Ticwatch S2 first look: Bigger sporty Ticwatch is fit for the swimming pool

CES 2019: Mobvoi's smartwatch gets some swimproof love

Just as with the Ticwatch E and the Ticwatch S, the folks at Mobvoi are rolling out the successors to the affordable Wear smartwatch duo together.

The Ticwatch S2 joins the Ticwatch E2 in adding a waterproof design that means it's now suitable for going for a dip in the pool or the sea. Like the E2, it still runs on Wear OS, is packed with key sports tracking features like built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor, and the price should be suitably kinder on your bank balance than other smartwatches with a similar set of features. Although we don't have details on pricing just yet.

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I've had a few days to get to know the S2 a bit better and managed to squeeze in some time in the pool to see what its headline feature is made of.

Ticwatch S2: Keeping it bulky

Ticwatch S2 first look: Bigger sporty Ticwatch is fit for the swimming pool

Ticwatch E2 (left) and Ticwatch S2 (right)

Not a great deal has changed on the looks front with the S2 when you compare it to last year's S. What sets it apart from the E2 is the bigger, chunkier, chronograph bezel that encompasses the same vibrant 1.39-inch AMOLED 400 x 400 touchscreen display. Dimensions-wise, it's not that dissimilar to the E2, but now that it's jumped up to an almost 47mm sized watch body, it certainly looks bigger on the wrist and is definitely not the option to go for if you have skinny wrists.

Colours-wise, you're getting the black model I had to try with a white option set to land in the first half of 2019. It's all polycarbonate (read plastic), so it's light but there's just enough weight to it to ensure it sits nicely on the wrist. That's accompanied by a pretty durable (and comfortable) feeling 22mm silicone band that is interchangeable if you want to brighten up that look.

Ticwatch S2 first look: Bigger sporty Ticwatch is fit for the swimming pool

Ticwatch E2 (left) and Ticwatch S2 (right)

Around the back is the heart rate monitor, while as mentioned this is now a smartwatch fit for the pool. Once again there's is one button, but this time it's been moved to the right side of the watch. It's a larger, flatter button compared to the one on the E2, and actually feels more satisfying to press to wake up the screen or open up the app drawer. It's also been slapped with a 5ATM waterproof rating, which means it's apparently swim and surf ready and can be submerged in water up to 50 metres depth.

If I had to pick between the S2 and E2, personally I'd opt for the E2's smaller design. But I can see the thinking behind Mobvoi offering something bigger with basically the same features. There are plenty of people who prefer the look of a bigger, more outdoor-watch style and that's exactly what you're getting with the S2.

Ticwatch S2: Wear OS and extras

Ticwatch S2 first look: Bigger sporty Ticwatch is fit for the swimming pool

Ticwatch E2 (left) and Ticwatch S2 (right)

The Ticwatch S2 runs on Wear OS just like its predecessor, which means it's compatible with both iOS and Android devices. Along with standard Wear OS features like Google Assistant support, notification support, Google Fit and Play Store access, Mobvoi throws in some of its own software as well.

These extras are all health and fitness related, offering you a place to take on-the-spot heart rate readings and alternatives to Google Fit to check in on activity progress and track your workouts. Powering the software is Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor – so not the new 3100 processor that the chipset maker recently introduced. I didn't have any issues from a performance point of view. There's no signs of lag navigating around screens or doing more power-intensive things like launching or downloading apps.

One notable omission on the Wear OS front is Google Pay. Yep, you're not getting any contactless payment love here, which is a disappointment and something that should come as standard on Wear watches. I imagine its inclusion may have pushed up the price, but nonetheless it would have been good to see it here.

Ticwatch S2: Fitness and sports tracking features

Ticwatch S2 first look: Bigger sporty Ticwatch is fit for the swimming pool

Like the Ticwatch S, you're getting built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor, fitness tracker features and now of course the ability to track your activity in the water. Mobvoi's own fitness apps clearly take a lot of inspiration from existing native apps you'd find on Apple, Samsung and other Wear OS watches. Crucially, though they're intuitive and well optimised for that small screen.

I've not had a decent amount of time to test out the GPS or heart rate monitor just yet, but I did manage to take it for a quick swim. The tracking works in entirely the same way as it does on the E2, the major difference being that you have that bigger button to lock/unlock the screen during swimming.

From an accuracy point of view, I actually had a better experience with the S2 in comparison to the E2's swim tracking, with accuracy only off by a single lap. The way the data is handled on the watch as well as in the TicHealth companion smartphone app is something to praise Mobvoi for. There's a good amount of metrics here and if you care about swimming, then there's a lot to like.

Initial verdict

Ultimately, the only thing separating the Ticwatch S2 from the E2 is a different look. You get all the same features from processing power to battery life, so it really comes down whether you want those features in a watch that's big or something slightly smaller, which is what you get with the E2. We don't know pricing for the S2 yet, but I imagine it won't be far off what the S cost. If that's that case and it continues to impress, it looks set to be another good value for money Wear smartwatch.


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2 comments

  • Vega502·

    Do far I'm impressed. I'm looking forward to seeing one in person to make a fina5 decision. I also like what I'm the E2 look.

  • Vega502·

    So far I'm impressed. I'm looking forward to seeing one in person to make a fina5 decision. I also like what I'm the E2 look.