"The latest Qualcomm processor and a clever second display system give the TicWatch 3 Pro good performance and long battery life, which fixes two common problems with the Wear operating system."

  • Three days of battery life

  • Latest Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor

  • Fast performance

  • The screen that is always on is now backlit

  • Wear OS is still frustrating

  • No color or strap selection

The most exciting thing about the Mobvoi TicWatch 3 Pro is what's inside. It is the first smartwatch available with Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor. Many hope to be the savior of Wear OS with its higher performance and efficiency, and an incredible battery for serious endurance.

Yes, the Snapdragon Wear 4100 is a massive improvement over the geriatric Snapdragon Wear 3100 and really makes Wear OS more user-friendly than ever. However, it's not the miracle cure that helps kill the Apple Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

design

Mobvoi seems to have an aversion to changing the design of the Pro series. The TicWatch 3 Pro is a significant improvement over the first TicWatch Pro, but it's a shame that the knurled bezel and buttons from the Pro 4G / LTE model haven't been carried over. However, it's leaner and certainly not ugly. It's just a little bland with the single black color scheme. I'll be wearing this every day and the best wearables are an extension of your other fashion choices so I really would want more of a choice.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The watch is relatively compact with a 47mm case that weighs 41.9 grams, but there is no question that it is a male form. I cannot see the watch for women or those with smaller wrists. The case and caseback are made of plastic and don't feel particularly expensive, while the bezel is made of stainless steel and the strap is made of silicone with an orange tinge. It's soft and comfortable, and it hasn't got sweaty either.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

There are two buttons on the housing, the upper one opening the menu and the lower one being assigned to the TicExercise app immediately. However, it can be changed in the app of your choice. The top button on my test watch is very stiff and has not come loose over time, making it awkward and uncomfortable to press. The bottom button is far better, which makes me a little concerned about the overall build quality. Nevertheless, the watch was otherwise reliable.

screen

The design is a bit damp, but the screens are masterpieces. That's right, screens. The TicWatch Pro 3 has a bright and colorful 1.4-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels for Wear OS and a second FSTN LCD screen that acts as the watch's permanent screen. You'd never know there are two screens, it doesn't add any extra size or weight, but it does reduce power consumption and is much more readable in different lighting conditions.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It's the defining feature of the TicWatch Pro series, and Mobvoi redesigned the screen layout for the TicWatch 3 Pro to make it more consistent. Backlighting has also been added to ensure clarity in low light conditions. It makes a big difference.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The FTSN LCD shows the time, date, battery level and step count and is all you need from a screen that is always on. I can see it in daylight and in the dark and it doesn't seem to be affecting battery life at all.

battery

Amazingly, the TicWatch Pro 3's 595 mAh battery lasts three days before it needs to be charged. At first I didn't quite believe this and took special care to check the settings, monitor usage, and count the days it worked on my wrist. Not only did I get three days of life from it repeatedly, including an hour of exercise tracking on two of them, but with less use it was still on the fourth day. The battery life of many other Wear OS smartwatches rarely whistles beyond a full day. So having three days is something to celebrate.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

This is hardly known in earlier TicWatch Pro models and the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30, which also uses the hardware approach for the second screen to ensure an always active view. It's sad that we don't see the dual-screen hardware setup for more smartwatches as it's clearly effective. The Snapdragon 4100 also plays a big role. Qualcomm claims to have reduced electricity consumption by 25%. Both Mobvoi and Qualcomm have really teamed up and improved the smartwatch's battery life significantly.

Qualcomm and Mobvoi really came together and significantly improved battery life.

If you want even more, there's Essential Mode, which turns off the OLED screen and leans on the LCD for the time, but continues to count steps and monitor sleep. Mobvoi claims this offers an excellent 45 days of usage versus 30 days claimed by other smartwatch manufacturers. You can really take the TicWatch 3 Pro with you for a long weekend without the hassle of grabbing the charger and still using both screens, or disappearing into the wild for a month and still having time on your wrist in the end.

The only downside is the charging, which is slow compared to some other Wear OS watches, taking around an hour and 40 minutes to go from 5% to full. That being said, the TicWatch 3 Pro's battery life really impresses with the hardware and improved Essential mode, and is a real reason to buy this smartwatch over many others.

Performance and software

Everything works quickly. If that sounds obvious with modern technology, you've never used a Wear OS watch with 512MB of RAM. The combination of the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 1GB of RAM means everything works when you want it to. Apps open quickly, you can scroll through Google Maps and switch faces in no time. It's a world apart from the worst Snapdragon 3100 watches and a really good omen for the future of Wear OS.

The increase in performance should mean an all round better experience, right? I thought so, but the TicWatch 3 Pro needs to be optimized. With no rotating crown or bezel, the menus need to be wiped, and there's something pretty muddy about the TicWatch software. It doesn't flow like it should and usually requires a lot more wiping than I'd like. Sometimes taps and swipes are also misinterpreted, which leads me to options that I haven't selected and then slows down because it's confused.

You'll also need to play around with the settings a little to make them more user-friendly. Tilt-to-wake is not active by default and is essential. Otherwise, when notifications come in, you'll have to physically tap the screen to switch from the constantly on second screen. Mobvoi has created its own Wear OS launcher standard. While this is fine, I prefer the look of the default Google launcher, and you'll need to check the settings to change it.

The software still needs to be optimized – there are usability problems.

Then there are the many Mobvoi apps that are installed. There's Ticbreathe, TicExercise, TicHealth, TicHearing, TicOxygen, and TicKitchenSink (maybe). All of them require you to create a Mobvoi account. The general accounts only offer Google Fit. However, you need the TicOxygen app to measure the blood oxygen content (Sp02). It's attractive and fast, although the accuracy and usefulness of this metric continues to be questioned for most people.

The notifications from Wear OS are terrible too, perhaps even worse on the TicWatch than on others I test. I received a small percentage of notifications when connected to the LG Wing and the OnePlus 8T. It's such a hit or miss too. Without the Outlook app installed on the watch, I won't get any Outlook notifications, but even if it's installed I still don't get all of them. Incredibly frustrating. I wore the TicWatch Pro 3 right after checking out the Apple Watch Series 6 which came in with 100% notifications, so the silence from Wear OS just got worse.

Health tracking

Most of Mobvoi's apps are related to health and activity tracking, and many replicate the features of Google Fit. However, there are some advantages to using it. TicHealth has more data on your wrist than Fit without having to visit the app on your phone. I like the overall design of TicBreathe and TicZen, although the stress test takes a long time to run. There's a sleep tracking app too, but I didn't find the watch comfortable enough to wear all night.

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The TicWatch 3 Pro has a heart rate sensor, integrated GPS, IP68 waterproofness for use in the pool and Sp02 blood oxygen measurement. Google Fit works with all of these sensors and is attractive and easy to use. The data collected is logically arranged in the Fit app on your phone, but isn't detailed enough for the really dedicated fitness fan, and Mobvoi's own collection of apps doesn't change that.

Overall, the TicWatch 3 Pro does a good job as an casual fitness tracking system, and I really like the way you can focus your daily goals on heart points rather than steps that seem like a better way to measure your effectiveness assess daily activities.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

What the TicWatch 3 Pro doesn't offer is much more than any other smartwatch when it comes to activity tracking or additional sensors. It's knowledgeable and perfectly acceptable to someone like me who wants fast-digesting data and quick-to-activate workout tracking, but not someone who wants comprehensive hardcore sports training data.

Price and availability

The TicWatch 3 Pro is priced at $ 299 or £ 289 is now available from Amazon.

Our opinion

The TicWatch 3 Pro shows that Wear OS hardware is a lifetime, but it also reminds us that Google's software holds back even the most powerful watch. The Mobvoi smartwatch isn't the prettiest to buy, but it does a lot of things right, from the second always-on screen to using the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100. This means more convenience, longer battery life, and faster apps for you.

Is there a better alternative?

If you want the Snapdragon Wear 4100, the TicWatch 3 Pro is your only choice. That situation means it stands on its own right now and just an aversion to the design should make you consider another Wear OS smartwatch.

However, Wear OS is still frustrating and you can buy better smartwatches that don't use Google software. We recommend the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 for owners of Android phones and the Apple Watch SE or Series 6 for iPhone owners.

How long it will take?

With the Snapdragon Wear 4100, Qualcomm's latest smartwatch platform, you get the only smartwatch currently available. Hence, in terms of performance, it is the best choice in terms of longevity. The watch is IP68 waterproof and the reinforced nylon case should prove to be very robust. The quick release strap is easy to change if you don't like it or if it breaks.

The only question mark is above the software. Google provides updates for Wear OS regularly, but rarely includes important new features. However, due to the large amount of Mobvoi software on board, the watch needs ongoing support from both companies in order to stay up to date. Regardless, you can buy the TicWatch 3 Pro with the confidence that it will last two years or more.

Should you buy one?

Yes, the Snapdragon Wear 4100's perks, the superb screen that always shows up, and the long battery life outweigh the software frustrations.

Editor's recommendations




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