It's been a while since there's been any excitement surrounding Wear OS, the artist formally known as Android Wear, with no notable recent hardware releases outside of expensive fashion products. The OS itself is feeling dated and has arguably never really been fit for purpose; the platform really needs some attention from Google if it's to escape a slow, boring death.

Peering through all the doom and gloom, however, Google-backed Mobvoi is launching a follow up to its well-received, affordable S and E smartwatches. Both the Sport and Express were sub-$200 models made from plastic and rubber, but the TicWatch Pro we first heard about in May is a different proposition. This is a premium wearable device with a premium $249.99 price tag.

Build quality is clearly superior this time around, with a stainless steel (SUS) bezel and rear cover, a glass fiber-reinforced nylon case, and a hybrid silicone/Italian leather strap. There are two hardware buttons that can be used to call up the Google Assistant, open the app list, activate Google Pay, and more (through various taps or long-presses). The lower button can also be customized to launch an app of your choice.

The headline feature of the TicWatch Pro is its Layered Display, composed of a transparent FSTN (Film compensated Super Twisted Nematic) LCD display that sits on top of the main OLED panel. This allows certain information — time, date, step count, and heart rate — to be visible at all times without much impact on battery life.

If you want to eke out the most longevity possible, Essential Mode uses only the low-power secondary display. According to Mobvoi, that can achieve battery life of somewhere between 5-30 days, although the cost is not having any "smart" features at your disposal. In Smart Mode, a more usual 2 days of battery life is expected, and Essential Mode can be set to turn on at low battery, much like Battery Saver on an Android phone.

Specs

Device OS Wear OS by Google
Dimension 45mm x 12.6mm
Display 1.39” OLED 400 x 400 + FSTN display
Chipset Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 2100
Memory RAM: 512MB / Storage: 4GB
GPS GPS / AGPS
NFC Payments Google Pay
Connectivity Bluetooth: 4.2 / Wi-Fi: 802.11bgn 2.4GHz
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyro, Magnetic Sensor, PPG Heart Rate sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Low Latency Off-Body Sensor
Battery 415mAh
Days of Use Smart Mode (Wear OS): 2 days; Essential Mode: 30 days
Water Resistant IP68 (up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 mins; swimming not recommended)
In the box TicWatch Pro, magnetic charging doc, user manual

Aside from the new display tech, the TicWatch Pro is much like any other premium Wear OS watch, with the Play Store, Google Assistant, a range of health and fitness sensors with coordinating apps (including Mobvoi's own), and music streaming. Unlike the company's previous Wear OS efforts, the Pro has NFC for mobile payments. While the TicWatch S had GPS built into the watch band, it's included in the main body of this new model. It also has an improved IP68 water and dust resistance rating  — which equates to submergence in 1.5m of water for up to 30mins — although Mobvoi still doesn't recommend swimming with it on.

The TicWatch Pro goes on sale globally today, with an MSRP of $249.99 (£219.99 / €249.99 / CAD371.99 / AUD369.99).

It will be an Amazon Prime exclusive in the US, UK, DE, IT, and ES until August 15th, when it will then remain exclusive to Amazon until September 30th. Everywhere else, it will be available directly from Mobvoi. I've been playing around with the TicWatch Pro for the past few days, so look out for our upcoming review.

Press Release

Mobvoi launches TicWatch Pro, a premium smartwatch powered with Wear OS by Google™

Layered Display technology extends battery life between five to 30 days on a single charge

San Francisco, CA – July 10th, 2018 - Mobvoi Inc., a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company backed by Google™ and Volkswagen, is launching TicWatch Pro, whose innovative Layered Display technology enables it to last between 5-30 days on a single charge. It’s available now on Amazon UK with an MSRP of £219.99. Powered with Wear OS by Google, TicWatch Pro helps users stay connected to what matters to them and make the most of their time.

https://www.mobvoi.com/pages/ticwatchpro

 

TicWatch Pro’s Layered Display technology (patent pending) is an innovative breakthrough, enabling the user to switch between an FSTN (Film compensated Super Twisted Nematic) LCD display and an OLED display that sit on top of one another. The FSTN display (top layer) is a transparent LCD display chosen due to its low power consumption, high visibility in direct sunlight, and transparent quality when not turned on. This is important in order to ensure the OLED (bottom layer) display’s brightness and colors aren’t compromised when in use.

 

“TicWatch Pro is the result of our relentless pursuit to make a premium smartwatch that greatly resolves the battery life issues which have been inherent in smartwatches”, explained Zhifei Li, CEO and Co-Founder of Mobvoi. “Our approach has been to innovate with the screen, radically reducing battery consumption. Ultimately, TicWatch Pro is our flagship smartwatch designed to further our mission of bringing anyone and everyone access to affordable, high quality smart devices."

 

The power to switch between displays and their related “modes” allows TicWatch Pro users to achieve unprecedented battery life and control over battery usage in an award-winning smartwatch.

 

  • In “Smart Mode”, the OLED display is active along with Wear OS by Google, and battery life is up to two full days of usage
  • In “Essential Mode”, only the FSTN display is in use and battery life can last up to 30 days
  • When Smart Mode reaches low battery, Essential Mode can automatically be turned on so the watch can last for another three days
  • To switch to Essential Mode, users can turn it on in a dedicated app or long press the watch’s Function (lower) button
  • To switch to Smart Mode, users can long press on the watch’s Power (upper) button

 

In Essential Mode, users will see time, date, step counting, and heart rate monitoring. The health and fitness data syncs when TicWatch Pro is switched to Smart Mode. OTA updates over time will add more functions into Essential Mode (since the sensors can still be accessed in this mode) including distance traveled, calories burned, speed and cadence. In Smart Mode, users will have the complete Wear OS by Google experience through the OLED display.

 

Along with its innovative display and unrivaled battery life, TicWatch Pro features include:

  • Google Play Store - Access to thousands of apps through the on-watch Play Store, and the ability to download them directly on the watch
  • Google Assistant™ - Access the Assistant directly on your wrist to check the weather, start your run, set a reminder and more just by asking
  • Premium build quality - Watch bezel and rear cover are stainless steel (SUS), while the rest of the case is a type of hard nylon (polyamide) reinforced with glass fiber (50GF); skin-friendly silicone strap covered with premium genuine Italian leather
  • NFC Payments - Use Google Pay™ to pay directly from your wrist
  • IP68 Water and dust resistant - Withstands submergence in water up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes (swimming not recommended)
  • Health and fitness sensors - Heart rate monitor, Accelerometer, Gyro, Magnetic Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Low Latency Off-Body Sensor
  • Health and fitness apps - Along with health and fitness apps from Google, Mobvoi’s own Health and Fit apps are pre-installed as well
  • Thousands of watch face options - Available to download through Google Play™
  • Music Streaming - Listen to your playlists through your preferred music streaming app

 

“The TicWatch Pro is an exciting entrant into the smartwatch segment, the fastest growing segment in wearables today”, said Pankaj Kedia, senior director and business lead, smart wearables segment, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We have been working closely with Mobvoi over the last 2 years and announced our first products in China last month. We are delighted that the TicWatch Pro is coming to the US. We are working with Mobvoi on new experiences, new products and are excited to support their global expansion and the many possibilities they are creating for consumers.”

Mobvoi is setting itself apart in the wearables space through award-winning design, and the innovative integration of artificial intelligence within its line of products. Their TicWatch line is the top selling Wear OS by Google smartwatch line on Amazon. With TicWatch Pro, Mobvoi is now setting the battery life standard in the segment.

 

TicWatch Pro’s Technical Specifications:

Device OS Wear OS by Google
Dimension 45mm x 12.6mm
Display 1.39” OLED 400 x 400 + FSTN display
Chipset Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 2100
Memory RAM: 512MB / Storage: 4GB
GPS GPS / AGPS
NFC Payments Google Pay
Connectivity Bluetooth: 4.2 / Wi-Fi: 802.11bgn 2.4GHz
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyro, Magnetic Sensor, PPG Heart Rate sensor,

Ambient Light Sensor, Low Latency Off-Body Sensor

Battery 415mAh
Days of Use Smart Mode (Wear OS): 2 days;

Essential Mode: 30 days

Water Resistant IP68 (up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 mins; swimming not recommended

*Google, Wear OS by Google, Google Assistant, Android Wear, Wear OS, Google Pay and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc. Wear OS by Google works with phones running Android 4.4+ (excluding Go edition) or iOS 9.3+. Supported features may vary between platforms and countries.