Ticwatch Pro 4G/LTE review: A Smartwatch for everything?
China Smartwatches from Amazfit or Huawei are often somewhat limited by their operating system, as they do not allow the installation of additional apps. Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE runs with Google’s Wear OS and also has an integrated eSIM and two displays. But do you really need these additional features and what do you give up for that?
|Model||TicWatch Pro (4G/LTE)|
|Display||1,39 inch AMOLED with 400 x 400 pixels + FSTN LCD|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 Quad Core @ 1.2 GHz|
|Main memory||512 MB | 1 GB at 4G/LTE|
|Internal memory||4 GB|
|Battery||415 mAh | 2 days in Smart Mode, 30 days in Essential Mode|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, A-GPS, NFC, 4G/LTE via eSIM (Vodafone only)|
|Operating system||Wear OS, compatible with Android, iOS|
|Features||Heart Rate, Pedometer, Notifications, Phone, News, Google Play Store, Google Maps, Music Remote, Google Pay|
|Dimensions | Band | Weight||45.15 x 52.8 x 12.6 mm | 22 mm | 70.3 g with band|
|Scope of delivery||Ticwatch Pro, charging station, USB cable, user manual|
Large waterproof Smartwatch
The TicWatch Pro has a much more robust design than most Smartwatches. The stainless steel look of the TicWatch Pro is inspired by more famous men’s wristwatches. However, only the bezel (border of the dial) is made of black stainless steel and the rest of the case is made of polyamide (plastic) and glass fibers. The back is made of aluminium except for the heart rate monitor and the charging contacts.
The watch is protected against dust and water according to the IP68 standard and also according to the military standard 810G. According to Mobvoi, the watch can withstand the following: “Resistant to temperature fluctuations between -30℃ to 70℃, operation between -20℃ to 55℃, 57 kPa pressure, 44 radiation solar radiation, 95% humidity, salt spray, shock, sand and dust.
On the right side there are two pushbuttons, the upper one of which is hatched in the same way as the bezel. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and sits slightly inside the watch so that the glass is better protected from scratches. The black bracelet is made of silicone and can be exchanged for other 22 mm straps. At first sight the TicWatch Pro looks very similar to a “normal” wristwatch, the case is only a bit thick with 45.15 x 52.8 x 12.6 mm. That’s about 2 mm more in thickness and 6-7 mm more in height than the Amazfit GTR or the Huawei Watch GT 2. But the size is fine if you consider that there are two displays and an eSIM (Vodafone only) installed, but should be considered before buying.
TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE with two displays
Why the TicWatch Pro is the prestige model of the manufacturer? It works not only with one display, but with two. The idea behind it is quite simple but ingenious, because you can combine a standard fitness tracker with a Smartwatch. This refers to the display types used and the associated battery life. Both display panels are on top of each other – the economical FSTN LC display at the top and the high-resolution AMOLED screen at the bottom.
The upper display LC-Display is responsible for the Essential Mode. As the name suggests, this display only shows all necessary information, i.e. time, number of steps, pulse and date. Because the LCD display is laminated, it is also particularly easy to read in sunlight. Since it is only a “black and white” display, the battery life is very high with up to 30 days. Not even the Mi Band 4 or the Amazfit Bip can achieve such values.
If you want a real Smartwatch, you can leave the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro in Smart Mode and mainly use the lower AMOLED display. The 1.39 inch screen with a resolution of 400 x 400 pixels is sufficiently sharp and bright enough to be used in direct sunlight. The touch screen supports multiple touches and, of course, offers a wider color spectrum than the LC display. This also reduces the battery life to 2 days, but more about that later.
The TicWatch always switches to the power-saving LCD after approx. 10 seconds without touching or other action. The clock can then be activated either by pressing one of the buttons or, if set, by tilting the clock or touching the display. The AMOLED display then offers five brightness levels or a good automatic control, which I have used throughout. Only in the evening an even darker night mode would be desirable.
Since the Smartwatch runs with Wear OS you have of course a huge selection of thousands of watchfaces through the Play Store. Pre-installed are 19 dials, of which 18 are from Mobvoi and one from Google Fit. With some of the Watchfaces you can also choose the small elements yourself and personalize the dial. Instead of the steps, you could display the next date or the song you are currently playing.
Operation & Features of the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE
The operation of the TicWatch Pro works like any other Wear OS Smartwatch and is similar to the operation of the Amazfit GTR and Huawei GT 2, which have copied a lot from Wear OS. You can always start the main dial and wipe from there to the left, right, up and down. To the left of this homescreen is the Google Assistant including weather and appointment reminders. You can also activate it by pressing the upper button for a long time or, if you like, by clicking “OK Google”, which also works well. The answers from the Assistant are written on the clock and, if desired, also as voice output via the integrated loudspeaker of the clock.
Above the Home screen are the quick settings and the connection status (Bluetooth, WLAN & LTE). Below you will find all activated app notifications. Here you can also find WhatsApp messages and reply to them. A keyboard that is much too small, all emojis and a good dictation function as well as a few ready-made short answers are at your disposal. On the right you will find up to five “views” (widgets) of individual apps. I have here for example the steps, the weather, my appointments, the timer and the heart rate monitor.
A list of all apps can be accessed by pressing the upper button on the Home screen. Some of Google and Mobvoi are already pre-installed here, others can be added via the not perfectly optimized Play Store. Unfortunately, it is not possible to give the command to install on the Smartwatch on the mobile phone, so you inevitably have to search for apps on the small display. For these and e.g. music files/podcasts you have about 1.8 GB left of the 4 GB memory, so Wear OS takes about 2.2 GB.
Due to the 1 GB RAM the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE runs more smoothly and reacts somewhat faster than other Mobvoi Wear OS watches. Even the normal TicWatch Pro without LTE has only 512 MB RAM and therefore jerks a bit.
Smart features without smartphone: Google Pay, music, phone calls, maps
Because the TicWatch Pro runs with Wear OS and also supports NFC you can of course also use Google Pay. Once set up, you can activate the function very quickly by double-clicking the bottom button. Then simply hold on to the appropriate card reader and you’ve already paid with your watch. That worked very well in the test and even completely without connection to the mobile phone or the Internet. The watch and therefore Google Pay only has to connect to the Internet once every 24 hours. So you can go shopping after running – everything only with the watch.
Music streaming with Wear OS is unfortunately a bit more complicated than it should be. Despite 1.8 GB of available memory, there is no official way to simply transfer music files from Google to your watch. Also the offline storage of songs via streaming services like Spotify works completely unselfish only with Google Play Music service. With the official Spotify app you can’t even stream the music, just control the playback on other Spotify devices. The most useful use of the 4G/LTE functionality for me would be to simply stream Spotify while running. So unfortunately you have to use apps like WearMedia and transfer MP3 files from your mobile phone to your watch, you already know this from the Huawei Watch GT 2, but it has the not unused possibilities in this area.
Telephoning and writing SMS messages works perfectly and thanks to the eSIM even on the go without a mobile phone connection. The integrated microphone and speaker work well, but you can also connect Bluetooth headphones to the TicWatch Pro. Making phone calls or sending emergency calls on the way and receiving WhatsApp messages together with the localization via Google Maps are the only real advantages I could get from a 4G/LTE-Smartwatch. Even the pedestrian navigation on the clock only works when the mobile phone is connected. Please write me a few usage scenarios for this “always connected Smartwatch” in the comments, unfortunately I can hardly find any.
Sport tracking with GPS
Wear OS gives you a very large selection of compatible tracking apps for sports tracking. Just while running you can use TicExercise, Google Fit, Strava, Runtastic, RunKeeper and many more. Mobvois TicExercise can also synchronize the data to Google Fit, Strava and RunKeeper – so you really have the agony of choice. I have now tracked my runs directly via the Strava app on the watch and without a connection to my mobile phone.
Unfortunately the locating took quite a long time, so that I often just ran off without GPS reception, but Strava recorded the route almost completely afterwards. Compared to a Garmin Forerunner 645 Music the distance was mostly between 50 and 70 meters, so not much. Due to the tracking directly via Strava the data of the heart rate monitor is missing of course, which is why I want to test the tracking via TicExercise soon.
The TicTraining app offers besides running also the tracking of “Walk”, “Run inside”, “Cycling” (outside), “Free Style” (free training) and “Swimming in the pool”. But you will find a Wear OS App for almost every sport.
Tracking of pulse, steps & sleep
Since I think Google Fit is one of the worst Google apps currently available, I used the pre-installed Mobvoi apps Tic Health, Tic Puls and Tic Sleep to track steps, pulse and sleep. Depending on the settings, the pulse is measured around the clock or only when starting the app and of course during sports trackings. Steps and the associated active time as well as burned calories then record TicHealth and remind you of step and movement goals.
The best way to track your sleep is via TicSleep. The app recognizes automatically and quite exactly when you fall asleep and can remind you if you need to go to bed. The alarm clock is also smart, so it can wake you up up to 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes before the actual alarm clock when the clock detects that you are sleeping lightly. If you didn’t like the apps, Wear OS has some alternatives.
Battery life of at least 2 days
Even if two days sound like a damn short battery life, unfortunately they are not in the Wear OS universe. Google’s software is simply very energy consuming and the fact that the built-in Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor from 2016 and the not exactly energy-efficient 28 nanometer process does not really help. Mobvoi probably only manages the second day with the second LCD, because the AMOLED does not have to be used as Always-On-Display.
During the test I mostly made it to the specified two days, but when I went running with GPS tracking I managed to get away with a maximum of 1.5 days. You can extend the battery life again by setting the TicWatch to switch to essential mode from 20%, 15%, 10% or 5%, but then it will no longer have Smartwatch. The TicWatch Pro is charged via the enclosed magnetic charging cradle, which has a normal USB-A connection. Charging the 415 mAh battery from 0% to 100% takes about 1.5 hours. The Huawei Watch GT 2 is about 15 minutes faster despite the larger battery.
TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE: A Smartwatch for everything with short breath
The TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE offers almost all features you could wish for in a Smartwatch. Wear OS with large app selection, NFC for Google Pay, two useful displays, good GPS tracking, internal memory for music and of course mobile Internet through the eSIM. Of course, you have to cut back a lot on battery life. Because even if this is already very good for a Wear OS watch with two days, you can get along with competing products from Amazfit and Huawei for weeks without an electrical outlet. Here you have to personally consider what is more important to you. Only points where the watch does not use its potential, such as mobile spotify streaming or mobile phone independent navigation, are really negative.
I can definitely recommend the TicWatch Pro if you want to use GooglePay and other Wear OS exclusive features. But the question is still, if you need the 4G/LTE version for the price or if you prefer to save $100 and use the normal Pro without LTE. Here you only lose the eSIM and 500 MB RAM, so the clock will lag from time to time, but you have more money in your pocket.
What do you say to the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE, except the name is too long? Do you need a watch with eSIM?To the gadget