Mobvoi made their new TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE official this morning and since I’ve spent several days with one on the wrist, figured I’d share some additional thoughts on whether or not this could be your next Wear OS watch. While not a full review, because this is a re-release of a watch from a year ago, there’s stuff to talk about here.
What is the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE?
The TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE is a re-release of the TicWatch Pro from last July, only now it has 4G LTE connectivity through Verizon, a full 1GB RAM, and a slightly lighter body. The rest of the specs are the same (processor, display, NFC, sensors, etc.) and the price tops out at $299. If you buy it during this first launch month, Mobvoi is slashing the price to $279.
The big selling feature for this watch is the combo AMOLED and LCD display setup, where Mobvoi will let you use the AMOLED when you want a full Wear OS smartwatch experience or switch to the LCD to extend battery life up to 30 days and limit functionality.
All of the rest of the specs and launch details can be found right here.
It’s pretty fast for what it has
The TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE runs the ancient Snapdragon Wear 2100, not the newer Wear 3100. It’s wild to think that anyone would release a “brand new” product in 2019 with a processor inside that is that old. We complain about phones like the Moto Z3 when they are released with a year-old Snapdragon 800 series chip that still works fine, yet sort of shrug at watchmakers using chips that are 3 years old.
That said, this watch performs quite well and that’s likely due to the increase to 1GB RAM. I say that because if you’ve ever switched from a watch with 512MB RAM to 1GB, you’ll see an instant improvement while moving around the UI, opening apps, or attempting any tasks. This has been the case for years, dating back to the original TAG Heuer Connected that performed better than all others, thanks to its increase in RAM. The Montblanc Summit 2 has 1GB RAM too, and it’s much faster than the Fossil Sport, which has 512MB.
So yeah, this TicWatch Pro moves quickly to wake, to open menus, to run Google Assistant commands, and to jump into the few apps you might have on it. In terms of performance, this watch is perfectly fine.
It doesn’t have LTE yet
This is a weird bullet point to report to you, but Mobvoi ran into compliance issues with the LTE connection on this new watch, so it doesn’t actually have an LTE connection today. It won’t have one tomorrow or next week either. Instead, Mobvoi says they hope to have Verizon LTE on this thing in about a month. I guess we’ll see if that happens.
Until that happens, this is a close-to-$300 smartwatch running a 3-year old processor and with the same specs (outside of RAM) as a watch they released a year ago. That’s kind of a tough sell when you spell it out that way.
Display, size, battery life, and other notes
- Display: The big 1.39″ AMOLED display on this watch is good unless you are outdoors. I feel like when you are, it’s tough to see, even with brightness cranked. On the flipside, when you have the LCD turned on to help with battery life, it’s impossible to see when it’s dark, so finding a middle ground of which watch mode to use can be difficult. But the AMOLED looks sharp at 400×400 and it’s big enough to really display content well.
- Case size: At 45mm, this watch isn’t small by any means. It’s both tall (12.6mm) and wide, so if you have smaller wrists, this might not be for you. I don’t mind the way it wears, though. Mobvoi has done a decent job with the included band and lugs to help it not overhang much or look awkwardly massive. Maybe the all-black on black exterior is helping there some. Either way, this is by no means a small watch, but it hasn’t been obnoxious to wear.
- Battery life: Unlike most Wear OS watches, battery life on the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE is good for more than a day. I can’t tell if that’s due to optimizations from Mobvoi or if I’m using watches less these days, but I go to bed most nights with 40% left. And today, as I sit here writing up this mini-review, I’m at 47% battery left without having touched a charger in 24 hours. I’m using the watch in AMOLED-only mode too, with an always-on display and constant heartrate monitoring, not that special LCD battery saver mode. Do keep in mind that this is WiFi-only battery, since this watch doesn’t have LTE turned on yet.
- No rotating crown: Mobvoi has been slow to adopt the rotating crown that watches like the Summit 2 and Fossil Sport have included. That’s not a huge deal, as they do still feature two pushers for opening apps, but the rotating crown is a nice way to navigate a watch.
- Health features: Mobvoi includes access to Google Fit, but they offer their own suite of fitness apps too. Their watches feature their own workout app, a more in-depth heartrate tracking app that shows your zones and history, and a general health experience. If you want a watch that caters more towards fitness and health rather than rely on Google’s bad Fit thing, this is a watch to consider.
Telling anyone to go out and buy a Wear OS watch in 2019 is tough to do. That’s not because all Wear OS watches are complete garbage, it’s just that they run such ancient technology and are so far behind competitors, like the Apple Watch, that spending close to $300 on one seems insane.
However, the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE is one of the better running and looking Wear OS watches available. After spending this past week with one, by no means do I dislike this watch. In fact, I find it to be one of the few I’d point you towards if you were considering a Wear OS watch today. The health features, battery life, and performance are probably better than what you’ll get with the Fossil Sport. Assuming you can live with the size of it, yeah, it might be worth buying for those getting into some Wear OS fun. Personally, I’d only do it if there was a sizable discount available.