My very first smartwatch was the beautiful and simple Ticwatch E. In 2016 the Android smartwatch market was still very much evolving and new technology was being released constantly. But of course, these watches were very expensive. Then came along Mobvoi with their feature-packed watch, the Ticwatch E, at almost half the price of its competitors and paving a new path for affordable Android wear.
It’s been 4 years and my Ticwatch E has since met its end and it is time to make way for the Mobvoi Ticwatch E2. The upgraded and sturdier-looking younger sister of the Ticwatch E. The Ticwatch E2 costs S$229 and can be purchased from the Mobvoi website. But is it worth the buy? Let’s take a look.
The Ticwatch E2 has a beautiful 400 x 400 AMOLED Display that is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. The display is one of the main selling points of the Ticwatch E2. Colours are vibrant and the images are crisp. It’s amazing how much information they can actually fit into a 1.39-inch display.
There aren’t many watch faces to select from on the get-go, but third-party apps like Watch Face Maker provide you with thousands of different watch faces to personalize your Ticwatch E2.
However, the screen is actually the main point of battery life drain. Many, including myself, would suggest that users use simple watch faces that update per minute and also don’t include features like heart rate, Wi-Fi indication or other functions that require constant updating.
There is an always-on-screen and on the other end, there’s a power-saving mode which both affect the display greatly. One keeps your AMOLED screen on without toning down the image and the other locks your screen to a toned-down version of your watch face.
Since we’ve kind of gone into the realms of battery saving, let’s carry on to talk about battery life.
The battery life on the Ticwatch E2 has definitely improved from the Ticwatch E. The Ticwatch E2 is capable of going about 1.5 days with normal usage like sports, music controls, 1 or 2 calls and using the calendar before completely shutting down. It does hit battery saving at the 10% mark and you get a slightly more extended battery life, about 30 mins more or so.
But generally, the Ticwatch E2 is a daily charge smartwatch. You have to charge it daily or you will run out of battery by the time you hit lunchtime the next day. There are some methods to improve battery life, like using a watch face that’s simple and only updates periodically. Using the display at lower brightness, downloading apps and updating only when at home or on the charger especially when Wi-Fi is on, turning off other background functions like the Always On Screen or the heart rate monitor can also help.
The charger is a USB-A cable to a charging plate with 4 pins on it. It is a magnetic plate so it snaps on strongly to the watch, and there’s no wiggling whatsoever that may disconnect the pins.
One of the strong points of the Ticwatch E2 is WearOS 2.0. The integration of the Ticwatch’s OS to Google makes it stand out amongst the rest. Applications like Agenda, Keep and Calculator help you get through school or work without missing any deadlines.
The assistant also allows you to control your Google Home, set reminders and alarms, and of course answer your queries. However, the assistant does lag quite a bit. It takes a few seconds before the Assistant responds to the long button press and prompts you to speak. This most probably is due to the RAM limitation. I came to this conclusion by comparing it to the Ticwatch Pro 2020, and the Assistant works fluidly on the Ticwatch Pro. The only difference in the specification is the RAM.
Apart from the Assistant, the user experience is tuned to a small display and the interaction with the watch is kept simple. I personally feel the keyboard is a bit too small in that small display so focusing on voice and finger writing would be a better option. But the autocorrect is pretty good so no qualms. In fact, these methods of input actually allow for replying on WhatsApp and Telegram. The watch also comes up with suggested replies when you tap on the notification to expand it. This keeps interaction on the watch simple.
You are also able to keep multiple widgets beside the watch face so swiping left would bring up the different widgets you can add. Of course, adding these widgets or any other edits to the Google ecosystem within the watch would require the WearOS application on the phone.
Oh and one last thing. Just to clear it up. There’s no NFC or Google Pay.
Fitspo Vibes(Fitness Tracker)
If it’s one thing that you can surely expect from Mobvoi, it’s their affinity for making health and exercise apps. Mobvoi has managed to create simple and minimalistic apps that work well with the watch and on the phone. The apps give you the key points like step tracking, calories burnt, sleep data, heart rate chart and time exercised. These are more than enough to track your health and activity. You can also see more in detail on your phone app.
The watch does come with an in-built heart rate monitor, which is hard to find in smartwatches of this price point. This sensor emits green light into your skin to calculate your heart rate. It is pretty accurate, but the only issue is that sometimes accuracy is affected when you are moving around too much, so make sure the watch is strapped on tight.
The watch also comes with an accelerometer, gyroscope, off-body sensor and GPS. This allows the Ticwatch E2 to figure out what sports you are doing and calculate your calories burnt and distance travelled correctly.
It even has this software called TicMotion 1.0 which is an Artificial Intelligence algorithm to figure out the actions you are doing and even the various types of swim strokes you are attempting. I have yet to see that in action because I don’t swim much but nonetheless it’s pretty cool. Yes, you can go swimming with this watch. It’s got an IP68 5ATM rating so you can go swim up to 50m in depth.
I guess the AI algorithm is where Ticwatch beats other fitness trackers. The watch realising what you are doing on its own and calculating the calories burnt is pretty impressive.
Of course, to withstand all that rugged sports, the Ticwatch E2 would have to be equally rugged as well. The Ticwatch E2 boasts a durable polycarbonate body with a silicone strap.
But the design doesn’t look too sporty. This allows users to swap watch faces and wear it out to formal events and casual events without worrying if their watch fits the outfit. Of course, they can change the watch straps if they need too and it can be done easily with a pull of a tab.
The single button that the watch has feels premium with its sturdiness and click when you press it. It’s not wobbly like the Ticwatch E. So in terms of build quality, the Ticwatch E2 is pretty good.
The Tech Behind the Time (Specifications)
The Ticwatch E2 has a proper Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 with 512MB of ram and 4GB of storage. The choice of the Wear 2100 processor is questionable, even though Wear 3100 and Wear 4100 chips exist and are deemed to be more power-efficient and faster in speed.
The limitations caused by the RAM were actually evident. The RAM affects the Google Assistant performance and opening too many apps can cause the watch to slow down, affecting its seamless experience with stutters and loading times.
Loading into native Tic apps and Google apps were quick, but external apps like Nike Run Club took a while to load up.
It would have been great if the Ticwatch E2 had a better processor and more RAM to give that seamless user experience it needs.
But don’t get me wrong, it is still amazing how many apps you can store and how well Tic Apps and Google Apps run. Also, it is a huge improvement from the Ticwatch E and at the price point of S$229, the Ticwatch E2 is worth it.
The Ticwatch E2 is definitely a watch to consider due to its good price point and well thought out features. It could’ve been better in the performance section but I think to cut costs, certain risks were taken. However, not much was removed for the price, which is good.
Ultimately if you’re looking for your first smartwatch, the Ticwatch E2 is definitely one to look out for.
Written by Thiru Karthik (Tech360.tv Community Reviewer)