Revisiting the TicWatch E3: Wear OS for Cheap?


It’s been almost a year since Mobvoi launched the TicWatch E3, its affordable answer to the myriad of Wear OS-powered devices from different brands and competitors. It’s built quite a cult following, mostly due to its easily-accessible price tag, as well as an impressive list of hardware specs. Twelve months down the road though, is it still a wise wearable investment? Let’s go over some quick points.

Snapdragon 4100

One key selling point of the TicWatch E3 is that it runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Platform, which is actually the same hardware found inside the more expensive TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra. Even in 2022, it’s still a capable processor with impressive performance and connectivity features – the watch runs fast, and fluid, and it’s responsive during operation.

Due to its processing power, it also means that the TicWatch E3 will get the Wear OS 3 update eventually (at least according to Mobvoi), which essentially provides a bit of future-proofing to the device. At the moment, Wear OS 3 is rather elusive – only Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 series come with Wear OS 3. Other devices like Fossil’s Gen smartwatches for example are expected to be updated as well, although those are considerably more expensive compared to the E3.

Health Tracking and More

The TicWatch E3 also comes equipped with a lot of useful hardware. In addition to Mobvoi’s dual Processor system, it comes with NFC for contactless payments with Google Pay, an accelerometer, Gyro sensor, barometer, a compass, SPO2 sensor, and heart rate sensor for health tracking. Fitness enthusiasts after a wallet-friendly wearable will find a lot to love about the TicWatch E3, and the included NFC feature does add some much-welcome additional functionality for a lot of users.

With the E3 being a budget device however, it doesn’t come with an ECG sensor, which is something to take note of if that’s something you’re specifically after. On the other hand, Mobvoi has equipped the E3 with a lot of health-tracking apps like TicHealth, TicSleep, and more, as well as a wealth of exercise modes to keep track of your fitness activities.

Google Assistant

One nifty addition to the TicWatch E3’s bag of magic tricks is the readily-available Google Assistant functionality. A simple swipe from the left-hand side of the display brings up the Google Assistant menu, which works great with the built-in microphone and speaker on the watch, the latter of which is nice and loud.

With that said, it’s a big advantage that the E3 comes equipped with Google Assistant from the get-go. Other competing devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series still lack Google assistant functionality in the meantime, and although they’re bound to get the feature soon, we again go back to the more affordable price point of the Mobvoi’s wearable.

Wear OS

Wear OS runs nicely on the device, and Google’s wearable-focused platform offers a wide range of third-party apps that you can install on the TicWatch E3. Unlike other custom smartwatch operating systems, Wear OS has a certain charm and efficiency to it. The UI also offers customization with a wide selection of watch faces, tiles, and more. There’s also an official Mobvoi App that you can use if you want to customize the watch even further.

As with most Wear OS devices, the Ticwatch E3 also lets you view and interact with notifications. I had little trouble with notifications, and so far I haven’t missed any while using the watch. You can also reply to them by typing on the E3’s screen, or using the built-in voice-to-text feature to type out your message.

Battery Life

Thanks to the 380 mAh battery, the Ticwatch E3 was able to last me two days, which is considerably longer than most Wear OS smartwatches are able to manage. Of course, disabling constant Wi-Fi and location services can push the battery a bit further, but that does mean that you are missing out on a lot of smartwatch functionality. Mobvoi does include Essential mode, which turns the TicWatch E3 into a regular digital timepiece, but you’ll be able to use it for a couple of weeks before needing to charge again.

Still Worth Your Coin?

Now, the watch does come with some compromises, like the full-polycarbonate body, an LCD display as opposed to an AMOLED screen, and a rather basic design which doesn’t exactly scream “premium.” But, if basic health tracking, smartwatch functionality, and an update to Wear OS are on your checklist, then the TicWatch E3 is still worth the consideration.

Mike Viray
A writer and content creator with a love for tech and music, Mike is also an avid gamer as well. He and his wife are big fans of Mario Kart.

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