TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS Review

  • Battery: 577mAh
  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear 4100
  • Screen: Dual-Display 2.0 –  1.4in Retina AMOLED (454 x 454px), FSTN
  • RAM: 1Gb
  • ROM: 8Gb
  • Bluetooth: v5
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • Sensors: HD-PPG Heart Rate Sensor, Blood Oxygen Saturation, Accelerator, Gyroscope, Barometer
  • NFC Payments: Yes
  • Size: 47mm x 48mm wide, 12.2mm thick
  • Waterproofing: IP68 (light swimming possible)

Launched in mid-2021, this model is a minor upgrade to the previous year’s well recieved TicWatch Pro 3 GPS. Although there are some worthwhile improvements, it’s not significantly different to its predecessor and possibly not worth upgrading if you already own an earlier Pro 3 model, which was an excellent smartwatch in its own right.

The improvements include greater durability, an enhanced heart rate sensor, multi-colored backlights for the Essential Mode LCD screen, and minor cosmetic changes to the case.

Screen

The main screen for the Ultra model is the same 1.4in AMOLED 454px by 454px used in the previous version, it’s clear, bright, and sharp. All of Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro models are best known for the Dual Screen technology, which layers a low-power LCD style screen over the AMOLED, allowing it to display key information and continue operating in Essential Mode while using very little battery power.

Operating in this mode alone the watch can run for 45 days on a single charge. More usefully, the watch can be programmed to enter and exit Essential Mode at specific times, such as when you are sleeping or during periods when you are unlikely to use any of the smart features. Set this up well, and you can stretch the TicWatch battery life to over 4 days without sacrificing functionality, which is pretty impressive.

One of the main improvements of the Pro 3 Ultra is that the backlight for the Essential Mode now offers a choice of 18 colors, compared to just standard white light on the earlier version.

Design

Another notable improvement is the increased durability, which means the Pro 3 Ultra now complies with the MIL-STD-810G military standard for durability in a wide range of adverse conditions. If you work or play in challenging environments, the watch should now be more capable of surviving whatever you throw at it, as well as generally coping better with the knocks and scrapes of everyday life.

Visually it looks very similar to the previous model, with the only noticeable difference being some discrete detailing around the outer edge of the bezel, which was left smooth before. There’s also a new strap design. The older version had a rubber strap with orange stitching to give it the appearance of leather, which we probably our least favorite aspect of the design. This version features a strap made from plain black flouro rubber, which is designed to cope with harsh conditions and extreme temperatures – it’s nicely textured in a way that complements the new bezel detailing.

Battery

No changes here, it’s the same 577mAH capacity as the 2020 model. As always, the exact battery life will depend on how you use the watch, but broadly speaking you can expect up to 3 days of use in Smart Mode, while just over 4 days is possible with the right setup. Mobvio claims that if you only used Essential Mode, the watch could last 45 days.

Fitness Features

Mobvoi offers a great range of fitness tracking features on the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra, although these aren’t particularly different to the previous model. The only main enhancement this year is an uprated heart rate sensor, which is capable of spotting irregular heart rhythms that could be a warning sign of potential health problems.

Everything else remains the same. There’s a blood oxygen saturation (SP02) monitor which is nice, although the jury is still out on whether this is a useful health metric for most people. The majority of users will probably play with it a couple of times and then ignore it.

More useful is the GPS tracker, which is handy for navigation as well as keeping track of your running our cycling routes and times. As other reviewers have pointed out, the GPS can feel a little slow compared to rivals, but it gets the job done, and if you’re pairing the watch with a smartphone that has it’s own GPS, this is unlikely to be a problem.

Being a Wear OS based device, you have access to the full range of fitness tracking apps, including Strava, Runkeeper and Google Fit. Mobvoi also includes its own home-brewed fitness apps if you prefer.

Like the earlier model, the Pro 3 Ultra is IP68 waterproof, which means it’s fine for swimming in freshwater such as pools. Any electronic device will suffer if immersed in sea-water, and even the MIL-STD-810G standard doesn’t guarantee that the watch will be impervious to damage caused by salt-water – it might continue to function for a while, but regular exposure will most likely cause serious damage.

Connectivity

Identical to last years model, you get current WiFi standards, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC payments. We understand that a 4G version will be available very soon, which allows the watch to connect directly to mobile data and voice networks without needing to be paired with a phone.

Operating System and Software

As it’s based on based on a very recent processor, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is able to run the most recent version of Wear OS and should benefit from upgrades to the operating system throughout 2021 and 2022 at least. You’ll enjoy access to the full ecosystem of Wear OS apps.

Hardware

Again, no real changes to the underlying hardware platform. The Pro 3 Ultra still uses the relatively new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor, which is coupled with 1Gb of RAM for running applications and 8GB of ROM for storing apps and data.

Is it Worth Buying a TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra?

If you already own a TicWatch Pro 3, we’d find it hard to justify upgrading to this model, except in the unlikely event that you really need improved durability or a slightly better heart-rate sensor. This is an incremental upgrade, rather than a completely new model, so you won’t be getting much more for your model.

If you don’t already own a TicWatch Pro 3 and you’re considering this as your first smartwatch, or just upgrading from a much older model, then we highly recommend the Pro 3 Ultra, as it builds on what was already a very good smartwatch with a few nice flourishes.

What the Reviewers Said:

Trusted Reviews

Score: 3.5 out of 5

In so many ways, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is a great smartwatch, thanks to its quick speeds, excellent secondary FSTN display and a three-day battery life that breezes past other Wear OS devices.”

T3

Score: 4 out of 5

“The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS feels premium without the premium price tag and is a great alternative to pricier adventure smartwatches”

TechRadar

“This new TicWatch smartwatch is a top Apple Watch 7 rival.”