Stop looking at your phone, you do it too much. While you’re at it, don’t go and buy another phone to stop yourself from looking at your phone, either. Instead, if you’re really committed to reducing screen time on a daily basis, Mobvoi wants you to consider its new smartwatch, the TicWatch C2 — and in essence we’re in agreement with them.
Why? It makes sense. Your phone stays in your bag, or in your pocket, and key alerts are sent to your watch. A quick glance at your wrist will tell you instantly if it’s worth further investigation on your phone, or that you don’t need to worry about it until later. This isn’t a new notion, it’s why smartwatches were designed.
It has the potential to be effective because disconnecting from your phone leads to a fear of exactly that: Being disconnected. A smartwatch helps you overcome that fear, which may — if you’ve got the willpower — eventually help you stop looking at your phone so often.
Well designed for all wrist sizes
That’s what Mobvoi wants you to think about the TicWatch C2, but it’s irrelevant if the watch itself isn’t worth buying. We spent a short time with the watch ahead of its launch, and we were impressed, primarily because it looks and feels like it’ll cost more than its actual $200 price tag. The body is comprised of two parts, a metal top section and bezel, along with a plastic case. There are three different models, and we liked the stainless steel and grey combination most.
However, we were also pleased to see Mobvoi make the rose gold model, which is slightly thinner by an almost imperceptible 1mm or so, and has a less masculine bezel and shape. The top button on the side has a different design too. It’s not a ladies version, but more a model for those with smaller wrists, Mobvoi said, and it has an 18mm strap rather than the 20mm strap on the black and stainless steel model. Made from leather, the straps were pliable and comfortable, and none of the watches looked large or too small on our wrist.
There are three different models, and we liked the stainless steel and grey combination most.
The 1.3-inch AMOLED screen shows the newest version of Google’s Wear OS, but the watch was in demo mode for our hands-on, so we cannot comment on performance. It flicked through the menus speedily enough though. The C2 also has a heart rate sensor, GPS, and NFC for Google Pay, but we couldn’t test these at the time either. There are two buttons on the side, one for calling up the menu, and the other to activate assigned features. Not many smartwatches do away with the traditional single crown and get away with it. The Skagen Falster 2 manages it, and we like the look on the TicWatch C2 as well.
Honest design, alternative marketing
What we really liked with the TicWatch C2 was its honesty, and the improvements made to the design over the TicWatch E, and the adoption of the more refined style we liked on the TicWatch Pro. We call it honest because it’s not flashy, and it doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. The design is minimalist and attractive, the features are comprehensive, and the price is just right. One could easily argue that this is all the smartwatch most people would need, especially if their phone costs $500. You’re looking at strong value, rather than high luxury, and when smartphones can now cost $1,000 or more and smartwatches can also run to the same price, this is good news.
A value product doesn’t, and really shouldn’t, always mean it feels cheap. The TicWatch E felt cheap (and it is), but no-one wants to strap cheap to their wrist. Not everyone wants to spend $400 on a smartwatch from a fashion brand either, given that a piece of technology has a finite life. The $200 TicWatch C2 sits very nicely in-between these two points, and with a design that edges towards the better looking smartwatches out there, rather than towards the cheaper models.
What about the TicWatch C2’s ambitions as a device for helping with your, ‘digital wellbeing?’ There are no specific Mobvoi-designed features that drive this aspect, and no tailored apps created to manage notifications in a less intrusive way. It’s a marketing message here, but at least it’s one based on actual fact — a smartwatch used correctly can only lessen the times you look at your phone’s screen. Whether this will lead to reducing your real-world smartphone usage is likely to depend more on your own personal willpower to change things, than buying another connected device.
That aside, as a smartwatch, the TicWatch C2 is well worth your consideration.