Mobvoi is a lesser-known Chinese watch manufacturer. The company has been operating since 2012 and is founded by a former Google employee. The first TicWatch watches were created thanks to support on Kickstarter. The company has had a partnership agreement with Google since 2015, and probably thanks to this, Mobvoi offers its watches with Wear OS. In addition to the system rich in possibilities, we will find interesting and original solutions here, such as a double, two-layer display. If we add eSIM support and Google Pay mobile payments to this, it starts to get interesting for just over EURO 290. In my opinion, however, the manufacturer has a few key elements to improve. So let’s get down to the details.
TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS has a circular display with two buttons on the right edge. This resembles the design of the Huawei Watch GT 2 to some extent. There is a crown with time markings around the screen, but unfortunately, it is not rotatable like in Samsung watches. None of the buttons have a rotation function as in the new Huawei models.
The strap has a standard width of 22mm and is compatible with any strap of this size from an analog watch. TicWatch presented an interesting solution in the form of a strap, which is leather (or leather-like) on the top, and has a fluoroelastomer on the bottom, where it adheres to the skin. This allows you to reconcile the leather’s elegance and the material’s durability, which will not be damaged by moisture. The bottom of the strap also has an embossed pattern, which I guess is supposed to improve breathability and reduce the surface in constant contact with the skin.
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS case is made of a combination of stainless steel and glass fiber-reinforced nylon. During the tests, I observed no signs of wear, including scratches on the case or screen.
The Mobvoi watch offers two standards of sealing and resistance – IP68 and MIL-STD-810G. The first is the classic resistance to water and dust penetration, like in smartphones; the second standard extends it to difficult conditions, such as high temperatures, falls, or vibrations. However, there is no question of the classic watch resistance to immersion, e.g. up to 5 atmospheres, i.e. 50 meters. The manufacturer ensures you can swim in the pool with the watch, but I would not risk diving, swimming in salt water, and with large waves.
The case size is 47 x 48 x 12.3 mm, and its weight is 41 grams without the strap. This is a standard size for a smartwatch, and by weight, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is one of the lighter ones. I have no complaints about the wearing comfort.
TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS has a built-in speaker and microphone. Allows you to answer voice calls without reaching for your phone. If we buy an eSIM, we can make calls without using a smartphone, but I have not checked it in practice.
The watch notifies us about incoming notifications with sound and vibration. The vibrations are of poor quality.
The display, and even two, is one of the special features of the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS. Mobvoi came up with the brilliantly simple idea to offer the user-visible basic information such as time, date, number of steps, and battery charge without using the always-on display, significantly speeding up the battery discharge and reducing the working time by half. Above the AMOLED display with a diagonal of 1.4 inches, a resolution of 454×454 pixels, and a density of 326 PPI, there is a classic FSTN screen, i.e., the one found in old digital watches, e.g., Casio classics.
There are at least two advantages of the FSTN display – it consumes negligible energy and is readable even in the most intense lighting. When it’s dark, the screen uses a backlight, the color of which you can choose. As a result, tilting the wrist only turns on the backlight under the simplified screen, and the AMOLED display is activated when notifications come or when we wake up the watch with a button or touch. According to the manufacturer, if we turn on the most limited power consumption mode and use only the FSTN screen, the watch will work for 45 days.
As soon as we wake the watch by touching the screen or pressing the button, the FSTN screen turns off, and the full-color AMOLED display appears, as in any modern smartwatch. Just switching slightly increases the latency than waking up the screen on a watch that has only one display, but it does not affect everyday use.
Specification and operating system
The watch is equipped with the currently most powerful processor dedicated to watches, the Snapdragon Wear 4100. Mobvoi adds a second, energy-efficient processor to manage operation whenever the simplified screen is active.
The processor supports 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB for system and user files, of which about 5 GB is free.
The communication package includes Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n, NFC, and eSIM. The location is carried out thanks to five systems: GPS, Beidou, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS.
The sensors include an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensor, and a heart rate and blood oxygen sensor.
The watch runs on Wear OS version 2.33. Google has not yet made version 3.0 available to all willing manufacturers. At the moment, the latest Wear OS is reserved for Samsung.
The three biggest advantages of Wear OS in Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS are:
- NFC payments with Google Pay
- Ease of installing new applications from the Play Store and widgets for applications installed on the smartphone – a multitude of options
- Reply to notifications
Notifications in Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS are highly developed. They often contain images (although not in the case of Messenger) and emoticons. You can respond to notifications in three ways: with emoticons, the on-screen keyboard supporting swipes, and dictation. By default, Gboard is responsible for entering text and easily supports European languages. You can easily send even a few-sentence reply using the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS. These are really important advantages that we will not find in Huawei watches but also in many other devices. Before Samsung watches started running Wear OSyes, they did allow you to respond to notifications, but the Polish language was not fully supported, especially for dictation.
By default, Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS does not measure your pulse and blood oxygen levels when you start it. Everything has to be manually configured and allowed for each element. In addition, when activating measurements, be it pulse or other parameters, the watch wanted me to create an account, log in to passport.mobvoi.com, and redirect me to the phone. You need the standard Wear OS app to set up your watch. In it, we will pair the watch with the phone, change the order and add new widgets, set notifications, check the free memory, and link it to the Google account.
The trouble is that to see any data the watch measures, such as heart rate, SpO2, sleep, steps, distance, and calories, you need to install a separate Mobvoi app. Google does not recommend this application if we use advanced protection.
Both the Mobvoi app and the watch itself are in English. Only Google Assistant and replying to notifications support Polish.
The automatic detection of effort and the start of measurements, e.g., walking, work smoothly. I also have no objections to the measurement of pulse and oxygenation, and sleep. The system itself works quickly and smoothly. A big plus is full compatibility with Spotify and YouTube Music – in both cases, you can download music via WiFi for offline listening. Connect Bluetooth headphones directly to the watch to listen to music while training without a phone.
TicWatch has a battery with a capacity of 577 mAh. It is charged using a dedicated magnetic charger. Unfortunately, wireless charging is impossible, which is a big downside – we must always have access to the factory cable. Otherwise, nothing can be done.
The watch without GPS training, with all heart rate and sleep monitoring functions turned on, works until the evening of the fourth day. If we use its capabilities more widely, three days will be its standard operating time. And if we turn on always on display, which is not advisable due to the second energy-saving screen, then the operating time will be reduced by half to a day and a half.
What distinguishes TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is the ability to operate for up to 45 days in ultra-saving mode with the FSTN screen permanently on.
So are these results good? Honestly, I was hoping for more. On the one hand, it works at least twice as long as Samsung and Apple watches, but it is much shorter than Huawei or Garmin watches, which do not have second-screen technology. Huawei may not have all the features of TicWatch, but with a regular AMOLED screen, it lasts up to two weeks.
Our final rating
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is a feature-rich Wear OS smartwatch. It allows you to respond to notifications by typing and dictating in Polish and supports Google Pay. A double display allows you to read the time in all conditions. In addition, in this watch, we get support for eSIM.
However, it must be remembered that the watch itself and its applications on the phone communicate with us in English. It is also not as refined as Samsung and Huawei watches. The data summary application is sufficient, but it is far from the quality of competitors. Therefore, I would recommend TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS to people looking for an alternative to what is widely known on the market and for those who are not easily discouraged during the first configuration. Then the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS will be an interesting and powerful watch. However, if we want to start using the smartwatch with minimal effort, I would go for products from larger and more well-known manufacturers.
The main pros and cons of the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS
Advantages of Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS:
- Quite light and comfortable
- Compatible with 22mm straps
- You can swim in it in the pool
- Loudspeaker and microphone for hands-free calls
- eSIM support
- Built-in NFC, WiFi, and up to five-system GPS
- A dual-layer display that combines AOD and long life
- Up to 45 days of operation in Ultra Saver mode
- Strong specification
- Google Pay support
- Support for Spotify and YouTube Music, also offline
- Notifications with emoticons, full text, and even images (not in Messenger)
- Extensive response to notifications by dictation and keyboard with Polish dictionary
- Wear OS is a multitude of applications and widgets connected to applications on the phone
- 3 days of use with all functions active
Cons of Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS:
- There is no water resistance standard of 5 ATM – 50 meters typical for watches
- Simplified, shallow vibrations
- Both the watch interface and the Mobvoi application without the Polish version
- The first configuration is a bit laborious due to the permissions and finding the activation of all functions
- To read sleep, heart rate, and SpO2, you need the Mobvoi app, which is 3.5 stars and not recommended by Google’s advanced protection.
- The watch recommended setting up a Mobvoi account via the browser, but errors prevented this
- No wireless charging
- The operating time is good, but there are watches that only with an AMOLED screen work much longer
We love: the ingenious dual screen
We don’t like: underdeveloped software
Who is the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS for:
- For those looking for an eSIM at an attractive price
- For those who want to pay with their watch and respond to notifications
- For those who like unconventional solutions
Who Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is not for:
- Not for those who need full localization for the Polish language, also in the application
- Not for those who get discouraged quickly during the first setup
- Not for people who want to stay in one ecosystem of a given manufacturer, e.g. Samsung