TicWatch Pro Review

  • Battery: 4.15mAh
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100
  • Screen: 1.39in AMOLED/LCD dual-screen
  • RAM: 512Mb
  • ROM: 4Gb
  • Bluetooth: 4.2
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro, Magnetic Sensor, PPG Heart Rate sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Low Latency Off-Body Sensor
  • Payments: Yes
  • Size: 45mm wide, 12.6mm thick
  • Waterproofing: IP68 (light swimming possible)

Following the success of its entry level TicWatch E and S models, in 2018 Mobvoi introduced a new smartwatch aimed at the premium end of the market, the TicWatch Pro.

This watch offered superior specs, a much more impressive looking design, and a new technical innovation that would help the TicWatch Pro compete with products from more established brands – the Dual Screen.

Screen

Smartwatches have always suffered from poor battery life. Their small cases do not allow room for large batteries and, along with the processor, the screen can drain power significantly, so at the time of launch most smartwatches could only offer around a day of use, at a stretch.

Conversely, the conventional LCD screens you find on old digital watches use a tiny amount of electricity – an entry level Casio watch might last for 10 years on a single, tiny battery. The TicWatch Pro cleverly layered an LCD screen over the main AMOLED display, which meant that the watch can operate in “Essential Mode” which shows basic information on the LCD screen (time, date, step-count for the day, heart rate, remaining battery life) with the AMOLED switched off.

In this mode the watch can last up to a month on a single charge, although you wouldn’t be able to use any of its smart features. When using the watch’s AMOLED display, the LCD screen becomes transparent, as though it isn’t there at all, so that the watch then functions like any other smart watch.

One complaint about the Dual Screen system is that there’s no backlight for the LCD screen, which means that unless the light is good it can be difficult to read – although this has been improved on the newer TicWatch Pro 3.

Design

This model is available with either a black or chrome bezel, and has a nice, premium feel to the design. There are two buttons on the side, one is for navigation, opening up the main menu or backing out of an app, while the second is for quick access to whichever app you want to assign to it. Personally, I use this button for activating Google Pay, but others might prefer to use it for a fitness app.

The strap is multi-layered, with leather on the outside to look smart, and silicon inside making it easy to clean – this means you can use it both for fitness tracking and as a dress watch without having to change the strap.

As with most smartwatches you can choose from a wide range of different faces, either opting for something that mimics a classic mechanical watch, or a more modern style face that gives you all of your important information on the home screen.

Battery

The 415mAh battery, combined with the Dual Screen setup means that you can easily expect at least a full day of use on a single charge, usually longer. But that really depends on how you use the system. For example, if you know you’re not going to be using the watch for a few hours during the day, you can switch it to Essential Mode, which will keep power consumption to an absolute minimum until you activate Smart Mode again, and this will help extend battery life.

If you leave it permanently in Smart Mode, with light to medium use, you can usually expect up to two days of use. You can set the watch to automatically activate Essential Mode when the battery is running low, and that’s useful for keeping basic features running until you can recharge.

The watch can be fully recharged in under two hours, using the supplied charging dock.

Fitness Features

As well as Google Fit, the TicWatch Pro comes supplied with Movoi’s own suite of fitness tracking apps, and can also use any of the other popular ones from the Wear OS ecosystem, like Strava, Runkeeper, etc.

The watch features a heart-rate sensor and GPS, so it can track your runs and rides easily (even if you want to leave your phone at home) and monitor your pulse to give you an indication of your fitness level. The heart-rate sensor can be set to take measurements all day long, so you can keep an ongoing record of your improvement.

The IP68 waterproofing level will keep rain and sweat from damaging the watch, and it can even survive light swimming (in fresh water, not the sea), although the leather strap isn’t really ideal for this.

Connectivity

The watch can be paired with your smartphone or a headset using Bluetooth 4.2, and also uses WiFi to connect directly to the internet when in range of a suitable network. Unlike its cheaper siblings, the Pro also offers NFC payments, for use with Google Pay, which makes contactless payments much easier as you can just tap your wrist on the reader without having to get your card out.

Operating System and Software

As of February 2021, the most recent Wear OS update for the original TicWatch Pro is 2.19 and it’s unlikely that the watch will receive further updates due to its aging hardware. Nevertheless, this is still a relatively modern version of the platform with access to all of the apps in the Wear OS ecosystem, and is certainly good enough to give users an enjoyable experience with the watch. Note – the upgraded TicWatch Pro 2020 has access to slightly more recent versions of Wear OS (2.24 at present) possibly due to its larger RAM capacity, but if you want the very latest version of the platform you should consider the newer TicWatch Pro 3, which is much more up to date.

It works with most popular messaging and social media apps, as well as Google’s voice assistant which is great for issuing commands and dictating messages while you’re driving or otherwise unable to use a smartphone.

Hardware

The original TicWatch Pro is based on the same processor as the E/S models, the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100, which is now somewhat outdated. It has 512Mb of RAM for running applications (this is boosted to 1Gb in the TicWatch Pro 2020 upgrade) and 4Gb of ROM for storage – more than enough for most of the apps you’re likely to want, but you’ll have limited room for music, podcasts, or audio books.

Yes, this is an aging hardware platform by 2021 standards, but nevertheless for general day to day use it’s still perfectly functional. Newer hardware will offer better performance, lower power consumption, and additional features, but that doesn’t make this a bad watch – it was considered an excellent device when it launched just a few years ago.

Is it Still Worth Buying an original TicWatch Pro?

It’s getting harder to find new copies of this watch in the market, but you might find some on eBay or, more likely, lightly used ones in good condition, and since there are several newer versions of the TicWatch Pro, the original model has dropped in price considerably.

With that in mind, if you can find a cheap one (i.e. under $100) either unused or in good used condition then it’s a great bargain and you’ll be getting a lot of watch for your money. However, you can also find the updated TicWatch Pro 2020 selling at a low price, and at present you can still easily find unused copies from retailers. The 2020 is a better deal since it offers more memory a tougher case.

The newer TicWatch Pro 3 is a much better watch all round, but it’s still a recent product so you’ll probably have to pay twice as much for it. If you’re on a budget, the original TicWatch Pro (or preferably the 2020 upgrade) are great choices, and if you’re on a really tight budget but want a good smartwatch, consider the TicWatch E.

What the Reviewers Said

TechRadar

Score: 4.5 out of 5

“With a mid-range price, a premium design and lots of great features, the Ticwatch Pro is one of the best smartwatches you can buy.”

Trusted Reviews

Score: 4 out of 5

“The TicWatch Pro offers a flagship-class Wear OS experience, wrapped in a well-conceived design with a unique selling point.”

Pocket Lint

“It’s hard to think of many smartwatches at this price point that offer anything as complete.”