In a market dominated by big names like Apple and Fitbit, it is hard to stand out. Many successful companies simply get swallowed by a ‘bigger fish’. But, Mobvoi are a company that have shaken up the smartwatch status quo. Their crowdfunded Ticwatch 2 collected more than $2 million in funds and garnered so much attention that they took to Kickstarter again in 2017 with a new design and a divergent, ‘sporty’ alternative.
The new design? The Mobvoi Ticwatch E, and the sporty alternative was the Mobvoi Ticwatch S. Though we have already written about which comes out on top when its Ticwatch E vs S, an in-depth Ticwatch S review is required to get a full insight into the sporty wearable. Is it the running companion you need? Or a failed attempt at providing users with a distinctive choice?
The price of the watch is more than reasonable. Available brand new from the Mobvoi website for just under $130, this watch is undeniably a fitness tracker with so much value. Unfortunately only the black ‘Knight’ iteration of the watch is available at the moment.
The watch doesn’t seem to be available from the Mobvoi Ticwatch Amazon store either. This is most likely due to Mobvoi pushing the S2 and E2 as more updated iterations of the two originals released in 2017. But with a price tag like the one on Mobvoi’s website, there’s no need to look for a cheaper alternative on a site like Amazon.
The design of the Ticwatch S is one aspect that sets it apart from its Ticwatch E counterpart. Instead of the standalone bezel and removable straps, the watch is built with a sturdy, non-customizable silicone body. This sleek design choice is great for the sporty market as it fits comfortably.
The only let down on the part of the Ticwatch S in terms of the design is that the touchstrip on the bezel of the Mobvoi Ticwatch 2 has disappeared on this smartwatch. It’s understandable that the Ticwatch S would be designed with minimal touch sensitive functionality so you don’t touch it by accident. However, this feature was so ingenious that it’s a shame to see it go. But fortunately, this missing feature doesn’t affect the overall design quality.
Size & Display
We’ve touched on the size issue with the Ticwatch E review before. It was found to be bulky, and the Ticwatch S is no different. Oddly enough being that it is a circular watch, it still doesn’t sit on smaller wrists quite right.
We are used to this from the bulky design of the blocky Apple Watch, but not from a round face smartwatch like this. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it wasn’t a sports-orientated smartwatch. But the bezel does protrude a little too much when trying to exercise.
The screen is beautiful and clear. The 1.4 inch OLED display is crisp and attractive. The screen has a great visibility that doesn’t show any signs of cheapness or lack of quality.
The watch faces included are fantastic also, with styles that match your screen to your bezel. Even though it’s a sports watch, Mobvoi knows you want it to look good on all occasions.
Comfort to Wear
It is apparent that with the Ticwatch S, Mobvoi have tried to counteract bulkyness with the all-in-one design and it sort of works. The silicone is high quality and doesn’t chafe at all. And the design of the screen and bezel helps the watch feel a bit more fitted to the wrist of the wearer.
The classic watch buckle mechanism does its job and feels sturdy, but the smaller the wrist the bulkier the watch feels. A sports watch should fit snugly on the wrist, and this does for some but not for others. Unfortunately there are smartwatches that are sporty and fit better on the wrist, like the Samsung Galaxy watch for example.
Bands & Accessories
As was mentioned, Mobvoi forewent the interchangeable bands for this particular Ticwatch. The strap is part of the bezel, which is part of the screen, so there are no alternative watch straps for the Ticwatch S.
There are no accessories for the Ticwatch S either, apart from the charging cable the Ticwatch comes with. This is quite nice, as sports watches with lots of add-ons and accessories can result in a fiddly experience. The Ticwatch S stands proud on its own with no additional parts needed.
Features & Performance
Wear OS provides a multitude of apps
A strong GPS and heart rate monitor
Great value for the money that you spend
The new and updated Android Wear 2.0 operating system the Ticwatch S uses is one positive change from the Ticwatch 2. Though the Ticwatch 2’s proprietary OS was pretty impressive, the move to Wear OS (or Android Wear) has obvious advantages. The system is slick and the choice of apps and watchfaces is plentiful.
There was a lot of promise in the Mobvoi Ticwatch OS, but this system works just as well if not better. When you look for a sports watch, you want something that is simple and easy to use and this is exactly what Android Wear OS smartwatch provides.
The built in fitness suite the Ticwatch provides alongside the Ticwatch health app are a great way of keeping an eye on your basic fitness analytics like time you’ve spent active and steps you’ve taken.
One of the reasons for the all-in-one design of the watch is because the onboard GPS antenna is now in the strap, improving its accuracy. Onboard GPS for this price is definitely a big deal, as smartwatches with such a feature usually don’t come cheap.
Google Fit is the better or more advanced fitness app that is available for the watch. You are able to keep track of your workouts. You can also chart and monitor your active time. Google Fit can import and log information from more advanced nutrition and sleep tracking apps on your smartphone, keeping everything in one place.
With the Ticwatch S, we see Ticwatch integrate Google’s advanced technology into their device successfully.
A heart-rate sensor is included in the Ticwatch S, another fantastic addition when considering the price of the smartwatch. Only thing to note is that you have to manually turn onthe heart rate monitoring, it doesn’t track it automatically. Annoying, but still a fantastic asset for the Ticwatch sport.
The real-time heart rate tracking is excellent, with warnings for when your bpm gets too high, and pauses automatically whenever you become inactive for a short while. The GPS is also fantastic for the price of the watch. These two features are integral to what makes this Ticwatch S a good sports watch. The heart rate monitor enables you to understand how your heart copes with exercise, and allows you to chart how your cardiovascular health improves. Its onboard GPS effectively ensures you don’t have to bring your smartphone on a run, and by wearing the watch whilst you exercise, you will be able to see a detailed and clear assessment of your run afterwards.
Though the real difference between the S and E are up for debate, the solid GPS and heart rate monitoring are what make the Ticwatch Sa sporty person’s dream.
The battery of the Ticwatch S is pretty similar to that of the Apple Watch. Expect to see the battery drain quite swiftly, as it will probably only last you a few hours of real use. The onboard GPS saps the life out of the Ticwatch S, so you’ll probably need to charge it after each fitness expedition.
Having said that, the battery life is not a nightmare. It will last you more than a day when you don’t use its most energy-wasting features. There are plenty of watches out there with worse battery life. The charger cradle is magnetic allowing you to easily place your Ticwatch on charge.
Apps are a strong selling point for the Ticwatch S. The Wear OS (or Android Wear) interface allows the user to navigate a number of fantastic apps in the Google Play store. These include fitness apps like Strava and Google Fit, as well as apps like Spotify that allow you to control your phone’s music output (Google Play Music is available as a standalone music app) and even Uber.
The app choice is really where the trade-off to the Wear OS software really does pay off. The wealth of amazing apps available is a definite highlight of using the Ticwatch S.
The value you are getting for your money is fantastic. It’s actually quite shocking that Mobvoi were able to pack so many useful features into the Ticwatch S for its price. It may not be the best smartwatch in the world, but there is no one specific aspect of this watch you can point to and say that that is where corners were cut.
Onboard GPS, heart rate monitoring, Google Assistant and a smorgasbord of apps available on the Google Play Store, there really is nothing to complain about when you look at the price tag.
What is shocking however, is that you can get the Express version of the watch for an even cheaper price of $89.99 on the Mobvoi website. It is a refurbished unit, but strangely enough the E is officially priced quite a bit lower than the S wherever you look. This price difference is odd when you compare the two smartwatches, which aren’t too indifferent from each other at all.
If you are looking for value from your smartwatch, check out our round up of the best cheap smartwatch options on the market at the moment.
Who is it for?
You will love Ticwatch S if you…
Are looking for a bargain –so many features for such a great price.
Are tired of Apple and Garmin –Mobvoi’s devices give the big names a run for their money.
Want a wider range of apps to choose from –Google Play Store provides so much choice when it comes to apps.
You might not like Ticwatch S if you…
Want NFC, LTE or WiFi connection –Cellular connection and Google Pay are not supported.
Want the latest version –The Ticwatch S2 has been released recently.
Is Ticwatch S Worth Buying?
Upon writing this Ticwatch S review, my most prominent discovery has been that the S is worth buying. So many smartwatches provide a user with a few great features but for a tremendous amount of money. The Mobvoi Ticwatch S specs are impressive, its features are even more impressive, and the fantastic price is the icing on the cake.
Liam writes articles for a myriad of sites and publications. With a deep-set love for electronics and music, often finds himself drawn to writing about the latest bands and gadgets. He has a degree in Drama and English, enjoys acting, producing music and writing in a number of formats. He also works as a copywriter, providing content for clients around the world.