Most Wear OS smartwatches don’t cost an arm and a leg, but Chinese company Mobvoi is at the forefront of offering decent-looking watches at prices that are often $200 or lower. Its latest products — unveiled at CES 2019 — are the Ticwatch E2 and the Ticwatch S2 (abbreviated for Express 2 and Sport 2). These are follow ups to the Ticwatch E and S from 2018.
From the brief time we’ve spent with them, the Ticwatch E2 and S2 appear to be excellent entry-level smartwatches for people just wading into the category, but they’re likely not worth the upgrade for those who have a Wear OS watch from the past year.
Mobvoi has improved the design of both the E2 and S2 greatly. The build quality doesn’t feel high-end, but it doesn’t feel cheap like the first Ticwatch E and S. There’s no plastic frame over the case — just a polycarbonate body. They do look and feel a little bulkier overall, though.
The Ticwatch E2 goes for the more minimal look, with almost no flourishes on the bezel or case, where as the sportier Ticwatch S2 has minute markers and ticks around the bezel. The latter also has a more angular case than the Ticwatch E2, which is circular. Even the buttons are different, as the E2 opts for a circular, small button, and the S2 has a more elongated one. The buttons are clicky and open up the app drawer, but sadly they do not rotate, so you can’t use them to scroll through the interface.
The 22mm silicone straps are nice and thick, delivering a sturdy and reliable feel. It’s quite comfortable on the wrist, and the watches are lightweight, so it’s easy to forget you’re wearing them. The straps are interchangeable, but you’ll need long fingernails to push the pin mechanism to remove them — they’re a little too short, and therefore nest inside the strap.
Both watches come in a matte black color that will look good with any outfit, and the S2 will have a white option available later in the first quarter of this year.
The Ticwatch S2 and E2 look similar, but they are easily distinguishable visually. There is one advantage the S2 holds over the E2, though — MIL-STD-810 certification. That essentially means the S2 has undergone military standards for durability and resistance to weather elements, and it will in general be the more tougher watch of the two.
Thankfully, it’s not just the S2 that has 5ATM water resistance. The E2 does as well, which means you can take either watch into the pool.
Redesigned Wear OS, average specs
That’s as far as differences go between the S2 and the E2. The software and specifications are almost exactly the same. The watches are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 2100 processor, and are running the latest version of Google’s Wear OS platform.
Now, you may be wondering why the new Ticwatches don’t have Qualcomm’s newer Snapdragon 3100 processor. Mobvoi told Digital Trends the Snapdragon 3100 is still new and may need more optimization, but the company felt it could do everything it wanted to accomplish with the Wear 2100, while keeping prices low.
The watches we saw at Mobvoi’s booth were in demo mode, so we weren’t able to measure performance, but we’ve used Wear 2100 watches before, and you won’t need to worry too much. The redesigned Wear OS platform not only brought an easier way to navigate the interface, but also better optimization for the Wear 2100 chip. Expect solid performance, with the occasional dips.
The interface is also quite similar to almost every other Wear OS smartwatch. Though instead of Google Fit living on the right side of the main watch face, it’s TicHealth, Mobvoi’s own fitness-tracking app. The good news is if you want Google Fit, a recent update allows you to swap to it easily.
The Ticwatch E2 and S2 have 1.39-inch AMOLED screens, with a resolution of 400 x 400 pixels. They’re bright and colorful, and blacks are inky deep. These are excellent screens, and we love the size, as it makes content incredibly easy to read.
Both also have built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor, which is useful for people who want to track runs or measure heart rate daily. Mobvoi did not include NFC for contactless payments, because it said it wasn’t a high priority for its customers, and it helps keep the watches thinner and cheaper.
The feature we’re most excited to test on both these watches is battery life. We barely got a day with the original Ticwatch E and S, and those had 300mAh battery capacities. The new watches have 415mAh batteries, and Mobvoi said you should expect two-day battery life. We think that claim is a little high, but it certainly means the watch will last a little more than a full day. We’ll be doing more testing to see how much this has improved.
Additional software features
Mobvoi told Digital Trends it has plans to add more software features over Wear OS to the Ticwatch E2 and S2 to make its smartwatches stand out from the crowded field. These include TicMotion gestures, which will allow you to flick the watch away from you to launch apps like Google Fit. It’s unclear what other kinds of gestures we’ll see and when.
Price and availability
Mobvoi hasn’t disclosed the price of the Ticwatch E2 or S2, but it said the watches will be available later this month. Considering the previous watches sat around the $200 and under mark, we’re going to say you should expect around the same price for the new models.
There are genuine improvements here for both watches, and we’re happy to see feature-packed smartwatches at presumably low prices. The biggest reason to buy the Ticwatch S2 and E2 will be because of battery life, if the two-day claim rings true. We’ll be testing them in the meantime to find out.
Mobvoi Ticwatch E2 Compared To