Ticwatch Pro 2020 Review: Are Android smartwatches still relevant?
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
The Ticwatch Pro 2020. Some, including myself, would call it the flagship killer of smartwatches. An astounding price point of S$399 on the Mobvoi store and an unbelievable amount of specifications and features all in one watch.
One could ask, are android smartwatches even relevant in 2020? But I’m here to tell you the Ticwatch Pro 2020 is definitely still relevant. I’ve used the Ticwatch Pro 2020 for a month now and this is my review.
Let’s first talk about the display. The Ticwatch Pro 2020 has one of the smartest display designs I have ever seen. It boasts a 1.39inch 400 x 400 AMOLED display under a 1.39inch FSTN/LCD display. Yes, it’s two displays, in one watch. Both these displays are protected by a Gorilla Glass 3 glass.
The AMOLED display is bright and vibrant. The images it displays are sharp and the words are crisp. I really enjoyed my time trying out different watch faces and using the watch as a whole due to this display. Of course, I use a third-party app to switch watch faces because the Ticwatch doesn’t come with many.
For the most part, I was using the AMOLED display. But it’s also very battery draining. When the battery hits a low percentage is where the magic happens. The Ticwatch tones down to the LCD screen, which just shows the time and the battery level, when the watch is not being looked at or is off the hand. This reduces battery usage. But I’ll talk more about battery life later on. This mode is called Hybrid Mode, where the display switches between both LCD and AMOLED seamlessly. When the battery is below 10% battery life it switches to Essential mode where the display is solely on LCD.
Now the only issue I had with the LCD is that there was no backlight so it was a little difficult to see in the dark. They could have put in a low power light that turns on the press of the second button. But I guess they didn’t factor that in. Otherwise, the display is great.
The Ticwatch Pro 2020 is definitely built to last. It has a steel bezel, a carbon fibre body and a leather and silicone mix strap. You can’t help but think that Mobvoi has hit a very nice midpoint in terms of the design. The main body looks professional and rugged at the same time.
The top layer of the strap is leather which means you can wear it to formal and casual events. The bottom of the strap is a comfortable silicone, which also means you can wear the watch for sports and the strap won’t get damaged. Of course, I would suggest you get some other straps as well because the watch does look good with the other available straps as well. You can easily change the straps using the small latch on the back of the strap.
The 2 button design also allows for more functionality and it looks more premium as both buttons are also steel.
This watch design and build is really the epitome of versatility.
Well enough about the outside. Let’s dive into the watch. First up the software, WearOS. WearOS comes along with the amazing Google apps that everyone loves, minimized into the small watch face that the Ticwatch Pro has. Applications like, Agenda, Keep, Stopwatch and even Maps are all available for use. I used these apps a lot as I am quite reliant on my calendar and notes to get me through my days in university.
WearOS also keeps interaction simple, especially in terms of calls and messaging. In calls, you have a simple user interface to answer calls and swiping up will give you some suggested replies.
In messaging, when you tap to open message notifications from Whatsapp or Telegram you are recommended some replies based on what you’ve sent. Most of the time the replies are spot on so you just use those. But on the off chance it’s not, there is an onboard touch and voice keyboard. Although the typing is ridiculous because the screen is so small.
WearOS of course comes with Google’s highly regarded Assistant. You are able to control your home, set reminders and alarms and most of the things that the Assistant is capable of. The thing that I like about the Assistant on the Ticwatch Pro, as compared to the Ticwatch E2 that i also tried out. Is that the Assistant works fast without lag and has a loudspeaker for replies. It understands what you say quickly and executes the command. I think this has also got to do with the fact that there’s 1GB of RAM onboard.
You also have a variety to widget watch faces to stack beside your main watch face. Swiping right brings you through these widgets like the weather, news and even the timer widget.
Now let’s address the big problem I had with the Ticwatch Pro. The NFC and Google Pay. Ticwatch Pro 2020 boasts its NFC and smartwatch payment. But guess who looked like a fool trying to tap my watch at a Starbucks. Yes, me. Why? Because Google hasn’t allowed smartwatch payments in Singapore yet. I was devastated because one of the main reasons I wanted to try out this watch was for the NFC and GPay.
The Ticwatch Pro 2020 also comes with the simple yet powerful Tic Applications for health and exercise. You get to choose different modes depending on your workout and the watch is able to track your heart rate, calories burnt, steps and timings.
You could then use the Mobvoi app to see all the statistics and tracked data. The data is shown in a minimalistic user interface and it is easy to read.
The Ticwatch Pro comes with a heart rate monitor so you can keep track of your heart rate during workouts and also when you’re sleeping, which helps with sleep tracking. I did try to track my sleep but I wasn’t sure of how to get it to work so I gave up. Also, I’m not a fan of having my watches on while I sleep.
The Ticwatch also comes with media controls so it’s easier to change songs or playlists while you are working out. This also means I don’t have to slow down to unlock my phone and use the Spotify app to change my music.
The Ticwatch Pro 2020 is definitely a smartwatch that is spec packed. It’s got a Snapdragon Wear 2100 which is outdated but somehow it still does well for the watch. It’s also got 1GB of RAM and 4GB of storage. Now, I realised how important RAM really is for a smartwatch after testing out both the Ticwatch E2 and the Ticwatch Pro. The 512MB extra RAM that Ticwatch Pro has improves the speed of apps, there’s no stuttering when using and the assistant is seamless.
The watch has also got a heart rate monitor, gyroscope,off-body sensor, magnetic sensor, accelerometer and an ambient light sensor to aid the watch in understanding the workouts that the user is doing and constantly keep track of the user’s workout data.
It’s got an IP68 rating for waterproofing and a 415mAh battery which proves to be impressive coupled with the dual-display technology.
It’s got GPS and NFC but both things that people won’t really use on a watch in Singapore. One because phones have better navigation options and the other because Google Singapore doesn’t allow smartwatch payments in Singapore.
But still, you can’t deny the fact that this watch is jam-packed with specifications for the price of S$399.
Now the main selling point of the Ticwatch Pro 2020. Battery life. It’s got the same battery as the normal Ticwatch E2. But they were able to get 2-30 days of battery life out of this 415mAh battery.
From what I’ve tested I got about 2 days of pure AMOLED goodness, about 3-4 days of Hybrid mode (AMOLED+LCD) and while I didn’t have time to test out 30 days, I did get 5 days out of Essential mode (LCD).
Now this kind of battery life is great because I don’t have to charge my watch every day. I could go a whole work week without charging if I’m careful about my usage. I’m able to pick up the watch confidently for a run anytime without worrying about battery life. So Ticwatch really nailed the dual-display battery life-saving tactic.
Of course, there are other ways to preserve battery like turning off the heart rate monitor, changing the watch face to something simple that does not update every second and lowering the brightness.
Well in the off chance that you do run out of battery, you’ve got a charging pad that magnetically attaches to the Ticwatch Pro and charges it. It takes about 1.5hours to charge it up to full. But if you’re really rushing for time, a 20min charge can last you the day in Hybrid and probably essential mode towards the end of the day.
Now the argument of whether Android watches are still relevant in 2020 is a tough one. The Android ecosystem is already well thought out and quite robust even without the smartwatch. So I think it’s down to how the user uses the watch and how much the user uses it that makes the watch relevant. To me, the Ticwatch Pro is one of a kind and it’s definitely relevant in 2020.
Written by Thiru Karthik (Tech360.tv Community Reviewer)