Samsung, LG and Qualcomm are all expected to try various ways of revitalizing Google’s languid Wear OS platform soon and, by extension, the stagnant smartwatch market, but what if a significantly smaller company can pull off a substantially superior design?
Founded back in 2012, and initially focused on AI technology, voice recognition and natural language processing work, China-based Mobvoi has made quite a few headlines of late with some impressively affordable smartwatches.
Breaking with tradition, the upcoming TicWatch Pro is billed as a “premium” Wear OS device with “unrivaled battery life”, which won’t come cheap. At least not as cheap as its forerunners, because Mobvoi is promising a sub-$300 price point that feels more than fair for all the “Pro” features in tow here.
The highlight of a semi-cryptic spec sheet is without a doubt the ingenious combination of a sharp OLED display and low-power FSTN LCD panel. As crazy as it sounds, the former lays beneath the latter, supporting a so-called “Essential Mode” that disables its advanced functionality for energy-preserving purposes.
By default, the TicWatch Pro uses the rudimentary, transparent LCD screen in standby mode to show the time and some basic activity-tracking data, while the high-res OLED takes over when you actually interact with the device for more complex tasks, including notifications and NFC-enabled wrist payments.
This neat dual operation mode can purportedly squeeze around two days of juice from the undetailed battery, with “Essential” functionality considerably raising the bar. We don’t have an actual number, but once the OLED panel switches off, the sky is clearly the limit. Of course, we’ll need to wait and see how smoothly everything works in real life. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the Wear OS-powered TicWatch Pro also promises to monitor your heart rate, and try to add LTE connectivity in the US… someday. Admit it, you’re at the very least intrigued.