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The new TicWatch Pro S smartwatch isn’t really new at all

The TicWatch Pro S is the latest Wear OS smartwatch from Mobvoi, and although it’s being announced in 2021, it is not a major upgrade over the TicWatch Pro 2020 model it replaces in the range. Perhaps most surprisingly, it doesn’t have the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor inside — the staple of almost all smartwatches today — but nor does it have the newer Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip, either. Instead, it has the Snapdragon Wear 2100, a processor released in 2016.

It’s the same chip running the TicWatch Pro 2020, and the 2018 TicWatch Pro before it and that’s not the only similarity. The TicWatch Pro S uses Mobvoi’s innovative dual-screen system to increase battery life, with a simple FSTN screen taking over always-on display duties from the 1.38-inch, 400 x 400 pixel AMOLED screen. It also has 1GB of RAM, GPS, and a 415mAh battery. It’s just as tough too, with the smartwatch meeting the MIL-STD-810G standard to withstand shock, sand, dust, and varying temperatures, plus it has an IP68 water resistance rating.

So what’s actually new? The TicWatch Pro S has 8GB of internal memory rather than 4GB, and a host of Mobvoi’s own apps pre-installed. These include the latest versions of TicExercise and TicSleep, swim tracking, plus mindfulness-related TicBreathe and the TicHearing sound monitor app. These apps are also found on the more recent TicWatch Pro 3. Software updates are always welcome, but the minimal hardware alternations make it hard to get excited about this “new” model.

What about the Snapdragon Wear 2100? It’s old, but because the Snapdragon Wear 3100 was itself only a small technical upgrade over it, performance may not be greatly affected. That said, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 rarely brings out the best from Google’s Wear OS software, and even if it did, it doesn’t change the fact it’s the same chip that powered the very early waves of smartwatches released nearly five years ago.

The TicWatch Pro S is available in the U.S. through Amazon and Mobvoi’s own website from March 9, for $260, which is the same price as the TicWatch Pro 2020. It will be available for pre-order in Europe on the same day, for 260 euros or 223 British pounds. If you’re interested in buying a smartwatch, take a look at our recommendations here, several of which cost the same or less than the TicWatch Pro S, and have considerably newer hardware inside.

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