So what happens when smartwatch manufacturer Mobvoi decides to go into the Fitbit space?
Well, the Ticwatch GTH smartwatch happens.
The new Ticwatch GTH is something like a Fitbit mated with an Apple Watch and then mating with fitness tracker.
It’s not really a smartwatch, but it does look like the Apple Watch.
It’s close to the Fitbit Sense in terms of its health and wellness features, but it’s not as smart.
But its price is REALLY good.
The Ticwatch GTH has a design that’s reminiscent of the Apple Watch and that’s a problem.
The problem is that now I am so tempted to compare this smartwatch with the Apple Watch.
I mean, lookalikes are always compared to each other. Think about store-brand gummy bears to Haribo gummy bears. Lotus Elan to Mazda MX-5. Maybe even Zooey Deschanel and Katy Perry… lol.
But before you @ me, let me just say that I recognize that I’m comparing apples to oranges. The Ticwatch GTH is a budget smart-ish-watch while the Apple Watch Series 6 is a flagship watch that’s much more expensive.
The Ticwatch GTH is rectangular with rounded edges all over to give it a modern, sleek look. You’ll notice this design theme in flagship Samsung phones, on the Apple Watch and Fitbit Sense/Versa 3.
There’s only one button, pretty much in the same position as where the Apple Watch Series 6 has its rotating crown.
I mean, I tried rotating the Ticwatch GTH’s button, then I realized it doesn’t rotate.
See what I mean by the Apple Watch setting expectations for the Ticwatch GTH because it looks so similar?
On the underside of the watch case, you get a body temperature sensor, two conductive circles for charging, a heart rate sensor (green LEDs) and a blood oxygen saturation sensor.
In fact, the rear of the Ticwatch GTH looks nothing like Mobvoi’s Ticwatch Pro 3. In previous Ticwatches, Mobvoi would use the same heart rate sensor across its lineup.
It seems that Mobvoi has created a new design for just the Ticwatch GTH.
There is quite a bit of a bezel surrounding the screen, though. In this day and age of slim bezels, this shortcoming puts Mobvoi’s Ticwatch GTH a bit behind on the design modernity.
Nonetheless, when I wear the Ticwatch GTH, I kinda feel like I am cool. I have a modern, sleek, svelte and compact smartwatch.
It gives me the same feelings as I get with a Apple Watch.
I wore this smartwatch overnight and generally I consider this test to be a very important test.
Most smartwatches these days have some form of sleep tracking. But after wearing the beast of a smartwatch that is the Garmin Fenix 6, I realize how a bulky smartwatch can interfere with your sleep.
You’ll never want to put pressure on the wrist that has a smartwatch, but some smartwatches are less uncomfortable when you do so, such as the Fitbit Sense with its gradually curving underside that exerts pressure over a small area.
The Ticwatch GTH is a bit worse than the Apple Watch and the Fitbit Sense/Versa 3, but it’s more comfortable than Mobvoi’s Ticwatch Pro 3 and many other smartwatches. I’d rank it above the average smartwatch in terms of overnight comfort.
As for daily wear comfort, it’s OK. I don’t particularly find it super comfortable or super uncomfortable.
The rubber strap that comes with the Ticwatch GTH is nothing to brag about. It works. It doesn’t absorb water. It’s a non-controversial grey.
No always on screen
One of the first impressions I got of the GTH is that it has all the modern features that exist on flagship watches such as Sp02, stress and sleep tracking.
Yet at the same time, it doesn’t have an always on screen.
Usually when Apple implements something, it becomes the industry standard. Apple resisted putting this feature on their smartwatches until the fourth generation. But now that it comes standard…
It does save battery to not have such a feature but I did find it quite inconvenient.
Not everyone agrees though. My colleague doesn’t use her always on screen on her Apple Watch so if you’re that type of watch user, you might find this to be a non issue.
Roughness on the edge of glory
The Ticwatch GTH is quite a glorious smartwatch but it’s a bit marred but its unrefined edges.
Again, I wouldn’t be judging it this way if it didn’t look like an Apple Watch.
Some rough edges include the font on notifications.
The Ticwatch GTH is built around a sans serif font but the notifications come in as a serif font. Worse, it’s an ugly serif font. A bit like the font a 1993 Windows 3.1 computer would use.
This inconsistency is jarring to me but that’s also because I am a graphic designer and pick about these things.
The English translations can also be pretty amusing. For example, when the TicMotion detects that I am walking it says, “It is recognized that you may be fast walking whether to enter the app to start recording.”
No microphone = no voice assistant = no noise tracker
Not having a microphone on a smartwatch has big, cascading effects on its functionality.
It’s important to note that even the cheaper Ticwatches that are built on Wear OS platform have a microphone.
Having a microphone opens up some possibilities such as the inclusion of a voice assistant and a noise level monitor. Both of which are available on Mobvoi’s flagship Ticwatch Pro 3.
There’s no such thing on the Ticwatch GTH.
Notifications, but no reply
On the most entry level of smartwatches, you’ll usually be able to reply to your messages.
On the Ticwatch GTH, you can read the message but you can’t reply to it. I mean, not having a microphone would eliminate the best way to reply to a message which is speech to text.
One of my friends asked me for a recommendation for smartwatches that don’t require a charge every few days.
I had to hold my laughter. Charging once every few days is actually very good battery life on a smartwatch.
Most REAL smartwatches only last one day and a bit. Apple Watch, Ticwatch E/S/C series are best charged in the same way you’d charge your smartphone.
The Ticwatch GTH does last for quite a while. I wore it for about three days 24/7 and it had 58% battery left. Ticwatch claims 7-10 days of battery life.
Of course, to be fair, the Ticwatch GTH isn’t a really smart smartwatch. It’s like an elite fitness tracker and if we’re comparing fitness trackers, their battery life is generally longer.
Not having an always on screen (boo!) and not having a GPS (step back to 2015!) are real bummers on the feature side of things but they really help extend battery life.
Man, I really like the design of the watch faces that Mobvoi offers.
There are some really pretty watch faces that you can load onto your Ticwatch GTH via the Mobvoi app.
The Mobvoi app has become a lot more refined since I first installed it for the original Ticwatch Pro.
One thing, though, is that you can’t really customize the data that’s displayed on your Ticwatch GTH.
Usually, most smartwatches will have a few data fields that you can modify. So if you don’t want to see steps (as is the case in most of the Ticwatch GTH’s watch faces), you can swap it out for weather, battery life left, etc.
Not in the Ticwatch GTH’s case.
However, you can make a custom watch face. The “custom” part really only extends to putting a picture of your choosing onto the watch face.
The Ticwatch GTH is a pretty good fitness tracker with one major problem.
It has no GPS.
Not having GPS means that distances are estimates.
Not having a GPS really brings me back to the bad old days of the Fitbit Versa 2. That smartwatch didn’t have a GPS and therefore I am always tethered to my phone for GPS data.
On the Ticwatch GTH, it doesn’t seem that the watch uses your phone’s GPS data. So, there’s no information.
Fourteen workout modes
While there are many workout modes you can choose from including the usual suspects of run, cycle and swim, there are a few others such as rowing, mountain climbing and yoga.
A lot of the sports modes are really similar. You get your heart rate reading and calories burned.
Sometimes you do get a distance reading, but only for step-based workouts such as “Outdoor Run.”
Since the watch doesn’t have a GPS, I am a little dubious about the how accurate the distance feature can get.
The way Mobvoi has handled the variety of sports reminds me of what Google Fit does.
Google Fit has a ton of sports and workouts you can choose from, but they are essentially the same in terms of what kind of data is displayed. Perhaps there’s some difference under the hood but I won’t be able to tell.
The only thing good about having a large variety of sports to choose from (without any perceptible difference between the data you get) is that you can know what kind of sports you did in retrospect.
So, if you enjoy one of the 14 workout modes, you’re in luck. If you aren’t, then I guess you’re going to be “Outdoor Cycling” on water when in actuality, you’re on a paddle board.
Data collected can be accessed through the Mobvoi app.
Encouraging you to better health
One of the most important things that smartwatches can help you with is encouragement.
Daily movement tracker
The Ticwatch GTH has a tracker for calories burned, steps and distance travelled. As you achieve more of this, a bar will fill up.
The watch also will give you milestone reminders when you complete a kilometre (or mile) of walking.
You can also activate a sedentary reminder that tells you to get off your butt.
Skin temperature monitoring (TicTemp)
The Ticwatch GTH measures your skin temperature through the TicTemp app, as well as passively through the day)
Perhaps it’s useful to find out if you have a fever?
I don’t know how accurate it is.
This is a feature that’s rarely seen on smartwatches. I think the first smartwatch I saw it on is a Fitbit Sense.
Blood oxygen sensor (AKA SpO2 sensor)
The Ticwatch GTH has a red LED on its back that helps you measure your blood oxygen level.
I don’t know what to do with this data. I just know the Apple Watch Series 6 kicked off a frenzy for everyone else to implement this.
On the whole, sleep monitoring is pretty good.
I tracked sleep over three days and found that besides one day where the reading was way off, the Ticwatch GTH’s sleep tracking feature is decent.
It’ll tell you your sleep stages, your average sleep heart rate and it will give you sleep tips.
This is a pretty important feature that I think smartwatches should have because it helps you understand the patterns to your sleep.
If you are looking to find out if your sleep schedule is going awry, this is a great way to passively keep track of it.
You do have to wear the Ticwatch GTH overnight, though, but it’s quite a comfortable watch to wear so no problems there.
Want to know your respiration rate (one respiration is an inhale and exhale)?
I don’t, but this smartwatch can tell you.
Seriously, what can I do with this data?
TicZen and TicBreathe
TicZen measures your stress levels.
It takes a while to get a sense of your stress levels and it’s something you have to activate before it can tell you how stressed you are.
I mean, on my super costly Garmin Fenix 6, the stress tracker runs passively every day, so in passing, I can know my stress levels.
I don’t actively measure my stress levels.
So, I don’t use the TicZen features.
But if you find yourself stressed, you can use the TicBreathe app that guides you through breathing exercises.
The one thing about TicBreathe is that you have to keep your eyes open to see whether you need to inhale or exhale.
Some smartwatches try to indicate this to you through a different vibration pulse.
I think the Ticwatch GTH has a niche.
Let’s be real: it’s a cheap semi-smartwatch.
It’s not going to give you Fitbit Versa 3 levels of functionality. Because a Fitbit Versa 3 is multiple times the GTH’s costs.
It’s not going to be a mere fitness tracker.
I really enjoy using the Ticwatch GTH because it’s quite comfortable, has useful tools like sleep tracking and a long battery life.
It also tells the time very well because there are many nicely designed watch faces and you can make your own.
The screen is also sharp and modern. The watch’s design also has all the design elements to make it look modern.
Nonetheless, I really find the Ticwatch GTH to be a bit unrefined on the mismatch between notifications’ text and the rest of the watch’s user interface. Some translations are also not very good.
Looking like an Apple Watch makes it even harder to forgive.
I also found that the workout logs aren’t very useful. For one, the GTH has no GPS so location data is not always available.
So, buy it if you want something that:
1. Tells the time and looks aesthetically pleasing
2. Has long battery life
3. Has some semblance of sleep tracking and some semblance of workout logging and you don’t really mind inaccuracies.