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Ticwatch S2 review: no surprises

Ticwatch S2 review: no surprises

Mobvoi, after recently presenting the TicWatch C2, has announced the arrival of two successors to the smartwatches that made it so popular on the European market. The TicWatch E2 and S2 have been with us for some time now and it's finally time to tell you what we think about them. I reviewed the TicWatch S2, the sportier model of the two newcomers.

Rating

Good

  • Price
  • Excellent display
  • Perfect for sport
  • Improved battery life

Bad

  • No NFC
  • Dated hardware
  • Design

Competitive price

Mobvoi offers the TicWatch S2 at the price of $199 in the US and around £175 in the UK. An attractive and competitive price that has grown only slightly compared to the TicWatch S, i.e. the corresponding previous model. It is only available in black for the time being.

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The strap is large but durable. / © AndroidPIT

Not suitable for gala dinners

This smartwatch doesn't boast an elegant design or premium materials. The case is made entirely of plastic. The watch is also quite bulky on the wrist. In addition, I'm personally not crazy about the carbon-fiber-like texture that Mobvoi has engraved on the frame of the display.

The 22mm rubber strap included is not the most refined either, but it is durable and could be worn at all times, from days at the office to evenings at the gym or during physical activity.

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The checkerboard pattern on the watch is not exactly the prettiest. / © AndroidPIT

However, I have to admit that TicWatch S2 is solidly built. It has a sporty and outdoor look , as it should considering the target audience the product is trying to appeal to. The watch is certified with the MIL-STD-810 standard, which means that it is able to withstand the most difficult environmental situations and its resistance is proven. The leap in quality compared to the first generation plastics can be seen and felt.

You can even wear the watch for swimming thanks to the water resistance up to a pressure of 5ATM.

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The TicWatch S2 is ready to accompany you anywhere. / © AndroidPIT

A pleasure for the eyes

One thing is for sure: you won't be able to complain about the quality of the display on this smartwatch. Since the screen is the part you look at the most and, of course, interact with, it is one of the greatest strengths of the TicWatch S2. The panel is a circular AMOLED with a diagonal of 1.39 inches. The resolution is equivalent to 400x400 pixels (better than the 360x360 pixels of the TicWatch C2). The black colors are obviously absolute and fit perfectly with the dark UI of WearOS. However, at the same time, the colors are bright and readability in the sun is excellent.

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The display is sharp and clearly visible in sunlight. / © AndroidPIT

Few but welcome features

On board, we find the classic WearOS (the new name for Android Wear) version 2.2, based on Android 8. Mobvoi has not customized the operating system in any way except by installing new dials, which allow you to select different themes and extras such as step counts, weather, battery life, etc.

The dedicated health app is accessible with a swipe on the home screen from right to left and can also be selected by the user. You can use the Mobvoi app or Google Fit at the moment. Also interesting is the ability to pair the watch to your smartphone through the same Mobvoi app, instead of using Google's application dedicated to WearOS.

Mobvoi Ticwatch S2 06
WearOS is always WearOS, for better or for worse... / © AndroidPIT

The company has also added a few small fitness apps such as TicExercise, TicRanking, Pool Swim and more. These apps are well made and, above all, have useful functions.

Hardware not quite in step with the times

The system navigation is responsive and there is nothing to complain about in terms of performance. Google has done a good job in optimizing WearOS while switching between the various screens near the dial. The slow down came when I accessed apps or called up Google Assistant. The TicWatch S2, in my experience, takes too long to load or has often proved to be unresponsive.

I don't blame Mobvoi for these problems, which are common to all watches equipped with WearOS. Of course, older hardware could have made it worse but, for the price, we are not really able to ask for much more. On board we find an SoC consisting of a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100, instead of the more recent Snapdragon Wear 3100 - to keep the costs down, no doubt.

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Apps are a problem. / © AndroidPIT

The Ticwatch S2 has a GPS chip dedicated to fitness activities and the use of navigation without a smartphone but unfortunately does not have an NFC chip. No Google Pay or wrist payments.

We could not test the reliability of the heart rate monitor located on the back of the device because of a software problem (which should have already been solved with an update on the day of publication of this review) but given the history of the company, we are sure there will be no problems whatsoever.

Two days of battery life

One of the only disappointments about this TicWatch S2 is the charging system. Once again, Mobvoi has opted for a proprietary charging base and, once again, the USB cable is not disconnectable from that base. Imagine breaking the cable or the base: you'll have to hope that Mobvoi sells a replacement accessory. In addition, it is not possible to use standard wireless charging bases as it is on models equipped with Qi technology.

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The proprietary charger can become a problem. / © AndroidPIT

However, we cannot complain about the really short charging time. The battery life also lasts up to 48 hours even with significant use (not exaggerated). A full day of juice tolerates using the GPS functions and many apps thanks to the increase in the size of the battery from the 300mAh of the first model to the current 415mAh.

Mobvoi TicWatch S2 technical specifications

Dimensions: 46.6 x 51.8 x 12.9 mm
Battery size: 415 mAh
Screen size: 1.39 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 400 x 400 pixels (407 ppi)
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1

A great first smartwatch

The TicWatch S2 obviously doesn't clash with the big names in the industry such as the Galaxy Watch, Apple Watch or elegant Fossil devices. In any case, I think that for the low price at which this smartwatch is offered, it is an excellent candidate to end up on the wrist of many users, just as it happened with the first generation.

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No surprises also means no problems! / © AndroidPIT

If you are looking for a tech gift or maybe your first smartwatch and don't want to spend a fortune, the TicWatch S2 is the best choice at the moment. If the aesthetics don't do it for you, I suggest you take a look at its twin brother the TicWatch E2, offered at an even lower price and with a less "aggressive" design.

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