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The TicWatch E2 is a great smartwatch for anyone looking for a smart wearable but doesn’t want to spend the kind of money the likes of Samsung and Apple command. For general fitness tracking, handy notifications updates and on-wrist music control, as well as an easy way to check the time and date, the E2 offers exactly what you need. When you consider it all, the TicWatch E2 is a very good buy. The affordable price tag gets you a solid, dependable smartwatch which can last multiple days on a single charge. It doesn’t have some of the more advanced features like NFC payments or 4G connectivity but if you can live without those, this watch is hard not to recommend.
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TicWatch E2 Smartwatch, 1.4 inch AMOLED Display, 5 ATM Waterproof and Swim-Ready, Compatible with iPhone and Android- Shadow
Following on the success of the Ticwatc E SmartWatch, Mobvoi brings out the follow-up model TicWatch E2. On first impressions it seems, aside from a slimmer body and rugged look, not much has changed. Both the E and the E2 provide the same performance and internal specs. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Being waterproof and longer battery life are enough upgrades of their own and makes this a smartwatch worth taking an extra look. They have managed to keep the price similar to that of the Ticwatch E, relatively low, which makes this an even more interesting proposition.
Under the Hood
The watch has a vibrant 1.39″ AMOLED display along with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. It runs Google’s Wear OS smartwatch software. It provides you with an optical heart-rate sensor and built-in GPS. These are features that are pretty much standard these days so nothing, in particular, makes it stand out from the crowd. More importantly, it doesn’t make it stand out for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, contactless payments are yet to come but giving its price range, an understandable compromise.
A really big and welcoming change is that the watch is not just waterproof, it is waterproof to 50m and it has a built-in swim tracking mode. This is a really nice feature. Under the hood, you will find a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor running things (compared to the TicWatch E which used a MediaTek) which is a major improvement and allows the watch to house slightly larger 415mAh batteries. So far, so good.
Price and competition
The Ticwatch E2 is the cheaper of the new models released by Mobvoi, the Ticwatch S2, and the recently launched Ticwatch C2. Apart from Mobvoi’s smartwatches, you won’t find anything in these price ranges running Wear OS. If you are looking for alternatives you will have to consider the Huawei Watch 2 or the Fitbit Versa.
Alternatively, if you’re considering the Ticwatch E for its fitness features, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is another option worth considering as it provides fantastic value for money.
TicWatch E2 review: Design
In terms of design, the TicWatch E2 has definitely made some important changes that set it apart from its predecessor although it falls short from a radical design change. Unfortunately, the black case is made from polycarbonate, which feels robust and handled a few clumsy knocks against surfaces but feels a little plastic although given its price range, it is not a surprise and in all fairness, you shouldn’t really expect anything else. In terms of overall weight and dimensions, it is around 55g in weight and 12.9mm thick, which makes it so light you even forget you are wearing it although it might be a bit of struggle to button shirts given its thick profile.
What you need to consider is that the E2 addresses the processor challenge its predecessor had, focusing on delivering a better experience. The external looks still remains attractive but if you are looking for flashy chrome or a fancy metal finish, this clearly isn’t your watch and you should consider higher end models like the Apple Smartwatch series 4 or the Samsung Galaxy watch.
This is not to say there aren’t any improvements because there are. The strap lugs and edges have been rounded off making the watch more comfortable to wear. The single button that felt a little flimsy on the Ticwatch E has been improved and it is far better and it has now been moved to the right like most smartwatches in the market. A welcome improvement as this is one of the things that many people felt let down by in previous models.
The TicWatch E2 has a 1.39in 400 x 400 pixel AMOLED display, a welcome improvement as we didn’t have any difficulties reading the display in the bright winter sun. The join between bezel and screen has definitely been improved and it looks much more refined. Those looking for big faces will be pleased as it has a 46.9mm size. The bezel itself has gone from the matte the E model had to a slightly glossy finish. Aesthetically pleasing for those looking for a more polish look. The straps remain standard 22mm and easy to find replacements to suit your mood or look. In general terms, the watch feels and look good, pleasant to the eye. While the TicWatch E2 isn’t what we would call a ‘sporty’ model, the included silicone strap is fine for exercise. It copes well with sweat and moisture and it has enough stretch to it so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable.
TicWatch E2 review: Features
The TicWatch E2 runs Google’s Wear OS smartwatch software and has an optical heart-rate monitor so it can measure your pulse. This is now a standard feature on all new smartwatches but one that is always reassuring to see implement. It has built-in GPS to accurately track distance and speed and provide with metrics of your workouts without having to take your phone with you. As it’s running the latest version of Wear OS, the slightly tweaked UI is present, which relies a lot on swiping in from the edges of the screen to access different elements. Swipe up and you get your notifications, swipe right and you get a Google Now set of information cards and access to the Google Assistant. Incoming notifications are much better presented on the E2 model, and messages from apps like WhatsApp give you context-sensitive quick reply options. You get a nice and strong vibration from the watch so you don’t miss your notifications too.
One feature that stood out to us was the 50m waterproofing and swimming mode and given the TicWatch E2 price range, this on its own would make this watch worth buying or upgrading.
When you first start your swim, you are asked to set the pool’s length. There is a custom length option if you’re not using a 25m or 50m pool, which at first can be confusing. You are then given the option to set distance, laps or duration-based target. The watch does a pretty good job at adding up the lengths you swim and logging the data as long as you swim as it is expected. If you are fooling around and trying to deceive the watch sensors, well, your results will be all over the place. The watch expects you to swim in a certain way and it is programmed to read certain movement under programmed assumptions. Unfortunately, it lacks the power to understand if you are doing it correctly or not.
One thing worth mention is that with a wet screen and wet fingers, the touchscreen’s responsiveness is less than ideal. It’s here where some extra buttons or a rotating bezel would have been useful. We found the metrics to be accurate and reliable and it is especially enjoyable when you pair it to the app and see the number of insights and metrics that you get. Things that the app logs are the total distance covered, detects the stroke you used, works out average strokes per length, and your pace per 100 metres. Additionally, there’s also a stroke count and SWOLF score for each length, too, so you can work your efficiency. The only thing Mobvoi has left out is a speaker, presumably as a trade-off for the improved waterproofing but one that we don’t see many people missing too much or at all.
Things we wish it had
The one nagging problem is the lack of NFC for contactless payments. If you really want this feature you will need to consider the Ticwatch C2 or TicWatch Pro. It is a compromise as you will pay more for these models and you won’t get the swimming feature. The question you need to ask yourself is, do you really need it? Has it really come to this that you are willing to scarify sporting features for the luxury of paying with your mobile? Honestly, how about contactless card payments or even paying with your phone, if it comes to it? Anyhow, your decision after all.
TicWatch E2 – Fitness tracking
With the usual accelerometer and heart rate monitor onboard, you have access to the standard fitness tracking seen on anything from lower end fitness trackers to the top-end Apple Watch. There’s standard step counting, for which you can set a target each day. By default, this is an industry-standard 10,000 steps. You can also get a nudge to get in extra steps if you’ve not hit at least 250 steps for your chosen active hours, which is always handy for those of us desk-bound.
What is missing at launch is sleep tracking. There’s nothing built-in to capture your sleep data overnight. Mobvoi has at least said this is coming as an update. Beyond the basics, there is built-in GPS for those wanting greater tracking accuracy for their outdoor workouts. We took the TicWatch E2 Smartwatch for a few test-runs alongside a Suunto Spartan Sport and it held up pretty well. There was only a small discrepancy when it came to distance, with the TicWatch E2 Smartwatch being about 60m off, which giving the price difference and target user, it is not bad at all. Heart rate monitoring was also generally in line, with only a few BPM difference in terms of the average. Glancing at both watches after a brief sprint and the Suunto was quicker at taking an updated reading, but then again, it is to be expected from a watch that is over 4 times the price and design for high-end athletes.
Still, for anyone looking for basic sports tracking, the TicWatch E2 Smartwatch does a decent enough job of covering the fundamentals. Just don’t expect any deeper training or recovery insight. The automatic exercise tracking, which Mobvoi calls TicMotion, also works pretty well, starting a run automatically when it detects constant motion. You have a choice of either using the TicWatch Exercise watch app or Google Fit. The former does integrate with other services like Strava, so you can output the data elsewhere.
The addition of water-resistance means the TicWatch E2 Smartwatch can also track laps of a swimming pool. You’re able to set a custom pool length for anyone not in a standard pool, and the E2 is able to identify different stroke types. It also worked pretty well during a test swim but, as mentioned, a touchscreen and water aren’t a great pairing.
TicWatch E2 review: Performance and battery life
Mobvoi has done an impressive job to optimise the software despite the fact it is powered by the now rather outdated Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100. It provides smooth, enjoyable user experience and you never feel the phone struggles with whatever task is doing.
To be honest, certain apps such as Google Play Music can still be a little sluggish, as you’d expect from such an old chip, but for nearly everything else we had no problems. So much so that we feel the TicWatch E2 is one of the fastest if not the fastest WearOS watches we ever tested. We could go on a rant about why they didn’t use a faster chip but ultimately what really matters is that they have managed to squeeze as much performance out of the chip as it seems possible. They have done it while keeping the costs down, which is what ultimately sets these brand and watches apart from the competition.
And talking about performance, we couldn’t leave out talking about its battery life expectancy. It has a 30% larger 415mAh battery compared to its predecessor, which Mobvoi claims improves battery life up to two days depending on usage. In our tests, the TicWatch E2 lasted more than a day with the display set to always on and tracking a few activities. Nothing extreme but definitely some activity. There’s also a low-powered always-on display providing basic information when the display isn’t in use. I found the wake gesture when rotating my wrist worked a lot more consistently than with the TicWatch E.
In practical terms Mobvoi expects you to recharge it overnight so for the average user, you will never run the watch flat. If you are using it more extensively, there is no getting away from recharging overnight, no matter what the manufacturer says.
TicWatch E2 review: Conclusion
Would you upgrade from the E model to the E2? Our conclusion is that if you see yourself needing the swimming mode, then yes, if not, then the E model will still be a great smartwatch to wear, The changes have not been a leap forward, rather a step forward. Other than this, there are not really huge improvements that would render your E model obsolete.
If you are looking to buy a new smartwatch, we would recommend this hands down, without a doubt. Not only the price is pleasing, but also by its performance, features and responsiveness. It’s still a good-looking smartwatch that’s well built, has good performance, good (albeit basic) exercise tracking plus it has a decent battery life overall. It is easy to use and does the job very, very well.
by Samuel Sotiega. Posted on 04/11/2019