TicWatch S2 review: Mobvoi has made another solid Wear OS device

Android / Mobile / Reviews / Wearables / Wearables Reviews

The TicWatch S2 is the second generation of the S line for Mobvoi and honestly, the company has made another solid Wear OS device.

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Wear OS devices are still a thing, and with Google rumored to be producing their own Pixel Watch, I believe Wear OS will be around for a bit longer. Mobvoi believes that, too, and has been producing Wear OS devices for a little while. I reviewed the TicWatch S some time back, and now I have the TicWatch S2.

The TicWatch S2 is the second generation of the S line for Mobvoi and honestly, the company has made another solid Wear OS device. There are some minor complaints but nothing major. So read on for the full review of the TicWatch S2.

Specifications

The TicWatch S2 has the following features and specifications:

  • Dimensions (mm): 46.6 x 51.8 x 12.9
  • Colors: Black, White (coming soon)
  • Watch case: Polycarbonate
  • Watch strap: Silicone (interchangeable), 22mm
  • OS: Wear OS by Google
  • AI technology: Google Assistant, Mobvoi TicMotion
  • Phone compatibility: Android, iPhone
  • Platform: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear
  • Display: 1.39″ AMOLED (400 x 400 px)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth v4.1, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • GPS: GPS + GLONASS + Beidou
  • Sensors:
    • Accelerometer
    • Gyroscope
    • Heart-rate sensor
    • low latency off-body sensor
  • NFC: No
  • Battery capacity: 415mAh (up to 2-days battery life)
  • US Military Standard 810g: MIL-STD-810G: Operational between -20ºC to 55ºC; resistant to humidity, dust, and salt fog.
  • Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (swim-ready, up to 50m)

What’s In The Box

  • TicWatch S2
  • Charging puck
  • Manuals and documentation
I love the screen on this watch.

Design

The TicWatch S2 design attempts to bring some of the S design while changing it up a little bit. First, let me give props to Mobvoi for making the watchband interchangeable this time around. The S had a fixed watchband which could not be changed out or replaced. That was a big negative for the review of that device.

So, while the TicWatch S2 has a better system this time and you can change the watchband, I don’t particularly like the watchband included with this watch. While the band on the S was fixed, it was actually nicer than this new band. Don’t get me wrong, the watchband is certainly comfortable, but I don’t like the design. Not a huge deal if you plan on switching it out. The buckle on the band is once again plastic. I was uncertain about the longevity of a plastic buckle on the S but it has held up fine.

Like the S, the S2 has a broad bezel with the minutes engraved on it. This time the numbers are not colored, which I would have preferred. The engraved minutes are helpful when using watch faces that only have hands and no numbers. The multi-function button is on the right side of the watch this time. This was a good choice in my eyes since I used the watch on my left wrist and access to the button on the right is easier for me. The S had the multi-function button on the left.

On the back you’ll find the sensors that make the fitness bits work as well as the magnetic charging nubs. Speaking of the charger, it is much nicer and much more secure this time around. It fits snug on the watch via magnets and a recessed pocket. I never felt as if it would slip off overnight.

Overall, the design here is nice. It’s not the best looking, but it does fit the sport/fitness style for those who are seeking that. It does fine with casual wear but not so great with dress clothes. I like the design of this watch and, while it’s mostly plain, it should appeal to most.

Software/Ecosystem

The TicWatch S2 runs on Google’s Wear OS operating system which has really matured over the past year. Mobvoi also provides its own app you can use to track your steps and activity. I didn’t find the Mobvoi app necessary as you can get all of the same information, and more, from Wear OS and Google Fit.

The biggest improvement with Wear OS has been the ability to add complications to your watch faces. The TicWatch S2 comes with a nice array of pre-installed watch faces but you can also download a ton from the Play Store. Complications allow you to place various bits of information on the watch face for easy viewing, much like the Apple Watch.

The watch also has the ability to receive phone calls and text messages. You can read your messages on the watch and the watch offers you short responses which are super helpful. You can actually use the watch as a speaker as well, which gives you the ability to answer a call on the watch with no need to pull your phone out.

The TicWatch S2 does work with both iOS and Android because it uses the Wear OS app to function. Just be aware, you may not get all the same features out of the watch on iOS as you do Android, but the core of everything should work.

Overall, this is still Wear OS. Not much has changed over the year, but it has improved since its start. Mobvoi does include its own app but it’s redundant and really not needed.

The charging puck fits snug with no signs of slipping.

Ease of Use

The watch itself is super easy to use and setting it up is just as easy. Simply power up the watch and open the Wear OS app. Click “pair new watch” and wait for the watch to display the same code shown on the Wear OS app. Once you confirm the code the Wear OS app will run you through the setup which takes less than 5 minutes.

You should also remember to check for system updates before you start using the watch. Just head into settings, system, about, and click system updates. This will show you if your firmware is up-to-date or if it needs an update.

Once you have all the setup complete, you can use the Wear OS app to set watch faces. You can also do this from the watch by long pressing the screen, but I find it easier to do it from the phone. The Wear OS app will also allow you to download new watch faces for your S2. You can access the apps on your watch by pushing the button and choosing an app.

Overall, this is very simple to use and you shouldn’t have any problems with setup or general use.

Performance

The TicWatch S2 performed very well and made it through basic day-to-day needs just fine. The display is once again very nice, just like it was on the S. I had no issues in bright sunlight, although I do run the watch at MAX brightness all of the time.

You can set up Google Assistant on this watch, but I found having the hotword on the phone and watch sometimes caused confusion. I opted to turn it off on the watch and use it on my Pixel 3 XL since I generally have them both on me at all times.

Like the S, I didn’t experience any lag or stuttering with the S2, the performance was very snappy. There were a few instances where the screen wouldn’t respond to touch, mostly when trying to clear notifications. But those were few and far between, and the screen was responsive everywhere else.

Step counting and heart rate accuracy seemed spot on. I sold my Apple Watch, so I couldn’t compare against it this time, but the Google Fit app and what showed on the watch were generally in the same ballpark.

Overall, the performance was great on the TicWatch S2. Mobvoi has really done well with this series of watches, and they are some of the better performing on the market.

Sensors and charging pins.

Battery Life

Mobvoi says you should get up to 2-days of battery life. I’d say that’s about accurate. I plugged the watch in every night after using it from 6am to 10pm and I still had a bit more than 1/2 charge left. I also kept brightness at MAX and used it for notifications and responding to messages. Overall, the battery life is as advertised, and I can safely say you should be able to get through 2 days.

Price/Value

The TicWatch S2 is priced at US$179.99 which isn’t a bad price at all. It’s very affordable and offers up plenty of value for users.

Wrap Up

The TicWatch S2 isn’t for everyone. The design may not appeal to all, but I think most will like the design just fine. I think the sub US$200 price point is perfect here and the watch performs really well. The hardware is robust and durable and I think most people looking for a watch and fitness tracker will love it. This is certainly an Android Wear device to consider.

*We received a sample of the TicWatch S2 for the purposes of this review.

TicWatch S2

US$179.99
9.1

Design

9.0/10

Software/Ecosystem

9.0/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Comfortable to wear
  • Swim ready up to 50m
  • Wear OS works great
  • Amazing battery life
  • Reasonable priced

Needs work

  • Watch band isn't that nice looking
  • Touches did not register occasionally
  • Design is not as nice as the original TicWatch S

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