Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro
Smartwatches have always been something I could never really justify - their short battery life, limited screen size and replication of functionality of other devices you always carry around made me feel they were pretty redundant. But then I spent some time with a number of different smartwatches and I'm a convert.
Smartwatches, like smart phones, are far more than just time devices - they bring real convenience moving much of the functionality that causes you to check your phone every few minutes onto your wrist. Surprisingly having the effect of giving you back more time as you can quickly see a notification without the temptation of dropping into social media or falling down a browsing rabbit hole that is always a risk when a phone is involved.
Of all of the devices I've had on my wrist in the last couple of months, the Ticwatch Pro from Mobvoi (no, I hadn't heard of them either) is probably my favourite. It's one of the most stylish, well rounded watches I've used but is priced to compete with the mid-range of other manufacturers.
It's a gorgeous looking smartwatch too - it has a style that is lacking from many cheaper watches and includes an innovative dual-layered screen which acts like a conventional digital timepiece until you need the full smart functionality. The watch switches to this screen completely when power is low to eek out as much life as possible out of each charge.
Powered by Google's WearOS, it integrates seamlessly with your Android phone picking up notifications from your handset meaning you never need to pull out your larger device to find out what the latest email you've had is all about. WearOS has a healthy ecosystem of apps - from fitness and sleep trackers to entertainment options - you can switch tracks in Google Play Music from your wrist much more quickly and easily than you can by pulling your phone from your pocket. There is also Google Assistant support baked in so you can use voice commands to control the smartwatch and your phone conveniently.
WearOS is mature enough now to be a solid competitor to the Apple watchOS and while sometimes it can feel a little bit laggy on the Ticwatch Pro, it isn't any more so than on any other Google powered watch we've used.
The Ticwatch Pro is reasonably comfortable to wear. I often suffer with watches and fitness trackers rubbing against a bone in my wrist making them uncomfortable after extended periods, but despite being larger than most conventional watches, I haven't had this problem with the Ticwatch Pro and the strap is soft enough to feel nice when fastened.
The Ticwatch Pro benefits from IP68 standard waterproofing meaning it can be totally submerged in water up to a depth or 1.5m for about 30 minutes with no ill effects.
The only real downside, other than a lack of LTE, is even with this dual screen display the battery life in relatively normal day-to-day use comes in at under 48 hours. We found we had to pop it onto the charger around 36 hours in. Notably the charger is an integrated USB unit and, as is often the case with USB cables, if there is a breakage you won't be able to just swap it out with another cable and will have to source a whole new charger. An official replacement will set you back over £20 but there are cheaper third party options.
- Lots of functionality for the money
- The Dual-layer screen is a brilliant addition
- Accurate fitness tracking
- IP68 Waterprooof
- Solid build quality
- Looks like a top-end product
- No LTE in this version
- Can feel a little weighty on the wrist