Android has gone from a niche mobile operating system when it launched in 2008, to the leading option for consumers around the world. Most tech pundits credit its flexibility as the reason why most manufacturers adopted its use on their products. However, Wear OS — its smartwatch operating system — seems to be struggling. Mobvoi’s latest model — the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS — is out to change that perception.
Among the common complaints from users when it comes to Wear OS, it’s the battery life the keeps folks on the fence. On the other hand, with the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, Mobvoi presents a clever solution to the problem surrounding the battery drain. We’ll go into more detail about that a little later as we start off with how you can get it and what it’s in the box.
Getting and unboxing the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS
Ordering the smartwatch is quite easy. You can go to Mobvoi’s official page and choose the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS from its lineup of cool products. Another option would be to head on over to Amazon and place your order there instead. Either way, shipping is surprisingly quick and the item should be in your hands soon.
Our unit arrived without any shipping issues. It was packed properly to keep the shipment safe from the typical handling process of most logistics providers. We took out the box and it was impressively free of any dents. Moreover, it was shrink-wrapped, which kept the packaging virtually immaculate.
After removing the plastic, you have an outer sleeve that has the printed image of the smartwatch model on the top. Take note that a quick start guide is slipped in between the bottom of the box and the cardboard sleeve. With that out of the way, you now have the final barrier between you and your stylish new smart wearable.
Pop the lid open and the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS sits right in the middle. To remove it, lift the cardboard mount and push out the foam that prevents you from unfastening the pin buckle. Inside the box are some documentation, a charging cable, and a small desiccant packet.
Design and construction
The TicWatch Pro 3 GPS features a round display with a fixed stainless steel bezel. You’ll also find that there are indices engraved in white along the ring. What follows are the caseband, caseback, and lugs which are crafted out of high-quality polymer. For now, it’s only available in Shadow Black
On the right section of the caseband are two stainless steel push buttons with a microphone pinhole in between. Meanwhile, the left flank is barren save for two speaker grilles. Flip the device over to see the proprietary magnetic pogo pin charging port, HDD PPG sensors, and regulatory information.
What looks like leather watch straps are actually made out of silicone rubber. The intricate orange stitching helps create that illusion and even allows the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS to look good with formal outfits. Nevertheless, the material is a great choice given it is geared for those with an active lifestyle.
TicWatch Pro 3 GPS
- Watch Size (mm): 47 x 47 x 12.2 (not including lugs)
- Weight (grams): 41.9
- Display Size (inches): 1.4
- Display Technology: Retina AMOLED + FSTN LCD
- Case Material Polymer
- Bezel Type: Fixed
- Bezel Material: Stainless steel
- Strap Size (mm): 22
- Strap Material: Silicone Rubber
- Strap Closure Type: Pin Buckle
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100
- RAM (GB): 1
- ROM (GB): 8
- Operating System: Wear OS
- GNSS: GPS, Beidou, Glonass, Galileo, QZSS
- Microphone/Speaker (Y/N): Yes/Yes
- NFC (Y/N): Yes
- Ingress Protection (Y/N): Yes (IP68)
- Heart Rate Sensor (Y/N): Yes
- Blood Oxygen Saturation Sensor (Y/N): Yes
- Battery Capacity (mAh) 595
Now that you have an overview of what the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS brings to the table it’s time for the good stuff. Mobvoi is actually the first to equip its smartwatch with Qualcomm’s latest chipset for smartwatches. The Snapdragon Wear 4100 paired with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage allows it to really flex its capabilities. Also, the chipmaker claims the new processor more power-efficient.
So far, we have observed that it makes Wear OS feel more responsive and runs apps smoother. Even after loading it with a bunch of apps, we barely noticed any hiccups when it was time for action. Although some users will find that it still lags behind its biggest competitors, it is a significant improvement over its predecessors.
The IP68 protection means you can wear it while swimming or even during the most rigorous workouts. Plus, health monitoring functionalities keep owners aware of their heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, sleep, and more. Another aspect we love about the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is the ability to make and take calls directly on your wrist.
Given when there are no alerts or notifications, most people regularly check their smartwatch for the time. Continuously doing this will drain more power from the battery. As such, the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS boasts a clever feature to address this specific challenge. Mobvoi gives the smartwatch a dual-layer display, which is a combination of a vibrant Retina AMOLED and a low-power FSTN LCD.
Earlier we pointed out how Mobvoi’s engineers approached the issue regarding Wear OS and its less than favorable battery life. Therefore, when the user needs to use the smartwatch’s functions, the 1.4-inch 454 x 454 retina AMOLED springs to life. It’s bright enough to be legible under direct sunlight, but what actually contributes to its 72-hour battery life is the FSTN LCD.
The TicWatch Pro 3 GPS might not be the first one to employ this tactic, but it is the first to integrate the technology seamlessly. Depending on your desired setting, tilting, touching the screen, or pressing the button will activate the FSTN LCD first. It will show you essential information such as the time, heart rate, battery status, and more.
In Smart Mode, the wearable can switch between the two display modes accordingly. Please note that only through conservative usage can you really squeeze out the 72-hour battery life as claimed by Mobvoi. Nonetheless, in Essential Mode — wherein only the FSTN LCD is activated — a full charge will supposedly last up to 45 days (we haven’t tested it that long to confirm though).
This is where Google’s Wear OS shines as TicWatch Pro 3 GPS owners can access a huge library of watch faces. Mobvoi already includes a sizeable number of first-party options out of the box, but you can always add more. Up next are the 22 mm straps. The quick-release mechanism makes it easy to remove and replace without the need for tools.
Years of trying out various smartwatches that run on proprietary operating systems, we have a comprehensive overview of each one’s pros and cons. So far, we must say that Wear OS has certainly benefited from the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100. Furthermore, the jump from 512 MB to 1GB of RAM gives it a noticeable smoothness in contrast to older models.
We believe that with the proper approach — design-wise and hardware-wise — Mobvoi has unlocked the versatility of Wear OS. Despite the criticism being directed its way, if Google’s wearable ecosystem continues to improve, it eventually has the potential to be adopted by more brands. The TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is certainly a great starting point for those curious to try it out for themselves.
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