If you’re new to the smartwatch market, TicWatch is one of those brands that do not cost a fortune, but on the other hand, provide customers with a pretty appealing feature package that you normally find on a premium device.
Typically, a mix of advanced features and affordable pricing is something that you most often find on Chinese products, and this is exactly the case here too.
TicWatch is made by Mobvoi, a Chinese company that develops AI technology and voice recognition systems, all of which are based on the know-how of experts who previously worked for tech giants like Google and Nokia.
Mobvoi has rapidly evolved from a single-watch brand to a company that has a rich portfolio of products, and the TicWatch C2 is part of the firm’s offensive in the modern wearable market.
It’s not supposed to be an Apple Watch killer, as this has more or less become the norm in the smartwatch market, but a powerful Google Wear OS device that may convince you there’s life beyond the Apple wearable ecosystem.
And to do this, Mobvoi has focused right on the essentials, while also adding a few refinements that are supposed to round up a compelling package that comes at an unbeatable price.
First and foremost, the TicWatch C2 uses a steel case, which means the likelihood of physical damage is extremely reduced. A smartwatch is very prone to hits and scratches, and if you are like me, you probably found this the hard way.
I already scratched several watches, be they classic or smart, so using a stainless steel case that can resist the typical accidents is definitely a good thing. The watch is offered in two sizes, namely 42.8x42.8x12.7 (20mm) and 42.8x42.8x12.7 (18mm), as well as in three colors – black, platinum, and rose gold.
A genuine leather strap completes the premium package, though this is the first time when you’ll feel like Mobvoi could have done more. Before anything, watch the video below:
What you see here is the default genuine leather strap making all kinds of squeaky noises on the TicWatch C2. The noises are made in the area where the leather comes in contact with the stainless steel case, and for some reason, they won’t go away too easily. In fact, the only way to get rid of this noise was to actually replace the band entirely. I used a silicone band from my smartwatch for a more comfortable experience, and I recommend you to do the same. This way, everything is calm and quiet.
The C2 comes with two side buttons, the top of which uses a colored dot in typical Apple Watch fashion. And while the idea may come from Apple’s LTE models, I really like how it all looks. Plus, it reminds me which button is which, though after I while it’s pretty easy to navigate on the TicWatch C2.
One thing that I enjoyed is that the C2 is really comfortable to wear. Although I use a smartwatch on a daily basis, I’m not a big fan of sleeping with one on my wrist, despite my Garmin offering super-advanced sleep tracking. Many of my friends believe that I’m just wasting one of the top features of my smartwatch, but I find it more comfortable to just go to bed without a watch on my wrist.
And while I’m not a big fan of this, let me tell you one thing: you won’t have a single problem sleeping with the TicWatch C2 on your wrist, and it’s all thanks to its reduced weight and the choice of materials. Once again, however, I recommend switching to a soft silicone band, such as the one from Garmin.
The TicWatch C2 comes with a 1.3-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 360x360 pixels, and while this may not say too much to those who aren’t necessarily tech-savvy, I’d say you wouldn’t need anything beyond that.
The choice of an OLED screen is smart, as you get high-quality graphics that you typically find on premium and more expensive smartwatches. This is one of the areas where I actually like the TicWatch C2 more than my Garmin Vivoactive 3, as the screen is well optimized and offers good colors and contrast even in direct sunlight. I set the brightness level to 3, and I think you should do the same, as it offers a good balance between screen performance and battery impact.
The display supports several gimmicks, including an always-on feature, which means that certain information stays on even when not looking at the watch. There are lots of faces out there that let you customize what details you want to see in the always-on mode, and you should pay attention to these settings because they dramatically impact battery life.
For increased battery life, you can just disable this mode entirely. Additionally, the C2 also supports the typical gestures that let you light up the screen when rotating the wrist, and you can turn that off too. Also, you can configure the TicWatch C2 to wake up when touching the screen or just when pressing the side buttons, again quite a great idea if you want to increase the battery life.
TicWatch C2 comes with a 400 mAh battery, and Mobvoi says it should be enough for one day and a half per charge. Let me put it this way: I charged the smartwatch today at 7 AM, and it’s now 9 PM when I’m writing this, and I still have 60 percent of battery life.
However, it was quite a lazy day for me since the holiday season isn’t over yet, so I believe that with a more active schedule, you can still get through the day, though you’ll have to recharge it when going to bed.
What you need to know is that the battery life is substantially impacted by the settings of your device, including workouts, the face you are using, and the gimmicks I told you about earlier. But despite all of these, the TicWatch C2 should still provide 18 hours of autonomy, which is basically enough for most people to reach a charge. For someone coming from a Garmin model with stunning battery life, however, this isn’t the most convenient way to go, though I admit that the high-quality OLED screen could make the compromise an easier thing to do.
Also, working out with GPS turned on is a huge battery hog as well. If you’re an athlete that exercises a lot, you’re in luck. TicWatch C2 comes with GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou, and this configuration is impressive, to say the least. The GPS signal is found really fast, and this is quite important for the overall battery life because the longer it takes to lock the signal, the bigger the impact on the battery.
During workouts, the heart-rate sensor collects data continuously, and this is exactly the way things are supposed to do. As a result, you’ll get permanent tracking, and I found the HR sensor pretty accurate, though this is no longer a surprise given this hardware has improved a lot in the latest few years. When running HR measurements, however, keep in mind that you need to stay still. Otherwise, you could see quite a lot of spikes that would affect the tracking.
The TicWatch C2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip paired with 512MB RAM and 4GB storage. This is an average mix that services its purpose right, and I’d say this processor is a well-balanced choice that provides a good combination of performance and power efficiency.
One of the best things about TicWatch models, including the C2, is that they work on both Android and iOS, obviously with the necessary companion apps. Of course, you’ll get so much more on Android where Google’s Wear OS is fully supported, but you can very well use it with an iPhone too.
Android users would get all kinds of extra options, including an insane collection of watch faces. I’ve become quite a big fan of Facer, an app that itself comes with a super-large repository of faces, and there are lots of options available free of charge, though I found myself paying for quite a bunch.
However, there’s a little something I noticed with some of the faces. Depending on their graphics, the screen refresh may become more visible with a naked eye, and from some angles, it could be quite annoying. This doesn’t happen with the default TicWatch faces, so you can very well stick with these because they look pretty good.
When it comes to software, Mobvoi has developed its very own suite of fitness apps for the TicWatch, and it could take a while until you get used to them. On Android, you can also use Google’s Fit app that provides additional options, but all in all, you get pretty much everything you’d need for tracking your workouts and daily activities in full.
Another nice feature of this rather affordable smartwatch is that it comes with Google Pay support, so you can pay for your shopping right from your wrist. Without a doubt, this is quite a feature, especially given that Google Pay is become more widely used across the world.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As I said before when reviewing Mobvoi’s smartwatches, I think TicWatch has become a brand that the Google Wear OS ecosystem really needs to go forward.
Just like Android itself, Wear OS relies on a vast ecosystem that includes a plethora of manufacturers and devices from all over the world, including (yes!) China. The TicWatch brand offers smartwatches that provide an impressive mix of high-quality build and advanced features, all at a price that sounds impossible in the Apple world, for instance.
The TicWatch C2 itself follows the same line, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s IP68-rated, so it’s even dust and water resistant, and it’s made of steel for extra strength.
On the other hand, what I find the weak points of the TicWatch C2 aren’t necessarily things that Mobvoi needs to improve, but rather Google.
Wear OS itself is still an unrefined platform that needs further improvements in key areas, and beginners who aren’t used with this operating system might find it pretty difficult to adapt. Just move someone who’s been using an Apple Watch to Wear OS and you’ll understand what I mean.
Also, the battery life of Wear OS devices is still a setback. Mobvoi has managed to do wonders with the C2 and other devices, as they almost certainly provide one day of battery life per charge with an average usage pattern, but there are times when the operating system as a whole pulls smartwatches down in this area.
All in all, however, if you’re looking for an affordable way to get a taste of Android on your wrist, the TicWatch C2 is definitely worth a look. It’s not the best Wear OS money can buy right now, that’s for sure, but on the other hand, it’s one of the smartest choices when it comes to the essential feature package.