With the TicWatch Pro 3 smartwatch, Mobvoi seems to be trying to make a name as something more than just a Wear OS watch maker with low-cost devices that performs okay for the price. That started with the TicWatch E in 2017, but it wasn't until the Pro line of watches came shortly after that Mobvoi moved to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 series of processors that debuted in 2016. Unfortunately, the company stayed with that SoC for every watch since — that changes with the TicWatch Pro 3, and wow, is the change well worth it.
Now, I've owned watches from Huawei, Misfit, LG, and even going outside of the Wear OS platform with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. Outside of the Samsung watch, all of these have had the same fault — relatively sluggish performance. However, with the TicWatch Pro 3 sporting the newest Snapdragon 4100, the overall experience gets a massive upgrade.
The Pro 3 also brings a host of new sensors, improvements to its standout secondary display, a larger screen, an overall thinner and lighter watch body, and other useful changes that make using the watch daily much more enjoyable. All of these benefits were improved on when the TicWatch Pro 3 finally got its major Wear OS update this spring.
Big changes, smaller package
TicWatch Pro 3 GPS
Bottom Line: The TicWatch Pro 3 is the first device running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 processor and it provides a much-needed performance boost. Not only is the device significantly faster, but it also is thinner and lighter. The Pro 3 brings improvements in nearly every category you could want — health, performance, display technology, and wearability. Outside of missing an ECG sensor and now that it has received its major Wear OS update, the TicWatch Pro 3 ticks all of the boxes.
- Thinner and lighter than before
- Larger screen
- Significant performance improvements
- Fantastic battery life
- Improved secondary display
- New sensors and health tracking
- Still large for some wrists
- Missing ECG monitoring
- No alarms when in Essential Mode
TicWatch Pro 3: Price and Availability
Mobvoi launched the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS in September 2020 for $299.99 on Amazon and Mobvoi's own store. There has been little change in pricing as the watch is still $299.99 on Amazon, though the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is currently sold for $269.99 at both Walmart and Mobvoi's store.
TicWatch Pro 3: Design and display
The Pro 3 maintains much of the same design language as its predecessors in the TicWatch Pro 2020 and Pro 4G. It retains the familiar bezel with time designations, dual pushers, along with the two-tone metal against a matte plastic. However, the Pro 3's design upgrades become evident once you tighten the stitched silicone band — especially after wearing the TicWatch Pro 4G.
The first significant change is how much thinner it is in comparison to the Pro 4G. While the TicWatch Pro 3 is still a large watch, Mobvoi has managed to reduce the device's overall thickness to 12.2mm, .4mm thinner than the TicWatch Pro 4G or 2020. This change, along with a lighter weight of 42g, a reduction of 28%, makes wearing the Pro 3 much more comfortable. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 comes in at 11.1mm thick and weighs 53.8g.
The reduced thickness and enlarged screen size makes wearing and using the TicWatch Pro 3 so much better over prior generations.
Mobvoi, while making the device thinner and lighter, did make the display larger and because this is part of the Pro line of TicWatches, it has Dual Display upgraded to 2.0. The enlarged screen improves the readability of text and allows for more information, such as health statistics.
The improved top-layer screen retains its excellent visibility in bright light, including the direct sun, and brings a few new tricks. Mobvoi added a few design lines to give the secondary display a bit of personality and change up to the battery indicator. The watch also gains a live seconds counter, and though it's a small change, it is a nice addition.
One of the few drawbacks to the secondary display is that if there isn't any ambient light from the outside, you cannot see the screen — the Pro 3 addresses that. With this release, Mobvoi adds in a backlight that is reminiscent of a Timex Indiglo watch. In the H-MR2 system update the watch got in April 2021, Mobvoi added the option to disable the backlight should you want to.
The lift to wake feature on Wear OS watches activates the full smart display when you raise your wrist. On TicWatch Pro devices, when you disable that feature, the LCD acts as your always-on display. If you enable always-on in the watch settings, you get the improved AMOLED Retina display instead. When you raise your wrist with the Pro 3 and always-on disabled, it activates a backlight for the top-layer display, making it visible in low light situations.
While these can be categorized as somewhat small changes to a very familiar design, they are thoughtful and impactful updates. Perhaps the biggest drawback to the TicWatch Pro line of watches has been its chunky size and dated processor, and though it is still a large watch, the Pro 3 addresses much of that criticism.
TicWatch Pro 3: Performance and battery life
|Specs||TicWatch Pro 3|
|Dimensions||47 x 48 x 12.2mm|
Smart Mode up to 72 hours
Essential Mode up to 45 days
|Display||1.4" AMOLED Retina
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100|
|Water and Dust resistance||IP68 and swimming suitable|
|Connectivity & Sensors||Bluetooth 4.2 & BLE
Ambient Light Sensor
While the design changes are notable, the most significant update is to the processor being used. The TicWatch Pro 3 is the first smartwatch to use the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 chipset. Though it would have been nice to have seen the 4100+ used here, the 4100 proper brings some significant performance and battery improvements over the 2100 SoC used on the previous TicWatch Pro generations.
Similarly to when smartwatches upgraded to 1GB of RAM, anything less felt nearly impossible to use. Now that I've used a watch with the 4100 processor, I can't go back to anything else.
Everything on the Pro 3 is so much smoother than watches running the 2100 and 3100 processors. From on-screen animations to opening apps and navigating through Wear OS and using Google Assistant, it all just works. It may seem strange to be so excited for things to just work, but that's where we've gotten to in the Wear OS realm.
These performance improvements were realized before receiving the Wear OS version update and has only gotten better since. Among other improvements to the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS in the update, the Snapdragon 4100 processor landed some optimizations that has seemed to not only improve the already impressive performance, but also the battery life.
Another big improvement with the TicWatch Pro 3 compared to prior generation Pro models, is in the battery life department. While the Mobvoi's line of Pro watches has never been slouches when it comes to battery life, it only gets better with the newest addition.
With the TicWatch Pro 3, I can actually use the onboard Google Assistant because it's now fast and responsive.
On my TicWatch Pro 4G, I would get around two or three days of usage before needing to put it on the charger. This is while using 24-hour heart rate tracking as well as Mobvoi's TicSleep for sleep tracking. With the Pro 3, I get over three days during 24-hour monitoring of my heart rate, SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) tracing, analyzing SDNN (Standard Deviation of NN intervals), and nightly sleep tracking.
Even when I disable the secondary display, which uses very little power, and use the AMOLED display with the always-on feature enabled, I get nearly three days between charges. If you don't need or want 24-tracking for some of the health features or don't care about sleep tracking, switching some of these features off will improve the TicWatch Pro 3's already impressive battery life.
One feature that I have been hoping for from any Wear OS watch is the ability to schedule the always-on display to be disabled during certain times, similarly to what the Amazfit T-Rex Pro does.
In the April update, Mobvoi added this feature — sort of. You can now schedule when the watch enters Essential Mode, which utilizes only the LCD display and saves a lot of battery life. Thankfully sleep and step tracking is still enabled during this mode, however, you won't have any alarms available to help you wake.
TicWatch Pro 3: Health tracking
The TicWatch Pro 3 brings along some new health sensors to the table. Mobvoi has included a night infrared static heart rate sensor with non-visible light for improved readings, a barometer, as well as a SpO2 sensor. With these additions, the hopes of more accurate monitoring of previously included health readings such as heart rate and sleep but new metrics like blood oxygen saturation levels become available.
With the new suite of sensors on the TicWatch Pro 3, Mobvoi gives users more insight into their general health.
Mobvoi combines the sensor set on the Pro 3 to track the ambient noise around you, stress levels using SDNN, and the ability to automatically track sleep and SpO2 with the watch in Essential Mode. Previously on TicWatch Pro devices, all that was tracked when the device was in Essential Mode was time, heart rate, and steps.
Of course, Pro 3 still offers basic fitness tracking, such as keeping a tally of your steps as well as reminding you to move around if you've been sitting too long. Whether you manually trigger one of the 15 workouts in the TicExercise app or let TicMotion auto-detect your exercise, the secondary display will show you key metrics during your training session. This is especially useful when getting your sweat on outdoors in the bright sun.
TicWatch Pro 3: Software
As mentioned before, the TicWatch Pro 3 did launch with the same version of Wear OS that has been on smartwatches for over a year, but the Android 11 update Wear OS version H-MR2 landed in April 2021. As with most of its watches, Mobvoi has made some changes itself. The Pro 3 is bringing updates to the Mobvoi companion app on the phone and changes to the apps on the watch.
Starting with the phone companion app, Mobvoi brings a more comprehensive look at what is happening on the watch. While making changes to things like always-on display and gestures are done in the Wear OS app, and on the watch itself, viewing all of your health data in one place is a welcomed addition to the app.
The new Mobvoi app is a nice improvement, but it would be great to export the health reports to send to my doctor.
The Mobvoi app brings in the new tracking metrics offered by the TicWatch Pro 3 to your phone, offering a singular place to review them. From the home screen on the app, you see the device name and battery status. You see your steps, exercise, and active hours currently tracked in the Sports and Health section. You can also access a watch face center with all of the watch faces created by Mobvoi, although not all are compatible with every watch.
There's also a place to hear your audio notes recorded from your Pro 3. Here you can also convert the notes to text. Lastly, there's a place for screenshots from the watch and a help section to explain the various apps and watch functions.
By tapping on the Sports and Health section, it expands to show you the current health data tracked on the Pro 3. Each area shows you what your last reading was and can be expanded on to offer you a history of that data.
The TicWatch Pro 3 refreshes the existing Mobvoi apps like TicExercise, TicSleep and TicPulse and adds in TicOxygen for SPo2 tracking, TicHearing for noise detection and alert, TicZen to track stress using heart rate, and TicBreathe for breath training. All of the apps are relatively straightforward with settings to make some of them monitor around the clock.
The updated TicExcercise 3.0 and TicSleep 2.0 are updated for Ticwatch Pro 3, Ticwatch Pro S, Ticwatch Pro 2020, Ticwatch Pro 4G, Ticwatch Pro. The changes to TicExcercise adds in automatic lap counting, heart rate range, Vo2 Max estimates, along with some visual changes to the UI. TicSleep 2.0 also gets a UI overhaul to go with deeper sleep analysis, a weekly report view, and better overall performance.
TicWatch Pro 3: What could be better
For all that the TicWatch Pro 3 gets right, there are still some downsides — nothing's perfect. Even though the watch has been trimmed down a lot over prior Pro models, it is still a large watch with its 1.4" display. Due to this, some folks with smaller wrists or people who simply prefer a smaller watch likely won't enjoy a device this size on their wrist.
While this is a somewhat small issue, I would like the ability to change what info is shown on the secondary display. I understand that the screen has predetermined areas that can be used for data, but allowing me to access that would be wonderful. For example, when using TicExercise, my heart rate is shown on the LCD screen. Why can't I enable that to show up when I'm not working out?
Please, Mobvoi, allow alarms to work during Essential Mode.
While on the dual-display subject, though I do appreciate the addition of the backlight, I would like the option to disable it when I don't want it. I like that the ability to schedule Essential Mode has been added in the April update along with the option to disable the backlight. I'd like to see this taken step further to only disable during scheduled times, like when sleeping. It's a tiny complaint, and more times than not, I want to have the backlight available, but I like options.
Essential Mode is fantastic in a lot of ways. It can stretch your battery with only 5% for days while maintaining step and sleep tracking. But what good is sleep tracking if I can't use an alarm with it? What about when I'm low on battery and my watch goes into Essential Mode and I have something that I have set and alarm my watch for — it won't go off and I'll miss out on what I set the alarm for.
For all of the updated health sensors, it would have been nice to have gotten the ability to do an ECG reading. It is a relatively niche thing in the Android smartwatch options. It is being added for devices like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and the new Fitbit Sense, so having it here would be nice. It's not a deal-breaker for me, but some people may really like to have it available.
TicWatch Pro 3: Competition
While this is currently the only watch running the Snapdragon 4100 processor, other watches still bring something to the table.
Firstly, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 comes to mind. For a smartwatch that packs style, performance, and many health-forward features, this is the watch that will give the Pro 3 a run for its money. With its own unique feature in the rotating bezel, navigating the Tizen OS is a joy. It has all of the same health tracking metrics found on the TicWatch Pro 3, with the addition of ECG support coming in a future update. You lose out on a lot of app support for the watch on top of paying quite a bit more, but you do get a very advanced smartwatch.
A watch that could stake claim to your wrist that is health first and smartwatch second is the new Fitbit Sense. The Sense is a lighter, smaller device that integrates many health-tracking features, some that aren't found on any other smartwatches. One of the most unique options found on the Sense is the temperature sensor. It allows users to track changes in temperature to detect a fever or even the onset of a menstrual cycle.
For staying in the Wear OS ecosystem, options like the Skagen Falster 3 with its svelte style, solid performance running the Snapdragon 3100 processor, and rotating crown, there's something to be said for simplicity are a great option. Another Wear OS watch to fight for that spot on your wrist is the TicWatch Pro S . Though it runs an older processor, it has 1GB of RAM and the very capable Dual Display 1.0.
TicWatch Pro 3: Should you buy it?
TicWatch Pro 3 Who it's for
This watch is for someone who wants excellent performance and battery life. Far too often, those two things are not features that go together. However, on the TicWatch Pro 3, the rarity is achieved. Swiping between screens, scrolling through texts, bringing up your Google Assistant, and getting a fast response, are all available on this watch. Then to toss in three-plus days of use between charges is just fantastic.
It's for the person who likes to spend time outside. The improved Dual Display 2.0 offers a clear view of essential data, no matter the lighting conditions. The backlight also means that you won't have to change settings when you're in dimly lit spaces.
TicWatch Pro 3 is the choice for the person who wants to keep better track of their health. With its improved heart rate sensor, added SpO2 sensor, and inclusion of new apps to track more aspects of your health, the Pro 3 is a wonderful addition to your fitness goals.
TicWatch Pro 3 Who it isn't for
If you don't like large watches or have smaller wrists, the TicWatch Pro 3 may not be for you. The slimmed-down device is much improved over its predecessors, but it is still large. With a 1.4-inch display, it's tough to make the watch much smaller than it is — physical limitations are still a thing.
For the person who really wants a deeper health metric with methods such as an ECG reading, then you will want to look elsewhere. For all of its improvements on the health tracking front, the omission of this feature is missed. While tracking irregular heart rhythms on a smartwatch isn't the most accurate method, there are benefits to it, and having it on the TicWatch Pro 3 would have been excellent.
The TicWatch Pro 3 is easily the best Wear OS device out right now. It's tough to say if it's the best Android smartwatch or not, but for me, it is.
In terms of Wear OS watches, it brings unmatched performance, fantastic battery life, and the Dual Display 2.0 is one that no other device has. While the first two items in this list may show up on other watches as more manufacturers release Snapdragon 4100 and 4100+ options, the Pro 3 has it now, and it's great. Mobvoi is doing some nice tweaks to its own software to bring options that aren't found on other Wear OS watches either.
As for overall smartwatches on the Android platform, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 are tough to beat. The performance is great, and health features are missing from the Pro 3, but Tizen has plenty of drawbacks. From the lack of apps to poorly managed notifications, the TicWatch Pro 3 has brought performance and Wear OS to a level that makes it a challenger for the crown.
TicWatch Pro 3 GPS
Lighter, faster, stronger
The TicWatch Pro 3 improves on the already impressive line-up of Pro watches from Mobvoi. The inclusion of the new Snapdragon 4100 extends the remarkable battery life the line already enjoyed. Its performance is much improved, and the added health features round out a fantastic smartwatch.
TicWatch Pro 3 GPS review: Changelog, May 2021
This article was originally published in September 2020. It was updated in May 2021 with the following changes.
- Added price and availability section.
- Included information regarding the H-MR2 system update.
- Included information regarding updates to TicExercise and TicSleep.
- Added a changelog.
Credits — The team that worked on this review
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, Chris enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.
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