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Mobvoi Ticwatch S Review: A fitness-focused Wear OS smartwatch that’s just good enough

When I think of Wear OS watches, most devices that come to mind are standard-looking timepieces from companies like Kate Spade, LG, Huawei, and others. While these all work with fitness apps like the one from Google, none of them are really sporty and made for exercising. So if you’re looking for a fitness-focused wearable, the Mobvoi Ticwatch S might be the perfect watch for you.

Hardware |

Lightweight and comfortable but with non-removable bands

As mentioned above, most Wear OS watches are made out of heavy, bulky, metal. When you’re exercising, this is just about the opposite of what you’ll want on your wrist and tracking your workouts.

With the watch bands made out of a soft-touch TPU material, the Ticwatch S is exceptionally comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Not only does it have a groove on the inside of the strap to help keep moisture from building up, but the light-weight material keeps the watch from weighing down your wrist. Coming in at 45.5g, the Ticwatch S is almost half the weight of other wearables such as the LG Watch Sport.

But to attain this weight and form, Mobvoi had to go with non-removal watchbands. This isn’t the end of the world as the straps can be adjusted to comfortably fit on large or small wrists, but what I really dislike is where the band meets the watch body. You won’t notice it from afar, but the two pieces don’t come together perfectly so there is a distinct unevenness that you can see and feel.

There are a few other things to mention about the watch body. Most importantly, the charger on the Ticwatch S utilizes a magnetized pin connector. I love wireless charging when it’s done correctly, but so many Wear OS watches use weak wireless charging pucks that are clunky or just don’t keep a stable connection.

You will also find a heart rate sensor on the back, a physical button on the left side of the watch face, and the Ticwatch S’s disappointing display (more on that later).

While the Ticwatch S does come in several different colors, I have the white variant. I’ve been wearing this smartwatch for several months now and I can happily say that the white color doesn’t stain or pick up any color from rubbing against your clothes or other objects in my experience.

Check out the table below if you’re interested in the watch’s full list of specs.

Ticwatch S Specification
Wear OS version Wear OS 2.12
Screen size 1.4 inch OLED display
Resolution 400×400 pixels
PPI 287 ppi
Processor MediaTek MT2601, 1.2GHz dual-core
Storage 4GB
Battery 300mAh (nonremovable)
Ports Magnetic connecting pin charging
Weight 45.5g
Dimensions 45mm diameter watch face, 13mm thick
Strap size 22mmx118mm, 22mmx75mm (non-removable)
Other features heart-rate sensor, anti-scratch glass, mic & speaker, water and dust resistant (IP67)
Color options White, Lime Green, Black
In-box accessories USB charging cable

Software & Performance |

It runs Wear OS

As a fitness-focused smartwatch, there are, of course, exercise tracking features. Google Fit is here (for whatever it’s worth), but the built-in Mobvoi software is probably what you’ll use to track outdoor/indoor runs, walks, cycling, and freestyle (weight lifting and other gym workouts). Inside each of these different options, you can set a target you wish to reach, a set duration period, and more.

Honestly, the most annoying aspect of using the fitness tools was the GPS connection — before you start a workout, you have to stand stationary for 15 seconds to almost a minute and allow the watch to find your location. It’s not the end of the world, but it does slow you down when you’re trying to warm up for a workout.

Lastly, the built-in Health app will let you monitor your steps, heart rate, and more over time. The landing page for the app definitely reminds me of the Apple Watch’s rings that urge you to complete within a day to remain healthy.

In addition to the Wear OS app, Mobvoi pushes you to download its own app on your phone to gain access to additional features. Unfortunately, it isn’t really that helpful. All it shows is the exact same data that you can find in the Health app on the Ticwatch S. It’s an excellent way to track data over a period of time, but the app doesn’t share any more in-depth insights.

For now, the MediaTek processor’s performance stands up well compared to the Snapdragon 2100 found in almost every Wear OS device from the last couple of years. This basically means that the Ticwatch S runs smoothly, just don’t expect it to run as snappy as your 2018 smartphone. But with Qualcomm working on a new wearable CPU, this watch might look slow next to the rumored Google Wear OS device.

Display |

As mentioned above, I was not very impressed by the Ticwatch S’s display. Sporting a 1.4-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 400×400, you shouldn’t expect too much, but this is worse than most. For the longest time, I thought the watchface I was using had a grid background pattern. It wasn’t until I started testing out Facer that I realized that the “grids” that I was seeing were actually the pixels.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing problematic with the display in day to day use, but you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. I haven’t had issues with screen responsiveness or dead pixels or the like, and the look of various watch faces and menus in the OS is as vibrant as ever. Just know about the visible grids.

You might be able to see what I’m talking about with the included photos, but I couldn’t get it to show up exactly how I saw it with my eyes using different types of camera lenses.

Battery Life |

Mobvoi advertises that the Ticwatch S with its 300mAh battery should last for 48 hours depending on use. I found this to be pretty spot on, but I did tend to use the watch with the always-on display turned off and not constantly checking my heart rate.

When you use the watch to track workouts, you naturally get a decreased battery life as the watch has the heart rate and other sensors constantly running. Depending on the workout (like outdoor run or walk mode), the watch will use your phone’s GPS connection to track your location, and that’s a big drain.

Because of all of these variables, your battery life can fluctuate quite dramatically, but no matter how I used the Ticwatch S, I was never left with a dead smartwatch halfway through the day.

Conclusion |

This is the Wear OS watch to buy

I’ll leave it at this: I really like the Ticwatch S, but it and every other Wear OS device is limited by Google’s operating system. It works, but it feels old a clunky. But if you’re looking for a fitness-focused smartwatch and don’t want to get a dedicated health tracker like a Fitbit, the Ticwatch S is a fantastic option. Plus, with its $200 price tag, it’s hard to find a better deal for such a great smartwatch.

Buy the Ticwatch S from Amazon

Buy the Ticwatch S from Mobvoi

Oh and if the Ticwatch S doesn’t fit your style, make sure to check out our review of the Mobvoi Ticwatch E and keep an eye out for the upcoming Ticwatch Pro coming later this summer.

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Avatar for Justin Duino Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at Tips are always welcome.