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Article updated on Jan 3, 2024

TicWatch Pro 5 Review: A Big WearOS Watch with Battery Life Tricks

Mobvoi's TicWatch Pro 5 has a bold look and many Wear OS features, but its software future is hazy.

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Written by 
Mike Sorrentino
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Mike Sorrentino Senior Editor
Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
Expertise Phones, texting apps, iOS, Android, smartwatches, fitness trackers, mobile accessories, gaming phones, budget phones, toys, Star Wars, Marvel, Power Rangers, DC, mobile accessibility, iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, RCS
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Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5
7.5/10 CNET Score
$350 at Amazon

Mobvoi's $350 TicWatch Pro 5 made a big impression on me. For a similar price as smaller WearOS watches like the $350 Google Pixel Watch 2 or the $330 Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, the 50mm TicWatch Pro 5's 1.43-inch AMOLED display provides a larger canvas for its watch faces.

TicWatch Pro 5
7.5/ 10
SCORE

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5

$350 at Amazon

Pros

  • Big display
  • Great battery life
  • Fast charging

Cons

  • Questionable software support
  • Confusing tracking apps
  • Android only

While I wouldn't consider the TicWatch to be subtle, it allows more space for apps and WearOS 3 notifications. Mobvoi includes a few watch-face options that let you cram in lots of complications if that's your jam. While I prefer more minimalistic watch faces, the large display was still beneficial, with even enough room for an on-screen keyboard for text replies.

TicWatch Pro 5

The TicWatch Pro 5's AMOLED display.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Even though the TicWatch Pro 5 was released last spring, it's still one of the few WearOS watches to include Qualcomm's newer Snapdragon W5 Plus chip. I found the chip helped favorably with the watch's battery life and charging speeds. 

During my month of testing, the battery easily lasted two days on a charge. With less intensive use and Mobvoi's ultralow-power display mode enabled, which I'll detail more later, the TicWatch Pro 5 impressively lasted four days between charges. Compare that to recent WearOS watches that last roughly two days on a charge. Charging is also fast, with the TicWatch's magnetic charger bringing it from 0% to 49% in 30 minutes.

Charging speed test


30 minutes
TicWatch 5 Pro 49%
Fitbit Sense 2 37%
Pixel Watch 2 50%

On the whole, the TicWatch Pro 5 is a great choice for its big design and generous battery life. But Mobvoi's hasn't updated the TicWatch Pro 5 to WearOS 4, nor has it committed to a roadmap for future OS and security support. It's concerning because Mobvoi promised a WearOS 3 update for its TicWatch 3 lineup back in 2021 that took until December 2023 to roll out.

If you like the TicWatch Pro 5's larger look, WearOS 3 and ability to last for days on a single charge, then this is a great watch to consider. But if you're the kind of person that gets FOMO seeing new features land for Google's Pixel Watch or Samsung's Galaxy Watch, then Mobvoi's lack of guaranteed software improvements is a good enough reason to skip the watch.

Read more: Best Smartwatch of 2024

TicWatch Pro 5 design: Always-on display

The TicWatch Pro 5 comes in two colors: Obsidian (the unit I reviewed) and a lighter Sandstone option. The watch has a crown for scrolling through menus and accessing apps with a button that brings up a recent-app list or Google Wallet for contactless payments. Its 44.3-gram weight is noticeable but lighter than the comparably sized 59-gram Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.

Around back are health sensors for heart rate, blood oxygen and skin temperature. The TicWatch Pro 5 does not include an ECG feature like the Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch. The watch's charging cable magnetically attaches to the back left side which gives it a slight hump.

The TicWatch Pro 5 follows other smartwatches with an always-on screen option to reduce battery drain. By default, its "ultralow-power display" is set as its always-on display, which is a secondary screen that has been offered on prior TicWatch models. This screen only appears while the AMOLED is off, and it has an old-school monochrome look with a backlight that you can color-customize. It shows basic information including the time and your heart rate. When you want to return to WearOS, tap the screen to switch on the AMOLED display, or simply rotate your wrist when receiving a notification.

TicWatch Pro 5

The low-power display on the TicWatch Pro 5.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

The low-power display provides a tangible boost in battery life. But I preferred to keep it off and still had the watch make it through a day of use including tracking a workout and using Google Wallet for the subway. 

However, on a recent California vacation, the low-power mode was handy and meant I didn't need to charge it every day. During my week-long trip, I only charged the watch twice, even after using it to track workouts and a hike.

TicWatch Pro 5

The back of the TicWatch 5 Pro includes sensors and a magnetic clip for the charger.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

TicWatch Pro 5 software

The TicWatch Pro 5 runs on WearOS 3, but syncs with the Mobvoi Health app on Android phones instead of Google's WearOS app. The Mobvoi Health app is largely capable. It includes the results of any tracked workouts, sleep or health measurements. I especially liked that after a workout it estimated how much recovery time I needed. The Mobvoi Health app syncs data with Google Fit, and from there you can sync that data to other services, like MyFitnessPal. It also allows for sending new watch faces to the TicWatch using the TimeShow service, which requires setting up a second app on your phone.

TicWatch Pro 5

The Mobvoi Health app syncs with the TicWatch Pro 5.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

The TicWatch's onboard suite of health applications, however, is confusing. TicExercise is the primary fitness tracking app, and it occasionally kicked in proactively to track my walks or runs. The app is filled with options, whether you want to track specific exercises in a workout like reverse crunches or sit-ups, or set a general "freestyle" option for a mixed workout. Most options track your health stats along with a timer. When used in tandem with the low-power display, the TicWatch's backlight changes colors to reflect your heart rate. I found this feature especially handy in exercise classes where I was monitoring my heart-rate levels to make sure I'm exerting enough effort without running out of energy. 

Other TicWatch apps feel duplicative or are junk software, however. For instance, Mobvoi Treadmill is meant for pairing with the company's home treadmill. It was largely useless for me. TicPulse, TicOxygen, TicHealth and One-tap measurement are all apps that display your health data in different ways while measuring your heart rate or blood oxygen levels. I found it all too overwhelming. I'd much rather have a streamlined approach that combines everything into a single app.

TicExercise app on the TicWatch Pro 5.

The TicExercise app can track specific movements or mixed workouts.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

If you don't like Mobvoi's suite of tracking apps, there's the Google's Play Store for installing alternates like Google Fit. However, even though the TicWatch Pro 5 is running WearOS 3, it lacks access to the Google Assistant. And Mobvoi hasn't made it public when such support will arrive on the watch. Other non-Google WearOS smartwatch makers have had issues getting Google Assistant to work on their devices. For instance, Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4 and Fossil's Gen 6 watches each added the Assistant months after launch. Prior TicWatch models have even lost Google Assistant access when Google discontinued Assistant support on WearOS 2 in August.

Since WearOS is based on Android, you can find support in the TicWatch's Reddit community which offers some help toward installing those missing services, but doing so will depend on your comfort level with side-loading software instead of using Google's official Play Store. For me (and most watch buyers, I imagine) I'm not interested in that much mucking around, but a benefit to Android is that the option is available.

Amazon's Alexa app can be installed instead of Google Assistant, and it can fulfill many of the same functions, but it's a notable concern alongside Mobvoi's inability to commit to a software and security update timeline. 

The TicWatch Pro 5 is also only compatible with Android phones, which isn't surprising, but is disappointing when compared with Fossil's Gen 6 smartwatch. And even though Garmin and Fitbit also make wearables that are compatible with iOS and Android, the smartwatch market is still generally led by companies that are iOS-only or Android-only.

Alexa on the TicWatch Pro 5.

The Alexa app can be installed on the TicWatch Pro 5 in lieu of Google Assistant.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

TicWatch Pro 5 bottom line

The TicWatch Pro 5 provides a lot of value for $350, but requires a thorough understanding of its compromises. You do get a big display that's cheaper than what Samsung offers. You also get one of the newest watch processors on the market, which is capable of providing great battery life that can be further extended by TicWatch's ultralow-power display. And the TicWatch Pro 5's WearOS 3 software allows for downloading apps, watch faces, and it syncs with your phone for notifications alongside media controls.

But competing smartwatches come with guarantees for new features and operating system updates. Google's $350 Pixel Watch 2 gets similar Feature Drops and early access to the next version of WearOS, just like the Pixel phone line. Samsung also makes a point to announce new features for its existing watches. For instance, the $450 Galaxy Watch 5 Pro received new hiking features last summer. Mobvoi makes no such promises, and has a track record of having difficulty updating its prior smartwatches to newer software.

Those software issues don't mean the TicWatch Pro 5 should be avoided. If you want a larger-screened Android smartwatch that looks great with features that will help you keep charging to a minimum, it more than fits the bill. But if you want a smartwatch that will grow and gain new features over time, you should consider other options.

TicWatch Pro 5 vs. other Android smartwatches


TicWatch Pro 5Google Pixel Watch 2Samsung Galaxy Watch 6Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Shape RoundRoundRoundRound
Watch size 50mm41mm40mm, 44mm43mm, 47mm
Materials, finishes Metal, aluminumAluminumAluminumStainless steel
Display size, resolution 1.43-inch 466 x 466 AMOLED1.2-inch, 450 x 450 pixels (320 ppi)40mm: 1.3-inch, 432 x 432-pixel Super AMOLED; 44mm: 1.5-inch, 480 x 480-pixel Super AMOLED43mm: 1.3-inch, 432 x 432-pixel Super AMOLED; 47mm: 1.5-inch, 480 x 480-pixel Super AMOLED
Dimensions 50.1 x 48.0 x 12.2mm41mm x 12.3mm40mm: 38.8 x 40.4 x 9.0 mm; 44mm: 42.8 x 44.4 x 9.0 mm43mm: 42.5 x 42.5 x 10.9 mm; 47mm: 46.5 x 46.5 x 10.9 mm
Weight 44.3g31g40mm: 28.7g; 44mm: 33.3g43mm: 52g; 47mm: 59g
Colors Obsidian, sandstoneMatte black, polished silver, champagne gold40mm: graphite, gold; 44mm: graphite, silverBlack, silver
Always On YesYesYesYes
Interchangable bands YesYesYesYes
GPS YesYesYesYes
Automatic workout detection YesYesYes (running, walking, rowing)Yes
Compass YesYesYesYes
Altimeter YesYesYesYes
Water resistance 5ATM5ATM, IP685ATM, IP685ATM, IP68
Calls YesYesYesYes
Microphone YesYesYesYes
Speaker YesYesYesYes
Voice assistant No (Alexa app download required)Yes (Google Assistant)Yes (Google Assistant, Bixby)Yes (Google Assistant, Bixby)
Mobile Payments Yes (Google Pay)Yes (Google Wallet)Yes (Samsung Wallet)Yes (Samsung Wallet)
Sleep tracking YesYesYesYes
Period tracking NoYesYesYes
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, HD PPG heart rate sensor, SpO2 sensor, skin temperature sensor, low-latency off-body sensor, barometerSpO2, ECG, accelerometer, gyro, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, barometer, magnetometerOptical heart rate + electrical heart signal + bioelectrical impedance analysis, temperature sensor, accelerometer, barometer, gyro sensor, geomagnetic sensor, light sensor Optical heart rate + electrical heart signal + bioelectrical impedance analysis, temperature sensor, accelerometer, barometer, gyro sensor, geomagnetic sensor, light sensor
Emergency features Irregular heartbeat detectionSafety Signal, Safety CheckEmergency SOS, fall detectionEmergency SOS, fall detection
Compatibility Android 8 and aboveAndroid 9 and aboveAndroid 10 and aboveAndroid 10 and above
Software WearOS 3WearOS 4WearOS 4WearOS 4
Processor Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1Qualcomm SW5100Exynos W930 dual-core 1.4GHzExynos W930 dual-core 1.4GHz
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS+Beidou+Glonass+Galileo+QZSSBluetooth 5.0LTE6, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Beidou/GalileoLTE6, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Beidou/Galileo
Memory and storage 2GB memory + 32GB storage2GB memory + 32GB storage2GB memory + 16GB storage2GB memory + 16GB storage
Power USB-A fast charging cableUSB-C fast charging cableFast charging (WPC-based wireless charging)Fast charging (WPC-based wireless charging)
Battery life Up to 80 hours24 hours with always-on displayUp to 40 hours (Always On Display off); up to 30 hours (Always On Display on) Up to 40 hours (Always On Display off); up to 30 hours (Always On Display on)
Battery capacity 628 mAh306 mAh440mm: 300 mAh; 44mm: 425 mAh 43mm: 300 mAh; 47mm: 425 mAh
Price (USD) $350$350 (Wi-FI), $400 (Wi-Fi + LTE)40mm: $300 (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth); 44mm: $330 (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) 43mm: $400 (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth); 47mm: $430 (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth)
Price (GBP) £330£349 (Wi-FI), £400 (Wi-Fi + LTE)From £289From £369
Price (AUD) AU$520AU$549 (Wi-FI), $649 (Wi-Fi + LTE)From AU$549From AU$699