The market for Android smartwatches was pretty stagnant until recent years when we started seeing some interesting wearables pop up. These smartwatches were competing to overthrow the Apple Watch series, considered by many to be the best lineup of wearables out there, with all but one con, lack of Android support. However, options from brands like Samsung, Huawei, and others have been at it. Among the competition is the Chinese brand Mobvoi. Today, we review the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 2020 Edition to determine whether this Wear OS-based wearable is worth Rs 24,499.
Before diving into the watch, we must tell you that this isn’t the brand’s latest product out there. That would be the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3, which has a significantly better spec sheet than the TicWatch Pro 2020. However, the unit came to India quite late, and it could be a while before you see the TicWatch Pro 3 in India too. Hence, we shall be treating the TicWatch Pro 2020 as the latest model in the series that is available in India.
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Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 2020: Design
When it comes to wearables, the design of the watch and the build quality is actually much more important factors to users, unlike smartphones. As something that will be on your hand constantly, the watch must look and feel great. Well, the TicWatch Pro 2020 definitely does. The circular dial looks classy with its metallic accents. The right kind of styling makes this watch work well with both digital watch faces and analog ones.
Coming to the strap itself, there is a neat concept here, unlike sticking to one uniform material like most wearables, the straps are leather on the top and silicone on the bottom. This means that you get the look of a leather strap while maintaining the snugness and sweatproof nature of silicone straps. This again makes the watch ideal for formal occasions as well as workout, without even changing the straps. Overall, the TicWatch Pro 2020 wins in the design department.
We spoke about how the straps of the TicWatch Pro 2020 are all about duality. The screen of the wearable does it even better. There are two screens on the watch, the first being an AMOLED display that is your go-to display when you use the watch regularly as a smartwatch. The other is an LCD panel which acts like an Always-On display when the watch is not being actively used.
The quality of the AMOLED panel here is really good. It has great viewing angles and is also bright enough to be used comfortably under direct sunlight. The LCD screen is the standard green-and-black display you find on digital watches. It also gets very bright and gets the job done when you want to have a quick glance at the time and date.
Software and Performance
The TicWatch Pro 2020 runs on Google’s Wear OS interface and has direct access to the Play Store, making this a full-fledged smartwatch. This allows you to view notifications, access Google Assistant and download apps straight from your wrist. NFC and Google Pay support is another feature, not every manufacturer takes care of.
One of the things upgraded in the new 2020 edition of the TicWatch Pro is the extra RAM. You now have a full 1Gb instead of 512MB. The double memory helps the watch take more workload at a time. As a result, lags and stutters are now very occasional occurrences. The TicWatch Pro 2020 is still powered by the old Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, instead of the newer 3100 chip that modern Wear OS watches usually go with. While the older chip is a downside, elements like the RAM and battery capacity are upgraded to compensate.
When we call the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 2020 a full-fledged smartwatch, we mean it. Here is what we felt about the fitness-oriented features that come with the wearable. First up, we have a built-in GPS module and a heart-rate monitor. There are a bunch of Tic-apps that help you track your sleep, calorie count, and all of the other fitness bells and whistle that this device can handle.
The accuracy of the step counter on the watch, we found our results to be roughly on par with what we got with a couple of other wearables. The same can be said about the heart-rate monitor. There is no fancy ECG feature here yet. While GPS is built-in, it takes quite a while to latch on to a GPS signal. You will find faster results when the phone is connected with a phone that has location turned on. However, this is the case with a lot of watches and shouldn’t hamper the experience drastically.
Apart from these, we have a microphone and speaker in the TicWatch Pro 2020 which lets you take calls straight from the watch when it is connected to your phone. This is really handy when you’re in situations where taken your phone out can be difficult or risky, like a crowded subway, train, or in the rains.
Mobvoi has now put in a 415mAh battery in the new TicWatch Pro 2020. This translates to roughly a day and a half to two days of use as a full-fledged smartwatch and a company-claimed 30-days of battery life in Essential Mode. You can turn off the always-on display mode where your off-screen essentially still shows you the time via the essential mode LCD screen. This mixed-mode gives you the best of both worlds.
Alternatively, you can ditch the smartwatch features for an ‘Essential Mode’ when in a pinch. In this mode, the watch allows you to use just the LCD screen, and hence, displays just the basic information like the time, date, step counter, and battery level. This lets you extend the battery life from 2 days (as a full-fledged smartwatch) to 30 days in Essential Mode. A full battery charge takes about an hour and a half.
Verdict: Should you buy the TicWatch Pro 2020?
The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 2020 is no doubt a good smartwatch despite the older chipset inside. You will not find the watch lacking in any particular area. This is a consistent overall package. However, while the price tag is not too high, it isn’t a budget-oriented number either. When you’re spending 24,499 on a wearable, you want the latest chipset out there. That being said, if you’re into chipsets and on-paper specifications, and just want a good, consistent wearable device that performs as well as it looks, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 2020 is hard to beat.
However, anything that could leave you wanting more with the TicWatch Pro 2020 is fixed in the brand’s Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3. The successor, which still hasn’t come to India features the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100, a SpO2 sensor, a slimmer frame, double the internal storage, and a bigger 577mAh battery. If you don’t mind waiting a while longer, you should wait for the TicWatch Pro 3 to come to the country instead.