The Ticwatch Pro solves smartwatch battery woes with clever new screen tech
One of the most unpleasant aspects of smartwatch ownership is having to charge it every night. It’s simply one more thing to remember, and a distinct disadvantage for smartwatches when comparing them to mechanical watches. Mobvoi, the company which brought us the Ticwatch E and Ticwatch 2, has come up with an interesting way to combat this problem. Clever screen technology built into its latest watch, the Ticwatch Pro, pushes the time between charges up to five and potentially towards 30 days.
The Ticwatch Pro has two screens, an OLED screen that shows Google’s Wear OS, and a second transparent LCD screen on top of it, which shows the time, date, step count, and battery status. Think of it like an ultra-low energy version of Wear OS’s ambient mode and you’ll have grasped the concept. It’s there to give you basic watch information, without sucking power for when you need the smartwatch features.
Ticwatch Pro in Smart Mode with OLED active.
Ticwatch Pro in Essential Mode, with LCD active.
When the Ticwatch Pro uses both the LCD screen (which Mobvoi says is a Film compensated Super Twisted Nematic, or FSTN, fact fans) and the OLED, two days use is possible. When the power reserves force a low battery warning to appear, you can switch to Essential Mode, where only the LCD panel remains active and Wear OS and the OLED screen are shut down. Even with the low battery the Ticwatch Pro will continue to operate for three additional days. Finally, the Ticwatch Pro will work for 30 days with a full battery charge in Essential Mode, which you can turn on manually.
The LCD panel doesn’t have a backlight but is designed to be seen in direct sunlight, and was specifically chosen because it’s totally transparent when not active, allowing the OLED screen’s trademark color and contrast to shine through without hindrance. Likewise when Essential Mode is active, you cannot tell there is a second screen underneath the LCD. It’s a clever mix of screen tech to help solve a smartwatch pain point without major drawbacks.
Mobvoi has used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 platform for the Ticwatch Pro, which isn’t best known for its energy efficiency, plus the watch has a heart rate sensor and GPS. Two days use from a single charge is good going on its own from the 415mAh battery. The 1.39-inch OLED screen has a 400 x 400 pixel resolution and is set in a 45mm body that’s 12.6mm thick. There’s 512MB of RAM helping the processor and 4GB of internal storage space. It also has NFC for Google Pay support, and is IP68 rated for water and dust resistance.
There are several color options, although on all versions the watch’s body is made from a black reinforced nylon material, and only the bezel and strap colors change. The stainless steel bezel comes in either silver or black, and there’s a choice of a brown or black leather strap, with either a black or orange silicone underside. This increases the longevity of the leather, and stops wrists getting sweaty too.
It runs Google’s Wear OS (formerly known as Android Wear) with access to Google Play and the Google Assistant. Mobvoi has also added its own health and fitness app alongside Google Fit. In the future, expect Mobvoi to add more features to Essential Mode through software updates, as all watch sensors are still active. Battery life will suffer; but will likely still extend beyond the two days with Wear OS active.
The Ticwatch Pro is available now in the U.S. and the U.K. from Amazon. It costs $250 in the U.S., and 220 British pounds in the U.K., and it will be an exclusive to Amazon Prime members until August 15. After that date, it will only be available on Amazon until September 30.
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