TicWatch Pro 2020 full review

The TicWatch Pro 2020, designed by the Chinese brand Mobvoi, is both a smartwatch and a robust activity tracker that offers you complete daily monitoring.

It has almost all the major features that you're likely to take advantage of in a connected watch, like GPS and an NFC system for contactless payments via Google Pay payments.

Running on Wear OS, Google's wearable platform, Mobvoi has focused on accessibility and the unique aspects of the Pro 2020's user experience.

Price and availability

In 2019, Mobvoi launched the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE, supported by 1GB of RAM, which today is available from the company's website for £249.99.

Since then, the TicWatch Pro 2020 has emerged. It forgoes 4G connectivity, relying on just Bluetooth and WiFi, like the original TicWatch Pro, but retains the 4G/LTE model's extra memory, while still coming in at around £30 less, at £222.99.

It is cheaper than renowned competitors like the Fossil Carlyle HR and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, yet it has near-identical technical characteristics.

In essence, the TicWatch Pro 2020 is a mid-range wearable with the talents of a flagship smartwatch. Check out our Best Smartwatch 2020 roundup for more.

Design

There's no denying that the TicWatch Pro 2020 is an impressive-looking timepiece when you first take it out of the box. Once it's on your wrist though, it feels decidedly unobtrusive. That's not to say it's understated, so much as simply unobtrusive.

Given its size as styling, it's fair to say that it's better suited to a man's wrist, however, as a woman, I still found it comfortable to wear.

Circular in shape, its reinforced matte black carbon fibre casing houses a Gorilla Glass 3 display, capable of repelling light scratches without issue.

On its right side, there are two buttons rendered in a similar finish to the casing. Paired with a touchscreen, they allow you access to all the features that this watch has to offer.

To give it a slightly more refined look, Mobvoi has again opted for a hybrid strap, covered in genuine Italian leather on the outer face and sweat-resistant silicone on the inside.

The company has been smart to dress the TicWatch Pro 2020 in materials effective against impact and that collectively support its MIL-STD-810G certification too.

Screen 

Since the release of the original TicWatch in 2018, Mobvoi has surprised us by incorporating a dual display in its 'Pro' watches.

This 2020 model is no exception, with 1.39-inch circular AMOLED touch screen, boasting a resolution of 400x400 pixels on which is added a passive matrix LCD panel (FSTN).

This gives you access to the time, date and number of steps taken during the day, without having to wake the watch up.

Its main advantage is that there's no backlight, so it consumes very little energy. As a result, even if you no longer have power for the more advanced Wear OS-based features, the Pro 2020 will still let you keep an eye on the time and your physical activity. 

The display quality of the AMOLED component of the screen is excellent; the brightness is good and the colours are dazzling. You'll have no trouble reading your notifications or any other information displayed, in broad daylight, as well as in the dark.

Features

Between the alarm, the calendar, the health apps and the breathing exercises, there is no shortage of features on the Pro 2020. With the inclusion of its heart rate sensor, it also brings 24-hour monitoring to the table.

In addition to being a daily life companion, this connected watch can also play the role of sports coach. It's almost as complete as a Fitbit Ionic, counting steps, calories lost and it can help you reach your fitness goals.

Using the TicExercise app grants quick access to activity monitoring for everything from running, walking and cycling to swimming and more. You can then access all this information directly from the watch screen via Google Fit and the TicHealth app.

The TicWatch also includes integrated GPS, for route tracking, without the need to have your phone on you. Thanks to its microphones and speaker, you can also perform tasks by summoning the Google Assistant.

With a simple “OK, Google”, you can navigate between the weather, respond to text messages or consult your calendar. Direct access to Google Translate, also means you will easily enrich your vocabulary in the language of your choice, a plus when you're abroad! 

Finally, with the TicWatch Pro 2020, you can manage your music and change the volume directly from the display, just as you would on your smartphone.

Software and usability

Like the Fossil Q Gen 5, the TicWatch Pro runs on Wear OS. Truth be told, if you're used to wearing an Apple Watch and using WatchOS, you might find the experience somewhat arduous. 

The interface of this latest TicWatch may be intuitive by way of its colourful design and its quality display, but the menus feel cluttered. 

Options are scattered all over the place. By swiping up you have access to quick settings, on the right lies fitness information, on the left is the Google Assistant and below sit your notifications. Only by pressing one of the side buttons can you access the apps menu.

Despite its convoluted nature, setup is at least simple and painless. The only thing to do is download the Wear OS app to your iPhone or Android device and connect to the watch over WiFi or Bluetooth.

In addition, this Wear OS system is mainly independent of your smartphone setup, meaning, you can tweak settings directly on the watch.

Performance and battery 

In 2019, Mobvoi launched the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE, equipped with a 1GB RAM. While the new TicWatch losses out on 4G, it does retain the extra memory, which ensures consistently smooth performance. 

Despite its greater fluidity, this 2020 model still relies on Qualcomm's ageing Snapdragon Wear 2100 wearable chip, though.

As for its battery, on paper, the 415mAh cell seems a little small. However, when we look at the two modes of use offered by the TicWatch 2020, it actually proves to be quite the capable power source.

In fact, with its Smart mode, you get to enjoy the Wear OS user experience and access to all its functions for up to three days per charge.

Essential mode pares the user experience down to just the FSTN portion of the display, meaning you can only access the time, date, steps and heart rate, but as such, you can also use the TicWatch for up to 30 days between charges. 

The TicWatch Pro 2020 is also IP68 certified, meaning it's resistant to dust and water, meaning you can leave it on when you enter the shower or when in rainy weather. However, we don't advise that you bathe with it.

This review was originally written in French on sister site Tech Advisor France and has been translated and converted to include UK pricing.

Specs

TicWatch Pro 2020: Specs

  • 45mm case size
  • Dual-layer 400x400 pixel FSTN/AMOLED touchscreen
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB ROM
  • Wear OS
  • Android and iOS compatible
  • 415mAh battery
  • PPG heart rate sensor, Google Pay (using NFC), GPS, accelerometer, microphones, speaker
  • IP68 certified
  • Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802 b/g/n