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Forget the Pixel Watch: This $350 Android has a sportier look and superior battery life

June Wan/ZDNET

Shopping for a smartwatch as of late, very similar to shopping for a smartphone, goes two methods: WatchOS or Android. All of it funnels all the way down to your choice of working system and what gadget(s) you are pairing the wearable with.

If Android is your OS of alternative, Samsung and, now, Google are typically your finest choices. However now and again, a challenger model comes alongside and completely wrecks our bias lists — or, mine, not less than. 

Additionally: The perfect smartwatch offers obtainable proper now

At present, that honor goes to Mobvoi’s new $350 TicWatch Professional 5, a smartwatch mannequin that ought to ring a bell with Android fanatics greater than anybody else.



Mobvoi TicWatch Professional 5

A no-frills Put on OS watch that is powered by the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 processor.

That is the successor to 2020’s TicWatch Professional 3, which delivered a handy guide a rough Put on OS expertise in an reasonably priced, enticing {hardware} bundle. 

On the time, earlier than Google even launched its personal Pixel smartwatch, the TicWatch was arguably one of the best gadget operating on Google’s wearable platform. It was very responsive, supported extra Play Retailer apps than Samsung’s well-liked Galaxy watches, and coated the same old gamut of health and well being options.

Additionally: The perfect Android smartwatches proper now

Three years later, I acquired to spend the previous week testing the brand new TicWatch Professional 5 — Asia-based producers are inclined to skip mannequin names with the quantity “4” because of unfavourable connotations — and I am left feeling more than happy.

A giant a part of that has to do with how little Mobvoi has modified by way of the {hardware} of the watch. It is nonetheless in between a rugged, sporty look and one thing you’d put on to extra formal events, however the watch simply appears and feels good on the wrist.

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 Google maps

Operating Google Maps on the TicWatch Professional 5.

June Wan/ZDNET

The TicWatch Professional 5 is just obtainable in a single dimension (50.15 x 48 x 12.2 mm) and colour (black), however even for somebody who prefers wearables which can be designed extra for morning jogs and metropolis commutes than for mountaineering and conquering 15K Powerful Mudders, the larger-than-average dimension of the wearable is bearable.

Nonetheless, I will give the TicWatch Professional 5 two zonks for its design. 1) Though the texturized bezel surrounding the floor of the watch face provides the wearable a premium aesthetic, it may’t be dialed or turned like some older Samsung Galaxy watches provide. 2) And if you happen to plan on figuring out with the default rubber watch band, count on it to depart a dirty imprint in your arm. My suggestion is to purchase a extra breathable, sweat-resistant band if you happen to plan on taking the TicWatch on runs and all.

Additionally: These One UI 5 options give us a primary have a look at Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Watches

Again to options that I am glad Mobvoi has stored: The TicWatch Professional 5 nonetheless has the corporate’s ingenious dual-layer show, which units an ultra-low-power panel on prime of the OLED one beneath. This melding of shows permits the TicWatch to cycle between a battery-efficient watch face when the gadget is inactive and a extra colourful, contrasty visible when it’s. 

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 dual layer display

The ultra-low-power panel shows essentially the most important metrics like time, steps, and coronary heart fee. 

June Wan/ZDNET

Mobvoi’s taken issues up a notch with the brand new dual-layer show by making use of six backlight colours to point what coronary heart fee zones you are in throughout exercises. So, as I am operating outdoor, a fast look at what colour the low-power show is exhibiting provides me an thought of how a lot much less or extra intense my train must be.

In the end, I acquired a median of three days of utilization earlier than needing to cost the watch, which is simply as spectacular as its roughly 50-minute quick cost time. Mobvoi says a half-hour cost takes the watch from 0% to 65%, and I can attest to that. Had I pressured the TicWatch to remain in Important Mode all day, which limits the show to the ultra-low-power visible, I might see it lasting for considerably longer.

Additionally: Lifeless gadget battery? This $6 instrument is a must have for tech repairs

The consumer expertise of the smartwatch, whereas comparatively bare-bones in comparison with the ecosystem-driven advantages of Apple Watches and Samsung Galaxy Watches, has been refreshing to make use of. Most, if not all, on-device options that I might need in a smartwatch are right here, like coronary heart fee and sleep monitoring, timers, calendar and message notifications, and even Google Maps navigation.

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 back side

There’s now a rotating crown with haptic suggestions on the aspect of the watch. It is like a built-in fidget toy.

June Wan/ZDNET

In actual fact, it was throughout my faucets, swipes, and pinches in companies like Google Maps that I seen simply how snappy the smartwatch was. Because of the brand new Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 processor powering the unit, avenue names and instructions have been loading as quickly as I zoomed out and in of maps.

The looming query with Mobvoi smartwatches has to do with software program help. Three years after the discharge of the earlier TicWatch Professional 3, the corporate nonetheless hasn’t up to date the wearable with its promise of Put on OS 3. And whereas the Professional 5 mannequin that I have been testing is operating on the newest Google software program, its most up-to-date safety patch occurred 4 months in the past. 

Additionally: 5 methods to maintain your smartphone working like new, for longer

When requested about Mobvoi’s dedication to software program updates with the newest watch, a spokesperson mentioned an OTA replace will arrive as quickly because the launch date, which is at the moment. I will see if that holds true or not, and whether or not there will likely be extra consistency shifting ahead.

Updates apart, there’s loads to discover with Mobvoi’s newest TicWatch, and it is very a lot able to operating essentially the most strenuous Android functions due to the upgraded processor. For $350, the Professional 5 competes squarely with Google’s personal Pixel Watch. However until you like a fancier, extra elegant design and a greater replace cadence, I am discovering it troublesome to justify the latter.




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