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Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 Review: Wear OS Smartwatch with Truly Long Battery Life

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Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 5, with its classic design, is purported to hide a secret weapon aiming to solve Wear OS’s main issue – the low battery life of equipped watches. Does it live up to this promise?

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Presentation

Less known than Samsung, Google, Apple, Garmin, or Suunto, Mobvoi is nonetheless an experienced player in the smartwatch industry. Some may have heard of it during various Kickstarter campaigns. Through these collective fundraisings, the Chinese company early on demonstrated its affinity for Wear OS, albeit through a modified in-house version, showcasing its ingenuity.

A few years later, in 2018, Mobvoi indeed launched the first TicWatch Pro. Still running Wear OS, it introduced a breakthrough: dual-layered screens. The watch combined an LCD panel with an AMOLED panel to address one of the major issues of smartwatches – their limited battery life.

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In 2023, Mobvoi returns with the TicWatch Pro 5, also featuring its dual-screen setup. Let’s see how it performs in our hands.

Ergonomics and Design of Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5

As a pioneer in smartwatches, Mobvoi opts for a classic yet pleasing design, although not suitable for smaller wrists. Crafted from stainless steel, aluminum, and fiberglass, the round case is sizable at 5.01 x 4.8 cm, providing a solid presence. The 24mm-wide standard silicone strap ensures a secure fit, despite the watch weighing 44.3g. With a thickness of 1.22 cm, it’s relatively large but not overly cumbersome. The 5 ATM water resistance allows showering and swimming, though not intended for diving.

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Two buttons on the right side of the TicWatch Pro 5 handle most functions. A rotary digital crown, also pressable, and a button. The crown, protected by a slight protrusion housing the microphone, facilitates easy rotation. The button, however, is less accessible, especially if your wrist’s end bone is slightly prominent.

The crown activates the screen, whether off or in always-on mode, displaying the last opened app with a single press and accessing the app list or enabling watch shutdown with a prolonged press. Given its Wear OS nature, touchscreen usage is crucial for navigation.

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Two Screens for the Price of One

The familiar Wear OS interface (version 3.5 here) appears on a comfortable, bright, and colorful 1.43-inch AMOLED screen with adjustable brightness. The circular display boasts a resolution of 466 x 466 pixels, offering 326 pixels per inch.

The TicWatch Pro 5’s almost secret weapon is its second screen – a monochrome LCD. Despite lacking color, it provides clear and readable information. It serves as the default always-on display, though the OLED screen can also be used at the cost of higher power consumption.

This simplified interface displays essential information based on the watch face, such as time, date, or step count. The Essential mode, the most energy-efficient, offers more data compared to the standard watch face, with almost as much detail.

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While the LCD consumes less power, it has some drawbacks. Unlike the OLED panel, it may struggle with reflections as it lacks the same brightness. However, the Gorilla Glass protecting the screens is fingerprint-resistant but not anti-reflective. Fortunately, backlight color can be customized among 18 options, with certain colors enhancing visibility.

It’s even possible to make the backlight color vary based on your heart rate using the TicExercise app during workouts, seamlessly leading us to the discussion of the interface and integrated services.

Read Also: Review Of The Garmin Forerunner 965 Sports Smartwatch

Interface of Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5

There’s much to discuss about the interface, but let’s address a minor bug encountered during testing first. Each time we exited Essential mode, equivalent to leaving the screen saver, we were prompted to enter the watch unlock code to view notifications, an unexpected and inconvenient glitch that didn’t occur consistently.

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Moving on to the interface, there are twelve built-in watch faces. Minimalistic or overloaded, some hinder readability, especially during brisk walks. Despite decorative options, customization is generally limited to two faces.

As mentioned, the interface navigation aligns with Wear OS standards, making it easy to navigate. However, Mobvoi complicates the user experience by placing everything at the same level, mixing handwashing tracking with privacy settings, running app with Mobvoi treadmill configuration, resulting in a somewhat unwieldy list containing both Mobvoi and Google apps. The Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 chip (with 2GB of RAM) ensures the necessary fluidity and responsiveness, allowing the use of Google Assistant, Maps, Google Pay, etc.

The list of applications expands as you install software from the available Play Store. Although users can remove unwanted apps, a more straightforward approach would have been preferable.

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Furthermore, the TicWatch Pro 5 can handle phone calls, equipped with a microphone and speaker. However, it lacks 3G/4G/5G, requiring Bluetooth proximity to the paired phone for call management. The speaker quality is good, even in noisy environments, and the microphone is adequate for clear communication.

Some confusion arises from certain option names, possibly due to hasty translations. For instance, the “Measure a touch” feature initiates multiple health tests sequentially, and “Tilt to activate” actually accesses backlight options, including one named DE without clear explanation.

It’s regrettable that essential options, such as Sleep mode adjustment, are not more easily accessible or highlighted during initial use. Although the smartphone’s Do Not Disturb mode can fill the gap, Sleep mode is more suitable, especially if wearing the watch during sleep tracking.

Application

To control the TicWatch Pro 5, requiring Wear OS 3.5, an Android smartphone (version 8 or higher) is mandatory. Users must install the free Mobvoi Health app on their phones.

Similar to most Wear OS smartwatch apps, Mobvoi Health comprises three tabs for all necessary features. The first tab displays sleep and physical activity statistics. The second tab, Device, focuses on watch configuration, including watch faces, widget cards, and the extensive list of watch apps. The last tab, Account, provides access to TicCare data if you’re registered with Mobvoi’s service.

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The Account tab serves as a workaround for one of TicWatch Pro 5’s limitations. While using built-in apps like TicExercise (covering 102 sports or activities, with varying quality translations like skiing, badminton, board, or wrist rotation), exporting exercise results is impossible. In the Account tab, you can set up Mobvoi’s app to communicate with Strava or Google Fit, solving this limitation.

Other than that, the app interface could be more straightforward, especially for displaying health statistics, but users adapt quickly.

Uses and Precision

Equipped with a plethora of sensors – heart rate, blood oxygen, skin temperature, compass, barometer, and GPS – the TicWatch Pro 5 aims to accompany you daily, monitoring heart rate, stress, and location.

The heart rate sensor and GPS are particularly relevant. Regarding heart rate monitoring, the TicWatch Pro 5 proves responsive and accurate in tracking overall trends. However, two minor observations emerge. Firstly, it never perfectly matches the curve traced by our reference belt, a Polar H10, seeming less precise in transcribing heart efforts during the same exercise. Secondly, during various exercises, it consistently experiences periods of instability, either at the beginning or in the middle of the effort, giving the impression of erratic heart rate changes. A second watch did not confirm this, suggesting room for improvement in heart rate accuracy.

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Concerning GPS, the TicWatch Pro 5 lacks dual-band capabilities found in some high-end watches. While not crucial for casual Sunday afternoon running, it may impact serious race preparations, as noticeable differences in distance between the watch and a reference GPS occur during urban running exercises. These discrepancies become apparent when examining a map, suggesting limitations in GPS precision.

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Battery Life of Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5

With its 628 mAh battery and dual screens, the TicWatch Pro 5 appears promising. Mobvoi claims 80 hours of autonomy, surpassing the cautious estimates of Google and Apple, who mention around 18 hours.

In the always-on mode using the OLED screen and performing 30 minutes to an hour of daily indoor (cardio only) or outdoor (cardio and GPS) exercise, the watch lasted two and a half days (58 hours and 42 minutes to be precise). Opting for the LCD for the always-on display, we fell just short of the 81 hours, slightly exceeding the three days advertised. It’s also possible to use Essential mode alone to conserve watch battery, but this sacrifices much of the TicWatch Pro 5’s appeal.

While enduring, the Mobvoi watch charges rapidly. Reaching 50% battery takes 23 minutes, and it only requires 75 minutes for a full charge. The magnetic charger is user-friendly, although it occasionally detaches too easily, especially when the cable is taut.Users need to exercise caution to prevent accidental separation during charging.

Read Also: Apple Watch 2024: Now Revealing Why It’s Worth The Wait

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Design and finish.
  • Dual screens.
  • Powerful platform.
  • Excellent battery life.

Cons

  • Compatible only with Android.
  • Wear OS 3.5 only.
  • GPS lacks precision.

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Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5  Review Conclusion

The TicWatch Pro 5, with its meticulous design, dual screens, and innovative use of Wear OS, stands out in the smartwatch market. Its capabilities, including activity tracking and location services, are commendable, though not flawless. However, its relatively high price, even with occasional discounts, makes it hard to recommend without reservations.

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