Review Ticwatch E: Smartwatch with Wear OS for $129.99 at Amazon
Almost everyone now seems to wear a fitness tracker. Smartwatches, on the other hand, don’t seem to have the status that manufacturers expected a few years ago. Apart from the big manufacturers Mobvoi could already inspire us with the Ticwatch 2. Considering the release of the new Ticwatch E2 and S2, we grabbed the Ticwatch E again for a test to have a reference for the successor. Is it still worth investing in an older Smartwatch?
|Display||1.4 inch OLED, resolution: 400 x 400 pixels|
|Processor||MTK2601, dual core @ 1.2 GHz|
|Main memory||512 MB|
|Internal memory||4 GB, not expandable|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, GLONASS|
|Operating system||Wear OS, compatible with Android, iOS|
|Features||Heart Rate, Pedometer, Notifications, Phone, News, Google Play Store, Google Maps, Camera/Music Remote Control|
|Dimensions||display: 44 mm x 13.55 mm – strap: 160 x 20 mm|
|Scope of delivery||Ticwatch E, charging station, USB cable, instruction manual|
Ticwatch E: Straightforward Smartwatch
In the Ticwatch E, too, the manufacturer adheres to the rather classic watch design. A round “dial” stands here instead of a rather square design as with an Apple Watch. Where the dial would actually be, there is of course a screen. This is a touchscreen OLED display with a diameter of 1.4 inches. Around it there is a relatively thin rim; the bezel does not need a tachymeter. The display panel is also protected with Sapphir glass.
The E in Ticwatch E stands for “Express” and also indicates the route in the watch design. The design is quite simple and straightforward. It is available in the colours black and white; more colour variations are available with the Ticwatch S. The strap is also either all black or all white and is made of silicone. Of course, this is a good idea if you want to do some sports with your watch, but on a more refined occasion, a leather strap looks more elegant than the Mijia SYB01 Smartwatch.
On the underside of the IP67 protected Smartwatch there is both a heart rate monitor and a magnetic pin connector for charging the watch. But already at first glance it is noticeable that the watch looks a bit “thick”. In fact, it’s 13.55 mm thick, which makes the watch actually more bulky than the filigree Ticwatch 2 with a thickness of 11.95 mm, but also somewhat thinner than the Stratos with a thickness of 1.5 cm. Especially in comparison to an Amazfit Bip the thickness of the Smartwatch cannot be ignored. For my sensation it is almost too thick, at least for my sensation. But at this point everyone can decide for himself.
Comfort & workmanship
As a manufacturer, Mobvoi attaches great importance to design and workmanship, after all, their products are not quite cheap either. Even if some Chinese Smartwatch manufacturers may not set the standard quite so high, the Ticwatch E manages to stand out due to its excellent workmanship. The matt black finish of the Ticwatch is extremely good, there are no sharp edges and the technical features such as the gold contacts or the heart rate monitor are precisely enclosed in the plastic housing.
Apropos plastic: many would perhaps prefer a metal housing, but the manufacturer manages to keep the overall weight low by using this material. Despite its acceptable weight, the Ticwatch E can’t quite score with a pleasant wearing comfort on my wrist. The fact that the surface resting on the skin is rounded off on the sides is good for ergonomics, but the watch still looks a bit clumsy. But I would praise the silicone wristband, which feels high-quality.
Good AMOLED display
The screen with a diameter of 1.4 inches convinced me in the test. The resolution of 400 x 400 pixels allows a pretty good sharpness. After all, the display should only be used to read icons and fonts well. And you can definitely do that. Usually, even the lowest of five brightness levels is enough for this, but outside in the sun you just have to raise it a bit.
The colours also convince me, after all the colour intensity is above average for such a small display. The response sensitivity is also very solid, the touchscreen usually reacts directly to the inputs, but now and then there are slight delays, which are more likely due to the processor or the software. Since it’s an AMOLED display, we can also use the Always On-Display here. This reduces the watchface significantly (see picture), but still provides the necessary information such as the time, but for example does without color display to save energy.
The Ticwatch E is operated according to the same principle as most Smartwatches. The starting point is the watch face, i.e. the actual dial. A swipe to the right provides access to the Google Assistant, a swipe to the left provides fitness information about steps taken and calories burned. This can also be used to start a workout, but you first have to download the app “TicExercise”. Wipe down once opens the control center with quick settings such as flight mode, brightness or volume. A wipe in the opposite direction displays the current notifications.
The Ticwatch Express has only one physical button located at the left edge of the clock. This serves on the one hand to open the menu or on the other hand as a back button, depending on where you are in the OS at the moment. By the way, keeping the function key pressed also activates the Google Assistant.
If you wear the Smartwatch on your left wrist, I don’t find the positioning of the button too practical, I would prefer it on the right side. Especially if you wear a thick winter jacket, this position is a bit annoying. Since you can also fetch the watch from standby by pressing the button, you have to use it on the way. Otherwise the menu navigation is quite intuitive.
Known hardware, no SIM card slot
In contrast to an Amazfit Bip, for example, the Ticwatch E is more like a Smartwatch. The core is the MediaTek MTK MT2601 dual-core processor with a 1.2 GHz clock frequency. It’s also been used in the Ticwatch 2 and has ensured smooth operation. For this you need 512 MB RAM and 4 GB internal memory. This is also known from the Stratos, but smartwatches like the Zeblaze Thor Pro simply deliver four times the capacity.
Of course, the Ticwatch E is not up to date, so this result might have been predictable. But I have to say that the performance of the E in my eyes can only get the grade “satisfactory”. But the system gets stuck too often, opening the menu takes a while and every now and then you press it faster than the system can handle. If you adapt something, it’s all right. However, the Google Assistant or the translator, for example, takes far too long to process the input.
In addition, the manufacturer also uses a little more hardware. Bluetooth 4.1 LE provides the connection with the smartphone, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi brings the Smartwatch to the local Internet. Mobile Internet cannot be realized with the Ticwatch E, because Mobvoi does without a SIM slot – a pity! For this there are loudspeakers and microphones, GPS, A-GPS and GLONASS and various sensors. NFC is unfortunately not available.
Integrating Smartwatch into the local Internet works without any problems. For this you can simply follow the instructions of the clock, everything else is self-explanatory. In the test we did not encounter any problems with Android or iOS. Apropos: the WearOS App is indispensable on mobile phones. Some commands and inputs are only possible via the app, so that you should have both within reach for some applications.
The speed is also appropriate. A bit annoying was the Bluetooth connection, which quickly breaks off or doesn’t reconnect automatically. During my test period, the connection between Ticwatch and Smartphone was often broken, so that I first had to reconnect the Smartwatch on the Smartphone via WearOS. And that’s annoying, because the Amazfit Bip automatically connects to my mobile phone again.
Now with Wear OS instead of TicOS
Many China smartwatches always sound great on paper, but then suffer from poorly or not at all optimized software and the corresponding app. For the Ticwatch 2, the manufacturer relied on the in-house TicOS, now they grab Wear OS from Google. This gives you access to almost all Google services á la Google Play Store, the Google Assistant or Google Mail. Third party apps can also be installed, of course. Among them for example Spotify, Facebook Messenger or Uber.
Accordingly, the Wear OS app is used on an Android/MIUI smartphone or an iPhone. This requires at least Android 4.3 or iOS 8, but it shouldn’t fail. WearOS has at least been directly updated by us and Ticwatch seems to provide their devices with updates relatively well. But we will keep an eye on that.
The feature set is pretty good because of the Wear OS. First of all you have the typical fitness functions like heart rate monitor, pedometer, sleep tracking and more. The data can be evaluated and collected like you know it from a Xiaomi Mi Band 3. For this you can use Google Fit, Runtastic or Strava. Spotify and Google Play Music are available to listen to music, but Spotify is only a Bluetooth control of another device.
Since the Google Play Store is pre-installed, you have the possibility to download apps yourself. Of course the selection is much more limited than in the Google Play Store. But at least they are adjusted to the clock and run smoothly, only with a browser I have noticed problems. Here you can download some stuff. Going through all the apps now would go beyond the scope.
Through the Bluetooth connection with the smartphone there are also notifications and it is possible to answer calls. However, these calls cannot be made via the clock, as they are forwarded to the smartphone. Practical, but you also know it from cheaper smartwatches and fitness trackers.
The battery is average with 300 mAh, the manufacturer states a running time of 48 hours, but that didn’t quite work out with the Ticwatch 2, but depends on the individual use. I myself came up with a runtime of a little more than a day in the test. However, I was sometimes surprised at how much battery power the watch draws in standby mode, i.e. when not in use. So I recharged the watch overnight every day. Too bad actually. Especially if you use GPS, this is enormously at the expense of the battery life.
But the supplied charging cable manages to recharge the watch relatively quickly. You don’t have to plan much longer than one hour, which is fine in my eyes.
It is not easy to evaluate a somewhat older model sensibly. The Ticwatch E works quite well overall, is simple but well crafted and offers a reasonable range of functions. Curse and blessing at the same time is the WearOS operating system. Here you have many functions and you can install some apps afterwards. That’s how it should be! But it doesn’t run so fast here and there. Nevertheless it is probably the best wearable interface for China-Watches.
The performance and the connection possibilities don’t fulfill the full potential of the clock yet. The processor is unfortunately just a bit too lame, here and there the clock hangs, which clouds the fun in everyday life a bit. Also the missing NFC because of Google Pay hurts a bit if you already get a Smartwatch. But also the short battery life annoys me personally, I am used to better by other Smartwatches.
In itself the Ticwatch E is still a solid Smartwatch, which is worth its money in the offer price. But I personally would wait to see how the next generation, the Ticwatch E2 and S2, will perform in the test and then, if in doubt, spend a little more money.To the gadget