Over the past few years we’ve seen dozens of new smartwatches from well, just about everyone. From the Pebble, to Android Wear, to the Apple Watch, there are many options out there. However as time goes on, these watches all blend together. There’s nothing really all that new out there. However one option I was able to check out at CES 2016 was the Ticwatch from Mobvoi. This smartwatch is unlike most on the market today, at least under the hood.
- 1.5” 320×320 TFT Display
- MTK2601 Processor
- Ticwear 3.0
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB Storage
- IP67 Water/Dust Resistance
- 300mAh Battery
- Qi Wireless Charging
Hardware And Design
Design wise the Ticwatch looks, familiar. It looks nearly identical to Motorola’s Moto 360, but with a few key differences. The power button gets moved over to the left side with the right side of the watch featuring a new touch sensor, but more on that later.
On the top and bottom of the watch are lugs which hold your watch band, any 22mm band will do. These lugs allow for the use of quick release bands which come standard on any Ticwatch band. The one I used with my review unit was a brown leather band which was not only fairly comfortable, but also looked great with the silver watch. A quick note though, I did swap it for my Moto 360 band (as seen in the images) simply for personal preference. Both bands look and feel great.
Overall the hardware on this watch is solid. It can easily compete with other watches on the market, Moto 360 and Huawei Watch included! It’s not the best out there, but it’s great.
Sitting on the front of the Ticwatch is a 1.5” display. The TFT panel is a little washed out in terms of colors, but it makes up for that in outdoor visibility. Compared to other smartwatches, this is one I find extremely easy to read even in direct sunlight.
The bezels around the screen are nearly non-existent. In fact when compared to the original Moto 360 and the Huawei Watch, the Ticwatch has the best screen-body-ratio at an impressive 73.5%. The best part? No flat tire. Unlike the original Moto 360 which sacrificed a perfectly round display in exchange for a thin bezel, the Ticwatch does not, packing a fully round panel.
Software And Performance
The Mobvoi Ticwatch runs Ticwear out of the box, a wearable platform built on top of Android 5.1. Like other platforms, Ticwear allows the Ticwatch to deliver notifications and use applications to present the user with a great experience, but what sets it apart from Android Wear, Watch OS, and the others?
Part of this is the design. Ticwear is designed to be showcased on wearables with a completely round display.
Swipe down from the watch face and you’ll reveal your “quick cards”. The first of these contains quick information such as the date and battery status (of both your phone and watch). To the right of that is a quick settings menu which includes volume, brightness, and a “find my phone” shortcut. Moving over from there you’ll find music and volume controls. Lastly you’ll find a step counter.
By placing all of this information within easy reach, you’ll always stay informed and you can easily change and check various apps and information at a simple glance.
After heading back to the watchface, you’ll want to swipe up from the bottom bezel to reveal your notifications. Notifications are placed in the order in which they were received and you can interact with them with ease. Simply click on a notification and you’ll be presented with its full contents as well as a number of options on how to interact with it.
A swipe to the right from the watchface will reveal a list of installed applications. Out of the box these include a dialer, calendar, health & fitness, and also various other apps such as a stopwatch, alarm, voice recorder, and more. There are also plenty of third party options available through the app store.
Finally a swipe to the left will reveal the voice assistant. This voice assistant is the same one that is found on Android Wear in China and while it doesn’t work in English just yet, that functionality is coming.
Ticwear is a platform that I feel can really rival its competition. It provides a lot of great aspects and I really enjoy using it, at times even more so than Android Wear. It also performs well with absolutely no lag in day to day usage.
Navigation isn’t something I usually talk about in smartwatch reviews, but here I feel it’s needed. While I’ve already explained where everything is located on the watch, I haven’t shown you one of its standout features. Embedded on the right side of the watch is a touch sensor which allows you to scroll through the UI without covering the screen. This is a concept also seen on the Gear S2 with its rotating bezel, but here it is seamlessly integrated into the hardware of the watch.
If you’re reading a long message or going through your app list, you can slide your finger up and down the side of the watch to scroll on the screen. I found this to be an extremely useful feature and it really made me wonder why no one else has done it yet. Mobvoi calls this feature “tickle”.
Battery Life And Charging
Inside the Ticwatch is a 300mAh battery which for the most part gets me through a day. I had some issues when I first used the watch, but after a reset things were great. I can use it all day at work and come home with around 45% remaining, more than enough to make it until I go to sleep a few hours later.
To charge up the watch, you’ve got the convenience of wireless charging, an absolute treat. You can of course use the included charger which works great, but you can also use any Qi compatible charger to fill up the battery.
Final Thoughts – There’s Potential
The Ticwatch you’ve been reading about in this review was never meant for the international market. In fact it has only ever been sold within China and designed from the ground up to be used there. Personally, I think this watch has huge potential worldwide, do you?
Mobvoi has already confirmed that they are bringing the second generation of this watch to the United States. When they do, is it something you’d be interested in checking out? The company wants your feedback, so please drop a comment and let them know what you think!
Oh, and let’s not forget to talk about the price. In China the Ticwatch sells for CNY 1199 which translates to around $185 in the United States. I’m excited to see what Mobvoi can offer with the Ticwatch in the United States. I’m impressed so far, so I can’t wait to see what’s next.