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TicWatch GTH Review: Definitely Affordable, But Are You Committed To Staying Healthy?

TicWatch GTH Review: Definitely Affordable, But Are You Committed To Staying Healthy?

The TicWatch GTH, apart from blood oxygen monitoring, heart rate and sleep tracking, also measures body temperature and your stress levels. Well, somewhat!

Smartwatches and fitness are very much a trend these days. The former doesn’t seem to feel complete without the latter. Even at the more affordable price points, smartwatches are adding some nifty and accurate health tracking capabilities to their arsenal. The latest to join the party is the TicWatch GTH. With a Rs 4,799 price tag, the TicWatch GTH comfortably undercuts a lot of rivals, including Xiaomi’s Mi Watch range. Yet, the design that betrays something a tad more premium than the actual price tag, it is well placed to tick off the modern day stay-healthy requirements. But would you want this over the even simpler fitness bands? The thing is, there are some neat add-ons that could tilt your opinion in favor of the TicWatch GTH—body temperature monitoring and stress level detection, apart from a wide range of fitness and health measurements that it can do.

Think I’ve Seen This Before! The design of the TicWatch GTH looks very familiar. It sits somewhere between the Oppo Watch, the Redmi Watch and the Apple Watch, at least as far as the larger inspiration is concerned. The square dial looks minimalist and there aren’t any confusing lines cluttering the design. In fact, this bucks the trend of smartwatches having two different buttons and has just one physical key, which is a crown dial that sits on the right spine. It feels incredibly light around the wrist, and a lot of that also has to do with the smaller screen size that’s in place—it is a 1.55-inch display. Power this on and you’d not be able to ignore the fairly thick bezels that frame this screen. Could Mobvoi have gone with a slightly larger display if this was the final dimension measurement of the watch, and given us more display real estate as well as thinner bezels as a result? There don’t seem to be any corners cut with the overall build, and the watch feels well put together. The TPU strap is quite basic in the hierarchy of watch straps, and you’d have the urge to swap this out for something better at some point.

Your Fitness Is In Focus, Because You Don’t Seem To Care: Smartwatches and the seriously dialed up fitness and wellness tracking, is a good trend that’ll ensure you don’t slack off. And you don’t ignore your health any more than you have done all this while. At around the Rs 10,000 price point, the Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve and then the updated Mi Watch Revolve Active have a very elaborate fitness tracking arsenal sitting on your wrist. The TicWatch GTH is attempting the same. Divided into two distinct buckets of fitness and health, you’d get a wide range of tools on the watch, the data for which then lands in the Mobvoi’s smartphone companion app for Android phones and the Apple iPhone. If it is fitness you want to track, this lightweight watch makes a lot of sense around your wrist. There are a whole bunch of common workout modes, including outdoor runs, indoor runs on the treadmill, cycling, swimming, walking and yoga, to name a few. The built in TicMotion workout detection can automatically start tracking, even if you forget to tell it, certain activities including walking, running and cycling. The watch is 5ATM water resistant, for swim tracking too.

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All The Wellness Tools In A Watch, Who Needs Medical Devices? Actually, there are two parts to this argument. First, no matter what any wearable claims about wellness and health tracking data accuracy, they do not replace the actual medical tracking devices. The smart guidance always is that these are only for a general idea of any changes in your health and in case the data throws up any sort of red flag, you must immediately re-verify that with a medical grade device or consult your doctor. It is great to have the wellness and health data available, because it also gives you a better idea of the trend of your health and how any routine or diet changes, for example, may be working out. Now that’s cleared and well out of the way, the TicWatch GTH does impress with the fact that it can not only do blood oxygen monitoring (also known as SpO2), heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking, but this can also monitor skin temperature (a good early indication in case you are feeling off but not sure if its fever), respiration rate tracking and something that’s my favorite—stress level monitoring via an app called TicZen. I did notice that it takes around 3 minutes to give a reading, which is significantly more than the Xiaomi Mi Watch range. Also, the TicZen app simply closed during the reading collection process, and it all had to be started again. For the readings, make of it what you will because when the Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve Active says I’m moderately stressed, the TicWatch GTH says I’m not—and this in the midst of a fairly stressful time juggling meetings and deadlines.

I haven’t been able to wear this to bed to track sleep, since I am absolutely not comfortable wearing a smartwatch while sleeping, and therefore any data accuracy comments remain reserved. Blood oxygen, or SpO2 monitoring, stated within one percentage point of a Dr Morepen fingertip blood oxygen monitor, which is a good testament to the sensors in the TicWatch GTH. I have, touchwood, not had any fever related issues during the time I had the TicWatch GTH for testing, and all through, the readings from the skin temperature app also suggested everything is normal—no unnecessary alarms.

The Mobvoi App Experience Is Two Distinct Halves: A smartwatch interaction and how you develop the overall experience over time depends a lot on the companion app that sits in your smartphone. On that front, Mobvoi have taken a significant step forward with the latest iteration of the Mobvoi app adding a dash of colour and better segregation of health tracking data such as heart rate, sleep stats and exercise data. It most certainly looks better than before, and things do come across in a more refined way. Settings are simplified and easily understandable. Yet, across the app, there are still those finer details which are rough edges, to say the least. Why does the app need blanket permission to access the camera on the phone, beats me. If the TicWatch GTH isn’t connected with the app, it says “unconnected”, which while strictly not wrong, does not give the user much in terms of what has happened. Unpaired or not in range might have been better picks. When you pair the watch for the first time, the barcode on the watch screen is accompanied by text that reads “Scan the QR code below Download Mobile”. It just doesn’t make sense, and these sorts of things are quite noticeable quite noticeable as you regularly use a smartwatch and its app. Also, I did not see data such as the readings from TicZen show up in the app—maybe I’m missing something here.

The Last Word: If You Are Okay With Simplicity, This Can Be On Your Shortlist

There is a sense of conflict about the TicWatch GTH, and in a good way, because there is the attempt to do things that smartwatches costing a bit more, around the Rs 10,000 price point, otherwise do. It isn’t the snappiest in terms of performance, yet never holds you back. The operating system is closer to that of a fitness specific wearable than a strictly versatile smartwatch. And yet, there is a simplicity that is undeniable with the TicWatch GTH. Strong battery life is very much in its favour and so is the fact that the platform plays well with the likes of Google Fit and Strava, which should help those who are serious about fitness and health tracking. The TicWatch GTH isn’t for everyone, and most certainly not for anyone who is looking for an Apple Watch-esque experience on a budget. Yes, you’ll encounter some rougher edges along the way, but in the end, the TicWatch GTH gets you where you need to be. And that, for health tracking, is all that you really need.

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first published:July 06, 2021, 09:12 IST