Android smartwatches have been in bad shape for years because they have had to compete with the Apple Watch, which has become a real powerhouse. But the release of Wear OS 3 and some real hardware has given Google’s efforts a new lease on life. It has also given us the TicWatch Pro 5, a powerful smartwatch that literally lasts longer than the rest. At its core, the TicWatch Pro 5 is the same TicWatch Pro that has been loved for years. It’s a full smartwatch with a big battery and an OLED screen, but it saves power in always-on mode by putting another screen on top of that one.
TicWatch Pro 5: Description
And, just like in the past, it’s a very smart way to solve a real problem that works very well. Over the last generation and this one, Mobvoi has added to what that outer display can do. You can do more with that second screen. For example, it can show your step count and heart rate and work with your workouts. During a workout, the backlight can even change color based on your heart rate, which we thought was really cool. All of the functions on that second display are better, and it has all of the best parts of older models, like being able to change the color of the backlight.
This time, the improvements to “Essential Mode” are the best thing about the second screen. In this mode, Wear OS is almost completely turned off, and only the low-power panel is used. The result is that the battery will last for weeks without turning off any features. There are also “tiles” that let you see your heart rate, calories burned, and even a compass on a bigger screen. This doesn’t change much about Wear OS, but it’s a good feature to have if you forget your charger on a trip or are going camping.
TicWatch Pro 5: Pros and Cons
- Built-in GPS for accurate tracking
- IP68 water and dust resistance
- Large storage capacity (8GB)
- No ECG or blood oxygen level monitoring
- Limited RAM (1GB)
- Relatively thick and heavy design
|Display||1.39-inch AMOLED display (400×400 pixels)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100|
|Operating System||Wear OS by Google|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC|
|Heart Rate Monitor||Yes|
|Blood Oxygen Level Monitoring||No|
|Water Resistance||IP68 water and dust resistance|
|Battery Life||Up to 72 hours in Smart Mode, up to 45 days in Essential Mode|
|Charging||Magnetic charging dock|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, barometer|
|Notifications||Call, message, and app notifications|
|Compatibility||Android 6.0+ and iOS 12.0+|
|Dimensions||45.1mm x 45.1mm x 12.6mm|
|Official link||Visit website|
Design and Hardware
If you look at the design of a TicWatch Pro model like the TicWatch Pro 4G LTE, you can tell right away where it came from. The same big case that is all black and has a knurled bezel is still here. For most people, one of the worst things about this watch is how big it is. At 50.15x48x12.2mm and 44.35g, it is one of the biggest models in the series and one of the biggest Wear OS watches overall. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is 45.4 x 45.4 x 10.5 mm and weighs 46 grams, while the Google Pixel Watch is 41 x 41 x 12.3 mm and weighs 36 grams.
But with all that space, there’s plenty of room for hardware on the inside and a big screen. Mobvoi is the first smartwatch to use Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 Wearable Platform. This is a big improvement over the 4100 series that was used in previous Wear OS devices. Mobvoi used a 4nm process to make the new chip and paired it with 32GB and 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM. During my tests, the watch did everything well. No matter if I’m opening new apps, scrolling through messages, or using voice-to-text, the phone has always worked well.
The big case also makes room for the huge 628mAh battery, which has worked great while had the watch. Mobvoi says that in full smartwatch mode, the watch can be used for up to 80 hours per charge. With all the health features turned on, like tracking blood oxygen levels 24 hours a day, real-time heart monitoring every second, and sleep tracker with temperature monitoring, the battery always lasted 4–5 days before it needed to be charged.
TicWatch Pro 5: Display
Mobvoi’s two-layer display has been around for a while, and we still like it as much as we did when it first came out. On top of the TicWatch Pro 5’s OLED screen is a low-power LCD panel that keeps the watch on even when you’re not using it. It shows the time, date, and day of the week, as well as your step count, heart rate, approximate battery level, and whether or not you have any notifications. The ultra-low-power display on the TicWatch Pro 5 can cycle through several “tiles” that show basic health information like your current heart rate and an estimate of how many calories you burn each day, as well as a compass.
This is a new feature for this generation. Most of these features probably won’t be used on the low-power LCD layer, but it’s nice that they can be used without turning on the OLED screen. Mobvoi was able to fit a lot of useful information on the watch’s small top screen, which helps keep the watch’s more power-hungry OLED panel from being turned on. When you use the watch’s OLED screen, you can’t see the LCD layer. The main display is great. It has a 60 Hz panel with bright colors and enough brightness to be seen outside.
TicWatch Pro 5: Software
This Wear OS 3 smartwatch is almost the best one for me. The interface is almost the same as what you’ll find on the Google Pixel Watch, so Mobvoi didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. There are a few small changes here and there, like being able to move the Quick Settings panel around. And the watch faces that come with it are fine, but it didn’t take me long to start using Facer before we remembered that we could sideload Pixel watch faces.
There are some strange things that happen when you do this, but it’s not Mobvoi’s fault, and we have been pretty happy with it. Since we have been using the Pro 5, we haven’t had a single problem with things loading too slowly or stuttering as we scroll through menus. With the Snapdragon W5+, it’s been better than we expected, which doesn’t say much since the last generation of chips for Wear OS 2 wasn’t very good.
TicWatch Pro 5: Performance
The Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 chip is very welcome because it gives Wear OS a speed and smoothness of response that just wasn’t there before. No matter if you’re scrolling through notifications, opening apps, or zooming in on Google Maps, the TicWatch Pro 5 is always very fast, and we have absolutely nothing bad to say about its performance. It has 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space built in. The smartwatch doesn’t have cellular, but it does have a speaker and a microphone so it can take calls.
If the last Wear OS smartwatch you tried had a Snapdragon 4100 processor (or even a Snapdragon 3100, since they stuck around like a bad smell) and Wear OS 2, and you were disappointed by the whole thing, the TicWatch Pro 5 is the smartwatch you hoped it would be. In terms of performance, the TicWatch Pro 5 is just as good as the Apple Watch, and that’s not something we say lightly. It’s a little too fast for its own good, and the fact that the watch’s screen and buttons are so sensitive doesn’t help. On the TicWatch Pro 5, we have accidentally turned on more features, opened more apps, and used more modes than on any other smartwatch.
Battery Life and Charging
The battery life is usually one of the worst things about smartwatches. Even some of the best models from well-known companies can’t last more than a day without being charged. The TicWatch Pro 5 easily beats most of its competitors here, mostly because of its two-layer display. Mobvoi says the watch’s battery will last 80 hours between charges, but we have found that to be a pretty low estimate. It’s not uncommon for the watch to last four days without being charged.
The 628 mAh battery will drain faster if the watch is used often or if the built-in GPS is used, but this is a great battery life for a smartwatch. When compared to the Pixel Watch, which needs to be charged every day, only having to charge it a couple of times a week is a big deal. This isn’t as much of a worry. The watch is charged with a pin charger that has a USB-A port on the other end. That’s a bit of a pain, since some wearables have already switched to USB-C. It charges pretty quickly, though, and takes about an hour to go from empty to full.
Pricing and Availability
On May 24, 2023, Mobvoi showed off the TicWatch Pro 5, and it went on sale the same day. Either Amazon or Mobvoi, which is the company that makes the watch, will sell it for $350. The smartwatch only comes in one style, with an Obsidian black case and 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage on the inside. But you can choose from five 24mm watch bands. The silicone ones come in Jungle Green, Bonfire Orange, and Twilight Blue. Mobvoi also has a real leather band that comes in either Tuxedo Black or Smart Casual Blue.
The TicWatch Pro 5 is finally here, and it doesn’t let anyone down. This smartwatch is a beast, with a battery life of more than a day, smooth and quick performance, and an excellent Wear OS 3 experience. We’re just a little worried about how the company will handle future big Wear OS updates.
The usual set of sensors are on board, so you can track more than 100 different types of workouts and use a new one-tap measurement feature to find out your heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen, stress level, and even VO2 Max.