TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smart watch men’s wear OS watch review – how to use?

TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smart watch men's wear OS watch review
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Does it count calories burn? It is a Google smartwatch with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Platform. 1G RAM and 8G ROM enable smoother performance and more precise interactions. Other features include auto-adjustable brightness, durable and anti-fingerprint glass cover. Built-in speaker and microphone, NFC payment supports Google Pay. Know about more benefits in TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smart watch men’s wear OS watch review.

Pros & cons – TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smart watch men’s wear OS watch

Pros

  • Wear OS 3.0 update is confirmed for mid-2022
  • Dual display is ace
  • Improved design
  • Great battery life
  • Zippy performance
  • Accurate heart rate sensor
  • Thinner and lighter than before
  • Significant performance improvements
  • Improved secondary display
  • New sensors and health tracking

Cons

  • Still large for some wrists
  • Dire companion app
  • Wear OS needs a refresh
  • Cheap strap
  • Less durable than previous models
  • Missing ECG monitoring
  • No alarms when in Essential Mode
  • Inaccurate sleep and fitness tracking

Specs – TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smart watch men’s wear OS watch

  • Display: 1.4-inch retina AMOLED + FSTN, 454 x 454 resolution
  • Case: 47 x 48 x 12.2mm ~41.9g
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Stainless steel and plastic
  • Band 22mm
  • PPG heart rate sensor
  • Accelerator
  • Gyroscope
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Universal connector
  • Power: 577mAh battery
  • Proprietary magnetic charger: No wireless charging
  • Software: Wear OS
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2 LE
  • NFC: GPS
  • Speaker/Mic
  • Barometer
  • Tracking
  • Heart rate
  • Blood oxygen (SpO2)
  • Stress
  • Steps
  • Sleep
  • 10+ workouts
  • Durability
  • IP68 water resistance and pool swimming suitable

TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smart watch Price

The TicWatch Pro 3 is priced at $299 in the US, £289 in the UK, and €299 in Europe. That’s a price hike of $40 in the US which puts it in the same bracket as the Fossil Gen 5. The Gen 5 has a more refined design, though the huge improvements in battery life and performance with the TicWatch Pro 3 make it a close rival. Look beyond Wear OS, however, and the TicWatch Pro 3 has some extremely tough competition.

That’s a bit pricier than the original TicWatch Pro’s launch cost of $249.99 / £219.99 / AU$369.99, but the higher cost comes with more features and improvements in the TicWatch Pro 3, like an SpO2 sensor and a sleeker case.

Compare TicWatch Pro 3 vs Galaxy Watch 3 vs Apple Watch

Firstly, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 come to mind. For a smartwatch that packs style, performance, and many health-forward features, this is the watch that will give the Pro 3 a run for its money. With its own unique feature in the rotating bezel, navigating the Tizen OS is a joy. It has all of the same health tracking metrics found on the TicWatch Pro 3, with the addition of ECG support coming in a future update. You lose out on a lot of app support for the watch on top of paying quite a bit more, but you do get a very advanced smartwatch.

A watch that could stake claim to your wrist that is health first and smartwatch second is the new Fitbit Sense. The Sense is a lighter, smaller device that integrates many health-tracking features, some that aren’t found on any other smartwatches. One of the most unique options found on the Sense is the temperature sensor. It allows users to track changes in temperature to detect a fever or even the onset of a menstrual cycle.

Its 8GB of storage is pretty standard, and given most apps won’t be more than 3 or 4MB, it’s not much of an issue, though it’s far from the massive 32GB of storage on the Apple Watch 6, say. While the Wear OS apps aren’t as curated as those on the watchOS App Store or Tizen Store, there are still enough fitness, weather, and news apps to pick from. TicWatch’s suite of apps is suitable, though a few questionable interface choices keep them from being as intuitive as competing software.

For staying in the Wear OS ecosystem, a watch willing to fight for that spot on your wrist is the TicWatch E3 . Because it runs the same Snapdragon 4100 as the Pro 3, it’s going to get the new Wear OS in mid-2022 as well. However, the E3 isn’t going to have the same durability or dual-display tech as the Pro 3.

TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smart watch men’s wear OS watch review

Build & Bezel

The watch case is made of dual-texture stainless steel. The sides of the case have a matte finish while the bezel portion surrounding the display has a glossy sheen. The bezel no longer has a knurled ring around it like the TicWatch Pro LTE that we reviewed last year. Instead, it’s printed with minute markings all the way around.

Lightweight

The TicWatch Pro 3 is 0.4mm thinner than its direct predecessor and 28% lighter. You can certainly feel the latter, which is extra impressive when you consider that the TicWatch Pro 3 has a significantly larger battery than the TicWatch Pro 2020 or its LTE counterpart. 

Its 42g weight makes it lighter than today’s pricey watches, like the Apple Watch 6 (47.1g) and smaller Galaxy Watch 3 (48.2g) – and even the latter’s 43g titanium version. And with such a wide case, it feels quite balanced on the wrist. 

Design

You can only get the watch in Shadow Black, and it comes with a 22mm silicone strap with orange stitching, though this is interchangeable due to the universal design. The strap looks more premium than previous TicWatch bands. The case and band combined come with an IP68 water resistant rating, which means this watch is suitable for swimming, though only if you’re doing that in a pool. It’s also good for jumping in the shower with.

Display

The 1.4-inch OLED display is sharp, vivid, and responsive to touch controls. The TicWatch Pro’s defining feature is its dual-display. It pairs a 1.4-inch AMOLED panel with a transparent Film Compensated Super Twisted Nematic (FSTN) LCD display. The 454 x 454 resolution panel is crisp, clear, and bright enough for use in sunlight. Mobvoi has a solid track record for smartwatch displays and that continues here.

Faster processor

The Wear 4100’s quad-core CPU boasts a 1.7GHz clock speed which is claimed to boost performance by 85% compared to the Wear 3100. In addition, there are also big improvements to the GPU — reportedly 2.5x faster — and increased power efficiency resulting from the shift to a 12nm process, as well as additional optimizations.

The TicWatch Pro 3 is the first smartwatch with the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform, and combined with the 1GB of RAM, the smartwatch coasts through switching between screens and apps without a hitch. 

Wear OS

The TicWatch Pro 3 runs the latest version of Wear OS, which is based on Android 9 Pie. Yes, the now two-year-old Android Pie. For whatever reason, Google skipped Android 10 for its wearables, though an Android 11 update is reportedly planned for 2021.

The best part of Wear OS is the access to Google’s wider ecosystem. This includes the Play Store, Google Pay (with NFC payments), Discover, and of course the Google Assistant, which can talk back to you via the watch’s speaker.

Features – TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smart watch men’s wear OS watch review

Stress level

Also new is stress tracking (TicZen), which is combined with a variety of breathing exercises (TicBreathe) to help monitor and lower your stress levels. The watch can also measure environmental sound (TicHearing) and warn you if noise levels become dangerous to your hearing.

Oxygen saturation

The TicWatch Pro 3 makes use of its variety of hardware sensors to track heart rate (TicPulse) and blood oxygen saturation (TicOxygen). Activity-based and passive heart rate tracking was well within the margin of error during my testing, with results mirroring my Xiaomi Mi Band 3 with some very minor anomalies.

SpO2 monitoring is brand new to the TicWatch Pro 3 via the PPG. It is a welcome inclusion considering the feature’s increasing ubiquity in top-tier smartwatches. The 24-hour tracking is a little redundant as it will record once every hour and you need to hold very still to take a reading.

Sleep tracking

The sleep tracking isn’t quite as accurate as we’d like, as it counted periods of late-night immobility (okay, playing games with friends) as sleep sessions, unlike other smartwatches we’ve used alongside the TicWatch Pro 3. But the lengthy three-day battery life means we didn’t worry about remembering to recharge the TicWatch Pro 3 before tracking sleep every night:

Workout

The preset workouts in the TicExercise app have increased in number to a total of 13. This includes basic workouts like outdoor walking, outdoor/indoor running, cycling, and pool swimming, but also more niche presets for yoga, elliptical machines, and trail running.

Health apps

Wear OS has a few health features built in with the Google Fit apps but the TicWatch ships with a suite of its own separate health and fitness apps including TicBreathe, TicExercise, TicHearing, TicOxygen, TicPulse, TicSleep, TicZen and the TicHealth app, which brings the readings all together.

Mobvoi app

The Mobvoi app brings in the new tracking metrics offered by the TicWatch Pro 3 to your phone, offering a singular place to review them. From the home screen on the app, you see the device name and battery status. You see your steps, exercise, and active hours currently tracked in the Sports and Health section. You can also access a watch face center with all of the watch faces created by Mobvoi, although not all are compatible with every watch.

There’s also a place to hear your audio notes recorded from your Pro 3. Here you can also convert the notes to text. Lastly, there’s a place for screenshots from the watch and a help section to explain the various apps and watch functions.

By tapping on the Sports and Health section, it expands to show you the current health data tracked on the Pro 3. Each area shows you your last reading and can be expanded on to offer you a history of that data.

Battery life

As for recharging the watch, it took around 1hr 45 mins to get back to full. The magnetic charging puck is a proprietary affair and it has a bit of a weird shape. With the screen brightness at max, plus every ambient tracking feature (except sleep tracking) and the always-on display turned on, the TicWatch Pro 3 still managed to see a full two days with around 15% to spare. When using the FSTN display while idle, this went up to three and a half days on average. Mobvoi also claims you can get up to 45 days of battery life using just Essential Mode.

TicWatch Pro 3 GPS smart watch men’s wear OS watch Performance review

Used with an Android phone you get solid notifications (if you can feel them), access to Google Assistant, widgets and a reasonable number of third-party applications. It also has Google Pay for contactless payments.

A 25-minute run using GPS and heart rate consumed about 3% of the battery, which is fairly good for a smartwatch and long enough to last a marathon.

The watch also has an “essential mode” that turns off everything but the basic screen showing, time, date, steps and your heart rate, plus sleep monitoring, allowing it to last up to 45 days between charges. You can turn it on manually or automatically when the battery hits 5% to make it last a bit longer.

Regarding notifications, it is a very versatile watch, since it allows you to see and answer notifications from most applications such as WhatsApp, text messages or Telegram. It is very comfortable since you can answer by voice recognition (in my case it is what I use the most), by means of text with a small keyboard (perhaps being a screen it is not the most comfortable) or with emojis that you can choose or draw on the screen and recognizes perfectly. It makes you forget your mobile!

Is there better alternative?

Other non-Wear OS rivals include Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 or the Galaxy Watch Active 2 that come in at $100 more expensive and $80 cheaper than the TicWatch Pro 3, respectively. Both have their own issues with wonky health tracking, but Tizen is still a more fully-fledged OS. Samsung’s overall design work is impeccable as well. There are even some vague rumors that the Galaxy Watch 4 may run Wear OS, but even if it doesn’t, expect it to be a strong rival regardless.

There’s also the Fitbit Sense for $329. It offers superior biometrics tracking and even longer battery life, though the software experience is a little lacking. You may instead want to look at the Fitbit Versa 3, which offers the core Fitbit experience for a little less without losing much overall. Meanwhile, the $305 Garmin Vivoactive 4 is our favorite fitness-focused smartwatch in this price bracket.

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