Review: The TicWatch E Budget Smartwatch Is The Difference Between Cheap and Affordable

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Source: Mobvoi.

I’m an Android Wear fan. I had an early LG G watch, a Huawei, a Fossil, and now I’m using the TicWatch, made by Mobvoi. I find the ability to catch notifications on my wrist without taking my phone out very  useful in general. Each of the Wear watches I’ve used have had pros and cons, and the biggest con has always been the price. Considering a Wear watch from 2018 basically has the same guts as one from 2016? Eh. Why would you pay $200 or more for an entry level model?

The Ticwatch E is designed around giving you the most bang for your buck. The basic matte-black model that I reviewed sells for a mere $160 on Amazon. There are some other colors out there, but the basic black goes with everything. Weirdly, the “crown” element on the E is on the left of the phone, not the right. Was this watch design with lefties in mind?

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Beyond remembering where the “crown” is, the Tickwatch E basically works like every other Wear phone. Push the crown, see your apps, run them. There’s no NFC included, so you can’t use your watch to pay for things (who does this?) nor is there GPS (you have to use your phone’s), but there is a decent heart rate monitor. It’s not as fast as the one in my Jabra earbuds, and it’s passive, not active – if you want a constant heart rate monitor, you’d need to look elsewhere. Although there are apps that will “ping” the heart monitor every few increments of time and create a baseline.

The watch is water-resistant, but not waterproof. So don’t wear it swimming. The default straps are – I hate to say – not the best quality. A few days into testing my E I noticed it had popped off somewhere in Manhattan. My backpack brushed it and made the springs in the straps pop. Thankfully, an honest soul found it and contacted me.

“Dude, I have your watch” Source: Ticwatch.

TickWatch sent me new straps and I continued to test. After a while I got used to it. It functioned the same as any other Wear watch and didn’t feel cheap. Bulkier than some, yes. But not cheap. Beyond that, there’s not much unique functionality that you haven’t all seen a hundred times on every other Wear watch. There’s not a ton of variety out there.

I did find the watch to have connectivity issues to an iPhone (yes, people use Wear with iPhones) as well as to the Essential PH-1. However, that is an issue with the Essential, not the TickWatch. When using with my Alacatel Blackberry Key2 it works like a charm. Battery life was passable. There’s no way someone who gets a ton of notifications (like me) is going to make it through the day on one charge, but if you remember to charge overnight you’ll be ok.

Mobvoi also makes their own fitness app which they’d like people to use. Hard pass from me. I use Google Fit and that’s that. The Mobvoi fitness app seems ok though.

Personally, I am eagerly watching for the TicWatch Pro , but that’s a premium product. If you’re curious about Wear and don’t want to break the bank, the TickWatch E may well be your best choice.

But for the love of Marty McFly, get better straps.

Note: Mobvoi sent me a Ticwatch E and has given great support. I apologize for the lack of photos of the review unit; mine looked terrible.

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