May 17, 2023

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 review: raises the bar for WearOS watches

The smartwatch arena has recently welcomed yet another contender – the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5. This latest offering is a testament to the brand's commitment to innovation. The device is the first wearOS watch to feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 chipset, which promises to redefine the user experience with its enhanced performance and extended battery life. It is also the first from Mobvoi to run on wearOS 3, Google's latest operating system for wearables

Some of you might be puzzled about the missing TicWatch Pro 4. Let's clear the air – this is due to a prevalent superstition in Chinese culture that views the number four as bad luck. Hence, Mobvoi decided to leap straight into the fifth version, and it was certainly worth the wait.

I’ve been testing the $350 TicWatch Pro 5 (check price on Amazon) for several weeks now. Read on for my full review.

Visually, the TicWatch Pro 5 remains relatively similar to its predecessor, reflecting Mobvoi's preference for practical designs over extravagant aesthetics. This yields devices that possess a unique charm in their unadorned simplicity.

The timepiece is constructed from aerospace-grade aluminum, high-strength nylon, and fibreglass, all contributing to its durability. Moreover, the TicWatch Pro 5 boasts an upgraded military certification (MIL-STD-810H), highlighting its resistance to potential harm from falls or shocks. With water resistance of up to 5 ATM, it serves as a dependable accessory for swimmers and divers, even offering underwater heart rate tracking and GPS capabilities.

Despite its solid construction, the watch feels comfortable and is well-balanced in terms of weight. It isn't a lightweight watch, but it doesn't feel overly heavy either.

In my opinion, TicWatch Pro 5 is exceptionally well-crafted, outperforming many other smartwatches I’ve had on my wrist. However, with measurements of 50 x 48 x 12 mm, it's arguably better suited for male wrists.

The watch displays a sleek black bezel, lending it a simple yet refined appearance. The metal bezel around the screen is a great feature, one that most watches could benefit from.

A novelty with this iteration is that it introduces a fully functional rotating crown at the centre. Its performance is buttery smooth.

Twist the crown to scroll through the screen, or press it to execute certain tasks such as opening apps. It also offers the ability to control music volume and zoom in and out on maps. The crown works is satisfying to use, with a solid scrolling action and tactile feedback.

There's also a flat physical button on the top right-hand side of the device. Although the top button requires a bit more pressure to press, it's not a significant inconvenience.

Together, these physical buttons allow for an intuitive, touch-free experience and a quicker way to navigate and launch apps. It's important to note that there's currently no option to personalise the buttons’ functions, but hopefully, Mobvoi will address this in a future firmware update.

Mobvoi watches are best recognized for their dual-screen design. The TicWatch Pro 5 is no exception. It comes with a bright, clear 1.43″ OLED display that offers superb visibility even under intense sunlight. Of course, this is touch enabled.

In addition to the OLED panel which provides a vibrant, high-resolution experience, there's an improved Ultra Low Power (ULP) display. This is an energy-efficient feature that switches on when the watch is not in active use.

This helps to not only save battery life, but it also provides easy access to important details without needing to activate the watch. You can navigate through ULP tiles by rotating the crown. It is a pleasing feature that covers the basics well. Scroll through for access to physiological data and environmental information, including heart rate, blood oxygen levels, calorie burn, and compass orientation. There's also an icon for new notifications.

The TicWatch Pro 5 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 Wearable Platform, a significant upgrade from its predecessor. This new chip ensures a smoother and faster user experience, with quicker app loading times and seamless connectivity with smartphones. You can really feel a difference in the way the watch performs as compared to the earlier generations. You get fast performance, no lag or stuttering.

Below the surface, the watch features a comprehensive list of sensors, including PPG heart rate sensors, SpO2, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, skin temperature, and even a compass, for added functionality. It also supports GNSS (GPS+Beidou+Glonass+Galileo+QZSS) for satellite connectivity, and includes a built-in microphone and speaker, along with NFC support.

What is very exciting about the TicWatch Pro 5 is that it excels in an area that isn't usually associated with WearOS watches – battery life.

Sporting up to 45 days of power in Essential Mode and as much as 80 hours in Smart Mode, this watch significantly surpasses the performance of many competitors. Even under heavy usage, inclusive of intermittent GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring, the TicWatch Pro 5 can endure multiple days before requiring a recharge. This remarkable battery longevity allows you to wear it for prolonged periods without the need for a charger, making it an ideal accessory for outdoor escapades or lengthy journeys.

Also, there are innovative ways to preserve battery life. For example, you can choose for the watch to enter Essential Mode each time you are asleep.

Refueling is accomplished via a proprietary magnetic puck with a wired USB-A connector. A great feature is the watch display's ability to deliver a highly precise and live portrayal of the battery status during charging. This means you can monitor the battery's real-time growth as it charges, depicting the gradual progression with extraordinary exactitude, down to one hundredth of a decimal point.

The rapid charging rate is another aspect I find commendable. This plays a significant role in maintaining the pleasing battery life I’ve come to appreciate. With all of its health functionality switched on, I found that on average I could easily get about 3 days on a single charge. Refuelling it while showering or taking a bath is a quick and easy routine that eradicates any potential concerns about battery longevity.

The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 offers an impressive array of health tracking features, providing users with a comprehensive picture of their overall health. All the basics are covered, even skin temperature tracking.

You’ll also get a detailed picture of your heart's health with continuous 24-hour heart rate monitoring. Furthermore, the Mobvoi watch's Irregular Heart Beat (IHB) detection technology works quietly in the background. It has the ability to detect various cardiac arrhythmias in real-time, alerting users to potential heart health issues. Lucky for me, it hasn't picked up any abnormalities in the two weeks it was sitting on my wrist. But I didn't expect that it would.

This smartwatch provides an abundance of data and most of it is accessible right on your wrist. One feature worth mentioning is Pro 5's ability to provide five vital health metrics in 90 seconds or less with a single tap. Heart rate, blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, stress level, and heart health are included. Think of it as a quick vital data checkup.

The one omission from the list of health tracking is heart rate variability data (HRV). We’ve seen this on many watches in the past year or so as it is a great indicator of your recovery status. But you won't find it on TicWatch Pro 5.

Mobvoi has recently introduced the Mobvoi Health app. The software manages devices and initial pairing, it synchronises activity data, and provides additional visualisation and analysis for the TicWatch Pro 5.

To clarify, this is a different app from the one used for other Mobvoi watches. It has been built especially for the company's first WearOS 3 watch. At the moment there is only an Android version of the software. So if you have an iOS smartphone, you are out of luck. I have no doubt, a version for Apple phones will follow soon. After all, the predecessor app is available for both types of phones.

If you find Google Fit's interface more appealing, you have the option to use it instead of Mobvoi's app. However, this choice comes with a trade-off: sleep tracking data is exclusive to Mobvoi health and is not accessible through Google Fit.

The Mobvoi Health app provides an easy-to-use interface that ensures a smooth experience. It is designed well and looks attractive. Having said that, the software can be slow at times to load the data. It is almost as if the data is not stored locally, but downloaded from the cloud each time you access it.

The app has three basic sections, Statistics, Device and Account. The first let's you browse through all your health and activity data. The second is for device settings, installing watch faces and more. The final one is for general account settings.

The health and fitness tracking seems pretty accurate and it provides useful information about your daily activity. As far as heart rate, you can view charts how this has changed throughout the day. You don't get a resting heart rate value but you do get a high and low value for the day, along with a sleeping heart rate average.

As far as sleep, it's a mixed picture. The TicWatch Pro 5 monitors the stages of Awake, Light, Deep, and REM sleep, as well as heart rate, blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, and skin temperature while sleeping. The watch also picks up on naps. So that's all quite detailed with some advanced stats thrown in. The problem is that the watch can sometimes miss out on the basics.

For example, I’ve had a couple of occasions when I woke up in the middle of the night and walked around for a few minutes before going back to sleep. In the morning, I noticed the watch had split my sleep session. The first part was classified as sleep, the second as a 3 hour nap! I’ve also had one similar occasion where one one of these was totally disregarded and not classified as sleep or a nap. So that part of the functionality needs some more work. Not a dealbreaker – it could and probably will be easily fixed via firmware update.

Mobvoi also has some VIP sleep tracking and analysis that sit behind a $2.99 monthly subscription. The quarterly fee currently runs at $7.99 which works out to $2.66 per month. The annual subscription comes in at $26.99 or $2.25 per month. The data is mostly to do with longer term trends. Not ideal, putting this behind a paywall – but it is what it is. You don't really need to fork out for a subscription if you don't want to, as the watch provides plenty of sleep data as it is.

Moving on the sports, and the TicWatch Pro 5 has over 100 professional workout modes to choose from. Some of these are with auto-recognition.

As a keen runner, I was mostly interested in the device's run tracking abilities. And I have to say, I was impressed!

I took the watch for multiple runs during the two weeks of testing, with a Garmin Forerunner 955 on my other wrist. The heart rate tracking was on par – with average run values deviating perhaps 1 or 2 beats per minute (bpm). The maximum heart rate values were typically identical. I got the same results when comparing with a heart rate chest strap.

As far as satellite connectivity, most of the time the Mobvoi would be just as quick to connect as the Garmin. But I’ve had a few occasions where it took a few minutes to connect. The longest I’ve waited on one occasion was about 5 minutes. So that's worth noting.

Having said that, accuracy of the satellite tracking was very impressive. Right up there with the Garmin. That's especially commendable considering I did all my runs in heavily built-up areas of London. I would estimate that there was, perhaps a difference of two to three metres for each kilometre. But when you run 5K or 10k, it tends to even out. So the satellite chip built into the Mobvoi performs very well.

Something that is not very intuitive is ending workouts. It requires you to wake up the display, swipe to the left, end the workout and then confirm that you’ve ended the workout. If you accidentally press the crown twice it will take you to the watch home display. So then you’ll need to navigate back to the exercise app to end your workout. It would have been simpler to enable you to end a workout with a double-press of the crown.

A neat feature is the ability of the low-power display's backlight to adjusts according to your heart rate as you are exercising. The color spectrum ranges from blue to green, yellow, orange, and finally red, indicating the intensity of your workout. This allows you to monitor whether you need to decrease or increase your pace to maintain your target heart rate zone.

This time around the company has thrown in some more advanced performance metrics. One of these is Vo2 Max, which is a key indicator of cardiovascular fitness. It allows you to gain insight into the efficiency of your heart and lungs by estimating your body's maximum oxygen consumption during intense exercise. Trend charts make it possible to track one's progress towards a healthier lifestyle. The watch pegged me at a value of 42, which is where I expected to be. Only slightly below the Garmin.

The other advanced (and equally useful), metric is Recovery Time. This uses advanced algorithms, combined with personalised health and fitness profiles, to provide tailored insights on the best time to work out next. The feature helps you maintain informed training plans while reducing the risk of injury. Once again, I found that its value was typically very similar to the Recovery Time suggested by my Garmin. So the feature does work well.

Here's a snapshot of how a recent 7.5K run compared on the Mobvoi and Garmin device. As can be seen from these images, the stats were very similar. Max heart rate was identical at 163bpm, and there was only a 2bpm difference in the average heart rate. GPS tracking was almost the same.

Here is the Garmin data.

A couple of things I didn't like – there is no ability to edit any of this data in the Mobvoi app. You can only delete an exercise session in its entirety. Also, the app does not allow you to export anything in raw data format. Although you can link up with platforms such as Strava for further analysis and manipulation of data.

As mentioned, the TicWatch Pro 5 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 Wearable Platform, a significant upgrade from its predecessor. This new chip ensures a smoother and faster user experience, with quicker app loading times and seamless connectivity with smartphones.

Everything runs on Google's Wear OS 3, the latest operating system for wearables. This provides a smooth and intuitive user experience, with a clean and easy-to-navigate interface. Features include making contactless payments via Google Wallet, managing media playback on various paired devices, independent Spotify playback, navigating with Google Maps, and controlling smart home devices through Google Home.

The watch also comes preloaded with a variety of Mobvoi's health and fitness apps, providing a comprehensive suite of tools for tracking your health and wellness. However, some users might find the number of preloaded apps a bit overwhelming. Also, the inability to uninstall some of these apps could be a point of contention.

The TicWatch Pro 5 offers a range of customisation options, allowing users to personalise their watch to suit their style and preferences. This includes a variety of watch faces to choose from, allowing you to change the look of your watch with just a few taps. However, the lack of customisation options for the buttons’ functions could be seen as a drawback for some users. There are some workarounds but nothing that will let you do this easily.

Also worth mentioning is that Google Assistant is not available on the TicWatch Pro 5. This is not an unexpected development, as currently, only Google's Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 have access to this feature. It appears that, for some reason, Google is purposefully holding back the feature from general wearOS watches.

The TicWatch Pro 5 stands out as a strong contender in the smartwatch market. There really is a lot to like about it.

It's evident that Mobvoi has poured considerable effort into both the design and the technology of this device. Its durable construction, intuitive user interface, and detailed health and fitness tracking capabilities demonstrate this commitment to quality. The watch simply feels like a polished product. Moreover, the integration of the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 chipset and Google's WearOS 3 are distinctive features that significantly enhance its performance and user experience.

In terms of battery life, the TicWatch Pro 5 sets a high standard for future WearOS watches, offering substantial battery longevity. Its charging process is both efficient and precise, providing a seamless user experience that further reinforces its appeal.

However, the device isn't without its flaws. There's room for improvement in areas such as sleep tracking and the speed of GNSS connectivity. Furthermore, the device's size might make it less suitable for individuals with smaller wrists, and the lack of customization options for the buttons’ functions may limit its appeal for some users.

Yet, overall, the TicWatch Pro 5 makes a strong impression. It is a reliable, high-performing device that provides a wealth of features in a durable and sleek design. If you are after a wearOS watch, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 should be a top contender on your list.

Priced at $349 on Mobvoi's website (check price on Amazon), the TicWatch Pro 5 is positioned in the mid to high range of the smartwatch market. Given its robust feature set, impressive performance, and exceptional battery life, it offers good value for money.

*We are a review site that receives a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. Purchasing items by clicking on links in this article allows us to run this website. We are independently owned and all opinions expressed here are our own. See our affiliate disclosure page for more details.

Like this article? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss out!

check price on Amazon Mobvoi's website check price on Amazon