TicWatch C2 review

Mobvoi only started making smartwatches in the last couple of years, but it's a company that has performed well and has multiple products in our best smartwatch list due to what they offer at an affordable price.

The TicWatch C2 is the latest addition to the growing range of TicWatch products and it's the first sequel to the TicWatch Classic, the company's first ever wrist companion.

That means it sits slightly above the more affordable TicWatch options but isn't as high-end as the TicWatch Pro that came out in early 2018. Below you can read about our full experience with the TicWatch C2.

Mobvoi TicWatch C2 release date and price

You can buy the TicWatch C2 now in the US, UK and Australia, and you’ve been able to pre-order it since November 2018. It’s now on sale from the official Mobvoi website, and we expect to see it appear at third-party retailers soon.

The price is set at $199.99 / £179.99 / AU$299, which means it's a touch more expensive than the TicWatch E and around the current selling price of the TicWatch S. That watch was more expensive at launch though.

It's a bit cheaper than the top-end TicWatch Pro. That's $249.99 / £219.99 / AU$369.99, so the price difference isn't huge and if you're after the Pro's two-display screen tech it will be worth you spending that extra.

That said, this watch is trying to be more affordable than the top-end device from Mobvoi so it’s worth a look if you’re on the hunt for an affordable watch.

Design and display

The TicWatch C2 feels more premium than the first generation of this line of watches, and it’s certainly more premium than the TicWatch E or S. All of that said, it doesn’t feel as high-end as the TicWatch Pro and it doesn’t have as many features either.

There’s a 1.3-inch AMOLED display at the heart of the watch with a resolution of 360 x 360, which is what you’ll use to navigate around the UI. There are also two pronounced hardware buttons on the right hand edge of the watch to help you move around the interface.

The top button has an odd indent that’s an orange color, but it gives it a unique look much like how the crown on the Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch 4 has been a different color.

There’s no interesting second screen tech here like you’ll get on the TicWatch Pro, which is a bit of a shame, but it has allowed the company to make this watch both thinner and lighter.

The watch itself is made of stainless steel and comes in silver, black or rose gold. The rose gold variant sports 18mm straps and is a touch thinner at 12.8mm, while the black and silver ones are 13.1mm thick and sport 20mm straps.

It's actually just the front of the watch that is made of stainless steel. That ensures the most visible part looks premium, but it’s a little less good looking on the rear as that’s plastic. But if you want you’ll be able to keep that a hidden secret next to your wrist.

You can get a variety of leather straps, but Mobvoi has confirmed that it will bring more options to market soon as well.

It’s an odd choice from Mobvoi to initially alienate those who don’t want leather. For anyone who wants to avoid leather or to use this for exercise, you may want to buy a separate third-party silicone strap to put with this.

Back to the thinness, the rose gold variant is particularly thin as there isn’t a lip over the top of the bezel around the display. You can see that clearly in the photo above, and it’s just one way the company has made this version more suitable for smaller wrists.

All versions of the TicWatch C2 are also IP68 water and dust resistant. That means it will be able to survive a jog in the rain, but Mobvoi has confirmed this watch isn't designed for use in a pool, so you won't be able to track your swimming stats with this.

Specs and performance

How does the TicWatch C2 perform on the inside? The good news is it’s okay, but the bad news is this isn’t going to impress you with its speed.

Speed on a smartwatch isn’t always the most necessary thing, but it’s an odd choice from Mobvoi to include the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset to power the TicWatch C2. That’s a bit of a shame as Qualcomm has now released a new reworked version called the Snapdragon Wear 3100, which offers extra power and better battery life.

We found in our review period that the watch would work as quickly as we needed it to, but it would have been nicer to get that slight speed boost from the newer chipset.

There's 512MB of RAM in the TicWatch C2, which is fairly standard for a smartwatch. Again, it won't impress you but it gets the job done.

Software

The latest Wear OS software is on board here, so you’ll immediately notice the user interface design changes if you're used to the original version of Wear OS. The new version makes navigating around smartwatches that bit easier.

Wear OS works much better than Android Wear did at launch, and this device will pair with both iPhones and Android devices as long as they have relatively recent software running on them.

Android users will get a slightly better experience thanks to better integrated Google services, but it’s largely the same as what you’d get if you paired the watch with an iPhone instead.

Wear OS is smooth, and while it may not sport the largest array of apps it does have the necessities covered.

You can download any Wear OS apps directly from the Google Play Store, or you can use the ones that are already loaded onto the watch. A lot of the fitness features – something we’ll get into below – are using Mobvoi’s own apps here.

Watch faces are limited on the TicWatch C2, but that’s easy enough to change as you can download thousands directly from the Google Play Store. We like a few of the designs that Mobvoi offers, but we’d prefer to have the customization of having lots of choice.

There is NFC here, so you'll be able to set up Google Pay on your wrist for contactless payments. That's something you’re not able to do on the TicWatch E or TicWatch S.

Fitness

Everything we’ve come to expect from Mobvoi’s range of Wear OS watches is here, including a heart rate monitor, GPS and normal fitness tracking features that will keep an eye on your step count and track general exercise.

Don’t expect a sport watch experience here though. Although it can do some good normal tracking, this isn’t waterproof so it can’t be taken in a pool and we didn’t find the design to be particularly sport friendly.

The thicker design than some other smartwatches means this isn’t entirely suited to taking out running with you, and the leather-only straps mean you probably won’t want to sweat in this.

You may want to hold off and see if Mobvoi will provide silicone straps for this device, or buy yourself a third-party strap that will fit it.

If you do still want to exercise with the watch, we found the heart rate tracker to be accurate if a little slow to work. It will encourage you to be still to get the most accurate reading, so don’t expect to get the best results when you’re out mid-stride on a run.

There's GPS on the watch, which is something the company hasn't included on its most affordable watches before. Connectivity is OK, but it can take a little while longer to connect than on some more expensive smartwatches.

If you're not too worried about waiting a minute or so for it to connect you likely won't find this to be an issue. It can be frustrating when you're desperate to get started on your run though.

Battery life

Mobvoi claims the 400mAh cell in the TicWatch C2 is able to last for 1-2 days, and we found that to be about right, with it reaching around two days when you’re not intensively using the watch.

If you’re using the watch for exercise every day and constantly playing around with apps on the device, you’ll find the battery to be closer to around a day from a single charge.

That’s about the average for a smartwatch, but if you like the look of Mobvoi watches and you want longer life you may want to opt for the TicWatch Pro. The C2 won’t rival the TicWatch Pro, which can offer up to a month of timekeeping and step counting from a single charge.

You won’t be stunned by the battery life of the TicWatch C2, but you should find it will last at least a full day. With two days not guaranteed though you’ll likely want to take the device off most nights to charge it.

To recharge the TicWatch C2 you’ll have to use a proprietary charger, so you’ll have to remember to take this with you whenever you go away if you want to be able to use the watch.

It’s easy enough to use, but it would have been a nice touch if the C2 was able to charge from standard wireless charging pads instead.

Verdict

It’s difficult to get excited about the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 as it doesn’t do much that's all that different to other smartwatches on the market.

Where it gets exciting is the price, and the fact that this is a significant discount on a lot of other Wear OS watches on the market is a big deal.

A lot of what most people will want from a smartwatch is on offer here, so you can expect the TicWatch C2 to suit you if you want to be able to use Google Pay or just get notifications directly to your wrist.

Who's this for?

There’s no denying that this is a budget option. It doesn’t have the most premium design of any watch you can buy right now, but it’s a great-looking device when you consider how much it costs compared to some of the alternatives out there.

If you’re on a limited budget for your smartwatch, the C2 may suit you perfectly as it offers pretty much everything most people want from a premium smartwatch but comes in at a lower price.

This device certainly isn’t for vegans or anyone who doesn’t like leather as that’s the only option right now. It also isn’t a device for you if you need long life battery for trips away or a period of a few days away from a wall socket. If that’s you, look to the TicWatch Pro instead.

Should you buy it?

We really like the TicWatch C2. It isn’t the blingiest device you can buy, and it’s far from the most exciting. Yet again though Mobvoi has made one of the most competitively priced devices, with a cost that almost brings it to the level where some people will just buy it for a toy to play around with.

Notifications work well, Wear OS is sturdy enough and there’s enough power on the watch to get through most tasks you’ll want to do. For the odd jog this is a suitable tracker too, but don’t expect this to compete with your friend’s top-end sports watch, especially if you like to swim.

Overall, go for this as an affordable alternative to the Apple Watch 4 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch if you mostly just want notifications on your wrist and a bunch of apps to play with.

First reviewed: December 2018

Competition

Don’t think the TicWatch C2 is going to cut it? Below we’ve listed some alternatives you may want to take a look at before making your decision.

TicWatch S

Sitting around the same price as the TicWatch C2, this is an alternative from the company that you may want. The slightly nicer design is the main highlight here.

You will miss out on extras like being able to use Google Pay on your watch though. If you’re really set on a Mobvoi watch, you’ll like the look of the next device below too.

TicWatch Pro

One of the oddest smartwatches on the market right now, the TicWatch Pro features two different screens. The company has managed to put a full color display on top of a monochrome display that’s used to display the time when your watch is running out of battery.

This costs more money than the TicWatch C2, but if you’re looking for a smartwatch that has some class as well as a top-end feature like the dual screen display, you may like what the Pro offers.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

At the time of writing this is our favorite smartwatch money can buy, and the premium look is part of the reason why.

The Galaxy Watch also has good battery life and great software (as it runs Tizen rather than Wear OS). This will cost you far more than the TicWatch C2, but if you just want the best of the best then it could be a worthwhile investment.



from TechRadar - Technology Reviews http://www.techradar.com/reviews/ticwatch-c2-review