If you’re not tracking your activity, then you’re missing out on a lot of information on how to make your training more effective. Having loved and lived in my FitBit for several months now, I decided that I needed more information about my workouts than the little black band was able to give.
With a million and one fitness trackers available, it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to moving from simple step-counting.
The Mobvoi Ticwatch seemed like a great place to start, running a Wear OS operating system and coming in at the more budget end of the market at just £177.99 from Amazon.
Mobvoi Ticwatch S & E
The Ticwatch range started like all ingenious startups do these days, on Kickstarter, and with ex-Google employees on board as founders, they quickly reached their funding goals and got 2 excellent smartwatch models onto the market. The Ticwatch E is the more civilised sibling to the Ticwatch S, which I will be reviewing since I wanted to see how it performs in a fitness environment.
If you’re into geeky numbers and stats (like I am) here are all the relevant ones for the Ticwatch S:
- 1.2GHz MediaTek MTK MT2601 processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage
- GPS and heart rate monitor
- 1.4-inch OLED display, 400 x 400 resolution
- Wear OS
- 13mm thickness, 45.5g weight
As this is my first foray into the world of smartwatches I don’t have much to compare it to. I will say that I LOVE the design of this watch. I was worried the watch face would feel large and cumbersome in order to be practical, however, the 45mm face, which houses a 1.4-inch OLED display, is the perfect size for my skinny little wrist. But then I like a fairly chunky watch.
The screen is clear, crisp, and easy to glance at during a workout, and my fat fingers only occasionally pressed the wrong “button”. The main annoyance, however, is with the gesture recognition, which turns the display on when you casually rotate your wrist to look at the screen. It’s great when it works. However, you sometimes need to exaggerate the motion in order to get it to work consistently.
Note: There is an always-on display mode, but that will drain the battery like that *snaps fingers.
Fitness and activity tracking
So, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of it. The Ticwatch S comes with a heart rate monitor and GPS, both important prerequisites of a decent sports tracker. It runs on Wear OS so you have plenty of fitness and activity tracker apps to choose from. As a newbie, I stuck with Google Fit just to keep things simple. Plus I like the interface.
Heart rate monitor
In order to get the Ticwatch S to monitor my heart rate during a workout, I had to turn it round so that the monitor was on the inside of my wrist. Not that it bothered me, just a little note.
As far as accuracy is concerned, it coped pretty well. It was a little bit slow when picking up dramatic changes in my heart rate – such as sprints or during a circuit – but the overall number was fairly consistent with other trackers. That being said, I’d give it a margin of about + 10 bps in terms of accuracy. If your accuracy is crucial, then your best bet is still probably a heart rate monitor. But for me, they always feel a bit like I’m wearing a bra… not that I know what that feels like… moving on.
Movement recognition & step counter
I was stoked to find that Google Fit now works to recognise your movements when you start a “Strength Training” or “Weight Lifting” workout. Granted the accuracy leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s seriously cool when it gets it right, drastically reducing your need to type or talk in which exercises you’re doing.
Straightforward moves like a pull-up and single-arm row were recognised straight away, leaving me to just adjust the weights and number of reps per set. The poor guy struggle when I did TRX jackknifes and was still waiting for me to start doing something when I was holding a plank. Bless.
The Ticwatch S also works as an everyday fitness tracker, counting your steps and providing you with little reminders to get up and walk if you’ve been sat down for too long. There’s also a Step Ranking app that compares your step count to other users nearby.
Should I buy the Mobvoi Ticwatch S?
If like me, you’re not sure what you would actually use a smartwatch for, but you still really want one, I’d highly recommend the Ticwatch S. Stylish and user-friendly, it won’t break the bank while you play around with the concept of a smartwatch.
If you just want a funky looking watch with some added fitness tracking features, then the Ticwatch can’t be beaten.
- Comfortable to wear
- Big, sharp display
- Solid sports tracking
- Budget-friendly price
- No NFC
- Average battery life
- Proprietary straps
You can order a Ticwatch S from Amazon for just £177.99