TicWatch Pro aims to tackle smartwatch battery life with an always-on second screen | Apps & Software
The TicWatch Pro, a unique new Wear OS smartwatch that squeezes two screens into its face, is available now to Amazon Prime members for $250 (£220 or AU$370). The watch is from Mobvoi, a Chinese company focusing on AI that also makes budget smartwatches and smart speakers like the .
The double screen is what makes this watch special. It’s got the sort of colorful OLED screen you see on most smartwatches, layered directly under a traditional LCD screen. The former screen handles normal data readouts while the latter one handles always-on time display. (It’s an FSTN — film compensated super-twisted nematic display — LCD screen like those found on 1980s-era digital watches and pocket calculators, not the modern-day LCD screens found on TVs and phones.)
The second screen is actually a transparent layer, activating when the smartwatch OLED turns off. It replaces the “always-on” mode that’s on Wear OS watches by default, or can be booted up in a separate “Essential Mode” that makes the watch a basic, low-powered fitness tracker. When the main watch display is off, the reflective LCD turns on, turning the TicWatch Pro into a big Casio watch of sorts that tells time, steps and heart rate.
The goal, of course, is better battery life. Google’s Wear OS watches () tend to last around a day. Other smartwatches, like the , can last two weeks easily, and have always-on screens, but cut corners on the phone-like features. By splitting the difference, Mobvoi’s dual-screen approach promises to last anywhere from 5 to 30 extra days, thanks to that energy-sipping LCD screen. But the watch is comparatively big and thick as a result.
Yeah, it’s weird. And Google’s already readying a next generation ofthis fall that should have , so you probably want to wait for those. But, the TicWatch Pro’s crazy multiscreen idea is an interesting spin on how to solve the mediocre battery life on smartwatches — or turn touchscreens into always-readable panels on other gadgets or appliances that need to sip power.
I have one here at CNET that I’ve started wearing. Stay tuned for more impressions soon. I have no idea yet if it’s a good Wear OS watch. But it doesn’t seem nearly as practical, or as affordable, as the , which costs a third as much.
- Size: 45mm by 12.6 mm
- Displays: 1.39-inch 400×400 OLED, and FSTN display
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100
- Storage: 4GB
- NFC and Google Pay
- Optical heart-rate sensor
- 415 mAh battery
- IP68 water resistance
: Because we should always be connected 24-7.
Here’s what we know so far.