REVIEW – I’m a watch guy. I absolutely love watches. I have a bunch of watches and favor quality Swiss timepieces. Rolex, Zenith, Tissot, Tag Heuer, Ulysse Nardin, Frederique Constant, Ball, Bulgari, Rado, Movado – yup – got ’em plus more. I’ve stayed away from smartwatches because of my affinity for high-quality mechanical watches. I was on the fence about volunteering to review the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra smartwatch until a couple of fellow Gadgeteers mentioned how much they thought of TicWatch. OK, I’ll dive into the smartwatch fray and check it out. Here’s what I have found.
What is it?
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra from Mobvoi is a smartwatch geared mainly toward Android users. it runs Google Wear OS operating system.
What’s in the box?
- Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra smartwatch
- Magnetic charging cable
- Quick start guide
- FCC compliance sheet
- Safety information
- Model: TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS
- Dimensions (mm): 47 x 48 x 12.3
- Weight: 41g
- Color: Shadow Black
- Watch case: Stainless steel and high-strength nylon with fiberglass
- Screen: Corning Gorilla Anti-fingerprint Cover Glass
- Watch strap: Fluoro Rubber (interchangeable), 22mm
- Operating System: Wear OS by Google
- Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 Platform and Mobvoi dual processor system
- Memory: RAM: 1GB / ROM: 8GB
- Display: 1.4“ 454*454 326ppi Full Color Always On Display AMOLED + FSTN
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi:802.11b/g/n
- GNSS: GPS+Beidou+Glonass+Galileo+QZSS
- NFC Payments: Google Pay
- Speaker: Yes
- Mic: Yes
- Vibrator: Yes
- PPG: Yes
- Barometer: Yes
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, HD PPG Heart Rate Sensor, SpO2 Sensor, Low Latency Off-Body Sensor, Barometer
- Battery capacity: 577mAh
- Durability: IP68, Pool Swim/MIL-STD-810G
Design and features
The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra smartwatch is designed like most any other watch. It has a face, strap, and in this case, a couple of buttons.
The buttons perform various functions. The upper button brings up an app list. Holding it activates the embedded Google Assistant. The lower button opens up an exercise selection list. Holding both takes a screenshot that can be synced to your phone via the Mobvoi app. The photo above shows the always-on display for the watch face I like.
Here is the same watch face, when the screen lights up.
Each watch face has various display features. This specific face shows battery charge percentage at the top, heart rate to the elect, daily steps at the bottom, and day/date on the right. The lock indicator at the very top shows that the watch is locked (since it wasn’t on my wrist), and will need to be unlocked with my PIN.
Here’s a look at the back of the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra smartwatch.
You can see the four-contact magnetic charging connector on the left and the centrally located biometric sensors. Of course, those charging contacts mean that this uses a proprietary charging cable.
Setup involves pairing the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra smartwatch with your phone via Bluetooth. You also need to install the Mobvoi and Wear OS apps on your phone to take full advantage of all of the customizations available on this watch.
I strapped on the watch and set out about my daily tasks. I enabled the feature where tilting your wrist lights up the display. I turned it off pretty quickly. Every time I moved my arm, the display was lighting up. It was both a little annoying and hard on battery life. I did enable the always-on display. This shows a subset of the features of the enabled watch face but is much dimmer. It seemed like a great feature but in many lighting conditions, it was too dim to see, forcing me to touch the watch face or primary button to light up the display.
Speaking of watch faces, this is the one I chose.
It has all the information I wanted and looked nice. There are a ton of included faces plus a ton more available for download. Many are free and others come with a price tag. You can download it from the Google Play store or through the Wear OS app on your cell phone.
The Wear OS app lets you fine-tune the watch features and provides usage data.
The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra smartwatch can track health metrics and sleep metrics assuming you wear it to bed. I generally don’t wear a watch in bed but did for this test.
More information can be found in the Mobvoi app. All health and sleep data automatically syncs from the watch to the app.
You can measure stress, oxygen, heart rate, and such.
You can also track exercise with a whole bunch of preprogrammed exercise modes for many popular sports. All data syncs to the Mobvoi app.
You can also sync audio recordings and screenshots from the watch to the Mobvoi app.
The watch is GPS-aware and tracks your movement during sporting activities. It also uses GPS when using Google Maps.
Speaking of Google Maps, it is included on the watch, but just like your phone, lots of apps are available for Wear OS through the Google Play store.
One thing I really like is Google Pay. It is handy to just tap my watch versus digging out my phone or credit card.
I do like the ability to see my phone notifications right on the watch screen. I can dismiss notifications, and read and respond to emails and texts. I wish I could do more with Facebook notifications but Facebook isn’t supported as an app on the watch.
One thing that surprised me was sound. When I tried calling my wife on the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra smartwatch, she said that she couldn’t tell I was on a speaker. The quality on my end was a little tinny – not surprising given the small size of the watch’s speaker, but it was still plenty good.
With normal use and turning off the flip-on display, I could get two solid days out of the battery plus part of a third day. The watch offers an “essential mode” that disables most battery-intensive features to max out battery life. They claim up to 45 days of battery life while still keeping step counting, sleep tracking, heart rate tracking, and of course, time and date display active.
What I like
- Decent health data capture
- Handy to pay by tapping
- Surprisingly useful as a cell phone speakerphone
- Good battery life
What I’d change
- The screen fingerprints and smears easily
- The always-on display is a little too dim for my taste
- Qi charging would be nice as I now have yet another proprietary charging cable to keep track of
So, the big question is still unanswered: will the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra smartwatch replace my Swiss watches for everyday wear? To be honest, no. While I like many of the features and the ability to quickly check notifications and such, I still like wearing my old-school analog watches. I also don’t like having to recharge a watch so often. That isn’t a slam on the overall good battery life. It is just a recognition that the watch needs to be recharged, just like other smartwatches. But, if you’re the type of person that wants a connected smartwatch, this TicWatch is worth a look. I expect that this will get some wear in my watch rotation on those days when I want to track steps and exercise.