I like my Garmin Fenix 6. It’s a great smartwatch that gives me a lot of data about my health and workouts.
But Mobvoi released the Ticwatch E3 and I was very excited to test it.
I must say…I forgot how convenient it is to have a general purpose smartwatch that can do it all.
Why am I excited for the Ticwatch E3?
The Wear OS platform has been getting better and better, and it’s been significantly helped by better hardware across every smartwatch using Google’s Wear OS platform.
The last smartwatch which I have found to give me satisfactory performance is the Ticwatch Pro 3.
That’s a complete game changer. No lag, no frustrating waits.
It used to be that if you had an update running on the background, you’ll find your smartwatch to lag like crazy.
Now, the Ticwatch E3 has the same processor specs as the Ticwatch Pro 3.
My immediate question was then… why buy the Ticwatch Pro 3.
After using this smartwatch for a few days, I do have some thoughts on that, which we’ll explore later.
But what I can say is that the Ticwatch E3 offers a great smartwatch experience at a good pricec.
A whole new level
I really liked the previous Ticwatch E2 because it’s a pretty fantastic entry-level smartwatch.
Ticwatch wearers would be pleased to know that the Ticwatch E3 is on another level.
On the hardware front, it boasts a lot of features that I wouldn’t expect on an entry level smartwatch.
For one, it has the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 processor.
This is the same processor that Mobvoi has employed on its flagship Ticwatch Pro 3.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform promises better performance and better battery life than the 3100.
While the 3100 is no laggard, the 4100 chipset provides a lag-free experience, even when activating programs such as Google Assistant which traditionally had a bit of a pause before it’s ready to receive an instruction.
The Ticwatch E3 also comes with 1GB RAM, which has been quite standard and provides good performance when switching apps. There’s also 8GB of internal storage.
Design and display
One of the things I didn’t really like about the previous generations of Ticwatches (C2/E2/S2) was that the looked like toys.
Now, they were highly capable watches but they don’t offer me the feeling of a premium product.
To be fair, they were budget and entry level watches.
But the new Ticwatch E3 has been really revamped to look like a winner.
Where the previous Ticwatches had a deep bezel, the Ticwatch E3 has a bit of a curved glass where the screen meets the watch case.
The bezel is minimal. Like the width of a rice grain.
The colour scheme is also dark grey on black, which is a very elegant colour scheme used on Tesla’s and Apple’s website (although these sites use white too).
The Ticwatch E3 comes with a silicone band that’s black. Nothing special here but THANKS for not giving me a leather band.
On the rear, you get Mobvoi’s new back casing.
The back case is where smartwatches get all sci-fi.
Mobvoi has significantly improved its rear with its new charging port. It used to be that you’d have a charging dock where the Ticwatch E2/S2/C2/Pro would sit within to charge.
Now, it’s much more compact because it just connects to the charging pins on the top of the rear.
You get red and green LEDs too on the Ticwatch E3, which means you get a blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) sensor and a heart rate sensor.
After the Apple Watch marketed their new Series 6 as one with a SpO2 sensor, the whole smartwatch market went crazy for it.
Now, almost all of the latest smartwatch will have this feature.
A day into wearing the Ticwatch E3, one of my friends called me.
Naturally, I received a notification on my Ticwatch E3 saying that someone is calling.
I answered the call, not knowing whether I would be able to talk on the smartwatch.
Most entry level devices have no such ability.
To my surprise, I was able to answer the call.
Call quality was OK. The dude on the other end understood what I was saying and that must mean the microphone’s quality was OK.
The sound quality on my end was just OK.
It’s not a good way to have long conversations, but it’s convenient in situations where you don’t wanna pull your phone out from your pocket/handbag.
I can think of a few scenarios: sports, lazing in bed, etc.
Messages and emails
God. After so long with the Garmin Fenix 6, I completely forgot how convenient it is to have a smartwatch that can function as a true proxy of your smartphone.
Apple is the best at replicating the smartphone experience on your wrist.
But for us plebians who don’t use Apple iPhones, a Google Wear OS smartwatch offers a decent experience.
Having not used the Wear OS for a while, I was quite pleased to see that you can now see images within your notifications.
You can also reply to your messages and emails (assuming you’re paired to an Android).
This is where I really like the Wear OS experience.
Nothing else comes close, except Apple.
The best way to reply to messages is to speak directly into your smartwatch and use Google’s speech to text transcription service.
The most important point here is that Google’s speech to text quality is amazing. It understands context, understands where to put punctuation and really makes your life easier.
The one downside is that you can only see a snippet of your emails or messages. Meaning if you have a longer email or message, you’d have to pull your smartphone out.
However, this problem is consistent across all platforms except on the Apple Watch.
I really like having Google Assistant because it gets me.
It’s likely going to understand what you’re trying to say to it and it is most likely going to be able to execute your instructions.
Central to the experience is how it can help you avoid tedious tapping and swiping.
For example, I like starting a timer on my smartwatch that will alert me when it’s time to turn off the oven.
I just long press a button on the Ticwatch E3 and Google starts asking me to tell it what to do.
I tell it, “timer four mintues” and we’re good.
There are other situations in which I find Google Assistant to be very useful. Checking tomorrow’s weather, for example.
All in all, for all the information Google collects about me, I am glad they offer such an advanced solution to life’s tedious tasks.
Mobvoi has an addiction to the step count and I don’t know why.
Maybe I am in the minority, but I seriously don’t care about step counts.
In almost all of the Mobvoi’s watch faces, you’ll see a step counter.
Luckily, the Wear OS has many options you can choose from.
You can pick some of the watch faces that Google supplies or ones from Mobvoi.
The designs from Mobvoi are highly utilitarian which is fine. The designs from Google look a bit better but nothing to shout about.
Ultimately, the Wear OS is a utilitarian platform so the watch faces aren’t especially pretty. They just work.
All Wear OS smartwatches have some pretty good utility apps on them such as a stopwatch, timer, alarm and calculator.
If you don’t find what you want, you can always use the Google Play Store to download other apps.
Particularly, because you’re using Google’s platform, you are also able to access their suite of apps such as Google Translate (which is great, BTW).
You can download Google Maps and Google Keep.
Google Maps is pretty useful if you need navigation but can’t keep your phone in sight.
Mobvoi is MGTOW
When it comes to sports, Mobvoi Goes Their Own Way.
Let’s put it this way: Google comes with its own suite of apps to track your fitness, sports, step counts, heart rate, etc.
Mobvoi says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
I can’t think of another Wear OS manufacturer who has their own suite of sports software that’s so thorough.
But is it any good?
I’d argue that on the Ticwatch Pro 3, it makes sense to use Mobvoi’s TicExercise.
TicExercise tracks workouts, akin to Google Fit.
The Ticwatch Pro 3 has a dual-layer screen and info from TicExercise gets displayed on its power-saving screen instead of its full-blown colour screen.
I mean, there’s a reason why that smartwatch can last half a week.
But there’s no such dual-layer screen on the Ticwatch E3.
So, it’s debatable whether using TicExercise is useful.
First of all, let’s talk about the breadth of workouts you can pick from.
Google Fit offers far more choices. I enjoy paddle boarding which isn’t an option in TicExercise.
If you enjoy more obscure workouts, you’re unlikely to find it on TicExercise.
I am so glad that the Ticwatch E3 has an internal GPS.
This was a major pain that I had to deal with when I was reviewing the Ticwatch GTH.
I think having an internal GPS is important so that you can always get location data even if didn’t bring your phone to supply the location data.
Or if you’re like me: I run my smartphone in power saving mode so it won’t transmit any location data.
It’s an old phone whose battery will die at the slightest exertion.
Good on the Ticwatch E3 for having an internal GPS, although to be fair, like SpO2, having one has become a standard thing on smartwatches.
I use all my smartwatches with the always on screen activated.
Some smartwatches can’t last beyond one day. Luckily, the Ticwatch E3 can even if you wear it overnight for sleep tracking.
As long as you turn the brightness down and avoid using its internal GPS, you will be fine for a second day, if only barely.
The new series of Mobvoi smartwatches are able to track your sleep.
This is great because most Wear OS smartwatches don’t come with this feature natively.
Now, when it comes to sleep tracking, software is one thing, but how comfortable a smartwatch is also matters… a lot.
My Garmin Fenix 6, for example, is a real pain to wear overnight. It just doesn’t allow you to put any pressure on the side where you are wearing your watch.
Whereas the Fitbit Sense and Apple Watch are great in this regard.
The Ticwatch E3 remains somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Coming from the Garmin Fenix 6, I felt a sense of relief. It wasn’t palpable.
However, if you are coming from wearing nothing at all, then you’ll definitely notice it.
I’m kinda feeling that for most people wearing a watch overnight is a weird feeling, but no pain, no gain right?
If 2020 is the year the world went off the rails, it was also the year where smartwatches went off the rails with the things they tracked.
Stress tracking is one of the features which I have found to be quite useless but it’s there in case you aren’t a fan of introspection and want a watch to tell you when you’re stressed.
The only issue is that stress tracking is not passive. You have to activate the TicZen app in order for it to tell you whether you’re stressed.
And to get your results, it’s not quick. You’re also asked to keep still for about two minutes.
A little rumble and the test will fail.
But if you eventually do get your stress reading, you can calm your nerves through the TicBreathe app which is a breathing timer.
Another app that has good intentions but poor implementation.
It could also be because the TicHearing app’s only competitor is the Apple Watch’s noise monitoring feature which is excellent.
Like the stress tracking feature, TicHearing doesn’t run passively in the background so you’d have to activate the app in order to get a noise reading.
I learned that it’s 75dB in the cabin of an aeroplane and 90dB on the subway. Good to know.
Now, hearing protection is important which is why I appreciate the Apple Watch’s implementation of this. If a noise level exceeds a certain threshold, it’ll ping you and tell you what the maximum exposure time is.
On the TicHearing, you get labels like “Intense” or “Dangerous.”
Not very useful…
Here comes the blood oximeter!
It tells you your blood oxygen level.
I don’t know what to do with this statistic.
I can also safely say that no watch manufacturer will promise you anything. The best they can do is that a low percentage could mean you have an underlying health issue.
I think the Ticwatch E3 is a really good smartwatch.
You get so many features including the ability to answer phone calls (a premium-grade smartwatch feature).
You get a medium-weight smartwatch with great design.
I actually find it hard to justify to you why you should get the Ticwatch Pro 3, but maybe I’ll elaborate on that in a separate article.
But what the TIcwatch E3 offers is basically almost all of the features of the Ticwatch Pro 3 but with less battery life.
It’s what the next generation of Fossil smartwatches would aspire to be, and it certainly leaves the Fossil Gen 5 in the dust.