volume. Scrolling in the menu with it works, but I find scrolling with the touch screen more intuitive. In the settings you can also assign the “Next Title” function to this area. If you activate it, you can play the next song in the music player by double-clicking on it – quite practical!
If you navigate through TicWatch 2, the starting point is always the watch face, i.e. the clock display. From there you can wipe vertically and horizontally, but the directions are inverted. If you wipe upwards, the notifications open at the bottom, which you can enlarge by clicking. A swipe to the bottom opens the Quick Cards. As default settings you have with this a standard access to the settings (WLAN, flight mode, brightness etc.), music player, weather and fitness. With the Ticwear App only the access to the calendar can be added.
On the horizontal axis, a swipe to the right leads you to Tico, the language assistant of TicWatch 2, a wipe gesture to the left and you reach the main menu of the Smartwatch. There you will find all installed apps, the App Store and the settings. By the way, a long press on the current Watchface takes you to the Watchface menu, where you can choose your favourite. While the Huami Amazfit Bip had about 10 of them, there are 34 pre-installed plus at least 20 more in the Mobvoi store.
Personally, I like the whole menu navigation very much, because it is really intuitive. Especially the Quick Cards are practical, because you can get almost all important information from them.
Compact design and a wide range of functions do not have to interfere with each other. To make this possible, the hardware components play an important role. The processor used is the MTK2601 CPU, which clocks with two cores at a maximum of 1.2 GHz. This processor is popular for smart watches and offers the possibility to use a mobile network. However, the Ticwatch does not exploit this potential. For this purpose, 512 MB RAM is available for the 4 GB internal memory.
This is a solid combination that is also known from the Huami Amazfit Smartwatch. In contrast to the relatively new AllCall W1, however, this does not seem very impressive. The values are quadrupled and the built-in CPU is even intended for smartphones and tablets. But as we know, that doesn’t have to mean anything and the Ticwatch 2 proves it: All applications and navigating through the menu work smoothly. This is where your own operating system comes into play, which seems to be well adapted to the hardware. Even over a longer period of use it could not be determined that the performance would decrease in any way.
The power supply is provided by a 300 mAh battery, which, in contrast to the Makibes Talk T1, however, has to be somewhat resilient. Hopefully your own OS will compensate for this with good energy management. According to the manufacturer, this allows a running time of approx. 1.5 days – you can be curious!
The TicWear App
To take full advantage of the TicWatch 2 Smartwatch functions, the TicWear app is indispensable. The app is available for Android and iOS and can be easily found in the app or play store. After installation the pairing mode with the clock is very easy. The TicWatch displays a QR code, which must be scanned inside the app by the camera. The app and clock are already connected. This works equally well with both iOS and Android devices.
The app is quite simple, but follows a different structure than for example the Mi Fit app. There are no different tabs but a main menu in which the different functions can be accessed. You have access to your fitness functions, the App Store or can make settings for the notifications. Visually it is a little bit more reduced and not as colourful as the Mi Fit App
No AndroidWear – but Ticwear OS
The TicWatch 2 is not equipped with AndroidWear or maybe soon WearOS, but with Ticwear OS. This is a version of Android 5.1 especially designed for the clock, which means that the icons and the range of functions differ. Currently this test is running on Android 5.1 and TicWear OS Tic_4.13.0_intl. Your own operating system has both advantages and disadvantages.
A problem with cheap smart watches is the inappropriate software. In some cases it is not matched to the round or square design of the watch and some contents are not visible on the display. Of course, that is not the case here. All apps, notifications etc. are adapted to the screen and easy to read. In addition, the coordination with the app is better due to the own operating system. Apple has a similar approach to its own operating system, even if it is not based on Android, of course.
A disadvantage of this is of course that the system is somewhat more limited and not as open as AndroidWear. A good example is the App Store, in this case the Mobvoi Store. There are currently only about 20 apps. Among them relatively practical like a scorer for playing badminton or rather absurd like TicTacToe, which you can only play in pairs. The App Store for AndroidWear is much more extensive!
Functionality of the software
The functional scope of a Smartwatch shows how “smart” it actually is. As an example we could state with the Huami Amazfit Bip that she convinced us completely, although she is not actually a Smartwatch, but is advertised as such. Unfortunately, a Makibes Talk T1 did badly in the test, because the manufacturer did not really adapt the software. The TicWatch 2 from the manufacturer Mobvoi is different!
TicWatch 2 as an MP3 player
Even if an MP3 player seems almost ancient in the days of Spotify & Co., the Smartwatch offers an essentially important feature. You can listen to music with the TicWatch 2. To do this, the app can access the local music files on the smartphone.
However, this Smartwatch from Mobvio should be particularly interesting for sports enthusiasts. The Ticwatch has an integrated fitness tracker like the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 and offers a step counter and pulse measurement. She offers this for five different activities: Outdoor Run, Outdoor Walk, Indoor Run, Cycling and Free Style. While the first four are self-explanatory, Free Style refers to dumbbell/weight training in the gym.
The latter is apparently only active during a training session and is not permanent. Secondly, however, it also serves as a tracking device for jogging. The integrated app collects all relevant information such as calorie consumption and distance and can be synchronized with Strava or Google Fit after the workout.
Tico – the language assistant of the TicWatch 2
As already mentioned in the section on menu navigation, the TicWatch 2 has its own language assistant. This one goes by the name of Tico. Since the whole clock only works in English, Tico only understands English. But this is very good. He immediately understood various voice commands and delivered the corresponding results. When I asked him: “Where is the nearest Italian restaurant?”, he briefly indicated what he understood, searched accordingly and then displayed the result of Yelp. And it was true. Then you have the possibility to display the result in the smartphone app. You can then also navigate over it; this is not possible via the clock alone.
Battery – the biggest drawback of the TicWatch 2
The power supply is provided by a 300 mAh battery, which, in contrast to the Makibes Talk T1, however, has to be somewhat resilient. According to the manufacturer, this allows a running time of approx. 1.5 days. Theoretically, this is possible, but if you use the watch “normally”, such a runtime is unrealistic. In my experience, the TicWatch 2 can only run for a maximum of 1 day, depending on how much you use it. If you work in the office, I would recommend having the charging station with you.
The energy-saving mode that can be used is practical. Then the watch still shows the time, but can only be used again after a long press on the power button.
Since the connection to the smartphone is essential, the gadget has Bluetooth 4.1 and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n available. For the sporty component there is integrated GPS and GLONASS. In addition, there is also a G-sensor and a proximity sensor. For the just mentioned voice control there is an integrated microphone, just like a loudspeaker. So you could also play music louder. However, it is recommended to pair Bluetooth headphones such as the Mpow Judge with the device.
The TicWatch 2 is not equipped with a SIM slot. This means that any application that requires the Internet must have an active Bluetooth connection to the smartphone.
Conclusion: Buy TicWatch 2?
The TicWatch 2 is very well thought-out from the front to the back, convinces with its attention to detail and is a very elegant Smartwatch overall. Especially the design, display, processing and the good, even if limited, software stand out positively. Overall, the hardware is well adapted to the operating system. At the same time, the operating system can also be seen as a weakness, after all, this is much more limited than, for example, AndroidWear. The battery life is also a drawback. Every day charging is out of the question for me with my Huami Amazfit Bip with 3 weeks battery life.
We can’t take the decision to buy from anyone, after all, about 140€ is a proud price. The new Huami Amazfit Smartwatch 2 is in the same price segment. But what we can definitely say: the TicWatch 2 is the best Smartwatch we have tested and will serve as a reference in the future.To the gadget