Mobvoi is on the attack, working to dominate the affordable end of the Wear OS smartwatch market. But just as the sporty duo of the TicWatch E and S, and the more luxurious looking TicWatch Pro, have proven, it's not going to scrimp on features in doing that.
With the the new TicWatch C2 we are getting more of the same. A smartwatch that can match the specs sheets of pricier smartwatches and still wrap those features up in an attractive design.
Essential reading: The best Wear OS smartwatches to buy
And then there's the pricing. The C2 will go on sale in December for ¬£179.99, making it a more affordable purchase than the cheapest smartwatch on offer from the Fossil Group's clan of Wear watches. It also puts the C2 in the same league as the Fitbit Versa.
The TicWatch Classic successor comes in three models and we've had our hands on the whole gang. Here are our first impressions.
TicWatch C2: Design and build
If you appreciated the design approach Mobvoi took with TicWatch Pro over the sporty TicWatch E and S, then there's more for you to like with the look of the C2.
You've got your pick of black, silver and rose gold options that all feature the same, minimalist-style bezel and interchangeable straps. Rose gold smartwatches tend to be the most eye catching, but we actually liked the black C2 with the black strap combo the best. We've seen plenty of all-black smartwatches that look a bit drab and uninspiring, but Mobvoi actually manages to keep things looking reasonably classy here.
The watch is 12-13mm thick ‚Äď pretty much the norm compared with the likes of the Skagen Falster 2 or other Fossil Group fourth-generation smartwatches. It's an impressive feat that Mobvoi has managed to pack in as much as it does without making the C2 a hulking beast of a smartwatch.
There are two band size options here as well, with the black and silver models accompanied by 20mm straps. Clearly these versions are aimed at men. The rose gold C2 is the slimmer of the two and has 18mm bands. It feels noticeably smaller and a better fit for those with daintier wrists.
Like the TicWatch Pro, the 1.3-inch, 360 x 360 AMOLED touchscreen display is flanked by two physical buttons. The top turns the watch on and the bottom one is your function button, which you can assign to your most frequently used apps.
One disappointing aspect of the design is the waterproofing. Or lack of it. While Mobvoi is clearly planning to unveil a swim-proof TicWatch E2 smartwatch, the C2 has been slapped with an IP68 water rating. That means rain and sweat should be fine, but a dip in the pool is most certainly not.
TicWatch C2: Wear OS, features and battery life
Packed into those surprisingly stylish bodies are the guts of the TicWatches we've seen previously. There's built-in GPS, NFC for Google Pay and a heart rate monitor. That's pretty much all the hardware boxes ticked off for a Wear OS smartwatch. Apart, of course, from the LTE connectivity still currently offered only by the now ageing LG Watch Sport.
Putting those features to work is the latest version of Google's Wear OS operating system. While we were only able to see a version of the watch running on a demo mode of Wear OS, it was enough to see the new gestures introduced to Wear and features like the app drawer. Mobvoi leaves Wear largely untouched aside from some watch faces and its Tic Health health and fitness platform.
Those sports-centric sensors and addition of contactless payments will inevitably impact on a battery life, which we are told will be around the 1.5 day mark. That's pretty much the standard for a Wear OS watch with this kind of spec sheet. Unfortunately, there's no sign of Qualcomm's new 3100 chipset that promises to improve battery performance. Instead you're stuck with the Snapdragon 2100 setup.
The TicWatch C2 is proof once again that you don't have to spend big to get a more complete smartwatch experience. Like the TicWatch Pro, Mobvoi has managed to deliver a smartwatch that packs a feature punch but looks the part too. It's a tiny bit of a shame it's not waterproof though. Other than that, the C2 looks like being another solid addition to Mobvoi's family of Wear watches that won't break the bank.