For Android users, there are many smartwatches available that will work really well with their smartphones. Android is open and unlike iOS, manufacturers of third-party accessories have access to all the features of the device. This means that you can find many cool gadgets that run all sorts of operating systems. When it comes to smartwatches, the most popular devices are either from Samsung or from one of the manufacturers that use WearOS, like the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro. In this article, I will try to compare the TicWatch Pro with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 , but the article can easily be about WearOS vs Tizen OS on a smartwatch, and which operating system is better.
TicWatch Pro Design vs Samsung Galaxy Watch Design
Both smartwatches use premium materials and at a first glance may appear similar, but there are many differences between the TicWatch Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Both devices have a dial around the display that has the minutes engraved, however, the materials are different: metal on the TicWatch Pro and plastic on the Galaxy Watch. Furthermore, the dial on Samsung’s device can rotate and is actually used during navigation between different screens. More on that later.
The TicWatch Pro is slightly bigger and thicker, but not so much that it feels uncomfortable to wear, at least for most men. The difference in size translates to the actual display as well and Ticwatche’s buttons are slightly more extruded outside. The buttons also have different designs, with rounded ones on Mobvoi’s offering and rounded rectangles on Samsung’s. The bodies are negative-images between the two, with the TicWatch pro having a carbon-fiber body that looks just like plastic, and Samsung opting for a metal body on the Galaxy Watch.
Another difference is in the strap. Mobvoi uses a hybrid leather+silicon strap that looks and feels premium while Samsung went with a silicone strap that does not really reflect the premium look and feel of the rest of the watch. Both can easily be replaced if you don’t like the included one.
Software: WearOS vs Tizen
There are many smartwatches out there with WearOS and Samsung has different models with its Tizen operating system. Which actual smartwatch you choose may depend a lot on the design, but in the end, the software that runs determines the features that you will have access to. There are many things that can be said here, so I will try to focus on the most important stuff and have a different section for the app ecosystem.
Right from the start, I felt that Tizen is a bit more polished for wearables and at least compared to the TicWatch Pro, ir runs smoother and with less lag and stutters. The performance problems are fixed in newer smartwatches, including the 4G model of the TicWatch Pro, but if you will be going with a model that only has 512MB of RAM, you will have some performance issues. Nothing major or deal-breakers, but if you can afford something a bit more powerful, I suggest you go with that one.
WearOS also has some limitations that I did not see on Samsung’s smartwatch. You can only have 5 widgets at a time, for example. Also, the menu layout offered by Tizen allows more applications to be visible on the screen at a time, but this will result in smaller icons. Also, the Galaxy Watch relies quite a lot on the dial for selection. It is not mandatory to use it, but it does offer a better experience.
Gestures, navigation between screens or most interactions are quite similar. There aren’t many ways to properly do these things considering the limitations imposed by the device’s size, at least until they manage to put a SOLI chip inside one of these. If you don’t know what that is, look at the new Pixel 4 smartphones and their touchless navigation features. One thing that I did like more on the Galaxy Watch is that for notifications you can easily open the context menu, while on the TicWatch pro you have to scroll all the way down to access it. On the Samsung Galaxy Watch, I can delete an email straight away if I know from the subject it is not important, while on WearOS devices there is a lot of useless scrolling needed.
All in all, I feel that WearOS could use a bit more development and optimizations. It is not quite as intuitive or as fast as Tizen, but the discrepancies are not as big as I initially thought.
Applications and App Ecosystem
There is no reason to make this longer than it should be. WearOS has better applications available, being them pre-installed or available for download, especially if you are already in Google’s ecosystem. If you are a fitness enthusiast you have Google Fit as well as many other applications available, while on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch, there are few alternatives to the application provided by the manufacturer. There are also a lot more watch faces on WearOS and many of them are free, while for Tizen most of the good ones have to be bought separately.
Now, I am not saying that things are perfect on WearOS. Even some of the must-have Google applications are missing. There is not GMail app, so you will still have to rely on the phone’s notifications, and there is only the Play Music app, even though Google is switching to Youtube Music as the main streaming service. However, most applications that you can find on the Galaxy Watch app store can also be found on the Google Play store, but no the other way around.
Things did improve in the past year for Tizen’s app ecosystem, so they are at least on the right track, but there is still a long way to go until they manage to catch up with Google’s OS. I know that the comparison is not really fair since Google had a head start thanks to Android being the most used mobile operating system, but the consumer does not care about fairness. My advice is that if you want a wide selection of apps, watch faces and better integration with the companion app on the phone, WearOS is the way to go.
With my usage habits, the TicWatch Pro lasts me about two days. I can wear it an entire day without any problems, but the next day when I come home from work I have to put it straight into the charging dock. I even had some days when the TicWatch Pro entered in battery saving mode around 5 or 6 in the evening. Not a big issue thanks to the essential mode that still displays time and tracks steps taken, but it is worth mentioning.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch, on the other hand, can easily last me 3 or 4 days. Most of the times I only recharge it twice a week. If battery life is what you want, then probably no smartwatch is good enough, but between the two, Samsung wins for sure.
I find it a bit hard right now to choose between the TicWatch Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Samsung wins when it comes to battery life and the interface is a bit more polished, but it falls behind a lot when it comes to applications and even a bit at integration with your smartphone. The TicWatch is a bit bigger, but the elegant strap that is included in the box makes up for it. If Mobvoi will launch a TicWatch Pro 2 that solves that lag problem and makes the transition between the essential screen and the AMOLED one seamless, it will be a big hit.