The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra was launched in late 2021 and boasts more high-end features compared to Mobvoi’s other wearables, including a full color AMOLED watch face, always-on FSTN display and, most notably for this generation, a more robust design.
It’s worth noting that with the sample we tested, the compass had been disabled. Although initially marketed as a key feature of the Ultra, between the announcement and the launch of the compass feature disabled by Mobvoi, citing “compatibility issues” (on which, after asking for further details , Mobvoi refused to develop).
If Tech Advisor gleans more information on why the compass feature was removed after the Ultra went on sale and if it will ever be reinstated, I’ll update this review accordingly.
Design and build
- Robust and durable
- Comfortable to wear
- On the wider side
Although it’s marketed as a rugged smartwatch for adventurers, it still sports a sleek, no-frills design. It has a decidedly chunky profile (12.3mm thick), which means it can get stuck if you’re wearing clothes with tighter sleeves.
The watch’s 47mm case is made of stainless steel, high-strength nylon and fiberglass, complemented by a 22mm fluorine rubber strap. This can be replaced with any other 22mm strap (including those from Mobvoi), although Mobvoi only offers the basic black GPS watch. The LTE model comes in a more luxurious dark brown hybrid leather variant.
At 41 grams, while not the lightest laptop I’ve worn, it doesn’t feel too heavy on the wrist and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The strap also seems sturdier and more durable than what you’ll find on Mobvoi’s cheaper entries, such as the TicWatch E3.
If you participate in strenuous exercise, be sure to wipe down the watch band after use, as perspiration can cause stains and leave marks.
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra features a 1.4-inch color AMOLED display, protected by anti-fingerprint Corning Gorilla Glass. Not only is it bright (even in direct sunlight), it also responds to touch, even when used in water. The standout feature of the Pro line is that instead of a conventional always-on mode for the AMOLED display, it instead switches to a secondary always-on FSTN display, so you can easily check the time while consuming minimal power.
The watch can withstand harsh conditions, with IP68 and MIL-STD-810G (military standard) certification, and after being submerged (such as after swimming), the watch will drain even excess water.
The TicWatch case includes both a speaker and a microphone, so you can take calls on your wrist and use the built-in Google Assistant to check the weather, view your heart rate readings and more .
Software and features
- Wide range of applications
- Wear OS 3 update is coming this year
- Over 100 exercise modes
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra runs on a Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip, as well as Mobvoi’s own dual-processor system. Early rumors suggested the device would run on the slightly more powerful 4100+ chipset, but Mobvoi opted to stick with the base 4100; perhaps in order to reduce costs.
Even without Qualcomm’s latest and greatest wearable silicon, the Ultra delivers a perfectly responsive user experience, which was smoother and less janky than on the cheaper TicWatch E3 (which is also powered by a 4100), so clearly the software updates have helped streamline things greatly.
The TicWatch runs on Google Wear OS 2.33, with a promised update to Wear OS 3 later this year and comes with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of ROM in tow.
There’s a wide range of apps to choose from, with standard Google offerings – such as Google Translate, Google Maps and Google Pay available – as well as Spotify, for all music fans. Having Google support (in the form of Wear OS and the Play Store) is a big advantage over other wearables like Amazfit, which rely solely on custom apps.
There are over 100 different exercise tracking options in the TicExercise app, with basics like running, cycling, and swimming, and more obscure options like plank, deadlift, fencing and ice hockey. You can also use the Google Fit app for your workouts, although swim tracking isn’t included there.
As an avid swimmer, I noticed that the watch had a little trouble distinguishing certain strokes; sometimes confusing breaststroke for the backstroke and front crawl for the butterfly.
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra contains both HD PPG heart rate sensor and SpO2 sensor, which can be used continuously. Both of these gave me results that seemed accurate and consistent, as did the sleep tracking software; which is able to detect when you are in REM, deep sleep, light sleep and awake.
The watch can also automatically detect certain types of workouts. I found it useful when walking around, and it was accurate enough to tell when I had started and stopped – something some rivals struggle with.
Application and performance
- Numbers mostly correct
- Google Fit makes things more complicated
- The app needs more links to accredited information
If you use the TicWatch apps (TicExercise, TicSleep and more), your data will be sent to the Mobvoi app on your paired smartphone. When setting up the Ultra, you’ll need to activate both Google Fit and the Mobvoi app, which adds a seemingly unnecessary step, if you only intend to rely on tracking from one service.
Also, data recorded by the Google Fit app is not automatically transferred to Mobvoi’s mobile app. It would be nice if we had some synchronization between the two, especially if you’re recording an activity that’s available on one app but not the other. Perhaps the future Wear OS update will iron out that crease; that or Mobvoi needs to look into tighter integration between platforms.
Otherwise, the Mobvoi app is quite user-friendly. There are logs for your exercise records, heart rate, sleep and more, as well as tips and data based on your personal measurements.
This application can also be used to customize the watch face. with a number of free and paid offers available. You can also listen to recordings taken on the voice memo app, along with an option to transcribe audio, which wasn’t as bad as expected.
Particularly when it comes to information based on data tracked by Ultra, Mobvoi’s software lacks links to accredited information, when it comes to exercise and health metrics; something that rivals like Withings and Huawei offer to add credibility to their suggestions and advice.
- Three-day battery life
- Rivals offer better longevity
- Issues recording exercise if battery is low
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra packs a 577mAh cell, which Mobvoi says lasts about 72 hours on average (although that figure varies with usage).
I found the three-day claim to be fairly accurate, even when I regularly used the exercise tracker and had continuous heart rate monitoring turned on.
While it’s better than Mobvoi’s cheaper watches, it’s nowhere near as durable as some other rugged smartwatches from brands like Polar and Amazfit; a crucial point to consider if you’re buying this watch for hiking or mountaineering, and you won’t have room to charge it for days at a time.
You can use the watch in essential mode to save juice, which can supposedly extend the battery for up to 45 days, however, the watch only supports basic functionality in this state.
One downside is that if you record an exercise while the Ultra’s battery is low and you don’t have your phone nearby to sync, it will lose all that data. If there was a way for the watch to locally store your activity when syncing isn’t possible, that would be more useful. In its current state, however, it’s best to keep the TicWatch topped up if you don’t want to miss recording those metrics.
In the box, you get a magnetic POGO-pin charger, which can charge the watch from flat to full in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, there is no fast charging available.
Pricing & Availability
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra costs £289.99 / US$299.99 and in some markets, including the UK, may also be available in an LTE version for £329.99. You can currently buy the Pro 3 Ultra from Mobvoi (UK/US) and Amazon (UK/US).
Mobvoi often sells wearables at a competitive price and the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is no exception. In the rugged space, alternatives include the Polar Grit X Pro, Suunto 7, and Amazfit T-Rex Pro.
The first two cost well over £100/$100 more than the TicWatch, and only the Suunto offers a comparable Wear OS user experience. The Amazfit is considerably cheaper, but also compromises with a less premium build and slower performance. As such, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra offers a decent amount for the price.
Plus, it’s one of the few devices with the promise of getting Google’s highly anticipated Wear OS 3 update later this year. You can check out other options in our tables of the best smartwatches and best fitness trackers if that doesn’t seem quite right on the bill.
If you want a rugged smartwatch with Wear OS, then the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is a decent option.
It’s both durable and comfortable, the tracking software is generally accurate and Mobvoi has clearly worked on streamlining the watch’s software to feel less cluttered; something that will no doubt improve even further with the addition of Wear OS 3, later this year.
There are a few issues, including issues with recordings syncing when battery life is low, and the app isn’t as comprehensive as others. Also, the battery longevity isn’t as strong as some rivals.
If you can look past those flaws, then the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is a viable contender in the rugged smartwatch space.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra: Specifications
- 47mm case size
AMOLED touch screen
Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 and Mobvoi dual processor system
1 GB RAM
Wear the operating system
Android and iOS compatibility
HD PPG heart rate sensor, Google Pay (using NFC), GPS, barometer, accelerometer, SpO2 sensor, gyro sensor, low latency out-of-body sensor, microphones, speaker
IP68 and MIL-STD-810G certified
Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11b/g/n