Both are quite thick at 12.9mm and have a very plastic feel, looking somewhere between a nice watch and a dedicated fitness tracker. Mobvoi’s built-in watch faces are very nice and customisable, which is great given what a slog it is to get more from Google’s store.
The watches come with GPS and a heart-rate monitor, and unlike the C2 and Pro they’re designed so track swimming as well as your less aquatic exercise. The downside is that, unlike the C2, these do not support contactless payments. The battery struggles to make it to two full days, meaning they like an overnight charge and so aren’t great for sleep tracking.
Unlike Android, WearOS doesn’t feel like software that scales especially well to lower-powered devices. I found it quite laggy on these two watches, and I had unusual gaps in my Google Fit record where it doesn’t seem like they were keeping track of my activity. If I manually started an activity, like jogging for example, they worked just fine, but left to their own devices performance was spotty.
And speaking of activity tracking, these watches follow their predecessors by including Mobvoi’s own suite of fitness apps, which mirror the functionality of Google’s. It’s an annoying double-up that makes managing your data annoying, and I’m sure it can’t help the watches’ performance.
Overall the Ticwatch E2 is barebones smartwatch at a great price, if you can deal with the occasional hiccup, and could be perfect if you’re not going to work your watch too hard and just want notifications on your wrist and some light fitness tracking. An additional $40 for military grade durability seems reasonable if you’re into that sort of thing, but if you don’t need the protection of the swim-tracking you might consider the C2 or even the Pro instead.