Mobvoi TicWatch C2 review

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 goes beyond its affordable price tag

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 is a beautiful smartwatch that comes with all the features you need, at an affordable price.
The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 is a beautiful smartwatch that comes with all the features you need, at an affordable price.
The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 is a beautiful smartwatch that comes with all the features you need, at an affordable price.

Highs

  • Sleek design
  • New Wear OS software is much improved
  • Affordable
  • Built-in GPS and NFC
  • Great battery life

Lows

  • No Wear 3100 processor
  • iOS capabilities are limited
  • Smaller case size only comes in rose gold

The last Mobvoi smartwatch we reviewed was the TicWatch S, and we weren’t huge fans of its looks. But we were pleasantly surprised after opening the box for the new TicWatch C2; it’s sleek, and the watch finally feels more high end than the $200 price tag. While it’s powered by Qualcomm’s older, Snapdragon 2100 processor, the Ticwatch C2 does offer Google’s redesigned Wear OS out of the box. It also comes packed with built-in GPS, a heart-rate sensor, and an NFC chip for contactless payments — all for a more than reasonable price.

Sleek, high-end design

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 looks sophisticated on the wrist. The black 42mm case fits nicely, but for our small wrist, the 13.1mm thickness is a little too chunky. Thankfully, a slightly thinner 12.8mm variant is available, but only in rose gold — clearly geared towards women. While both the platinum and black color variants do have a more masculine look, we wish these colors came in the thinner size along with the rose gold model.

The 20mm watch straps on our black review unit are also too large for our wrist — we had to tighten the C2 to the second to last notch for it feel secure. Thankfully, the watch straps are interchangeable, which allows for customizability.

The minimal look is extremely easy to pair with different outfits.

On the side are only two buttons. The top button has an orange dot on its center, for added flair, and the button is used to access the menu, and you can rotate it to navigate the smartwatch operating system. The bottom button can be customized to trigger any app of your choice, from Google Fit to Google Pay.

The TicWatch C2 is lightweight and feels comfortable to wear throughout the day. The minimal look is extremely easy to pair with different outfits — casual, upscale, or even with gym clothes. The only design aspect that felt a little foreign was not having a crown in the middle, which we’ve become accustomed to on other smartwatches to scroll through menus and notifications. Nevertheless, you’ll get used to the two buttons fairly quickly.

Smooth performance, large display

The biggest downside with the TicWatch C2 is that it’s running the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, which released in early 2016. It’s a dated processor, and there already is a successor called the Snapdragon Wear 3100. A handful of watches have released with the newer chipset, which brings battery life gains and better fitness tracking.

Mobvoi TicWatch C2 full review
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Thankfully, the redesigned Wear OS platform runs better on the dated hardware, and we haven’t run into too many performance problems with the TicWatch C2. Scrolling through the menu was fluid, and the only time we experienced lag was when we loaded certain apps like the Google Play Store and the Weather app. Still, the Fossil Sport and Montblanc Summit 2, both of which feature the new Wear 3100 chipset, deliver smoother performance than the C2.

While it does have a heart-rate monitor, it doesn’t automatically measure your beats per minute.

Performance aside, there’s also 4GB of storage on the TicWatch C2 for those who want to store music offline using Google Play Music. Spotify is now available on Wear OS, but you can’t download music for offline playback just yet.

On to the display, we love the large the 1.3-inch AMOLED screen on the TicWatch C2, which is slightly bigger than the average 1.2-inch displays we’re used to on most Wear OS smartwatches. There’s a 360 x 360 screen resolution here, which helps content look sharp. The screen is bright enough to read in almost all lighting conditions. It’s more than sufficient, and we haven’t had any issues with it whatsoever.

Redesigned Wear OS, works best with Android

The TicWatch C2 runs Google’s redesigned Wear OS smartwatch platform, which offers a much better user experience. For starters, you no longer have to memorize complicated gestures to navigate the smartwatch — just swipe in any direction. Swipe down to see shortcuts like Do Not Disturb Mode, Google Pay, battery saver, and other quick setting tiles that you can toggle on or off.

Mobvoi TicWatch C2 full review
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Notifications also look a lot better. Each one is stacked neatly on top of the other in chronological order, and all you need to do is tap to expand it, and then tap again to collapse it. You can clear notifications by swiping to the left or right, and they’ll disappear from your phone.

Wear OS works with Android and iOS devices, but some features are limited when the watch is connected to an iPhone. For example, the Wear OS app has to always run in the background in iOS, and you can’t respond to text messages.

We love the large the 1.3-inch AMOLED screen on the TicWatch C2.

To access fitness and health metrics, swipe to the left. With all other Wear OS smartwatches, you’re automatically brought to Google Fit but with the Ticwatch, things are a little different. Originally, the C2 defaulted to Mobvoi’s TicHealth app, which also required downloading the TicHealth app on your phone to sync stats. But Google’s Wear OS 2.2 update allows TicWatch users to choose whether they want to use TicHealth or Google Fit. Once updated, all you need to do is long-press on the tile and you’ll see a pop-up window that allows you to toggle between the two.

While we prefer Google Fit, we stuck with TicHealth since it’s what was present initially, and we’ve already taken deep dives into Google Fit on other Wear OS smartwatches. TicHealth works similarly, providing data like steps taken, distance walked, and calories burned. There’s also a convenient button at the bottom that launches TicExercise.

Built-in fitness features

The TicWatch C2 comes with built-in GPS, which allows you to track distance during runs, biking sessions, or walks, without having to be tethered to your smartphone. As mentioned before, we used TicHealth to track all of our metrics but with the update you can also use Google Fit to track distance and workouts. The GPS managed to maintain an accurate track, and we didn’t encounter any issues.

Mobvoi TicWatch C2 full review
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

While it does have a heart-rate monitor, the watch doesn’t automatically measure your beats per minute. We would check it manually using the TicWatch app on the device or through Google Fit. With other Wear OS smartwatches, we’ve chosen watch faces that include our heart-rate on the display that would check for our heart rate every 20 minutes. With the TicWatch C2, this isn’t an option. It may put some people off, but it does have the benefit of saving battery life.

Great battery life

Mobvoi claims the TicWatch C2 can last anywhere from one to one and a half days, and we found that to be relatively true. On days when we were using it to track daily activity and notifications, we managed to get a little over a day out of the smartwatch. Start tracking workouts, however, and that will get cut down to about a full day. That’s still good, considering most other Wear 2100 smartwatches likely wouldn’t be able to last the full day while tracking a workout.

After taking it off the charger at noon, we were only at about 86 percent by 4:30 p.m. Throughout the day, we continued to use it to check notifications and to track our steps. By 11:40 p.m. we still had 52 percent of battery power left. We didn’t wear the smartwatch to bed — it doesn’t track sleep — but left it off the charger and found that it was still at 33 percent by 8 a.m.

Price, availability, and warranty information

The Mobvoi TicWatch costs $200, and can be purchased through Mobvoi’s site in rose gold, onyx, and platinum colors.

Mobvoi offers a one-year warranty that covers against any defects. This doesn’t cover accidental damage to the case, strap, or battery.

Our Take

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 is an elegant smartwatch that delivers far more than you’d expect for its price tag.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. For just a little more, the Fossil Sport ($255) offers the improved Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, as well as a heart rate sensor, and built-in GPS. It has slightly better battery life and performance, though the sporty design may not be for everyone.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is our favorite smartwatch for those with Android phones, as it can do a whole lot more than Wear OS smartwatches, with longer battery life.

But if you have an iPhone, we recommend the Apple Watch Series 4. It’s the best smartwatch, and you’ll be able to take advantage of all the features, without any restrictions.

How long will it last?

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 should last you well beyond the one-year warranty, but it’s important to note the battery will deplete as time goes on. It’s also unclear for how long it will receive software updates, considering the dated chipset.

The C2 does have an IP68 water resistance rating, so you can take it underwater up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. That means it’ll survive in the shower, or an accidental dip in the pool.

Should you buy it?

If your budget is limited to $200 and you like the look of the TicWatch C2, then yes. You should buy it. Despite the Wear 2100 chipset, it still offers smooth performance, solid battery life, and all the fitness features casual athletes want.

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