Ticwatch S Review: An Affordable Smartwatch For Everyone?
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Our verdict of the Mobvoi Ticwatch S:
The Ticwatch S is a functional, reasonably priced smartwatch. If you aren't a Android Wear fan, then this is unlikely to convert you. However, the Ticwatch S is a respectable entry to the market, even if the lack of NFC and cellular support disappoint.
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Smartwatches: every company has made one, but consumers just don’t seem to be interested. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons that smartwatches haven’t caught our imagination. It could be the cost. It could be the design. Many people just see them as glorified notification screens. Despite these criticisms, smartwatches do have many great features Should You Buy a Wearable? 4 Reasons You Need a Smartwatch Should You Buy a Wearable? 4 Reasons You Need a Smartwatch If you're on the fence about buying a smartwatch, 2017 might be the year you finally take the plunge. We've covered four big reasons why smartwatches have finally become a worthy purchase for consumers. Read More that should make them a must-have gadget.

That’s what makes Mobvoi’s Ticwatch S so intriguing. The Chinese AI firm has designed a smartwatch that aesthetically recalls the early days of Pebble — before it’s unfortunate demise. However, the watch itself is distinctly modern, even running the latest version of Google’s smartwatch platform, Android Wear. With its blend of the old and the new, how does the Ticwatch S stack up? Keep to reading to find out in our Ticwatch S review, and at end we’ve got one to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Specifications

  • Screen: 1.4 inch OLED display, 287dpi
  • Weight: 45g
  • Operating System: Android Wear 2.0
  • CPU: MTK MT2601
  • Memory: 4GB, 512MB RAM
  • Positioning System: GPS, Glonass, BeiDou
  • Connectivity
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • Wi-Fi: 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n
  • Battery: 300mAh
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Dynamic Optical Heart Rate, Proximity, e-Compass
  • Water Resistance: IP67

Ticwatch S Smartwatch-Glacier,1.4 inch OLED Display, Android Wear 2.0,Compatible with iOS and Android, Google Assistant Ticwatch S Smartwatch-Glacier,1.4 inch OLED Display, Android Wear 2.0,Compatible with iOS and Android, Google Assistant Buy Now At Amazon $470.58

Hardware & Design

At first glance, the Ticwatch S — the sportier cousin of the Ticwatch E — could be mistaken for the original Pebble smartwatch. The TPU strap even feels like the Pebble when on your wrist. Unlike the Pebble though, the Ticwatch S doesn’t have replaceable straps. This could be seen as a mark against the watch. However, there is a reason for this — the GPS unit is built into the strap itself. Mobvoi hasn’t been clear on the reason for this, but promises that it increases the GPS accuracy. The lack of replaceable straps is particularly frustrating since the silicone material of the strap lends itself to picking up dirt and dust.

holding ticwatch s
The watch head is undeniably bulky. It sits quite far above the wrist, and, on occasion, I even had trouble fitting it under coat sleeves. There is a numbered bezel, but it’s there only to provide context to what’s shown on the screen.

ticwatch review - close up of watch face
On the underside of the device you’ll find the optical heart rate monitor, and the magnetic charging point. As with many smartwatches, the charger is proprietary, which means there is yet another cable to add to your collection. The connection between the watch and the charger is surprisingly easy and uncomplicated.

tichwatch s review - on table
The only physical button on the device is on the left side of the watch face. This is a little unusual as most watches have the buttons or physical elements on the right, so it takes a while to get used to. A short press brings up your app list, while a long press activates the Google Assistant. You can talk to the Assistant using the in-built microphone. There is also a speaker in the watch, so you can download music or podcasts to the 4GB of internal storage for playback directly on the watch. Sadly, the Ticwatch S lacks NFC (so no Android Pay) and cellular support.

Android Wear 2.0

Despite appearances, the Ticwatch S is not Mobovi’s first time at the rodeo. The company’s first two attempts at a smartwatch — Ticwatch and Ticwatch 2 — were crowdfunded on Kickstarter and ran their own proprietary operating system, Ticwear OS. The watches were well received in their native China, but in an effort to appeal to a global user base, Mobvoi opted for Android Wear this time around.

ticwatch s android wear screenshot

Android Wear was first launched in 2014, and after nearly four years on the market, it has become a mature operating system. In early 2017, Android Wear underwent its largest update to date, adding new features and revamping the watch UI. The Ticwatch S ships with Android Wear 2.0, so expect it to be reasonably futureproof.

Ticwatch S Review: An Affordable Smartwatch For Everyone? TicwatchS 2

That said, there are a few niggles. When you first setup your watch, the default behaviour is to process all calls through the watch. There is a logic to that if the watch has cellular support. However, the Ticwatch S requires a Bluetooth connection for phone call support. This means that every time I’ve set up an Android Wear device, its a scramble to see if its my phone, wireless headphones, or watch that I need to talk into. This can be turned off in the watch’s Bluetooth settings, but for anyone new to Android Wear, this is likely to cause a lot of confusion.

Performance

Unlike with the main Android operating system, Google has locked down the Android Wear operating system. This means that picking up any Android Wear watch is a consistent and familiar experience. However, it also means that the main differences between all the various devices is the hardware. This is both a blessing, as it’s easy to move between devices, and a curse, as each watch is defined by its aesthetic design.
ticwatch app screenshots

As they aren’t able to control the Android Wear experience, many manufacturers preinstall their own apps. The Ticwatch S comes bundled with a few Mobovi fitness apps, which function, but don’t stand out. In order to view the data on your phone, you need to download the Ticwatch app. However, that’s all you can do with it — there’s no additional settings or features. Ultimately, I can’t think of a reason to use these packaged apps over Google Fit which comes as part of the Android Wear system.

Ticwatch S Review: An Affordable Smartwatch For Everyone? TicwatchS 7

The Ticwatch S features the MTK MT2601 System On A Chip (SoC), designed exclusively for use in Android Wear devices. However, it was launched almost three years ago in 2015, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that performance would be less than stellar. You’d also be pleasantly surprised, as the Ticwatch S is incredibly snappy with no noticeable lag. In fact, after a couple of weeks of testing, I didn’t see any bugs at all.

Ticwatch S Review: An Affordable Smartwatch For Everyone? TicwatchS 3

The watch comes equipped with a 300mAh battery, which is almost the same capacity as the Apple Watch. Apple commits to up to 18 hours, but the Ticwatch S outperforms its pricer competitor. The battery would easily last almost two days between charges, so no need to charge overnight each day. This meant that you could wear it at night and make use of some of the platform’s sleep tracking apps.

Price

The Ticwatch S retails for around $180, making it one of the most affordable Android Wear watches on the market. It is available in three  colors; Knight, Glacier, and Aurora. Or, in non-marketing speak: black, white, and lime green.

Ticwatch S Review: An Affordable Smartwatch For Everyone? TicwatchS 1

For comparison, the entry-level Apple Watch retails at around $330 with similar features. Android Wear watches have the advantage of working across both Android and iOS platforms too. A premium Android Wear device like the Huawei Watch 2 Huawei Watch 2 Ushers In Android Wear 2.0 (Review and Giveaway) Huawei Watch 2 Ushers In Android Wear 2.0 (Review and Giveaway) The newest Huawei Watch runs Android Wear 2, which brings a material design refresh and a host of new features. Can it save the smart watch revolution, or is it just more of the same? Read More is priced at around $250. This shows the Ticwatch S to be a comparatively affordable device.

Should You Buy It?

The Ticwatch S is a worthwhile entry into the smartwatch market. The price alone sets it apart from the competition, where premium devices are all the rage. It is surprising just how snappy the watch feels, especially considering the lag we saw on the pricey Huawei Watch 2. You can even expect to get at least a couple of days from the Ticwatch S between charges.

Ticwatch S Smartwatch-Glacier,1.4 inch OLED Display, Android Wear 2.0,Compatible with iOS and Android, Google Assistant Ticwatch S Smartwatch-Glacier,1.4 inch OLED Display, Android Wear 2.0,Compatible with iOS and Android, Google Assistant Buy Now At Amazon $470.58

However, an affordable device often comes with compromises and the Ticwatch S is no exception. The lack of replaceable straps is a major stumbling point. As is the overall design of the watch, which is excessively bulky. Fortunately, that doesn’t prevent it from being one of the most competitive Android Wear watches around. Will it convert the skeptics? Probably not. However, for the rest of us, there’s finally an affordable Android Wear watch worthy of our wrist.

What do you make of the Ticwatch S? Are you a smartwatch convert? Or do you think smartwatches just aren’t worth it? Let us know in the comments!

Explore more about: Android Wear, Smartwatch.

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  1. Leena Rai
    January 31, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Hoping to be a lucky one

  2. Man Bdr Rai
    January 31, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Beautiful watch just love to wear

  3. Roger
    January 24, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Hi guys, a few recent looks inside the watch by concerned users has shown that despite Mobvois claims, the strap does not appear to have a GPS antenna.

  4. Husna Ghazali
    January 24, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    After read the reviews ,i wish i can get one ??

  5. coucou
    January 20, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    hello
    Thank you very much for this gift offered by you
    Thanks for the exceptional review of the Razer phone

  6. Michael Chung
    January 19, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    I am a Ticwatch S user. I have a question about the straps. If the straps really damaged. What can I do? Just put it in the rubbish bin.? I want to know the watch can repair or not?

  7. Robin
    January 19, 2018 at 8:55 am

    I saw this review and ordered one right away. It arrived two days ago and after a quick setup and a couple of hours to select a nice face with watchmaker and letting the watch do all its updates, the battery was completely empty. I can confirm the statement of Brett Chandler below, the first 2 charges held only a couple of hours with normal notifications and no other use of the watch. After the third charge it lasted for a whole day.
    For the price totally acceptable!

  8. Alfred C
    January 19, 2018 at 2:16 am

    Seem good to try it out. Finger crossed. :)

  9. Mike S.
    January 18, 2018 at 8:21 pm
    • James Frew
      January 19, 2018 at 2:08 am

      The Ticwatch and Ticwatch 2 are the original two Mobvoi smartwatches running their own Ticwear OS. Ticwatch S and E and the newer models that run Android Wear.

      • Mike S.
        January 19, 2018 at 11:50 am

        Thank you sir for the quick reply!

  10. Tammy Dalley
    January 17, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    I love it I want one so bad!

  11. Brett Chandler
    January 17, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    I actually have this watch (I received it in December from their Kickstarter campaign).

    Pros: Build quality, comfort (I was pleased with how light it is), pretty easy to set up and use

    Cons: proprietary charger, and battery life

    I'm sorry to say, I'm NOT seeing two days worth of life from this device, though there seems to be a little break-in. I saw literally only a few hours of life on the first charge, though after letting it run down completely a couple of times it improved to the point where it's good through a whole day, at least.

    I'll echo the reviewer's opinion on the fitness apps. They look okay, but don't improve on Google Fit at all, not that it's a problem.

    The price is actually pretty good. If the lack of NFC isn't a problem it represents a pretty good value.

  12. Dexter Cruz
    January 13, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Nice one

  13. Cheryl
    January 13, 2018 at 5:27 am

    Heart rate and sleep would make it a winner for me.

  14. wijana pramestia
    January 13, 2018 at 4:00 am

    amazing one

  15. Bish
    January 13, 2018 at 2:04 am

    Got one off Kickstarter and love it!

  16. Harold Barker
    January 12, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    I want one!!

  17. Sandra Benedick Elzinga
    January 12, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Im so exited!