Mobvoi’s Ticwatch range has always intrigued me as some of the best budget Wear OS watches out there.
Upon taking the Ticwatch E2 out of its box, I immediately had a few thoughts about it. It was definitely very similar to the Ticwatch Pro but less “Pro.”
For one, it has a completely plastic watch case. Oddly enough, I found the full-plastic body quite endearing. It speaks of simpler times and carries less pretension.
To add to that, a full-plastic body makes the Ticwatch E2 a very lightweight watch.
- Wear OS-powered = wide range of apps, Google Assitant
- Lightweight, comfortable strap
- Mobvoi’s range of apps: TicExercise, swimming track, TicPulse
- Really, really budget-friendly
- Reply to email, texts when paired to Android phone
Who is this for?
Looking at the Ticwatch E2’s website, I got a sense that Mobvoi is aiming this watch at youth who are also physically active.
It has some really great features that allow it to be a great sports watch including 5ATM waterproof resistance, meaning you can take it swimming. It also has an integrated GPS which means that you can take it out for a jog without having to bring your phone with you for location data.
Most smartwatches do have an integrated GPS. It’s just the odd ones like the Fitbit Versa 2 which don’t, which is doubly odd because it’s a fitness-focused watch.
The watch is also priced at the entry-level, budget-friendly side. Its greatest competitor, I feel, comes from the Fossil Sport Smartwatch, which is extremely similar in features to the Ticwatch E2.
The watch has a thick silicone strap which is quite pleasant to wear for the whole day. It doesn’t leave ugly imprints on your wrist as some watches do.
In my experience, the heavier the watch and the less grippy the strap is, the more you’ll have to buckle down the strap, leading to more discomfort and imprints on your wrist.
The lightness of the watch and the grip from the silicone strap is excellent and very comfortable to wear.
There’s one thing, though. For some reason, I found the strap to be very thick and noticeable when you wrist your wrist on the table while typing on a keyboard.
It’s almost like somebody placed a mat on your wrist, making it type from an elevated position. For me, typing from a less-than-usual position makes typing very weird. I found myself taking the watch off in order to avoid the annoyance.
Luckily, you can always swap out the strap for an alternative that uses the standard 22mm quick-release connector.
Google’s Wear OS has some detractors saying that it is quite an inferior, neglected operating system (OS). When I reviewed my first Wear OS watches, I found myself tending to agree. It was just not as smooth or streamlined as my Samsung watches.
But over time, I have found that the Wear OS has some advantages that are not present in other systems whether we’re talking about Samsung’s Tizen OS, Fitbit’s proprietary OS, or Apple’s watchOS. While the watchOS is a very close competitor, Apple Watches do not sync with Android phones so that’s its biggest (probably deliberate) downside.
Wear OS watches are also usually hampered by their hardware. The Ticwatch E2, unfortunately, has one of the weaker processors and RAM. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100, a four-year-old processor, and 512MB of RAM. The latter is quite standard across most Wear OS watches, though.
I haven’t found this smartwatch to be excruciatingly slow like the Ticwatch Pro or the Fossil Sport Smartwatch, which has the Snapdragon Wear 3100, a newer iteration of the Wear processor.
This is odd because this watch comes with Mobvoi’s exercise and health apps that run in the background and has more or less the lowest-end specification of all modern Wear OS watches.
What I’m saying here is that this watch performs surprisingly well. There are minor pauses and hitches but overall, it’s a very swift and efficient watch.
Compatibility with Wear OS watches and Apple iPhones is poor and I would recommend that you consider the Apple Watch directly. Otherwise, prepare to not be able to reply to emails and messages, and be prepared for a few additional steps in setting up your phone and smartwatch.
Nobody wants a smartwatch that can’t last a full day and I am glad that the Ticwatch E2 is able to last two days with conservative usage with the always-on screen enabled and the 24-hour heart rate monitoring turned off.
Emails and text
Unfortunately, if you decide to buy a Wear OS while using an iPhone, your notifications will become read-only.
But with Android phones, you will be able to reply to your notifications. Any incoming notification with a reply function will be able to receive a reply, and that’s great.
The one downside with Wear OS is that you can’t access your email and texts as if you were on your phone with the standard suite of apps. So far, this is only with very well-integrated platforms like a Samsung phone paired to a Samsung smartwatch or Apple iPhones with their Watch partners. However, you can download third-party apps on both your smartphone and smartwatch in order to be able to do this.
The best part of being in the Google system is that it has an excellent speech-to-text system. This is the primary way I prefer to input text into smartwatches.
And therefore this requires that the speech-to-text system transcribes your words reliably. Google is very good at this and you can rely on it to get your messages transcribed properly. What makes it so much more superior to Alexa (in Fitbits) and Bixby (in Samsung) is that it considers context, trends, and phrases to accurately transcribe your speech even if your pronunciation is not perfectly accurate.
Failing that, you can also quickly reply to messages using the pre-composed replies or by using the keyboard or handwriting letters.
The keyboard is quite good. It might seem odd to use a keyboard on a screen that measures 1 ½ inch in diameter, but oddly enough the text predictions are good and you also can swipe your finger in order to form words. It’s my second preferred option.
You can also draw letters on the screen to form words. I don’t like this option across all smartwatch platforms because it is very slow and can be quite inaccurate.
Out of all the smartwatch platforms available, Google’s Wear OS gives you the most text input methods and that’s great because you might find that you prefer the keyboard over speech-to-text.
The Ticwatch E2 does not have a speaker and so you cannot make phone calls or answer them on your wrist. You can accept call or decline calls on the smartwatch but you will need to chat on your smartphone.
I personally find it useful to have a smartwatch which you can use to answer phone calls. The convenience of not having to search or pull out your phone from a handbag or from your jeans pocket is one of the small things I appreciate from having a smartwatch.
The Wear OS comes with Google Assistant and it’s a really great voice assistant.
Again, Google’s commendable transcription of speech really helps Google Assistant understand your instructions.
I like how I can boil pasta and tell my smartwatch to start a four-minute timer. It would be possible to do this through the touchscreen, but that is a lot more fiddly and slower. In fact, this stands true for many tasks such as finding out the weather, directions, and random bits of information.
Google Assistant ranks as the top voice assistant on Android-compatible smartwatches. It beats out Bixby and Alexa by a fair margin because of how it can find tidbits of information quickly and has great integration into many apps.
The range of apps available on the Wear OS platform puts it at the top of the list. The Wear OS platform has one of the widest user bases and as a result, has a great breadth of apps that you can choose from.
Particularly cool is the ability to download Google apps. I found it very useful to have Google Keep, Translate, and Maps on my phone. Google Maps is a particularly useful feature for me as a bike commuter. Having a map on your wrist really saves the trouble of stopping and pulling out your phone to refer to the map.
Staying on this topic, having a grocery list on your wrist is also great because you won’t need to pull out your phone to check items off your list. Simple tasks like these are made more convenient with the help of different apps.
Music buffs will also love that you can download Spotify and Google Play Music for streaming content. What’s more, if you are playing music from your smartphone, you can remotely control the volume and skip tracks on your wrist. This is beautiful if you have wireless headphones and are wandering around the house.
Unlike the flagship Ticwatch Pro, the Ticwatch E2 has a 5ATM water resistance which makes it very good if you want to take the watch for a swim.
It’s confusing to me that the highest-end Ticwatch Pro only has an IP68 water resistance rating, which isn’t very confidence-inspiring if you are about to take an expensive watch into a pool. Ticwatch Pro’s web page also does not mention anything about swimming.
Whereas the E2’s web page shows a model in a swimming pool wearing the E2. However, the sales copy takes the cake: “TicWatch E2 is swim friendly and comes equipped with a pre-loaded swim monitoring mode to keep track of how your swims benefited your health and fitness. Fish are jealous”
The Ticwatch E2’s preloaded swimming software is very useful because Wear OS watches generally do not come with that. Even waterproof Fossil watches do not come with a swimming tracker which means you have to download an app that tracks swimming data.
One big dilemma for Ticwatch users is whether to use the integrated TicExercise tracker or to use Google Fit. Both are good, but I honestly feel that Google Fit is better.
Not only does Google Fit have a bigger number of exercises to choose from, but it also runs on your smartphone and tracks data from it. That means that even if you are not wearing your smartwatch, it will still be able to provide you with some data. The best data is always derived from having the watch track your exercise, though, because heart rate readings can only be obtained with the watch.
In fairness, Mobvoi’s pre-installed software also tracks step count and has an inactivity reminder that motivates you to get up and stay active. This is a feature that is unavailable in standard Wear OS watches.
The Ticwatch E2’s heart rate sensor is quite reliable even as you get sweaty, and the integrated TicPulse app also has an abnormal heartbeat monitor that tracks sudden changes in a heartbeat that might suggest some health issues.
The Ticwatch E2 is a fantastic watch at an entry-level price.
I really liked how it had a big 1.4-inch screen and had a lightweight watch case. I also liked all the benefits you get from the Wear OS including a wide range of apps, Google Assistant, and excellent speech-to-text transcription.
The Ticwatch E2 is even better than the Ticwatch Pro because of its waterproof capabilities. How a flagship watch can be missing a feature that an entry-level watch has is beyond me.
Its biggest competition comes from Fossil Sport Smartwatch. That watch is worth considering if you want a watch that is even smaller but has similar levels of capabilities. One major difference with that watch is that it has poor battery life that might not even last a day.
Otherwise, you’d be going upmarket for a watch that has a full set of features including a speaker (which allows you to make calls).
You can’t go wrong with the Ticwatch E2 at the price it commands. It’s great value and great performance rolled into one.