TicWatch E2 Review
Pros: Great value, decent display, solid fitness tracking abilities
Cons: Limited smart functions, so-so battery life
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Our Analysis and Test Results
While the TicWatch E2 did merit an award for its value, its performance placed it at the back of the group overall, just behind the Huawei Watch GT Classic. The E2 has a larger set of smart functions than the GT, but the GT has a significantly better battery life, earning it a few more points overall. However, the GT is also substantially more expensive.
To find out which smart timepiece is truly superior to the rest, we researched and compared an enormous number of different watches, then bought all the most promising models on the market to test head-to-head and see which ones came out on top. We graded the performance of each watch in five different aspects, with the TicWatch E2's results elaborated on in the sections below.
Ease of Use
First off, we looked at how easy to use the TicWatch E2 is, which is responsible for 30% of its total score. It earned a 5 out of 10 for its middle-of-the-road performance, based on the responsiveness of the touchscreen, ease of charging and swapping wristbands, its water resistance, and user interface.
The TicWatch E2 is water resistant up to 5 ATM or 50 meters, so you can definitely wear it in the shower or in the pool without fear. It is also about average difficulty to swap wristbands on this watch, using the standard watch band release mechanism.
There isn't a crown scroll or other tactile interface to navigate through the menus but the touchscreen is fairly responsive to swipes and taps, hardly ever failing to register or misinterpret them. We also like that the screen usually wakes in less than a second when you raise your wrist to look at the E2.
The charging cradle attaches to the E2 with little to no fuss but the magnet holding it in place isn't particularly strong, so the watch will get disconnected with a relatively minor amount of force.
Our second metric dealt with the different features and capabilities that bestow the "Smart" moniker on these watches, which constitutes 20% of its total score. In particular, we scored each watch on its compatibility with popular or common apps, if it has music or phone controls, if it can be used for mobile payments, and if it has a standalone GPS unit. The TicWatch E2 earned a 4 out of 10 for its modest set of smart functions.
The TicWatch E2 uses Google's Wear OS, which offers a decent amount of third-party app compatibility. The E2 works with Uber, Messenger, Strava, IFTTT, and Spotify, just to name a few.
This watch does not have an integrated speaker, so you can't take calls through the watch, though it does have a microphone for use with the Google Assistant. It does give you the option to answer the call on your wrist, but you do need to pull the phone out or be using a headset to continue the call.
The watch has rudimentary music controls right from the start for most music service and these will increase if you download the corresponding app to the watch, such as Pandora or Spotify.
The TicWatch even has an integrated GPS unit — GPS, GLONASS, Beidou — and standalone WiFi but it does lack standalone LTE or mobile payment/NFC capabilities.
Next, we awarded points based on the display of each smartwatch, which is responsible for 20% of its final score. To score each smartwatch, we compared and ranked the screen quality and resolution of each watch, as well as how easy it is to adjust the amount of backlight and if you can see the screen without issue in both light and dark conditions. The E2 is slightly above average in this regard, earning it a 6 out of 10.
This TicWatch actually has quite a nice display, with specs about on par with the premium models. It has a 1.39", 400x400 AMOLED screen that displays crisp and clear.
It has a backlight that is more than bright enough to see in the dark but is definitely not bright enough to easily read in bright sunlight. This watch also lacks the ability to set the backlight to automatically adjust to ambient light but you can set it to be always-on if you don't like waiting the brief second for it to wake when you raise your wrist.
For our next rating metric, we had to get up and get active with the TicWatch E2 to rank and score its various fitness and workout monitoring abilities. This accounts for 15% of its total score, based on the accuracy of its step counter and heart rate monitor, as well as the different workouts it can track and the data it collects. Additionally, we also checked to see if it counts the number of stairs you climb throughout the day. The E2 again did slightly above average, earning a 6 out of 10.
Starting off, we were pleasantly surprised with the accuracy of the step counter on the E2. The step count is a little slow to update but it matches up with manual count for each of our mile walks very closely, only having an average discrepancy of 18 steps or so.
We didn't find the heart rate monitor to be as accurate compared to our chest strap. It's usually within 10 bpm when our heart rate was at resting levels but tends to underestimate it when our heart rate was elevated. It averaged out to be fairly accurate at the higher levels but would sporadically have a huge discrepancy compared to the chest strap — on the order of 40 bpm or more!
The E2 uses the Google Fit and Fit Workout apps to track activities and workouts. The Google Fit app lets you set activity goals, such as taking 10,000 steps a day or running a certain number of times a week. This app also has an enormous number of different workout profiles, covering everything from cricket to curling. It also has some basic coaching abilities, such as a 30-day sit-up, push-up, or squat challenge.
You can also use Google Fit to integrate with other third-party fitness app and share data, even if that app doesn't have a standalone version that can run on the TicWatch E2.
Unfortunately, this watch doesn't track the number of flights of stairs you climb each day.
For our fourth and final metric — worth 15% of each smartwatch's final score — we compared the effective runtime of each watch and the time it takes to recharge. The E2 did alright, earning a 5 out of 10.
We used the watch normally, sending it plenty of notifications and calls throughout the day until it died, with the E2 lasting for about 25 hours before completely dying, which was slightly below average. However, it does charge quite fast for these smart wearables, only taking 75 minutes to completely recharge a dead battery to 100% and 32 minutes to recharge to 50%.
Overall, the TicWatch E2 is a great value. It's a simple, bare-bones smartwatch that has most of the features you would want and won't wreck your budget.
If you are an Android user and looking for a simple smartwatch without breaking the bank to tide you over until Wear OS gets a full overhaul, then the TicWatch E2 is a great choice. True, it can't compete with the top-tier offerings from Samsung or Apple but it retails for less than half of the premium watches and won't disappoint — if you don't expect too much.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer