A sequel to one of our favorite Wear OS smartwatches, the TicWatch C2+ is essentially a minor bump to what was formerly a solid wearable.
Waiting almost 18 months to put out a refreshed device seems a little odd. Given that there has been a real lack of high-quality Wear OS watches during that period it could have been a real way for Mobvoi to grab some much-needed attention.
In some ways, the C2+ feels like a sort of “temporary” release to keep Mobvoi at the forefront of your mind, and in many ways, I’m glad they didn’t call it the “TicWatch C3” as that would have felt like more of an unashamed cash grab.
We’ve spent some extended time with the updated Wear OS smartwatch to work out if it’s worth picking up at this stage of 2020.
Hardware & Design
As someone that really loves simplicity in design, the TicWatch C2 and C2+ are more or less perfect in terms of aesthetics. I want a smartwatch to be inconspicuous, clean, and minimal. The less fuss there is, the more I tend to enjoy them.
Not changing the hardware might seem lazy but when the original was so nice to look at, I’m happy that Mobvoi decided to stick with a winning formula. The crown is relatively small compared to many others on the market, which may or may not be to your tastes. If you have chunky wrists, it might look a little odd is what I’m saying.
The Onyx finish is still particularly clean and refined. When you see other Fossil-branded Wear OS watches having really garish or “out there” designs, it’s nice to come back to a simple, no-fuss smartwatch. It’s still a stainless steel finish with a plastic base, which should mean solid longevity.
It’s nice to see a silicone band in the box this time around, especially as the leather strap can feel a little stiff at times. I did stick with the leather strap, as I found it just looked better no matter what I happened to be wearing.
While the design is great, the display itself still doesn’t get bright enough in direct lighting. During the hot and sunny summer months, it’s actually really difficult to see what is on screen. Indoors I’ve had no issues whatsoever but outdoors this is not the best.
One weird omission is that of a speaker. That limits the usability for some people out there I’m sure. Without a speaker, you won’t be able to take or place calls from your wrist. Now as someone that doesn’t like doing this anyway, it’s by no means a dealbreaker — but is something important to note.
Software & Performance
The fact that the TicWatch C2+ still comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset is a crying shame at this stage of 2020. But gaining an extra 512MB of RAM is good for the speed and consistency of Wear OS 2.1 — which improved quite substantially.
I still don’t understand though why Mobvoi would just up the RAM and then stick with the older chipset. It feels like a cost-cutting measure and one that does, unfortunately, leave a really bitter taste.
Granted I haven’t seen many lockups or complete slowdowns save when the battery dips below the 10% mark. But the older chipset is likely to be a big dealbreaker for some out there, which I can’t really argue with. The TicWatch C2+ should come with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset at the very least. Maybe we will see the 4100 or 4100+ in the TicwWatch C3 — whenever that might arrive.
Tiles have made Wear OS feel much more useful but there isn’t a wealth of options that I really like on the smartwatch form factor. I have always felt more inclined to reach for my smartphone than try and do things on such a small display.
If you want to go deeper with your fitness tracking and workout information, the suite of pre-installed Mobvoi TicHealth apps on the TicWatch C2+ might be right up your street. You can share all of the information with Google Fit, so you have all of your data in one easy to reach place. Workout data seems to be pretty accurate, I have only recently started playing football (soccer) again due to COVID-19, and I think it managed to track my games reasonably accurately.
For people who are happy (or crazy) enough to wear a smartwatch in bed, then you might be disappointed to hear that you’ll need a separate app to track your sleep cycles. Personally, this is not something I like to do, so barely gave it a second thought. Also, it might not be the most comfortable even despite the TicWatch C2+ being reasonably compact.
I also still really love being able to activate the Google Assistant from my wrist. It’s accurate and quick but not having a speaker for audio feedback is a little annoying at times. Either way not having to fiddle with the small on-screen keyboard is really nice.
Another sore point for me has been the 400mAh battery. When linked to my Pixel 4 XL, I’m looking at just about a full day of usage but this will consist of just being a bridge for my notifications. As soon as you divert and start utilizing the onboard GPS or enhanced fitness tracking features, you’ll see the battery percentage drop quite substantially.
I dislike the potential of charging my smartphone more than once a day, but to be completely honest, the battery life is about average. I honestly prefer the simplicity of the Huawei Watch GT 2e or a fitness band such as the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 as I don’t have to worry about digging out the charger every day.
You can probably pinpoint the chipset as one of the reasons for the poor battery longevity but there are not many Wear OS watches that have what you would call “exceptional” battery life.
The TicWatch C2+ is a good Wear OS smartwatch but also a disappointment. Mobvoi could have taken the original formula, updated the internals further, and would have had a real winner. The fact that the practically ancient Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset is at the heart of a nearly — albeit attractive — 2-year-old design is incredibly frustrating.
If, like me, you love the simple design, it’s far less excruciating but still a relatively tough pill to swallow. At $210, I really feel like you’re better off going for something else entirely – and that is all down to the chipset Movboi has persisted with for so long. Even if pricing were dipped to below $150, I would still be on the fence about giving it my full seal of approval.
Where can I get the TicWatch C2+?
As I have mentioned, I personally don’t think the TicWatch C2+ makes sense as a long-term purchase. However, if you insist on picking it up, you can do so from Mobvoi direct or Amazon priced at $209.99.
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