With the long-awaited SnapDragon Wear 4100 chipset, the TicWatch Pro 3 marks a new era for Wear OS smartwatches, but is it enough to topple the Apple Watch 6?
What we love – fast performance, return of the dual display and a long-battery life
If you’ve had a chance to play around with the TicWatch Pro 2020, then the TicWatch Pro 3 experience will be somewhat familiar. Mobvoi’s newer smartwatch sees the return of the fantastic dual-display, alongside the rugged aesthetic that the Pro series is known for, but both of these features have been tweaked.
Starting with the dual display, this handy second screen provides a low-energy, always-on means of showing the time that’s as easy on the eyes as it is for battery life. This time around, Mobvoi’s made the key improvement of adding a backlight function to the second display, meaning that it’s now a lot easier to read in dimly lit environments.
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Despite attempting to hold on to its rugged sense of style, the Pro 3 is actually lighter than its predecessor (and with a slimmer bezel), weighing in at just 41.9g. Of course the biggest change is under the hood, with the addition of the Wear 4100 chipset, and boy is it a noticeable upgrade.
With the new processor, using the TicWatch Pro 3 feels like a breeze. You can glide through menus without bother, jump between apps at a moment’s notice and Google Assistant is now incredibly responsive. In fact, for that exact reason I found myself using Google’s AI software more frequently than with any other Wear OS watch I’ve tested.
The Wear 4100 also brings a noticeable bump to the watch’s battery life, as the Pro 3 could easily last an entire weekend of daily and nightly use before needing to be topped up. Sure, it’s not as lengthy as what you’ll find on Fitbit or Garmin devices, but it sure takes the Apple Watch 6 to task.
What we don’t like – no more offline music and a less bold design
To Mobvoi’s credit, this isn’t an issue that the company itself could fix, but rather an issue with Google’s attitude to Wear OS. Now that Google Play Music has bitten the dust, there’s no official means of listening to music offline on a smartwatch that uses Google’s proprietary software (at least, not until a dedicated YouTube Music app services).
In the effort to slim down the Pro 3’s bezels, Mobvoi has inadvertently taken away from one of the Pro series’ only defining features from a visual perspective. The problem now is that it’s just not a particularly inspiring smartwatch, and there are far more fashionable options out there if that’s a key point you’re after.
With the SnapDragon Wear 4100 chipset, the TicWatch Pro 3 takes Wear OS into a new era that could finally see the software tackle Apple’s offerings, someday at least. But for the time being, the Pro 3 is a solid entry in Mobvoi’s long line of smartwatches.