Review of the TicWatch GTH Pro

Time to get active.  And I meant to... really I did.  But snow's only starting to melt and it's really mushy and the past week has been hectic busy with work and volunteer stuff... but I tried.

And the TicWatch GTH Pro was there by my side as a way to measure my (inactivity).  The TicWatch GTH Pro has a lot of different sensors to provide you data as you need.  Plus it looks more like a watch than just some activity tracker so it should fit the decor.

Now, I do have to preface this with the fact I am SO used to using WearOS that will bias me a lot, but I'll try.

The GTH Pro runs you a little $140CDN and here's what you get for specs for that cash:

  • 1.5" @ 260x320
  • dual PPG sensors (a photoplethysmogram - which uses light to detect blood volume changes in tissue) - against wrist and on side
  • Skin temp sensor
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • 260mAh (10 day battery life)
  • RTOS platform

So on its face it has a bunch neat sensors and includes Arty, an app developed by ATCOR using SphygmoCor to provide you some insight into your heart health.

But let's get into it with the review

So, to start out the device you have to first download the Mobvoi app while you're letting your watchcharge up.

Now, the charge cord is definitely something proprietary where it's magnetically held to the back with 2 prongs for the power.

If you saw the unboxing video you can see how slightly flimsy it is to hold on to the phone.  So be careful where you put it while charging so it doesn't dislodge itself.  Luckily, it doesn't take too long to charge up to full.

Putting it on the wrist it's a 'standard' style watch band with clasp (not some odd kind of clip and holder).  It's not uncomfortable, but I find that it's almost too 'small'.  To fit properly on my wrist without being too tight I have it closer to the end of the band.  There's still like 5 holes for it to use, but it's not very much for the little free band holder to really hold on to the flapping of the end of the band and it wriggles free often.

When it's ready you go into the app and tell it to pair up to a new device.

You'll need it to scan the QR code on the watch and should be moments to be connected.  You may need to do some firmware updates.

Now it's weird that it may say it's done the update but then keeps trying to search for more.

But you're now connected and you can play around in the settings for the watch.

Before I get to features, I'll say, the more annoying thing is that your phone now has a persistent notification of MobVoi in the notification tray.  At least with the Huawei and Xiaomi trackers you could hide that icon.

First you'll want to play with the settings (over on the account tab) and connect some of the services like Google Fit (if you use it like I do) and Arty (it'll be used later on).

Then, on the devices tab you will want to look over the Smart reminder settings.  This is where you can allow the device to get notifications from your phone.  There'll be a settings prompt to let it do that.

From here you can now get notifications for calls or SMS, and then even some apps.

Now, I say some, because it's definitely not all.  It's only the apps that they chose unfortunately.  Definitely a big change for me.

Also, the apps notifications you do get are minimal.  If you dismiss one on your phone, it stays on your watch.  And what you see is no more than a "hey you got a notification from Gmail".  You may see the title or sender, but no more info.

Even weirder I would get a notification for YouTube when I cast something, and then it would buzz me a couple more times.  More awkward is when I see a Gmail notification on my phone, my wrist will buzz.  I'll delete the email from the phone's notification shade, so it buzzes on my wrist again because the 'undo' notification that shows is like a new, and then when it goes away, it buzzes again.

But this isn't just about being a smartwatch, it's about being a health tracker, so let's look over what health it can inspect.

As per most it has a heartrate checker on the back, but it also has one on the side too that you can use together to get a very accurate reading.

There's a little plate on the back that is used to measure the skin temperature.

Wear it while you sleep and you can get some sleep data - but it seems to be hit or miss for me sometimes not showing any data for sleep.

And you can set it up to work just in the background.  

Now the important add-in they have is this "Arty" that is helpful to check a bunch of different features of the readings to give you a 'score' on your heart health.

Arty uses the 2nd PPG sensor and then can tell you some interesting details.

  • TruHR - a very accurate measurement for your heart rate
  • eCAP - exercise capacity - an indicator of 'fitness' measuring your blood flow
  • Arty Score - a combined measuring with parameters for a single number to review
  • HSX - Heart Stress Index - how much 'load' is placed on the heart when under stress (possibly due to stiffening of the arteries)
  • ArtyAge - how 'stiff' your arteries are compared to a physical age.

Now, I'm not super fluent in all those medical type terms, but it is dumbed down enough so that you can at least have these numbers and compare over time.  I like the idea of a 'score' and see that I'm improving my health based on physical activity, and I can easily relate the idea of age.  I was somewhat upset the first time I read it and it said I was 50-60, but then today after some traipsing around in the snow, that it said I was 20-30 [I'm 44].  So I imagine having it on a bit more would definitely be interesting to see how that fluctuates.

You can see in the review video the interface and how you move around between notifications your phone gets, seeing your heartrate, checking the weather, etc...

That all works okay, enough.  Nothing overly confusing, but seeing as I'm used to a fuller featured device like a SmartWatch, the TicWatch felt more simplistic.  Which can be good for some users.  For me I felt dumbed down.

On the watch you can scroll around and find all the settings and read what readings you have had - or on the phone you can look at the 'home' tab and get a quick at a glance look.

From here you can see a recent Arty measurements, your daily activity, sleep data as well as your other readings.

The details seems to be very close what Google Fit was measuring on its own for being in my pocket.

In terms of battery, it says it should be 10 days (give or take), whereas after 5 days it had lost 90% (so it wouldn't have lasted a full 6 days).  That was without me doing any heavy activity, but doing the constant measuring, and I've worn it sleeping and even the odd shower (but they don't recommend it going in warm water).

Overall, it's a decent tracker with a comfortable feel and look.  I'm really disappointed with its oversimplification, as it can take away from how much it can actually do.  I was also frustrated tho' with the sometimes responsiveness (sometimes the tilt to wake doesn't quite work - you really have to have a decent amount of 'rotation' - and I wish it had a tap to wake).

But for $140CDN for it, it's a great mix of almost a smartwatch and a uber activity tracker it becomes a nice companion for anyone looking to have a background tracker for yourself.