It's a bit of a strange time in the smartwatch world right now. The novelty seems to have worn off a little, and while some have really bought into the scene, many remain skeptical (myself included). Android Wear 2.0 was delayed, as was its eventual roll out to compatible devices. At the same time, luxury brands have tried to ignite some interest, with Tag Heuer's $1,500 Connected Modular 45 leading the charge. Just yesterday, Louis Vuitton announced the Tabour Horizon, starting at $2,450. Thankfully, Mobvoi has got us regular folk covered, with two affordable new devices that have just smashed their Kickstarter goal.
The Ticwatch S & E, unlike previous wearables by the company, will ship with Android Wear 2.0, making them compatible with Android phones running 4.3 Jelly Bean and up, as well as Apple phones with iOS 8 or above. This gives them access to Google Assistant as well as the many other services that come with the Android Wear platform. The Ticwatch E (Express) and S (Sport) differ in a few ways, with the Sport model being slightly larger and heavier. It also boasts a bezel and improved GPS built into the watchband.
Both watches have a 1.4" OLED display with 400x400 pixels (287 dpi), plus Anti-scratch glass and multi-touch. The internal specs are also identical, with an MTK MT2601 dual-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz, Bluetooth v4.1/BLE, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and all the sensors you'd expect, including a heart rate monitor. They also have an IP67 rating, meaning they are fully resistant to dust and can withstand being submerged in 1m of water for 30 mins. To add to the intrigue, both watches have won different design awards, and it's plain to see that both are certainly attractive even if they aren't made from metal.
These are impressive smartwatches on paper, but the real star of the show is the price. The Ticwatch E will retail for $159 and the Ticwatch S will be $199. That's great value compared to other Android Wear devices, and the Kickstarter campaign doesn't close until August 18th, so you can still get either watch at early bird prices by pledging $119 or $139, respectively.
Mobvoi are also creating a pair of Bluetooth earbuds to complement the watches. The Ticpods will be good for 6 hours of music playback after less than 2 hours on charge, and they can also handle calls or be worn when running. Some pledge amounts include these with a watch for an extra $25, but they'll eventually retail at $79.
The Kickstarter community seems pretty sold on these products, and it shows in the figures. With more than a month to go, they've managed to raise over $717,000, which is more than 7 times the $100,000 target. That's hard to argue with, and even the Android Wear team are promoting these watches themselves – another very good sign.
— Wear OS by Google (@WearOSbyGoogle) July 12, 2017
Mobvoi already has a pretty good name in the smartwatch world, with the $100 Ticwatch 2 being well reviewed despite running a heavily skinned version of Android. With stock Wear 2.0 on board and very competitive pricing once again, the Ticwatch S & E could be ones to watch. The company, which was founded by ex-Googlers, also has more than $250m worth of funding to back it up, so there's every reason to be optimistic for a couple of great new entries in the Android wearables space.