TicWatch E3 Review: A Budget Option

Mobvoi, one of the few remaining Wear OS watch makers, first introduced the TicWatch E3 in June, just a couple of weeks after Google announced the new Wear OS 3.0 alongside Samsung. The moment was an awkward situation for Mobvoi, where we were able to talk about what the watch had to offer today, but also that we had questions about its future with the platform.

The TicWatch E3 has been around for a couple of months now and we know it should get the big Wear OS 3 update. That might not happen for another year, though, so when considering this watch as one you want on your wrist, you will have to take it into account.

Now the TicWatch E3, under normal circumstances, would be an easy watch to watch. It offers a top-notch set of specs in a package right at the $ 200 mark that is likely to see discounts. But as attractive as it may be, the Wear OS 3 situation is not something anyone should overlook.

I’ve spent some time with the TicWatch E3 on a number of occasions since it was announced, so let’s talk about the good and bad about it and whether or not I should buy one.

Mobvoi TicWatch E3

What do I like about the TicWatch E3?

specs. Before we begin, here is a rundown of the TicWatch E3 specifications, which are actually quite good, especially for the money. For $ 199.99, you get a 44mm case with a 1.3 ″ (360 × 360) LCD screen, Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, 380mAh battery, IP68 water and dust resistance. , NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, speakerphone, microphone, heart rate sensor, SpO2 sensor and GPS. This watch clearly lacks nothing that a current smartwatch should have.

Performance. With a Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 1GB of RAM on board, like the TicWatch Pro 3, the E3 is a smooth-running watch. Because it has that somewhat modern chip and lots of RAM, you won’t encounter the stutters, hiccups, and lazy loading of Just about everything you saw in watches released with the Wear 3100 or 2100.

If you need to jump between apps, like a continuous workout or a timer, to check notifications and then come back, that can happen now. Loading Google Play and installing apps or watch faces will not bring laps or hesitations; actually, they will be installed in a timely manner. I know it seems to be lowering the bar, but multitasking on a Wear OS watch or adding new apps before the Wear 4100 was next to impossible.

When it comes to day-to-day use, the TicWatch E3 has solid performance that won’t let you down.

Battery duration. The 380 mAh battery in the TicWatch E3 is good enough for about a day and a half of use, and that’s with the always-on display and sleep tracking activated. Even with a workout there and a great notification action, I never had a battery problem.

Most days, I’d wake up, put the watch on the charger for an hour to get it to 100%, wear it all day, night, and during activities, and then wake up with 30% battery power. And again, I left everything on. You may recall in my review of the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic that I had to turn off the always-on display to make it last for 24 hours; that’s not a problem at all here.

As for charging, the TicWatch E3 may not be as fast as I remember Fossil watches, but it is quite fast. It is certainly much faster to charge the new Samsung watches. Like I said, it could go from 20% to 100% in about an hour, maybe a little less.

Mobvoi TicWatch E3

Focus on fitness. To Mobvoi’s credit, they have really started to get serious about fitness and health with their smartwatches. Mobvoi’s companion app for TicWatch devices has gone through several major changes and has become quite a deep fitness platform.

While I haven’t used it much, since I’ve given my health and fitness life to other platforms, there’s no denying that if you plan to stick with a Mobvoi watch, like the TicWatch E3, for a long time, it could really track a lot of things. about your health.

The Mobvoi app and all Tic apps on the E3 can track everything from heart rate and SpO2 24/7, to tracking your sleep, your active hours, steps and Fitness activities, goals and milestones and weekly / monthly health reports. They even incorporated a social aspect in case you have friends and family with other TicWatches.

Price. At $ 199.99, the TicWatch E3 offers excellent value for money. It’s pretty much the same specs as the $ 300 TicWatch Pro 3 and matches a bit in specs with Samsung’s cheaper $ 250 Galaxy Watch 4. You get a decent chipset in the 4100, a big, bright screen, NFC, and a Long battery life at a lower price than the competition. The only thing is, what I’m about to get into, is that this isn’t the best feeling out there, and you’re certainly getting what you paid for.

Mobvoi TicWatch E3

What don’t I like about that?

It’s pretty cheap to look and feel. Keeping it real here, the TicWatch E3 lags far behind the TicWatch Pro 3 and Galaxy Watch 4 series in terms of usability. This thing feels and looks cheap as hell.

It’s unapologetically plastic, with a 44mm case that’s a massive 12.6mm tall. It’s a big, bulky, sharp-edged watch with a horrible-feeling vibration motor, a strap that would probably sell for $ 1 on Amazon (note: 22mm and you can change it), and a screen that gets pretty bright, but it looks like which is deep below your deck display and is surrounded by wildly thick bezels.

Part of the reason this review has taken so long to prepare is because the E3 isn’t as fun to use when there are watches like Mobvoi’s Pro 3 and Samsung’s Watch 4. Those watches are all carefully assembled, high-end watches that feel almost like a traditional watch or elegantly crafted fitness device. This E3 feels like neither of the two and mostly comes across as the cheap option for the best Mobvoi watch. And maybe that’s exactly the point.

Software status. As I mentioned in the opening, and I’m sure you know, the TicWatch E3 still runs Wear OS 2 and will do so for about another year. Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 4 devices are the only ones through mid to late 2022 that have Wear OS 3, for reasons no one wants to confirm.

Like I said earlier, this E3 runs Wear OS 2 very well, but being a year away from having the latest version could lead to a frustrating experience for owners. For one thing, we’ve already seen apps launch only on Galaxy Watch 4 and Wear OS 3 (like YouTube Music and Google Maps). Even apps like Strava have decided no longer compatible with Wear OS 2 watches.

We also don’t know what Google will do to keep Wear OS 2 up to date over the next year, but I bet we keep seeing some things in Wear OS 3 that won’t be available in earlier versions. Google clearly looks ahead, even if it means putting aside its partners and customers.

The other thing to consider is that Google has said that it will be late 2022 before TicWatch E3 can have Wear OS 3. But we don’t know if Mobvoi or Google will stick to that timeline or if there will be delays and reasons. it does not arrive as soon as possible. Mobvoi, while making many Wear OS watches and continuing to update many, is not exactly the best or fastest at pushing those updates. Remember the H-MR2 update from mid-2020? Mobvoi promised that it would arrive “soon” to its TicWatch Pro 3 customers in October 2020, only to take another 6 months (April 2021) to finally deliver it.

What I’m saying here is that if you buy the TicWatch E3 today, you could be left out of numerous new features for the platform that Google and app developers are driving in Wear OS 3, plus we don’t know if Mobvoi will even do it. stick to any kind of quick timeline for Wear OS 3 when possible.

Mobvoi TicWatch E3

Buy or give the TicWatch E3?

This is a tough one even at its reasonable $ 199 price. The TicWatch E3 provides great performance and battery life in a watch that won’t break the bank, however I am concerned about future software support and can’t really stand the build quality and the design of the watch itself. If you are on a budget and need a mostly powerful and well-rounded smartwatch that should last you for a while, this might be a good option, just understand that next year will be eye-opening for your long-term outlook. You should also probably look forward to the many deals that are likely to come as we get closer to the holidays.

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