Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 4G review: The kaiju gets faster
When I reviewed the TicWatch Pro last summer, I was enchanted by its hybrid screen, but on my lanky wrist, it looked like I'd stolen an Omnitrix or was hiding some superhero weapon inside it. It was a big watch with battery for days thanks to the LCD always-on mode, but it wasn't exceptionally fast or powerful.
It's been a year since the original Pro came out, and Mobvoi now has the follow-up model: the TicWatch Pro 4G. Bringing double the RAM and new LTE radios, the version looks to beef up an already beefy watch with some extra bells and whistles, but there are some upgrades this watch is very clearly lacking.
- Love that hybrid screen
- LTE allows you to leave your phone behind
- Overall battery is good
- Bulky as sin
- Outdated processor
- Battery nosedives when LTE and GPS are used at the same time
TicWatch Pro 4G What stays the same
The size of the TicWatch Pro 4G is the same as the regular Pro, with the same size screen, same button placement, and the same band width, allowing me to switch over to a better fitting band. Due to the shape of the bezel around the screen, the 4G feels like it has a bigger screen than the TicWatch Pro, but they're the same 1.4-inch dual-layer display. This rugged watch is still IP68 water resistant and is rated for swimming, so you could rely on the Pro for calls at a water park or during an afternoon of river tubing.
I tolerate the large size of the Pro and Pro 4G so that I can get a larger screen for reading notifications, fitness tracking, and for larger touch targets when using the media controls — the best reason to own a smartwatch. The LCD layer of the hybrid screen is easy to read in the harsh glare of the Florida sun and sips battery like a fine, fine cognac. I wish all smartwatches had hybrid displays like the TicWatch Pro, and it's a standout feature on the TicWatch Pro 4G, too.
The watch's internal storage is still only 4GB, so you can maybe save a playlist or two for working out on the go, but you don't have much wiggle room here. The RAM has been doubled on the 4G, and it does help the watch respond a little bit faster, even though it's still using last year's Wear 2100 processor. My fondest hope for the Pro's successor was that it would be packing the Snapdragon Wear 3100 which brought a whole host of improvements for battery usage and fitness workouts.
It's disappointing to see the TicWatch Pro 4G upgrade the RAM but not the processor, especially when the battery improvements of the 3100 could have helped offset some of the battery woes caused by powering LTE radios on the same 415mAh battery as the regular Pro.
TicWatch Pro 4G 4G performance and impact
4G is the tentpole feature for this new model, and it does an admirable job of staying connected in areas with sparse reception, but let's be real, you're not going to be replacing your phone with a watch most of the time, anyway. Verizon NumberShare is the best part of LTE on a watch these days, since it allows you to forward your calls to the TicWatch while you're off on an outdoor excursion like a hike or tubing down the Comal River, and no one we called was any the wiser to us making a call from a watch.
Speeds were acceptable for what you need a watch to do: stream from Google Play Music, receive notifications, make phone calls, and download apps. LTE doesn't cause a significant battery drain on its own, but when it combines with GPS tracking for a rigorous workout like a run or bike ride, things can go downhill quickly. Like losing over half your battery in half an hour quickly. We've reached out to Mobvoi, and they are looking into the significant battery loss as they felt it was far worse than they expected. We'll update this review if there are any developments on this front.
TicWatch Pro 4G
As far as smartwatches go, the TicWatch Pro isn't a bad option if you can stand its gargantuan size, and the new 4G model could serve you well if you're the type to leave your phone behind for bike rides or water sports. There's no denying how addictive that dual-layer display is, remaining the best feature on any TicWatch, and I'm happy to wear a watch with it again in the bright summer sun.
3.5 out of 5
The TicWatch Pro will be launching on Verizon at $299 — $50 more than the original TicWatch Pro — but it's available at both Amazon and Mobvoi for $279 until August 10.
Everything but the kitchen sink
This bulky watch can do it all.
Mobvoi has updated last year's kaiju of a smartwatch with double the RAM and LTE connectivity on Verizon. The overall performance is a little faster than before, but the battery can take a beating from the new LTE radios when you ditch your phone.
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Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.