The TicWatch Pro 5 strikes a great balance between looks, durability and fitness features, making it one of the best Wear OS smartwatches around. Just make sure it’s the best option for you at this price point.
If you’re looking for a premium smartwatch, a few brands come to mind straight away. Apple remains the market leader, but Samsung and Google both make worthwhile alternatives – especially if you use an Android phone.
By contrast, Mobvoi flies under the radar in Europe and North America, despite the Chinese company releasing TicWatch branded smartwatches in both regions since 2015.
Eight years later, the TicWatch Pro 5 is its most refined, polished effort yet. With a rugged yet stylish design, extensive tracking functionality and great battery life, it’s undoubtedly one of the best smartwatches around. Here’s our full review.
Design & build
Premium rugged design
5ATM water resistance
The design of the TicWatch Pro 5 is anything but subtle. It’s a rugged smartwatch that’s built to last, something you’ll notice as soon as you take it out of the box.
This bulky, imposing design won’t be for everyone, but I really like it. The Pro 5 feels tough and durable, yet doesn’t sacrifice the premium aesthetic that’ll make you want to show it off. It’s not that thick, either: at 12.2mm, it’s actually thinner than Google’s Pixel Watch (12.3mm).
As a result, the Pro 5 is versatile enough to be used for both working out and more formal events, although the latter will probably require a change of band. The pre-applied silicone one can be swapped out for any 24mm strap, although Mobvoi doesn’t sell any on its website.
The watch is also only available with a 48mm case, so I don’t recommend it to people with smaller wrists. A smaller option would be nice, as well as alternatives to the ‘Obsidian’ finish – it’s your only colour option.
However, none of these should be dealbreakers for most people. It’s easy to ignore these small compromises when durability is so good.
A blend of aluminium, nylon and glass doesn’t sound remarkable, but it means the device meets MIL-STD-810H standards. This certification proves that it can withstand anything the US military may encounter, including a range of extreme environments.
Of course, my couple of weeks of testing hasn’t come close to replicating these, but I’m impressed with how it held up. There were no signs of wear and tear whatsoever, and I’d be confident in it surviving almost all bumps and drops. A slightly raised bezel ensures the screen stays protected.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
Adding to the durability is 5ATM water resistance, meaning you can keep it on in the shower or while tracking swimming. It can handle up to 50 metres of water for 10 minutes at a time.
Despite most of the case being made of metal, the Pro 5 also remains relatively lightweight. While the 44.3g figure only applies to the case, a silicon strap adds very little to the total.
Two physical controls are located on the right side, although both have been seen on smartwatches before. The rotating crown is a useful alternative to scrolling on the screen, while the button above it provides one-click access to recent apps.
Display & audio
1.43in OLED display
Excellent in all scenarios
Decent speaker and microphone
Despite its size, the display can make a big difference to the smartwatch experience, and 1.43in one on the TicWatch Pro 5 is a real asset. It’s not an exaggeration to say this one of the best screens you’ll find on any wearable.
A 466×466 resolution is decent, but it’s OLED that takes things to the next level. It combines excellent detail with vibrant colours and deep blacks, with the dark hues of WearOS taking full advantage of the latter. I really can’t fault it.
Mobvoi doesn’t quote a maximum brightness figure, but the screen remains clearly visible in all the environments I used it in. That includes direct sunlight, where reflections from the glossy exterior never become distracting.
While a smaller version would be nice, the size of the screen also makes it very easy to navigate. The responsive touchscreen allows me to be precise with swipes and taps, leading to very few accidental presses.
Opting for a flat rather than curved display certainly makes this easier. I personally prefer this, with the edge of the screen very clearly defined.
Audio isn’t nearly as important, with the loudspeaker on the Pro 5 only really useful for calls. Voices come through loud and clear though, so I can’t have any complaints. The single mic is solid too, meaning you can easily have a long conversation with someone using just your watch.
I’m also impressed with the accuracy of its text dictation, meaning you can use your voice rather than typing on the tiny on-screen keyboard.
Software & features
Frustrating companion app
Lots of features, but not all work smoothly
Out of the box, the TicWatch Pro 5 runs Wear OS 3.5. That’s still the latest version of Google’s software at the time of writing, but it’ll soon be replaced by Wear OS 4. Mobvoi isn’t known for being one of the early adopters of new versions, and it’s not clear when the update will be available.
But even in its current form, the Pro 5’s software is slick and intuitive. Google has had a few years to refine and tweak the Wear OS experience, and it now feels very polished.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
Even if you’ve never used it before, Wear OS is easy to get used to. Swiping down for quick settings and up for notifications feels very natural, as does moving left and right between summary screens. An alphabetical list of installed apps is simple to navigate, and you can download more directly to the watch via the Google Play Store.
However, Mobvoi has also pre-installed a few of its own. In total, there are 10 extra ‘Tic’ tools, including those for starting an exercise, measuring vital signs and doing breathing exercises.
You might be aware that Google has its own ‘Fit’ branded versions of these, many of which are better optimised for the small screen. If you choose to download the Google Fit app, there are several scenarios where you have two apps which do the same thing. Things can quickly get cluttered, and there’s no way to remove the Mobvoi versions.
To set up the device, you’ll need to connect it to the Mobvoi Health companion app on your phone. This is a relatively straightforward process, including creating a Mobvoi account, connecting via Bluetooth and accepting permissions.
But the experience after that could do with work. There’s a ton of functionality in the Health app, but it’s hidden behind a cluttered design and confusing menus. It’s also very difficult to see key information at a glance.
The easiest thing to adjust here is the watch face, both in terms of design and the complications that are displayed. It’s also worth diving into Settings to choose which of your phone’s apps can send notifications to your wrist.
Aside from those, it’s easier to access the Pro 5’s main features via the watch itself. Alongside the usual health and fitness ones, you’ll find options for making and receiving calls and texts, taking notes, listening to music and turning the face into a torch. All are genuinely useful and work well.
Navigation using Google Maps is a great feature, but it’s not quite as seamless. Being reliant on the internet connection from your phone means you’ll need to stay connected via Bluetooth at all times. Turn-by-turn directions could also do with work, with a very subtle vibration often not enough to get my attention.
Built-in NFC means payments using Google Pay are much more successful. But you’ll need to lock the Pro 5 using a PIN or password to use it, which can be fiddly to enter and negates the extra convenience.
There’s also no virtual assistant support, a feature you’ll find on most premium smartwatches.
Fitness & tracking
Support for over 100 workout types
Impressive data, but only for some exercises
Solid sleep tracking
The TicWatch Pro 5 has three built-in sensors that are directly related to your health: heart rate, blood oxygen and skin temperature. Only heart rate can be monitored continuously throughout the day.
But alongside an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer and GPS, they enable an impressive range of tracking features.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
For most people, the main one will be fitness. Over 100 different workouts are supported by the TicExercise app, with walking, running and cycling all specifically highlighted. I don’t have a bike, but was able to try the other two.
Starting a workout from the watch is simple, although you often need to wait a few seconds for the GPS to register your location. You can set a goal (time, distance, calories or steps), but it’s not necessary.
Lots of data is available during your workout, but you’ll have to swipe up to find it. Mobvoi has rightly focused on the main details on the summary screen: duration, speed and distance covered. Your current heart rate is also displayed, alongside which zone that corresponds to.
After a few seconds of inactivity (in any situation), it’ll shift to the ultra-low-power (ULP) display, a monochrome LCD screen which only displays the essentials. However, the colour of the panel as you raise your wrist will correspond to the heart rate zone you’re in, which is a nice touch.
Ending a workout requires you to physically activate the device, then swipe right and hit stop. It’s a bit fiddly, but I’d much prefer this to a watch which can accidentally end the workout.
Even for something as simple as a walk or run, there’s an impressive amount of information in the Mobvoi Health app. You get an overview of your pace, steps, time taken for each kilometre and changes in elevation. A map showing where you’ve been is a nice touch, while Mobvoi even provides an estimate of recovery time.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
Sadly, the information regarding my two-hour tennis session was much more limited. Duration, calories burned and heart rate data is all you get, and isn’t very informative. It appears to be a similar story for many of the less popular exercises, with very basic data. The scores of workout types serve more to make note of the type of exercise you did rather than provide any interesting data insights.
Fortunately, a lot more thought has gone into sleep tracking, which is trigged automatically when in bed. It provides an overview of how long you spend in each sleep stage, plus how your heart rate and blood oxygen levels changed throughout the night.
You also get a sleep quality percentage score, plus some recommendations on how to improve. It thought the first couple of hours were a nap, rather than just waking up in the night, but this didn’t seem to affect the overall data. It looks to be fairly accurate.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
Specs & performance
Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 chip
No LTE model
The TicWatch Pro 5 is powered by the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1, Qualcomm’s most powerful chip for wearables, plus 2GB of RAM.
As a result, performance is about as good as you’ll get from any smartwatch. The Pro 5 is fast and responsive, while scrolling and moving between screens remains fluid and responsive. There are some occasional hesitations while opening some apps, but not enough to ever cause an issue.
Crucially, this applies to both the touchscreen and two physical buttons. The subtle haptic feedback while using the digital crown is a particular highlight.
Built-in Wi-Fi allows the Pro 5 to be self-sufficient in some situations, but all too often you’ll need to be connected to your phone via Bluetooth 5.2. There’s also no LTE model, which severely limits its usability while out and about. Of course, you can hotspot from your phone, but it’s nowhere near as seamless.
Battery life & charging
True multi-day battery life
Impressive charging speeds
Within the TicWatch Pro 5, you’ll find a 628mAh battery. That’s one of the largest you’ll find in any smartwatch, and bigger than even Apple’s rugged Watch Ultra (542mAh).
So, you can see why I had high hopes for battery life. Did Mobvoi deliver? Yes, and emphatically so.
The company claims up to 80 hours of usage on a single charge – well over three full days. You should actually be able to get close to that figure, provided you’re not using GPS or tracking workouts all the time. Even if you use it for sleep tracking, expect true multi-day battery life.
However, you might not like how Mobvoi achieves this. By default, the Pro 5 shifts to its ultra-low-power (ULP) display after 10 seconds, offering only basic information in black and white. You can increase this to 30 seconds or change it to a true always-on display, but battery life won’t be anywhere near as good.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
It’s also worth noting that standby time isn’t great. After initially setting it up, I left the Pro 5 on a desk for a few days, with around half its battery left. By the time I started testing it, the device had run out of charge. If you only use a smartwatch occasionally, it’s worth being aware of.
By default, the watch shifts to ‘Essential mode’ when you hit 5%. This limits you to the ULP display until you plug it in, maximising what you have left. You can also set Essential mode to automatically enable while sleeping or off your wrist for more than 30 minutes.
When you do eventually get round to charging, it’ll be using the proprietary cable in the box. Strong magnets secure it to the watch, but you’ll need something to plug the USB-A into at the other end.
Charging speeds are very good: I went from 32% to 92% in 30 minutes. That’s impressive.
Price & availability
The TicWatch Pro 5 is a premium smartwatch, and its price certainly reflects that.
For a 48mm case and silicone strap, the only version available, you’ll pay $349.99/£329.99. You can buy one direct from Mobvoi (US/UK) and at Amazon (US/UK)
Among rugged smartwatches, the Apple Watch Ultra ($799/£849) is more capable but also much more expensive. The Watch Series 8 (from $399/£419) is a more realistic option, but neither work well with Android devices.
Therefore, your best alternatives are the similarly-priced Google Pixel Watch (from $349/£339) and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Pro (from $449/£429), which also makes durability a top priority. There are other great smartwatches, but the Pro 5 can hold its own.
The TicWatch Pro 5 is Mobvoi’s best smartwatch yet, making a compelling case for anyone with an Android phone.
That starts with the design, which meets military standards for durability yet still looks modern and stylish. Its OLED display is arguably even more impressive, helping content to come alive despite the size of the screen.
Battery life, a weakness of 2022’s TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra, now becomes a major strength, while Google’s Wear OS software is optimised for both touch and use with the physical button and rotating crown.
However, Mobvoi’s companion app is cluttered and confusing, and there’s no virtual assistant support. A lack of LTE option also means it’s very reliant on your phone when out and about.
But if you’re looking for an alternative to smartwatches from phone companies, the TicWatch Pro 5 is well worth considering.
WearOS 3.5 (requires Android 8 or newer)
1.43in, 466×460 AMOLED display, 326ppi
Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 + Gen 1
NFC (payments via Google Pay)
Heart rate sensor
Blood oxygen sensor
Accelerometer, gyroscope, skin temperature sensor, off-body sensor, barometer, compass