Mobvoi is the only major Chinese smartwatch manufacturer that had stuck to the Wear OS (Android OS) for years until Ticwatch GTH. The latter is an affordable smartwatch released this year to capture the affordable market niche of Apple look-alikes. Here, it is going to meet a tough rival in Amazfit GTS 2 mini and the whole Bip series watches. We would compare them side by side in a separate article.
In this detailed review, we would dig into the key features of this $80 smartwatch and would compare it with relevant competitors where necessary. We would also discuss the key strengths and the downright pitfalls of buying this smartwatch. But for those who are in a hurry, here is a summary of the whole article.
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TicWatch GTH: Two Minute Review
Apple Watch is the most successful smartwatch so far, but it only connects to an iPhone and is quite an expensive product. The second-best in the market, Samsung, offers smartwatches in a circular design. Therefore, there is a huge gap in the market for Apple Watch lookalikes for Android users.
Companies like Garmin, Amazfit, and Fitbit have tried their hands to claim a sizeable share for themselves with Garmin Venu Sq, Amazifit GTS Series, and Fitbit Sense respectively. It’s high time for Mobvoi to try its luck too. Ticwatch GTH is the company’s first attempt in this regard.
The almost square-shaped 1.55-inch smartwatch is a fitness tracker disguised as a smartwatch. The watch is lightweight at 59.4g and is small and slimmer (dimensions 43.2 x 35.2 x 10.5). It comes with a silicone strap that can be easily removed. The plastic build of the watch is unimpressive, and so does the LCD. But the metallic bezel adds a premium touch to the overall build. It is water-resistant for up to 50m.
The smartwatch has a pretty simple user interface and almost non-existent smart features. The standard notification alert, Alarm, Timer, and time-telling are all that you get. Are there any third-party apps on GTH? NADA. Music feature? No. Calling and Texting? A Big no.
Its specs are very telling of its fitness tracking capabilities. Apple Watch Series 6 offered a blood oxygen saturation sensor and made a big fuss about it; Fitbit Sense offers skin temperature measurement capability. Ticwatch GTH offers both and the best part is: it doesn’t cost even half the price of the other two.
Apart from these two features, the watch offers heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, step count, and loads of exercise metrics. But there is a caveat. IT DOESN’T HAVE A GPS. Yes, not even the feature that allows low-tech smartwatches to piggyback off smartphone GPS. And here this $80 smartwatch is going to be a major disappointment.
Like us, you might be wondering why Mobvoi ditched built-in GPS? Long battery life is the answer. To offer the watch at this price point, Mobvoi had to choose between an erratic GPS vs a better battery performance. And as logic dictates, it ditched the GPS in favor of 10-day long performance.
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Ticwatch GTH Review: Pros & Cons
Ticwatch GTH Review: Specs & Features
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Dimensions (mm): 43.2 x 35.2 x 10.5
Colors: Raven Black
Watch case: Metal and Plastic
Watch strap (size): TPU (interchangeable), 20mm
Display: 1.55″ TFT (360 x 320 px), full touch
Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
Waterproof rating: Swim, 5ATM
Battery capacity & charging time: 260mAh, 2 hours
Sensors: Accelerometer, PPG sensors (measure heart rate, SpO2 levels, respiration rate, and wrist detection), Skin Temperature Sensor.
Ticwatch GTH Review: Design & Display
First thing first, the watch is available in Raven Black color so there are not many choices for users out there. The rubber straps are 20mm in size and come with a quick-release mechanism to easily replace them with third-party bands. Whereas, the casing is of both aluminum and plastic. Ticwatch GTH weighs no more than 59.4g and is pretty small at 43mm in screen size. The overall dimensions are 43.2 x 35.2 x 10.5 mm).
The screen has a pretty large bezel around it, especially at the top and bottom. It has 2.5D curved glass over the 1.55-inch, 360 x 360 resolution screen which is touch-enabled but has a pretty lackluster performance. The colors are not as vibrant as you may find in an Apple Watch. Plus, the viewing angles are not that great. The watch has a button on the right side resembling the digital crown on the Apple Watch. But, it doesn’t function the same way. The screen is sufficiently bright to be viewed in direct sunlight.
We are pretty impressed by the water-resistant as Mobvoi claims this watch can be submerged up to 50m in static water. Of course, we didn’t test it to such extremes, but as is true for other watches with the same rating, this would do perfectly fine while swimming in both open water and pool.
Overall, the watch fails to impress us with its embellishment of aluminum on a plastic body and an LCD. But considering the price point, we had already lowered our expectations for this watch. To be fair, Mobvoi has focused more on health and fitness features than the design of the smartwatch.
Ticwatch GTH Review: Health & Fitness Features
As the health and fitness features indicate, Ticwatch GTH is less of a smartwatch and more of a fitness and health tracking device. You get the standard heart rate tracking, both on-demand and continuous. In imitation of high-end watches like the Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Sense, it has a blood oxygen saturation sensor. GTH can track sleep and stress thanks to the skin temperature sensor it comes packed with. Plus, there are a ton of different sports and fitness metrics.
The skin temperature sensor is a notable feature as Mobvoi has been closely following Apple, Fitbit, and Samsung is bringing its devices closer to medical-grade equipment, though none of them has been able to be yet.
Now, let’s critically evaluate the product. Blood oxygen saturation tracking is of no use to regular users. The heart rate tracking data is comparable to the Apple Watch and Fitbit Sense, fine. But we cannot say the same about stress and sleep tracking. Step tracking is automatic and so does running and jogging, but the absence of onboard GPS has put a big question mark on the accuracy of the product.
Please keep in mind that neither the Ticwatch GTH nor its high-end competitors like Apple Watch Series 6, Fitbit Sense, and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 fall in the category of medical-grade devices. You should not take their data as a replacement for health devices. As far as the Ticwatch GTH is concerned, you should take its measurement with a pinch of salt.
Ticwatch GTH Review: User Interface
As you can expect, the watch offers a pretty bare-bone user interface not uncommon in cheap smartwatches like these. You would have to use both the side button and the touch screen to navigate through different menus which as a matter of fact aren’t that many. A couple of swipes to the right and you can find different sports modes, weather updates, and health and fitness metrics.
Unlike Garmin, Apple, and Samsung smartwatches that take a steep learning curve to get used to them, Ticwatch GTH would take a few minutes to get accustomed to it. You get the basics like notification alert, weather updates, stopwatch, and timer as smartwatch features. Also, you have plenty of watch faces to choose from and the freedom to customize a watch face for your watch.
The watch doesn’t offer music storage (but allows for music control via Bluetooth) and there is no third-party app support for users. Pretty understandable. The smartphone app is pretty decent too and is quite easy to get hold of. Overall, the interface of both the watch’s OS and smartphone app is minimalist and somewhat lacking.
Ticwatch GTH Review: Battery and Charging
Mobvoi has a fitted 260 mAH battery inside the watch, which is a pretty average size as far as smartwatches are concerned. To put things in context, Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 have 300 mAH and 340 mAh size batteries inside. It then begs the question of why Ticwatch GTH claims 10 days of battery life and lives up to the promise when Apple Watch lasts for 1.5 days and Galaxy Watch 3 hardly 3 days?
It has to do with the limited features of the watch and the absence of two key battery-killer features: AMOLED Display and GPS. Ticwatch GTH made a tough choice when it decided to ditch the GPS for better battery performance. Only time will tell whether fans would approve of it or not.
In our opinion, the company should have added the option of connected GPS. In this way, the watch could have piggybacked off smartphone GPS for accurate steps and position tracking. While many cheap watches offer onboard GPS, and Ticwatch GTH could have offered the same, keep in mind that the accuracy of GPS in these low-tech watches is always questionable.
Another area in which Mobvoi could have done better is the charging time. The watch takes 2 hours to completely charge from 0 to 100% which is pretty much the standard everywhere. Apple Watch Series 6 can be charged in almost 90 minutes. But we would be unjust in drawing a comparison with the Apple Watch as it costs nearly 5 times more.