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review

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS

8
£289.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Good quality smartwatch with plenty of options for tracking and routing
Easy to use
Good cycling integration
Dual screen is clever
Lots of health data
Wear OS integrates nicely with android
Battery life is reasonably short
No wireless charging
LCD backlight really bright at night
Weight: 
61g
Contact: 

Mobvoi's TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is a well-rounded smartwatch that's built on the Google Wear OS platform, and it features lots of good features out of the box with the option to add apps to extend its cycling-related capabilities.

In terms of looks, the TicWatch Pro 3 is more or less the accepted form for an activity smartwatch right now: round screen, a metal bezel that's mainly for show, and a couple of chunky buttons. It's very nicely made, with a silicone strap that has nice stitching detail in contrasting orange to make it look a bit like a leather strap. It's comfortable on the wrist, the strap especially so, and it feels like a premium product.

> Buy this online here

On the back there are charging contacts and an array of LEDs for reading your pulse and, on this new version, blood oxygen saturation. It's a fairly large watch but it doesn't feel too bulky on the wrist. It's IP68 water and dust resistant so pool swimming and riding in the rain are both fine.

Inside, the TicWatch Pro 3 has been updated to the new Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 chipset, which is both more powerful than the outgoing 3100 and also lighter on the battery, which Mobvoi claims will increase battery life by up to 40%. There are significant improvements to the graphics processing unit too, which is a claimed two and a half times faster than before. Smartwatches using Google's Wear OS platform have in the past suffered from plenty of screen lag, but that's certainly not the case here: everything's super-slick as you swipe and scroll around.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3-5.jpg

One of the most interesting features of the TicWatch Pro 3 is its dual screen. Like you'd expect, the TicWatch has a touch-enabled AMOLED screen, in this case measuring 1.4 inches across with a resolution of 454 pixels square. It's a very good screen that is bright enough for viewing in all conditions, and the touch sensitivity is good. As usual you have a pick of a huge selection of watch faces from the sublime to the ridiculous, encompassing pretty much any look you could want, or think of.

On top of that AMOLED screen is layered a second screen, a more basic LCD one that most of the time just shows the time and date, your step count and a three-bar battery indicator; if you're exercising (and have told the Mobvoi Exercise app as much) it'll also display heart rate, distance and such. It's not particularly contrasty, although it does have a backlight that activates when you raise your wrist. That helps you to read it in daylight, although at night it's very bright; it could use either an automatic brightness based on conditions or at least a night and day setting.

Anyway, the point of the second screen is to preserve battery life: it requires a fraction of the power of the AMOLED screen to run, so you get an always-on display without the battery drain. Also it means that when the battery is depleted you can switch to essentials mode and the watch will run for days on the dregs of the battery, so at least it's still telling you the time rather than just being a brick on your wrist until you can charge it again.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3-11.jpg

If you just use the LCD screen then you'll get up to 45 days out of a single charge, according to Mobvoi, although there are cheaper watches with an LCD screen if that's all you're after.

Charging is taken care of by a magnetic USB cradle; it's easy enough to use and 20 minutes plugged in will get you through a normal day of use. Mobvoi says that the TicWatch Pro 3 will give you up to 72 hours of use in normal use, but that's not my experience – two days is as much as I've managed.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3-3.jpg

It'll depend on what's enabled on the watch, and other settings, but with the screen set to normal brightness and the recommended five-second timeout, and heart rate monitoring (but not blood oxygen monitoring) going on in the background, and chucking in a few short Strava recordings that fire up the GPS chip, I was more comfortable charging up the watch for a bit every morning than attempting to leave it longer.

It's perfectly usable like that, but coming off the back of testing the Honor GS Pro, which will go for a couple of weeks on a single charge, it felt like I was much more aware of the battery state of the watch at all times. That being said, it's a huge improvement over earlier versions of the TicWatch Pro, and it's comparable with many of the other watches at this kind of price. It's a pity that Mobvoi hasn't implemented wireless charging for this watch. With more and more phones capable of charging another device, it would definitely make sense. My Huawei P30 Pro could do it, and the 4,200mAh battery is seven times the size of the watch battery.

Apps and stuff

So once you've got your TicWatch Pro 3 on your wrist, what can you do with it? Well, it's running Google's Wear OS, so it will probably work best if you're also packing an Android phone, as the iOS experience is more limited and not as slick. I paired the TicWatch Pro 3 with my Huawei P30 Pro without any issues, and once the two are paired you can do plenty.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3-8.jpg

The watch has a microphone and speaker, so it's possible to take calls on the watch, and talk to the Google Assistant. The TicWatch Pro 3 is also NFC-enabled, so you can use your watch to pay through Google Pay too; the only proviso to that is that you need to set up a screen lock in order to use that function, which detracts a bit from the day-to-day watch experience.

You can receive notifications, and Wear OS allows you to choose which apps send notifications to the phone. You can reply to messages too – some apps like WhatsApp will offer you stock responses, and it's possible to type or speak replies too. You can get Google Calendar reminders, check the weather... many of the things you'd habitually do on your phone.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3-16.jpg

As well as Google's own ecosystem, Mobvoi has its own app which runs in tandem with the Wear OS app on your phone. This is where you'll get all the usual activity data that you'd associate with a smartwatch.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3-13.jpg

The TicWatch Pro 3 is capable of continuously monitoring your heart rate through the day, through the TicPulse app. Comparing the watch to a Wahoo TICKR heart rate strap, I've found it to be reasonably accurate, usually reporting within 3-4bpm of the chest strap. It's better if it's more tightly mounted on your wrist so it's worth doing the strap up a notch before you head out on a ride. Your heart rate range is shown in graphical form over time on the phone app.

If you've enabled the TicSleep app then you'll get a sleep chart that'll be familiar if you've used a fitness tracker before, broken into REM sleep, light sleep and deep sleep. You'll get a sleep efficiency score, too, based on how much of each type of sleep you've managed. I'm always a little wary of taking these sleep graphs at face value, but they generally seem to come up with similar numbers for me, so there is some consistency across platforms. Certainly the TicSleep app is good at working out when I've gone to bed and woken up, and the periods of waking time do correspond to the times I'm awake when I remember to look at the watch and get temporarily blinded by the backlight.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3-screenshot--health-and-faces.jpg

The TicWatch Pro 3 can also measure your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) via the TicOxygen app, using the same array of sensors that it uses for heart rate monitoring. If you're like me you probably haven't given much thought to your blood oxygenation levels. If you're active then there are good reasons to measure it, though. A decreasing SpO2 level when you're participating in an endurance sport can be an indicator that your effort isn't sustainable and it's possible to test yourself with increasing levels of effort to find out where that point is. When you're sleeping, low SpO2 levels can be associated with headaches and swelling, and are also linked to sleep apnea, so if you've ever suffered from sleep issues it might be worthwhile monitoring yourself overnight. Both the constant monitoring of SpO2 and heart rate will, of course, have an effect on battery life.

Mobvoi's Exercise watch app allows you to track your active lifestyle through your phone. The list of activities – Pool Swimming, Yoga, Rowing Machine, Mountaineering, Body Mechanics, Trail Running, Elliptical Machine, Outdoor Run, Indoor Running, Outdoor Walk, Indoor Cycling, Free Style, Outdoor Cycling – isn't exhaustive but covers most of the bases for normal day-to-day activity. Anything that's outdoors, including cycling, will make use of the in-built GPS for distance tracking, and you can collate all your activities in the Mobvoi phone app. And, a bit like the Honor GS Pro, that's where they'll stay.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3-15.jpg

But worry not, because this is a Wear OS device, and that means you can do all sorts of other stuff with it that's not tied in to Mobvoi's proprietary ecosystem. For a start, you can get the Strava watch app, which allows you to record rides on the watch and then sync them with your Strava account. It's pretty basic: that is basically all it does, there are no bells and whistles. But if like me you use Strava for recording all your riding activity, so you can spout an arbitrary number at the end of the year, it's great.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3 - strava 1.jpg

If I'm going out for a day on the bike then I'll have a computer on my bars, or at the very least I'll make sure I'm recording on my phone. When you're just out and about – rolling down to work, or popping to the shops – it's easy to forget, and if you do you often can't be bothered to stop and fish your phone out. With Strava on your wrist it's much easier to access for those short journeys.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3 - strava 2.jpg

If you use your phone as your primary device for recording and navigating on your rides then there are a number of other apps that can be useful. If you're using Komoot then you can follow a route on your phone, and the watch can be used to give you turn-by-turn directions along the way. The same is true of RideWithGPS, which also allows you to record directly on the watch if you prefer. With ViewRanger you can get OS maps on your watch too, as well as save routes for offline use. All of those platforms require a subscription, but there's a good range of functionality available out there which you should be able to tie in with your particular needs.

2020 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3 - viewranger.jpg

If you want mapping and navigation features for free then you also have the Google Maps app, which works in sync with your phone. You're limited to 10 points when you're plotting a route on Google maps on your desktop that you can send to your phone, but longer rides can be broken up into sections. Getting turn-by-turn directions to your phone isn't as intuitive as having them out in front of you on a standalone GPS, but it's a workable solution if it's something you do sporadically rather than all the time.

Overall

Having tested two smartwatches back to back, it's a fairly straightforward conclusion that this TicWatch Pro 3 is a much better bet than the Honor GS Pro if you're specifically looking at its suitability for cycling. The battery life isn't anywhere near as good, but the ability to use third party apps for mapping, navigation and recording – and, crucially, the ability to move that data outside of Mobvoi's own app – means that it's a lot more versatile.

> Buyer’s Guide: 28 of the best cycling apps

It's easy to get along with on a day-to-day basis and if you're using an android phone then the communication between the two is pretty seamless in nearly all cases.

At £289.99 it's got plenty of competition, both from other Wear OS devices like the well-regarded Fossil Gen 5 and other platforms such as the Honor GS Pro we've previously reviewed, and the Fitbit Sense and Garmin's Vivoactive and Venu watches among others, but the TicWatch Pro 3 works well, and the feature set is good. The reasonably short battery life and lack of wireless charging mark it down a bit but it's a very good smartwatch choice if you want some cycling functionality as well as the usual fitness bundle.

Verdict

Good quality smartwatch with plenty of options for tracking and routing

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3

Size tested: One size

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Go Beyond Limits.

The first Wear OS by Google™ smartwatch to use the Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 Platform.

Extended Battery Life

Up to 3 days, 72 hours, 4320 minutes, 259200 seconds...every second matters.

Super-long battery life to keep you going every step of the way. TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smartwatch's battery capacity increases by around 40%*.

Up to 72 hours In Smart Mode

Tilt-to-wake, press the button or touch the screen to activate the smart mode. Enjoy the thousand of Apps and watch faces in big Retina AMOLED watch screen.

Up to 45 days In Essential Mode

Switch to the Essential Mode automatically when battery life is running on its last 5% or tap to turn into the Essential Mode manually. Save battery life without losing key information.

Dual Display 2.0

Mobvoi's Dual Display technology layers a low power consuming screen over a brilliant Retina AMOLED display, enabling battery conservation through the toggling between Smart Mode and Essential Mode.

1.4" Brilliant Retina AMOLED Display

Large 454*454 resolution

Automatic brightness adjustment

Up to 72 hours of battery life in Smart Mode

Low Power Consuming Screen

Always-on display

Refresh per second with backlight

Up to 45 days of battery life in Essential Mode

Faster and Smoother Than Ever Before

By using the latest Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 Platform, the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS promises a higher and faster performance while simultaneously conserving battery life. Compared with smartwatches using the Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 3100 Platform, the Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 offers a higher CPU, memory, GPU and saves more power.

150 % GPU increase

85 % CPU & Memory increase

25 % + Power save

Monitor Your Health Data

From your physical health to mental health, the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS supports you in every aspect of your life. One place for all performance metrics giving you a high-level breakdown of everything you need, including high-intensity training, breathing, sleep, stress, steps, distance, calories,etc.

TicSleep

Automatically tracking your sleep. Now supported in Essential Mode to save battery life at night and the watch face doesn't light up in the night in order not to disturb you.

TicZen

Monitors stress by analyzing your HRV* data and using TicBreathe to bring your stress level back to normal.

* Heart rate variability (HRV) is the physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heartbeats. It is measured by the variation in the beat-to-beat interval.

TicBreathe

Don't worry if you're under too much stress. TicBreathe monitors your heart rate, stress changes and helps you to relax through breathing training sessions.

TicHearing

Measures environmental noise between 30dB to 120 dB and alerts you of potential damage to your hearing organs and nervous system.

Stay Active Wherever You Are

No matter if you're at home, at the gym or outdoors. Get to a more active lifestyle with built-in Mobvoi apps.

TicOxygen

Automatically measures blood oxygen saturation 24/7, offering insight into your health.

TicHeath

One place for all performance metrics giving you a high-level breakdown of everything you need, including high-intensity training, breathing, sleep, stress, steps, distance, calories,etc.

Reach and Surpass Your Exercise and Fitness Goals

The TicWatch Pro 3 GPS empowers your workouts both outdoors and indoors, up to the mountains, and down into the swimming pool.

IP68 and pool swimming suitable

Built-in barometer

Accurate built-in GPS*

TicMotion proactive motion tracking

*5 powerful Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellations which are GPS (US), BEIDOU (China), GALILEO (EU), GLONASS (Russia) and QZSS(Japan)

Starting a Workout

Choose a workout mode, tap start and crush your workout and fitness goals. Run faster, jump higher and push harder.

Pool Swimming

Yoga

Rowing Machine

Mountaineering

Body Mechanics

Trail Running

Elliptical Machine

Outdoor Run

Indoor Running

Outdoor Walk

Indoor Cycling

Free Style

Outdoor Cycling

LIGHTER YET STRONGER

TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smartwatch is around 30% lighter* and is reinforced with stainless steel and high-strength nylon with glass fiber.

* Compared with the TicWatch product launched in 2018.

COMFORTABLE

TicWatch Pro 3 GPS comes with a replaceable strap that was optimized for active lifestyles. The high-quality silicon strap is extremely versatile and skin friendly with a padded-leather appearance and orange stitching.

Rocket into the Universe of Wear OS by Google™

Download your favorite apps on the go with Google Play™ on your smartwatch. Use them right from your wrist.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

TicWatch Pro 3 GPS Smartwatch Specs

Watch Size

47x48x12.2mm

Weight

≈ 41.9g

Retina AMOLED Display resolution

454*454

Color

Shadow Black

Material

Stainless steel+Plastic

Watch strap material

Solid silicon

Watch strap size

22mm

Chipset

Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 Platform

Memory

1GB RAM, 8GB ROM

Battery Life

Smart Mode: up to 72 hours

Essential Mode: up to 45 days

Battery capacity

Minimum: 577mAh

Nominal: 595mAh

GNSS

GPS+Beidou+Glonass+Galileo+QZSS

NFC

Payments with Google Pay™

Speaker

Yes

Mic

Yes

Vibrator

Yes

PPG Heart Rate Sensor

Yes

Accelerator

Yes

Gyroscope

Yes

Ambient Light Sensor

Yes

Barometer

Yes

Buttons

2

Water and dust resistance

IP68 and pool swimming suitable

Charging dock

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Feels premium.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Generally really good, with excellent integration with Android phones.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

No issues during testing, although I haven't had it ages.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

It's a reasonably big watch but doesn't feel cumbersome.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Strap is flexible and comfortable; sits easily on the wrist.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Around £300 is a well-contested price point in smart watches, and the TicWatch Pro 3 has all the features you'd expect at this sort of money.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's very good – easy to use and fully featured.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Easy to use, good cycling integration, Dual screen is clever, lots of health data, Wear OS integrates nicely with android.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Battery life is reasonably short, no wireless charging, LCD backlight really bright at night.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Similar to Garmin's Vivoactive 4 and Venu, Fitbit's Sense and Fossil's Gen 5. More than the Honor GS Pro that we recently reviewed, but better overall for cycling.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a useful smartwatch with good activity tracking features and the option to download more cycling-specific apps if you want to use your watch for riding. I enjoyed using it, and it's reasonable value.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 189cm  Weight: 94kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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