It’s Hard to Resist the Charm of Ticwatch 2 – It is Talented and Utterly Attractive!
Ticwatch is a new kid on the block created by Mobvoi, a China-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup founded by Li Zhifei, an ex-employee of Google
I know I shouldn’t judge a watch by its face. But how could I not? My Ticwatch 2 Snow is downright gorgeous. The white silicone band complements the round silver aluminium frame perfectly. There are plenty of holes on the band, I have no problem finding the one that fits my small wrist.
The thing I love most about the look of Ticwatch 2? It’s the customisable watch face. I had fun choosing a different watch face for each day. In addition to the watch faces available on the watch, I installed WatchMaker app on my watch and iPhone, and now I have even more watch faces to choose from. Do note that WatchMaker free version comes with only 6 simple designs, if you want unlimited choices of face, you need to purchase the premium version which cost S$5.98.
Enough about pretty faces, let’s talk about its features. Firstly, Ticwatch 2 can be worn either on the left hand or right hand, just choose your preference during setting up. To interact with Ticwatch 2, there are four options:
- Touch – like how we interact with smartphones
- Gesture – tilt to light up, flip to answer calls, double flip to activate voice search, double knock watch face with palm for next song
- Voice Activation – by double flipping, or saying “OK Tico” or swiping the home view to right
- Tickle – tickle the side frame of the watch with finger to scroll
I hear you are asking what’s voice activation? It’s similar to OK Google on Android and Siri on Apple. You can ask Tico to perform tasks on the watch like schedule an alarm or perform a search. Upon performing the search on Google, Tico gives me a button to open the recommended sites on my phone, it doesn’t allow browsing on the watch though. To activate Tico, connection to WiFi or a mobile phone is required.
Certain basic features that are present in Ticwatch 2 include alarm (with music and vibration), stopwatch, timer, calculator, heart rate monitor (on demand and during exercise, not 24/7), audio recorder and password.
As a smartwatch, Ticwatch 2 does the usual activity tracking such as steps counting, active hours (number of hours when hourly steps exceed 250), exercise duration, calories burned and distance travelled. The default daily targets are 10,000 steps, 9 active hours and 30 minutes exercise.
Ticwatch 2 will give notifications if the targets have been met or if I am inactive for too long. Oh, it also has an overview that lets me see how active or inactive I am at certain hours of the day. The only downside for me is the lack of sleep tracking to analyse my sleep quality.
When being paired with my iPhone via Bluetooth, Ticwatch 2 is able to make a phone call, receive a call (not Whatsapp call though), show phone notifications, alert me if I have any reminder or event in my calendar, check the weather, adjust phone volume, play the next/previous song in my playlist, ping my phone and even order an Uber. However, I’m unable to reply SMS with Ticwatch 2, unlike Android phone users who can reply SMS using voice.
About ordering an Uber, it took me some time to figure out how to do it correctly. First, I need to link the watch to my Uber account using Ticwear app. Then, I asked Tico to “order an Uber,” and he asked me for the destination; I gave him the destination but he didn’t order the Uber for me. After few days, I finally learned that the correct voice command is, “Order an Uber to [destination].” Phew!
The battery generally lasts about a day for normal usage. For heavy usages, such as when I used it for an outdoor run for a couple of hours, the battery drained quickly and almost didn’t make it to the end of the day. The good thing is, it charges pretty fast; on average I need only 1 hour to fully charge an almost-dead watch. By the way, there’s a power-saving option which only uses about 10% of battery per day, that’s more than a week usage of a fully charged watch.
In power-saving mode, the watch won’t track your steps, it’ll only function like a basic watch that shows time, date and battery level. It’s useful when you need a basic watch but don’t have time to charge it every day.
Running with Ticwatch 2
To track my runs, I use Outdoor Run function which can be found under Fitness. Outdoor Run allows me to set my goals (duration, distance and calorie) if I wish, or I could just run without any goal.
Outdoor Run function tracks the duration, distance, calorie burned, heart rate, pace every kilometre, number of steps per minute, stride length per step, and even the running route. Yup, Ticwatch 2 has a built-in GPS, and it took me 3-5 mins to lock the GPS signal at the beginning of each run. At the end of each run, I go to Ticwear app on my iPhone and view the metrics, including heart rate zones.
When I need to do long runs, I usually run with music. With Ticwatch 2, I could adjust the volume of my earphone and change the song to the next one with the watch. But since most earphones nowadays can do the same, most likely I won’t use this music remote function in the watch. Talking about music, Android users can store up to 800MB worth of songs in the watch, so they can go out running and leave their phones at home.
Other than Outdoor Run, there are also options under Fitness to track outdoor walk, indoor run, cycling and freestyle exercise.
- Ticwatch 2 certainly has great look and great shape. It is sleek, clean and lightweight. Furthermore, you can customise the watch faces to suit the occasion.
- It’s so easy to charge the watch, just put it on top of the magnetic wireless charging dock. Gone are the days of plugging cable to a watch to charge.
- It has an interchangeable band, which can be dismantled from the watch in a matter of seconds, without the need of any tools.
- The watch is equipped with a built-in GPS and heart rate monitor, so runners can track their running route and heart rate reading.
- When paired with phone, it is able to perform a wide variety of tasks such as making and receiving calls, showing phone notifications, check weather and many more.
- With voice activation, you can ask Tico to schedule a meeting, find a nearby restaurant, make a call and even order an Uber. This is particularly useful when your hands are full, like when driving.
- At the moment, iPhone users are not able to sync the watch with running apps such as RunKeeper and Strava. Fellow runners who are data-freaks like me would understand how important it is to log our runs in a centralised platform. In addition, iPhone users can’t reply to SMS through the watch, load music to the watch, and download third party apps through Mobvoi Store.
- When I took Ticwatch 2 out for running during the day, some texts were illegible even though the brightness has been set to maximum.
- The battery drains quickly for when I used it for long runs over a few hours.
- Quite often, Tico didn’t understand me, I’m not sure if it’s because of my accent, but he asked me not to give up and keep believing in him.
Ticwatch 2 isn’t just a pretty face, it is smart and capable. It does more than just activity tracking, yet it isn’t too jam-packed with advanced functions that only hardcore athletes use.
If you’re an Apple user, be ready to live with the fact that there are many things you can’t do on the Ticwatch 2, at least for now. Android users have more advantages compared to Apple users when using Ticwatch 2.
Since this watch is relatively new, the developers are constantly adding new features with each new update. So, you might get more features everytime the developers release a new update. By the way, there is a forum where you can ask questions or join discussions about Ticwatch 2; I found this forum to be very helpful.
Ticwatch 2 comes in four models: Charcoal & Snow (recommended retail price S$359), Oak (RRP S$449), and Onyx (RRP S$549). The Ticwatch 2 is sold at various retail outlets and Ticwatch Singapore’s online portal.