Review: TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS smartwatch
The TickWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is packed with features, but is it any good?
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is a $254.99 smartwatch from Mobvoi. It’s not an Apple Watch and it’s not a Samsung Galaxy Watch. It’s one of the scores of competitive smartwatches on the market that offer comparable, if not slighter better, features than the rest of the market.
There are smartwatches that focus on appearances (think of any smartwatch produced by a luxury watch brand) and those that focus on strict basic functionality. This is neither of those.
While in appearance it’s closer to a Samsung Galaxy, it is a watch that is built to be used. Between the processor and the toughness, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS smartwatch was designed to be (and this is the actual tagline) “ready to go where you go.”
There are two types of people who wear smartwatches: those that do things that require the data and tracking provided by a smartwatch, and those who just want to check text messages on their wrist. Dick Tracy saw it coming but didn’t predict we’d be checking the air pressure with our watches.
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS contains many of the features people have come to expect from fitness-focused smartwatches — GPS, health tracking, sleep tracking, texting — but let’s dive in to see if it is worth the price tag.
So what makes the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS different?
The differences are negligible between most of the smartwatches on the market. For most consumers, the choice is seemingly between Apple and Google OS devices. That’s just marketing. The truth is that there are plenty of quality smartwatch devices on the market, including the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS.
Finding a true difference outside of brand name can be tenuous, to say the least. It usually comes down to comparing stats and price. While those are valid reasons to make any tech purchase, it’s the combination of certain specs that truly makes the difference.
In the case of the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS, it’s about battery life, overall performance (it’s packed with functions), and the quality of the screen.
The Pro 3 Ultra can run up to 72 hours on smart mode and 45 days in Essential mode. Essential mode shuts down most functions to extend battery life, leaving sleep, step, heart rate tracking active, as well as the time. Because if you aren’t using your smartwatch to tell time, then what are you doing with that thing on your wrist?
With regular use, this kind of translates to about three days of use before having to plug it into the charger. That’s essential to a smartwatch, as what’s the point if it’s on the damn charger all the time?
We heard you like tracking tons of biometrics alongside the air pressure. Well, the Pro 3 Ultra heard that too. Steps, sleep and heart rate tracking is standard. It’s the beyond standard that makes the difference.
Those beyond-standard features start with its IHP/AFib detection system. This uses heart rate tracking to monitor, and alert, you to irregular patterns in your heart rate. If that’s not enough, the watch also has a fatigue assessment. This is an interesting feature for those of us who are just over it all.
Fatigue assessment is a great way for your personal tech to validate the way you are feeling all the time. We all are feeling a bit fatigued by the world and existence itself, so it’s logical a smartwatch reinforces that feeling.
Sensors feed info to the software, which then analyzes your HRV (heart rate variability) and through the connected app, visualizes your energy levels and mental fatigue. But let’s be real here, are you really going to make any changes to your lifestyle based on the recommendations of a smartwatch?
If you like picking between multiple colors for your smartwatch screen backlight, then the Pro 3 Ultra has you covered. Not only is it IP68 dust and water-resistant along with a military certification of MIL-STD-810G, but it offers 18 different colors for the backlight.
That’s less important than the fact that whether you are in sunlight or under several quilts in the middle of the night, you can see the watch face. So here’s a screen that is not only visually appealing, but can take a beating as well. Kind of like Josiah after three whiskey sours.
The juicy bits
So does a watch that continuously monitors your stress and fatigue levels along with the expected basic stats really change your life beyond awareness? Well, after using the watch for a month, these are the bits that really mattered.
When you don’t have your smartphone with you, say because you left it at home because the children were being especially bratty, you basically have a pretty brick on your wrist.
This isn’t to say it wasn’t still tracking things, it just limits what you can access without the app. For instance, if your smartphone isn’t within connective range, you can’t use the timer because the Mobvoi app can’t log you in.
While without your phone it still somehow keeps track of what little exercise you performed that day, the multiple logins from Google and Mobvoi present minor roadblocks. For some reason, it almost always required a login when pulling up features, especially if it had been away from the phone for a bit.
Those are minor grievances though, as the overall app functionality and the backlight on the top display are fantastic. Also, a small but welcome feature is that you can view the time like a normal watch without having to tap the screen.
It’s not too bulky and feels natural even on smaller wrists. While the stress and fatigue features are nice adds, the functionality of the apps we expect to work a certain way is clean.
|TICWATCH PRO 3 ULTRA GPS SPECS|
|Model||TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS|
|Dimensions (mm)||47 x 48 x 12.3|
|Watch Case||Stainless steel and high-strength nylon with fiberglass|
|Screen||Corning Gorilla Anti-fingerprint Cover Glass|
|Watch Strap||Fluoro Rubber (interchangeable), 22mm|
|Operating System||Wear OS by Google|
|Chipset||Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 Platform and Mobvoi dual processor system|
|Memory||RAM: 1GB / ROM: 8GB|
|Display||1.4“ 454*454 326ppi Full Color Always On Display AMOLED + FSTN|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi:802.11b/g/n|
|NFC Payments||Google Pay|
|Speaker / Mic / Vibration / PPG||Yes / Yes / Yes / Yes|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, HD PPG Heart Rate Sensor, SpO2 Sensor, Low Latency Off-Body Sensor, Barometer|
|Durability||IP68, Pool Swim/MIL-STD-810G|
There is also a sleep sensor in the watch, but that wasn’t tested. The only thing noticed during the night is sometimes the watch would get tapped and there would be a bright backlight shining in the room.
Some of us are too old for nightlights and that can be disturbing. They should make night covers for smartwatches.
Is the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS worth buying?
Sure. Why the hell not? It’s comparable, if not better, than most of the non-Apple smartwatches on the market. It’s got a killer Snapdragon 4100 processor and 1GB of RAM, so it’s fast and smooth.
There were no hiccups when scrolling through or utilizing apps, that’s for sure. Mobvoi’s co-processor kicks up the chipset to 2.0GHz and Bluetooth 5.0, so this watch is speedy.
While one might note that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 offers some additional health features, some of those features require a Samsung phone. And not everyone brand pairs all their devices.
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS smartwatch is a competent smartwatch, especially if you spend a lot of time outside or in rough conditions.
This is one of those smartwatches that appeal to consumers who like durability alongside their functionality. Because who wants a smartwatch that breaks like a dumb one?
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