As is the case in the phone world, shopping for a watch to use with your iPhone is pretty easy — you should go for the Apple Watch. But if you’re an Android user, you have a few more options. Mobvoi has always offered an excellent option in the TicWatch lineup — and at some points in time, has made the best Android-compatible smartwatches in the business. Its most recent flagship smartwatch, however, has its work cut out for it. The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra has to go head to head with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Does the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra do enough to remain ahead of the competition? Or should you instead opt for something from Samsung? I’ve been using the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra to find out.
- Great performance
- Awesome battery-saving features
- Good health sensor selection
- Dual display feature is cool
- No Wear OS 3 yet
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra design
The first thing you’ll notice about the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is the fact that it’s a little chunkier than many other smartwatches, and you can feel it on the wrist. It’s not too big, but if you want something subtle, this probably is not it.
If you are comfortable with something bulky, however, you’ll like the overall look of this watch. It’s round (not square) and is built with premium plastic and metal that makes it feel like it can easily withstand the majority of day-to-day abuse. Of course, the component most likely to break is the display, however even the display is relatively strong, and the device has a raised edge around the glass for more protection. The watch meets the MIL-STD-810G military-grade durability standard, so while I wouldn’t go out of my way to damage it, it should indeed last a while.
On the right side of the display, you’ll find two physical buttons, with the top button pulling up an app screen, and the bottom launching “TicCoach,” which is essentially the name of Mobvoi’s fitness-tracking features. The buttons are high-end and easy-to-press, however, they can be hard to reach if you wear the watch on your right wrist, as I did during the testing period.
The Mobvoi TicWatch 3 Pro Ultra has a 1.4-inch AMOLED display that looks pretty good, but one of the cool tricks on offer here is that it also has a second always-on FSTN screen that allows you to glance at the time and see some information without using much power. It’s a great way to preserve battery while still keeping an always-on display.
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is compatible with 22mm interchangeable bands, and they’re extremely easy to replace for yourself using the little lever on the band itself. It’s also easy to charge the device, with the charger attaching magnetically to the body of the device.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra software and performance
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra comes with Google’s Wear OS 2, which is the last-generation version of Wear OS. Wear OS 3 is available to an extremely limited number of devices, and we would love to see its availability expanded in the near future.
That said, Wear OS 2 isn’t necessarily bad. The operating system is pretty easy to get used to, and navigate. Pressing the top button reveals the app drawer, with two rows of apps that allow you to scroll through quickly and easily. That said, as a regular Apple Watch user, being able to use one of the crowns to scroll would have been helpful.
Other aspects of the software worked well. Notifications were well-presented and easy to read, and you can swipe between displays from your watch face to access things like Google Assistant, weather information, and more. If you’re new to Wear OS in general, it will take a little getting used to, but you will get used to it within a day or so of using it. Keep in mind that if you use the watch with an iPhone, you will miss out on some features, like the ability to interact with notifications.
The watch felt extremely responsive too. The device offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor, which was able to handle everything I could throw at the watch. I never experienced a stutter or slowdown, which was good to see.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra fitness tracking
One of the most important aspects of any modern smartwatch is its ability to track your health and fitness. The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra offers a few health and fitness tracking features that could come in handy, though it doesn’t necessarily do more than the competition.
All the expected sensors are here. You’ll get a heart rate monitor, which includes the ability to detect atrial fibrillation, along with things like blood oxygen monitoring, heart rate variability, and more. Using that information, the device can offer information about things like mental fatigue and energy levels, too, which is nice.
Of course, you can also use the device to track a range of different workouts, including all the basics, like running, cycling, tennis, rowing, and many more. It’s an excellent selection of workouts. And, the device has a built-in GPS — which can help you better track your outdoor workouts, and help direct you as you go. It did sometimes take some time to lock on, but I didn’t find that to be a huge issue.
There’s sleep-tracking here too, and while it seemed to work fine, it wasn’t perfect. It can be helpful for comparing sleep from night to night, but as is often the case, this is far from a medical device.
Of course, most of these features are available in any modern smartwatch. The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra seems to be the only one so far to use that data to attempt to track things like mental fatigue, but if those (experimental) features don’t matter to you, then you won’t get more with the TicWatch than you will any other premium smartwatch.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra battery
As mentioned, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra offers a monochrome display when you’re not actively using the device to help make for a better battery life. It does indeed seem to help, and while heavy users will want to charge their device every day, many will be able to get multiple days of usage out of the watch. If you put the watch in Essential Mode, you’ll get more than a month of use out of it on a single charge — however you’ll obviously miss out on the color display. But it’s a nice way to extend the battery life when you won’t have access to power, or if you don’t want to have to charge the watch regularly.
The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is an excellent smartwatch choice, especially for Android users who like the battery-saving features that ensure you don’t have to charge your device every day. The software experience isn’t the most up-to-date, but it does offer great performance and some interesting fitness-tracking features.
But there is some serious competition, mostly from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. The Galaxy Watch 4 already has the new Wear OS 3, giving it some awesome new features and a fresh new look. If you want the best Android smartwatch software experience, the Galaxy Watch 4 is the way to go.
Should I buy the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra?
Yes, but only if you prefer its design and fitness-tracking features compared to the Galaxy Watch 4.