The TicWatch C2 from Mobvoi is yet another solid smart wearable from the brand, who are really carving out a name for themselves as one of the best smartwatch makers on the market. That said, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and the Ticwatch C2 isn’t a massive leap over other smartwatches a) on the market, and b) in the TicWatch line-up.

It gets its name as a homage to the original TicWatch, which makes this a spiritual successor. With the TicWatch Pro leaving such an impression earlier this year, I was worried for the C2, but I think that was a little unfounded.

Naturally, if you have ever worn or had time with the TicWatch S, E or Pro then you’ll feel right at home. Wear OS has received some much-needed improvements and it really shines here on the TicWatch C2. Although, there are a few minor quirks we’ll talk about later.

This feels like a device that bridges the gap between the cheap, sporty TicWatch E and S and the more expensive battery beast TicWatch Pro. For those looking for a Snapdragon 3100-powered smartwatch, unfortunately, this won’t be it. Despite that, it does have solid battery life and great everyday performance.

Design

Right out of the box the C2 instantly reminded me of the Moto 360 and the original TicWatch 2 in the design stakes. That isn’t a criticism of the look of those watches, I like a watch that is very basic in aesthetic — which the TicWatch C2 most definitely is.

In the Onyx and Platinum finish versions of the watch have a matte finish and chamfer around the display whilst the Rose Gold model is softer, with rounded edges and a gleaming finish. The case is made of stainless steel, which should hopefully mean increased longevity and lower costs.

ticwatch c2 wear os

The leather strap is right up my street, I really dislike metallic bracelet links or any other type that can catch the hairs on my wrist. Naturally, you can swap these straps out pretty quickly and easily. My leather strap on the Onyx version has a few creases but I can imagine over time as I wear this day-in-day-out it may deteriorate, like leather normally does after lots of use.

I like the display size and the 43mm casing is perfect for my wrist at the very least, I personally prefer a slimline, plain timepiece over a big, chunky and heavy option. Even with a slim frame and understated look, the watch feels premium on the wrist, especially in the case of the Onyx version.

From the outset you can see that this is a more professional focused watch that is at home with any outfit, I personally haven’t worn the watch to the gym. But with that said, if you change up the stap for something a little more sweat resistant than leather, then it would be great in that arena.

Hardware

As I alluded to at the top of this review, the TicWatch C2 does not come with the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, instead, it ships with the slightly outdated Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset.

I haven’t noticed any major issues with this older CPU though apart from when first powering on, the menus seem to hang for a millisecond before returning to normal. Beyond that little hiccup, operation is smooth and snappy for the most part, only rearing up again when the battery starts to reach depletion.

That chipset update would have been nice, there are no two ways about it but I can’t honestly say for certain if it would have benefitted the C2. I will definitely compare and contrast once I finally get my hands on a smartwatch that is packing in the new Snapdragon Wear 3100.

I am a fan of the 1.3-inch AMOLED display, although if you really do get up close then that 360 x 360-pixel display can look a tiny bit blurry when showing fine details. It isn’t anything to be concerned about as you simply won’t notice unless you hold the watch face within a couple of centimeters of your eyeballs.

The display gets nice and bright but I’d like it to get a tad brighter, I can imagine in ultra-bright environments you may have to cover the display with your hand. I haven’t been able to really replicate direct sunlight due to the

Round the side are two hardware buttons that act just like on the TicWatch Pro. The top button activates the menu, whilst the bottom button is automatically set to launch TicHealth — Mobvoi’s Google Fit wannabe. Luckily, you can customize this to launch any app you want.

The back of the watch is made of plastic, which is a bit disappointing but not really a big deal. It’ll be strapped to your wrist and almost invisible for 99% of the time you sport this watch anyway.

One thing to mention is that all versions of the C2 are IP68 water and dust resistant. Perfect for taking a run in the rain but Mobvoi has since confirmed that no version of this watch is designed to withstand a session in the swimming pool. Swimmers might want to look elsewhere for a waterproof smartwatch.

Software

The TicWatch C2 ships with Wear OS 2.2, which is basically the same as Wear OS 2.1 that we lauded after receiving the update back in October. The display works perfectly with this swipe navigation although the problem is still that there isn’t a great deal of differentiation between Wear OS smartwatches.

This feels exactly the same as the TicWatch E, TicWatch S and TicWatch Pro. The only differentiator here is the hardware (and price).

With that said, I do dislike the swipe right gesture on TicWatch devices, mainly as this is set by default to launch into TicHealth. This was supposed to be fixed but hasn’t been resolved. I opted to just reassign the bottom hardware button to launch into Google Fit to combat this.

One area that I will praise the software over other smartwatches running Wear OS is the inbuilt watch faces. Mobvoi have some really nice options that really compliment the look of your watch. You can always install a third party option like Facer and get creative but I have kept the stock face on, such is the quality of it in my opinion.

If you’ve ever used Wear OS, then there is no mystery as to what you’ll get with the TicWatch C2. Simple software that just does what it intends and nothing more. To be completely honest, that is more of a problem with Wear OS in general than the C2 smartwatch though. Wear OS is just pretty samey from the very outset.

Battery Life

That 400mAh battery is a decent size but don’t go in expecting ridiculous longevity with the TicWatch C2. I have managed to get just over a day and a half at the upper end. That included a couple of sessions tracking long walks with my dog rather than a workout at the gym.

I think the charger has come on leaps and bounds since the release of the TicWatch E. That charger was frustrating and often I’d nudge my bedside table whilst asleep, render the charger disconnected and wake up to a dead smartwatch. I would most definitely carry this bowl-clip charger on hand though if you plan on heading anywhere for more than a day.

Topping up during the day is probably the best way to ensure your watch keeps up with you. Alternatively, you could simply disconnect from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to preserve more power but that defeats the purpose of this watch in my opinion.

In my general usage, I would end the day with around 35% battery on the regular. I got two ‘working days’ only once. The battery died at 7 pm after taking off charge the morning before at 7.30 am.

Final Thoughts + Verdict

This is my current go-to smartwatch for whatever that is worth. I like simplicity and the C2 offers that in spades. My girlfriend has been asking about the Rose Gold model after being so impressed with the look and feel of this Wear OS smartwatch, which is like the highest praise possible for a piece of tech in my house.

I would have loved to have seen this pack in the Snapdragon Wear 3100 if only because of the potential for extended battery life. Alas, we likely won’t see a TicWatch packing that new chipset until mid-2019. Even without the updated chipset, the C2 performs superbly, it’s slick, smooth and the battery is acceptable if not superb.

My biggest problem with Wear OS, in general, is the severe lack of killer or important apps. Although with that said, being able to use Google Play Music or Spotify on your wrist when connected to a pair of Bluetooth headphones and no phone is pretty great — these work superbly with the Mobvoi TicPods Free too.

The TicWatch Pro might be a slightly better choice if you want the potential for two-day battery life and then a little further beyond that thanks to the extra (but basic) digital fitness tracker display. At the end of the day though, I genuinely think that the C2 is one of the best Wear OS smartwatches on the market right now.

At present, the TicWatch C2 is only available from Mobvoi direct but is heading to Amazon very soon. It retails for $199.99 in the US and £169.00 in the UK — a superb price for a great all around smartwatch if you ask me.

Get the TicWatch C2

Get the Ticwatch Pro

About the Author

Damien Wilde's favorite gear