Wearables

TicWatch Pro: Elegant watch for work and workout

The TicWatch Pro has a leather strap with a silicone lining to guard against perspiration. It is also a good fitness tracker

The TicWatch Pro (US$249.99 or S$340) is the new flagship smartwatch model from China-based tech company Mobvoi.

Last year, I reviewed the TicWatch 2, which runs on its own Ticwear OS, and found it a competent and affordable smartwatch.

The TicWatch Pro runs on Wear OS, the Google smartwatch operating system. This opens the smartwatch to a plethora of third-party apps and voice assistant Google Assistant, as well as lets you tap and pay in shops with Google Pay.

Available in black (the version reviewed) and silver, the TicWatch Pro exudes classic elegance with its round watch face, big bezel and aggressive lugs. The bezel has markers in five-second intervals that some might like.

There are two buttons on the right side of the watch at the two o'clock and four o'clock positions. The top button is the home button that lets you access apps and also works as the return button. The bottom button is a shortcut to tracking workouts like running and walking.

The smartwatch feels solid and premium with its bezel and rear cover made of stainless steel. The watch case is made of hard nylon that is reinforced with glass fibre. However, the watch's 45mm case is considerably huge and might not suit those with slimmer wrists.

  • SPECS 

    PRICE: US$249.99 or S$340, available from mobvoi.com

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Near Field Communication, Wi-Fi

    WATER RESISTANCE: IP68 (1.5m for up to 30 minutes)

    WEIGHT: 76g (with strap)

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The strap is rather unique. It has silicone on the inside surface and leather on the outside. The leather exterior gives it a formal look, while the silicone interior provides a barrier to perspiration and prevents discolouration of the leather - making it a watch you can wear for both work and play.

It has a dual-layer display, which has what Mobvoi coined a "film compensated super twisted nematic" (or FSTN) display sitting on top of a round 1.39-inch, 400 x 400-pixel Oled screen.

The FSTN display is a transparent LCD that shows the essential information - time, date, steps taken and battery life. When the Oled screen is activated, you get the whole suite of Wear OS with its notifications and others. I find the Oled screen to be really responsive, whether it is just swiping through notifications or installing apps.

There are three modes - Essential, Smartwatch and Hybrid. The Essential mode uses only the FSTN display and the battery is said to last 30 days in a single charge, while the Smartwatch mode uses only the Oled screen and lasts for only two days.

The Hybrid mode uses the FSTN display when it is idle and activates the smartwatch only when you raise your wrist. I used this mode for this review and the watch lasted four days on a single charge, while being constantly connected to an Android smartphone and with a 5km run logged.

On the downside, the FSTN display has no backlight. So there were occasions when it was really hard to read the display, especially in the dark or under bright sunlight.

I found the TicWatch Pro a competent fitness watch. It packs a built-in GPS, heart-rate monitor, accelerometer and gyroscope. It is rated at IP68, meaning you can shower, but not swim, with it.

I found its fitness readings quite accurate. Its step count readings differed from my calibrated Apple Watch Series by only 4 per cent.

It took only 15 seconds to get a GPS fixed at the start of my runs. This is actually faster than many specialised running watches. On my regular 5km jogging route, its distance tracking reading went over by only 50m.

Considering its design, build and performance, the TicWatch Pro offers superb value for money. But if you prefer something even cheaper, check out Mobvoi's budget models - TicWatch S (Sport) at $299 and TicWatch E (Express) at $239 - at selected Challenger outlets.

• Verdict: The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro looks sleek, works great and comes at a superb price for its performance.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2018, with the headline 'Elegant watch for work and workout'. Print Edition | Subscribe