Mobvoi, a Chinese company selling and developing consumer electronics made quite a splash in the smartwatch game back when they released their first generations of Ticwatches. The company used Kickstarter to crowdfund the devices with which they offered an affordable alternative to the comparatively expensive competition.
Today, the situation is a bit different. Thanks to some good critical reception and excellent sales performance, Mobvoi is producing the next generation of smartwatches on its own. The new devices improve on every aspect of the previous ones, not compromising on the performance while remaining quite affordable. We managed to get our hands on the Ticwatch E2 model and we break down everything that makes it “tick”.
DESIGN AND TECH SPECS
From a design perspective, the TicWatch E2 is clearly the upgraded version of the original TicWatch E. It features the same no-nonsense, minimal plastic design with a one-button setup rocked by its predecessor. While the body of the watch still comes in a matte finish, there’s some finer details and different materials used for the ring around the screen itself. The usage of this reflective metallic finish for the inner portion of the bezel and the concentric rings for the outer portion helps make the watch stand out a bit more when compared to the first TicWatch.
Its biggest problem, however, is that it’s a seemingly a bulky watch due to it being made out of a single piece of seamless plastic with no protruding elements. This isn’t a problem in its brother – the TicWatch S2 or watches like the Samsung Galaxy which has multiple, different sized elements on top of each other that makes it appear slimmer in comparison despite being of the same width as the E2.
Case Dimensions (circular)
|46.9 x 52.2 x 12.9 mm|
|Polycarbonate plastic/Matte black|
|Display type/size||Multi-touch 400x400 AMOLED/1,39 inch|
|Processor/RAM/Memory||Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100/512 MB/4 GB internal storage|
|GPS||GPS, GLONASS, Beidou|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Gyro, 24-hour heart-rate, vibrations|
|Accessories included||Magnetic charging station|
|Operating system||Wear OS by Google|
|Compatibility||Android 4.4+, iOS 9.3+|
Being made out of plastic and coming in at only 55 grams, the watch is very light and comfortable to wear while still being surprisingly durable. The rugged silicone strap really helps in that regard and is easily changed to a different design should you choose to spice the watch up a bit. Another great thing is that the E2 is water resistant and can, in theory, survive being submerged up to 50m meaning rainy days will pose no problem and you can even take it swimming without a care in the world.
The most prominent feature of the TicWatch E2 is its 1.39 inch AMOLED display with a 400x400 resolution and a pixel density of 407 PPI. This basically means that the image produced by this watch is very sharp with high-contrast and saturated colors visible even during the sunniest of days. Unfortunately, the thing that’s missing here is the ambient light sensor which means that you need to manually switch the brightness level of the watch. While this won’t pose an issue if you keep it at a medium brightness level, it can get annoying and its the thing that keeps the display from being near perfect. Another thing that’s missing is the NFC chip which means you won’t be able to use the E2 for contactless payments via Google Pay or other such services.
FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE
The TicWatch E2 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 and 512 MB of RAM. While the processor of choice is not the newest and fastest on the market, it still does its job pretty well here. While Wear OS doesn’t have the benefit of being as well optimized as Samsungs Tizen or Apple’s watchOS due to it being offered on a wider range of hardware – it runs smoothly here. Sure, you’ll get the occasional slowdown but it will more often than not be because of a poorly optimized app, rather than the TicWatch itself. Navigating using the touchscreen is a smooth, delay-free experience. Almost all the swipes and gestures are registered immediately and the watch is generally a joy to use.
Swiping in different directions from the watch face quickly gets you to all the relevant menus and widgets. Downward swipe takes you to the quick settings menu. Swiping upwards shows you all the recent notifications to which you can choose to respond or dismiss. Swiping to the left takes you to a fitness tracking widget, and swiping to the right takes you to the Google Assistant. It’s only a shame that, while the E2 does have a microphone, it lacks any sort of speaker for the assistant to talk back. This also means you can forget taking calls on the watch and can rely on it only for vibrating notifications alerts.
When it comes to the E2 functioning as a watch that tells time, it comes equipped with a good assortment of minimal watch faces that fit the overall design philosophy of the E2 very well. Most of its other features can be traced back to Wear OS and you can take full advantage of the Google Play Store to download tons of additional watch faces and apps to make it a perfect smartphone companion. We even tested some simple WearOS games to see how the watch would handle a bit more intensive tasks and can say that it performed admirably.
Mobvoi, however, did make an effort to try and create its own application ecosystem with some Tic apps. These are mainly apps designed to track your health and fitness and while they look good and integrate well with the Mobvoi smartphone app, they pale in comparison to the Google Fit app already present on the watch. No matter which one you choose, the GPS, workout, and fitness apps accurately track and give you a good overview of all of your activities. From walking and running to biking, swimming, and even weight training.
This would all be for naught if not for the good battery performance. While its 415 mAh battery lasts nowhere near the ones seen in watches like the Samsung Galaxy, it still manages to hold for almost two full days of regular and a day and a half of intense usage. That means, checking notifications, tracking workouts and using 24-hour heart-rate monitoring should pose no problems. It also helps that each preinstalled watch face has a very battery conservative “always on” variant that has minimal impact on the battery life.