Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS in test: The best Wear OS smartwatch?
Manufacturer Mobvoi relaunches its current smartwatch. Behind the name TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS, the manufacturer packs several small updates, such as a colored backlight of the second display, a compass, and increased robustness. Is that enough for the throne of the best Wear OS smartwatch and is the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS thus better than the Fossil Gen 6? That’s what our test clarifies.
Inhaltsverzeichnis / Table of contents
|item name||TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS|
|Operating system compatibility||Android; iOS|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n,|
|Features||Pulse measurement, pedometer, notifications, telephony, Google Play Store, Google Maps, Google Pay, music control, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), GPS including compass|
|Display||AMOLED (1.39 inches, 454 x 454 pixels, 326 PPI) + FSTN LCD with color backlight|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 (@ 2.0 GHz)|
|Memory||1 GB RAM working memory, 8 GB system memory|
|Battery life||Up to 72 hours; up to 45 days in Essential mode|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||11 mm x 48 mm x 48 mm|
|Price||€ 197.02 *|
TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS: package contents
Mobvoi ships its new smartwatch TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS in a dark gray cardboard box that barely turns out bigger than the watch itself. The Chinese manufacturer does not include any unnecessary bells and whistles and only includes the bare essentials.
Besides the smartwatch itself, the box contains a USB-A charging cable, a quick-start guide and the obligatory safety instructions. That’s about it. It’s a pity, because for around 300 Euros and the “Ultra” name suffix, we would have at least wished for a second pair of wristbands.
Design and workmanship
The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS looks very similar to its quasi-predecessor. It is still one of the biggest and most bulky smartwatches around. Nevertheless, the new edition looks a bit more delicate, because the manufacturer now does without the arrow on the upper and lower sides of the bezel, for example, which is why the entire design is a bit slimmer.
In general, a very simple, matte-black color scheme is used, with only the white lettering on the bezel standing out from the rest of the elements. The case is almost huge at 48 mm and looks a bit disproportionate on small wrists. However, this means that the display also offers enough space for larger displays, since it is utilized to the very edge – unlike the Fossil Gen 6, for example.
On the left side of the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is the two-part speaker. On the right side, the manufacturer has positioned two rotary controls, which now have grooves compared to the normal Pro 3 and are thus easier to feel. However, they incomprehensibly do not offer a rotating function. They are merely two pressable buttons.
The back is dominated by the redesigned sensors in a plus arrangement in the center, while the contacts for charging the smartwatch are found on the left edge. New, however, is the 22 mm long wristband, which is now made of fluorocarbon rubber compared to the Pro 3 and should therefore be more robust than conventional silicone wristbands. It offers a full eleven holes for adjustment to the desired size.
Workmanship: even more robust and high-quality
In terms of workmanship, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS noticeably improves, as the most important innovations of the Ultra model are hidden here. Let’s start with the particularly scratch-resistant case made of stainless steel, which leaves an excellent impression. Like the entire smartwatch, it feels very high-quality without being too heavy.
At around 41 grams, the weight is still within a comfortable range. Among other things, this is achieved by the additional use of fiberglass and nylon in the casing, which enable high durability at a low weight. The two lateral buttons offer a pleasant, precise pressure point.
In addition, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra materials have been certified according to the military standard 810G and are thus supposed to be protected against extreme temperatures, increased humidity, sunlight, shocks, low air pressure, sand, dust and salt fog, among other things. That sounds good, although the manufacturer does not talk about a certification for the entire watch here. How durable the TicWatch really is can only be speculated. At the same time, an IP68 certification is offered, which is why the smartwatch is dust- and waterproof. This is a clear advantage over the equally expensive Fossil Gen 6, where even raindrops can become a problem. The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra easily withstood a stress test in the shower and during a one-hour swim in our test.
Display and operation of the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS
Moboi installs a whole two displays on its smartwatch, just like on the Pro 3. Mainly, the watch works with a 1.39-inch AMOLED panel that is fully touch-enabled and offers a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels.
However, there is a second FSTN display on top of it that shows information like date, time, pedometer and battery status. The advantage: It is particularly energy-efficient and functions as an always-on display. It consumes much less battery power than the normal AoD that is used in Wear OS – but it can be disabled in the settings if desired.
However, the most important innovation of the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is that the FSTN display can now be customized in terms of color, whereas it was only available in grayscale in the normal Pro 3. It is also a bit brighter. There are 18 different colors to choose from in the menu.
The advantage is obvious: If you want to use your smartwatch to check the time or the current steps, you do not always have to wake up the AMOLED display and you save a lot of battery.
The Pro 3 Ultra is also excellently positioned in terms of watchfaces or watch faces. 39 of them are already preinstalled, and in combination with the Mobvoi app and Google Play Store, you can choose between thousands of watch faces.
The AMOLED panel itself is just as colorful as you would expect from smartphone counterparts and displays content razor-sharp. Even emojis within messages and images can be displayed.
Operating the Pro 3 Ultra
The operation works exactly as you would expect from a Wear OS smartwatch. Swiping down from the top edge opens the control center, and notifications are displayed in the other direction. Swiping from left to right opens Google Assistant. Swiping from right to left lets you switch through the views (or widgets) defined in the Wear OS app. You can quickly select a different watch face by briefly holding down the touchscreen.
The touch controls work quickly and reliably. The input is even a bit more direct and precise than in the case of the Fossil Gen 6. Mobvoi does without a rotating crown: Only two pressable buttons on the side are available, while the upper one opens the app menu and the lower one can be freely assigned with any application.
TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS: Sensors – New Features and Compass
In terms of sensors for health and fitness tracking, the Pro 3 Ultra noticeably increases. In addition to the previous accelerometer, gyroscope and barometer, Mobvoi installs an HD PPG sensor for measuring blood oxygen saturation. At the same time, an analysis is performed for irregularities in the heart rate, and the smartwatch issues a warning in case of abnormalities.
For example, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia or bradycardia can be detected in advance. Of course, this is not a medical device, which is why the corresponding warnings should be treated with caution and are not as precise as with a professional device. However, it is definitely a nice and helpful feature.
All sensors work extremely precisely. The results are mostly in line with comparable professional devices like a heart rate monitor or pedometer.
Mobvoi uses its own portfolio of health apps to record the data, which is a bit annoying since pulse, SpO2 and sleep are recorded in individual apps. Although the Mobvoi health app provides a rough overview of all the important values, the full details are split into several apps.
Alternatively, all values can also be recorded via Google Fit, whereby the values turn out similarly precise. However, with the exception of the pedometer, which has a high deviation compared to the more accurate Mobvoi counterpart.
Physical and mental fatigue
Also new is 24-hour physical and mental state monitoring, where the TicWatch 3 Pro Ultra consults heart rate variability (HRV) to measure mental fatigue and physical energy levels. Every 30 minutes, the watch measures these values and gives a result in five levels.
The result is surprising, because in the test it pretty much coincides with my current state in terms of alertness, fatigue and concentration. Remarkable!
Sleep recording is also more than satisfactory with the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS. Once again, the Mobvoi smartwatch is clearly ahead compared to the Fossil Gen 6, as REM sleep phases are also recorded here, for example – a feature we missed on the competitor. In addition, it is also possible to track blood oxygen saturation and heart rate during sleep if desired.
GPS, training and navigation
For workout recording, the Pro 3 Ultra offers a total of 21 sport modes covering various sports – from swimming to running to HIIT training. These can be selected in the “TicExercise” app, where you can also set various targets such as duration, calorie consumption or distance. Convenient: The distance covered or calories burned are also displayed on the always-on screen.
Compared with other smartwatches, it unfortunately takes longer than average for the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra to find the GPS signal. The automatic recognition of a workout also takes a bit longer than other models with 1-2 minutes. The GPS and navigation, on the other hand, work extremely precisely and reproduce the covered distance very accurately.
Connectivity, NFC, telephony and Google Pay
In terms of connectivity options, there is nothing to complain about. The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS communicates with the smartphone and other devices via Bluetooth, allowing, for example, music playback via Spotify or YouTube Music on a connected device while controlling it via the watch.
Calls can be accepted or rejected via the watch, and a text notification can be sent when you do not have time to answer the phone, which is typical for Wear OS. However, this only works when the paired smartphone is in the immediate vicinity (maximum distance of 15 meters). For pure phone calls without a smartphone, you’ll have to go for the LTE model of the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra, which won’t be released until November.
Thanks to NFC connectivity, contactless payment via Google Pay is also possible. This also worked flawlessly in our test. Various bank cards stored in the account are quickly transferred to the smartwatch and are immediately ready for use afterwards. That’s how it has to work.
Performance and battery life
Mobvoi relies on the same SoC for the Ultra reissue that was already used for the 3 Pro: the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Quad Core with a clock speed of 2.0 GHz. Thus, the clock is 0.3 GHz higher than the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ of the Fossil Gen 6, which is supported by an additional co-processor. However, it is only used for the always-on display. Due to the higher clock rate, it is not surprising that the TicWatch works faster than the Fossil model and surpasses it in terms of performance.
At the same time, the combination of CPU and FSTN display is also much more energy-efficient, which results in a much longer battery life. Up to three days are easily possible even with activated 24-hour health tracking, an outstanding value for Wear OS. With the normal Wear OS always-on display, you still end up with about one and a half days. Which is still significantly better than the result of the Fossil Gen 6.
On longer trips, the smartwatch even becomes a real endurance talent thanks to Essential mode. Then up to 45 days of runtime are possible, but only time, date, pedometer, heart rate and sleep measurement are still available.
Summary of the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS Test
With the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS, Mobvoi delivers the best Wear OS smartwatch currently available, leaving behind not only its already excellent predecessor, but also the collected competition (Samsung GalaxyWatch 4 and Fossil Gen 6).
This is achieved, among other things, by the enormously high-quality build and the noticeable improvement in terms of robustness. On the other hand, the few points of criticism of the previous top model are also consistently eliminated and, among other things, a SpO2 sensor or a compass are finally introduced.
At the same time, the smartwatch works faster than its rivals and is clearly superior in terms of battery life, especially thanks to the energy-saving FSTN display. Only the use of the outdated operating system and some minor translation errors are annoying, while the enormous size of the casing is simply a matter of taste.
Those looking for a high-performance and enduring smartwatch with the advantages of Wear OS can thus grab the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS without hesitation.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS
Value for money
High-quality manufactured, chic smartwatch with precise sensors, extensive connectivity and convincing battery life.
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