Top positive review
Smart watch made better with some tinkering
Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2017
Honestly, this is my first smartwatch. A.) I bought the watch since it's relatively cheap when comparing it to other smartwatches and B.) I also went with this model since I was looking for a decent fitness tracker.
My reasoning for making the purchase was to see which camp I fall under. Am I someone that wants a basic fitness tracker or do I want something that has the functionality of a smartphone on my wrist? After having the watch for a couple of weeks, I can see there's a lot of promise, but there are a few problems I've found with the Ticwatch S.
1st problem I noticed is the battery life. Battery life is short enough if the screen is set to "always on," but even with it switched in the other mode where the screen only comes on when you lift your wrist isn't enough to really justify the battery life. I've heard of some people getting over 24 hours on one charge, but the average for me has been closer to 14- 16 hours. Obviously, the battery life drastically shortens (8- 10 hours) when using any of the fitness or gps tracking features.
EDIT TO PROBLEM 1: I started to return the watch, but I decided to do some tinkering around with the help of Mobvoi's customer service reps. There are 3 things you can do to vastly improve battery life.
SOLUTION 1: Disable wifi on the watch. If you're connected via bluetooth to your phone, you honestly don't need wifi enabled on the watch.
SOLUTION 2: Keep the watch face simple (I think this applies to any smartwatch). If you have a watch face that has an animated background, this can slowly suck the life from your watch.
SOLUTION 3: Turn off "always listening" for ok google. Yeah, saying "ok google" to launch the google assistant can be handy, but it's just as quick if not quicker to just hold the side button to launch google assistant.
Since I've done all of those things, my battery easily makes it more than a day and a half (big improvement from the 12- 18 hours I was originally getting.
2nd problem is the amount of time it takes for the screen to display the time when bringing your wrist up. Most basic trackers (I own a virgin pulse max buzz) almost instantly display the time when raising your wrist, but with the Ticwatch S it feels like it takes around 1.50- 2.00 seconds for the time to display. It doesn't seem bad, but when comparing how quickly other devices are able to display the time or notifications, the latency in the display coming to life can feel like an eternity.
3rd problem involves random hiccups with the smartwatch making or receiving calls. I tried calling my wife using my smartwatch and when she didn't answer the phone on the 1st try, I promptly tried calling her with the smartwatch again. Except this time, there was no audio coming through the watch (except for this rapid fire static sound) and there was no indication a call was being made. I tried using my LG v20 to make a call instead, but suddenly my smartphone wasn't working. Come to find out, my Ticwatch S was constantly redialing my wife's number and her phone would not stop ringing until I switched off the watch.
4th issue I had noticed is that the default fitness tracker doesn't hold up when its checking your heart rate (if you're sitting at a desk using the heart rate function provided by Mobvoi or Google Fit, it takes around 90 seconds for it to display your heart rate). It's massively inconsistent in the gym, but that could be due to my heart rate changing too quickly for the Ticwatch S to properly keep up. But I will admit the GPS tracking feature (the one by Mobvoi, not Google Fit) works remarkably well. I've used it for a couple of hikes and it did a near perfect job tracking my mileage and pace (heart rate did better since it was constant vs. varied).
EDIT TO 4TH PROBLEM: Just like a fitbit, I figured that it works better to move the watch slightly up on your wrist. Since I had done this, the watch does a much better job at tracking my heart rate. And my heart rate seems to be spot on with the heart rate tracker on any cardio equipment I've used.