Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: At first glance, the TicWatch Pro S offers some pretty great features and specs. However, when you compare it to the previous model, you'll see it's not much different. Considering the expensive price tag, you'd expect to receive more improvements than this watch provides.
GPS, HRM, NFC
Excellent battery life
New and refreshed Mobvoi apps
Expensive for minor upgrades
Outdated Snapdragon Wear 2100
Too bulky for some wrists
Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Depending on your perspective, you may or may not consider the new TicWatch Pro S to be one of the best Android smartwatches you can buy. While it certainly offers some nice improvements, it's a lot the same stuff we experienced on the TicWatch Pro 2020. If you're going to spend this much on a smartwatch, you might as well stretch your budget a bit further and get yourself the Ticwatch Pro 3 instead.
So, what does the TicWatch Pro S bring to the table that's new and different? The main selling point is a handful of new and upgraded apps from Mobvoi. You'll now have TicExercise 3.0 and TicSleep 2.0, for example. The company also added new apps, including TicBreathe and TicHearing. You can now measure VO2 max during runs as well.
If you were anticipating an updated processor with better performance, you'll be disappointed. The TicWatch Pro S is still running the severely outdated Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. This is an odd choice when you consider that the TicWatch Pro 3 was released months earlier with the latest 4100 chipset.
This doesn't necessarily mean the TicWatch Pro S is a bad smartwatch, but it's just not offering anything remarkably new or special that sets it apart from previous models. If you feel your eyeballs bugging out of your head upon seeing the price tag, you might agree that these minor improvements don't justify the cost of this watch.
TicWatch Pro S: Price and availability
Mobvoi launched the TicWatch Pro S on March 9, 2021, for $260. It's currently available for purchase through Amazon and Mobvoi's website. At the time of this review, Mobvoi is offering 5% off the TicWatch Pro S, which brings it to a discounted price of $220.99.
TicWatch Pro S: What's good
Depending on your aesthetic preferences, you'll either love or hate how the TicWatch Pro S looks on your wrist. To say that this watch is large and in charge would be quite an understatement. Looking at past models, it isn't all that surprising that the design has mostly remained the same. You get a large 1.39" display that's easy to read and navigate by tapping and swiping on the touchscreen. You can also use the two side buttons to launch apps and go back to the previous screen.
The watch comes in a 45mm case made of carbon fiber and reinforced with high-strength nylon, which is only available in Black. As usual, TicWatch Pro S bands are compatible with 22mm interchangeable straps. It comes with a thick band made of genuine Italian leather on the outside and a soft silicone layer on the inside.
|Category||TicWatch Pro S|
|Processor||Snapdragon Wear 2100|
400x400 + FSTN
Wi-Fi, NFC payments
|Sensors||Heart rate, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetic sensor, ambient light sensor|
|Battery||2-5 days in Smart Mode|
Up to 30 days in Essential Mode
|Water resistance||IP68 + pool swimming|
Those who partake in high-intensity activities will appreciate the military-grade durability and the sturdy Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens. The MIL-STD-810G rating means the device can withstand even the harshest conditions, including extreme temperature shock, solar radiation, 95% humidity, and shock from salt fog, sand, and dust.
The battery life is still impressive. While it hasn't improved, it also hasn't gotten any worse. Nowadays, many smartwatches require daily charging, and the TicWatch Pro S does a good job of beating that figure. In Smart Mode, it can last between 2 and 5 days. In Essential Mode, you'll shut down key features in exchange for preserving battery life for up to 30 days.
Most users will be glad to see the return of Mobvoi's Layered Display Technology. If this is new to you, you're in for a treat. Not only does this feature help extend the battery life of the watch, but it also provides you with excellent sunlight visibility for when you're exercising outdoors. It's nice not to have to squint while struggling to see what's on the screen.
When you're not actively using the AMOLED display on the watch to record a workout or launch an app, it will switch over to a monochrome LCD. You can glance at your watch as you're going about your business and quickly view the date/time, your steps, and battery status without waking the display. You also have the option of turning off the tilt-to-wake gesture, which means you won't wake your display each time you lift your wrist.
It's also worth noting that the watch face selection is fairly robust. I had no problem finding a watch face that worked for my needs. If you want to get creative, you can always customize your own watch face as well. Notification support on the TicWatch Pro S is pretty seamless, too. It's easy to distinguish the various notifications, and the display is large enough to show a good chunk of information. This is helpful when you're busy and need to decide if it's worth taking your phone out or not.
While many Wear OS watches force you to rely on Google Fit for workouts and fitness tracking, Mobvoi wearables also come loaded with a series of apps. I thoroughly enjoyed using these apps to track my walks, record my heart rate, and try out some breath training sessions when feeling stressed.
It's also worth noting that the Mobvoi mobile app for reviewing your metrics is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Whether you want a brief overview of your day so far or you want a more detailed look at your most recent workout, the app has it all. You can review your step count, sleep patterns, heart rate, total active hours, and it's all ready to be accessed in the app.
The TicWatch Pro S can track up to 13 different activities, including outdoor running/walking, trail running, indoor running, cycling, freestyle, pool swimming, rowing, elliptical, mountaineering, body mechanics, and yoga.
As I mentioned earlier, the main improvement on the TicWatch Pro S is that there are some new apps, and some of the older ones have been refreshed. Workout enthusiasts will appreciate the updated TicExercise 3.0 app. You'll now have VO2 Max tracking during runs, a running lap counter, and an improved heart rate range indicator. TicSleep 2.0 will now provide you with weekly sleep reports and sleep advice.
As far as new apps, TicBreathe is now available. This app keeps track of your heart rate and stress changes. You can try to relax with the app's breathing sessions. Another addition is TicHearing, which is designed to measure environmental noise from 30dB to 120dB. You'll receive an alert from the app about potential damage to your hearing and nervous system.
Other daily tasks you might find yourself doing on the watch are also intuitive. I appreciate the easy access to the weather app to see what I'm dealing with before I head outside. I am the type of person who carries my phone around even when I am exercising, so I don't mind using the basic music controls on the watch. However, you can download other music apps from the Google Play store, including Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio.
Speaking of apps, if you're familiar with Wear OS, then you likely know what to expect. It's decent compared to some of the other wearables on the market that are relying on a real-time operating system (RTOS), like the OnePlus Watch, for example. As you may know, these smartwatches don't offer any app support at all. Not everyone is a fan of Wear OS, but it has the essential app that most people require.
TicWatch Pro S: What's not good
I guess we might as well start by addressing the elephant in the room. Not only does the TicWatch Pro S have the same old (emphasis on old) processor as the TicWatch Pro 2020, but it also has the same 1 GB RAM and 4 GB ROM. Many sources initially stated that the TicWatch Pro S would come with a much-needed 8 GB ROM, but Mobvoi confirmed that's not the case.
With that said, it's difficult to understand why Mobvoi didn't at least upgrade to Snapdragon Wear 3100 with this model. The 4100 chipset is already available, so releasing a watch in 2021 with Snapdragon Wear 2100 will not sit well with users who care about improved performance.
When you consider that Wear OS is already aboard the struggle bus in terms of performance, this outdated processor and the same memory/storage setup is a serious bummer. I could go on and on about this poor decision, but I think I've made my point. If the TicWatch Pro S were to truly be an upgraded version of the TicWatch Pro 2020, there should have been more improvements — especially for the high asking price.
As you might have gathered by now, I'm not a huge fan of how huge this watch is. Of course, this is a matter of personal preference. If you have a large wrist or prefer having a bigger display, this might not be an issue. It's not particularly stylish, especially for women who want something that's not so chunky.
I may not participate in high-intensity activities, but I can see this watch potentially being a hindrance for those that do. It may be protected thanks to the military-grade durability, but that doesn't eliminate the fact that it's downright ginormous.
While Mobvoi states that the TicWatch Pro is suitable for pool swimming (and it can record that exercise), you can't get it wet in any other aspect. Specifically, you should avoid taking the watch in the shower or bath. It's also not recommended to try scuba diving, water skiing, or any other deepwater activities where high-speed water is involved. I've gotten used to washing my hands and showering with my watches without thinking twice, so this was an adjustment.
TicWatch Pro S Competition
While several watches directly compete with the TicWatch Pro S, the biggest competitor comes from the same family. Mobvoi's TicWatch Pro 3 was released a few months back and happens to be way ahead of the game. Not only does it have the new Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset, but it likely offers many of the new features and upgrades you were hoping for.
If you find the TicWatch Pro 3 a little too expensive, there are comparable options available at lower price points. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 has been around for a couple of years now and continues to be a top pick among Android users. You get premium features, including optional LTE connectivity, advanced activity/health tracking, electrocardiogram (ECG), blood pressure monitoring, and much more. Not to mention this wearable is much more attractive and comes in two different sizes.
TicWatch Pro S: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You're all about getting a watch with new and updated apps.
- You want a watch with military-grade durability.
- You're looking for a device with great battery life.
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You're holding out for a bunch of new features.
- You want the newest and fastest processor in the game.
- You prefer sleek, lightweight watches that don't feel bulky.
While the tough design and large display are major selling points for the right type of user, people with small wrists will struggle to enjoy all this bulk. It's noticeably heavy and not particularly comfortable to sleep with. If you're used to large wearables, this may not be an issue for you.
Regardless of how you feel about the physical design, the TicWatch Pro S is a so-called new smartwatch running an outdated processor. Is this a disappointment? Yes. Does it mean the watch is unworthy? Maybe not. This all depends on what you prioritize when you buy a smartwatch. If you're not too bothered by mediocre performance and only receiving a few new features, then you might love this wearable.
3 out of 5
Despite its lack of newness, there's still a lot to love about the TicWatch Pro S. You get outstanding battery life, a dual-layer display, military-grade durability, new and refreshed TicWatch apps, health/fitness tracking, onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, Google Assistant, and NFC payments.
When it comes to the bigger picture, it's hard to justify the high asking price for this watch. Most of the design aspects are the same, the processor hasn't been updated, and there aren't many major upgrades to rave about. If you still feel compelled to buy it, you'll get a solid smartwatch with superior battery life and a durable design.
Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.