TicWatch S2 vs. Huawei Watch GT 2e – Which Smartwatch to Buy?


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Winner: Huawei Watch GT 2e

Despite having fewer features, the Huawei Watch GT 2e beats the TicWatch S2 in terms of software implementation and hardware design. 

TicWatch S2 vs. Huawei Watch GT 2e 

The smartwatch market has become very competitive in recent years. Huawei has reinvented its line, which led to the successful Huawei Watch GT 2 series. Brands like Mobvoi, on the other hand, have made so revolutionary advancements in their watches and push the boundaries of what is possible with the current technology. 

And the best part is both brands have expanded their product lines to the budget-priced market. Huawei is offering the sports and fitness Huawei Watch GT 2e while Mobvoi is offering the Ticwatch S2

Both watches are offering two different flavors in the budget smartwatch market. The Huawei Watch GT 2e promises to be a great value smartwatch that combines good looks with excellent performance. The TicWatch S2, on the other hand, promises to bring the Wear OS experience at a more affordable price point. 

Find out which smartwatch better fits your lifestyle by reading our full comparison below. 

Please note, we purchased the TicWatch S2 directly from mobvoi.com on 03/04/2021, click here to check the current price on the S2.

TicWatch Brand Overview  

 

Mobvoi Information Technology Company Limited is a tech company based in Beijing, China. They were founded in 2012 by Google AI experts, Nokia employees, and researchers from top universities such as Harvard and Cambridge. The primary goal of this company is the integration and advancement of voice AI communication.

Some of their revolutionary products include voice search engines featured on WeChat. Mobvoi has also developed its own voice search app engine called Chumenwenwen

It was in 2014 when Mobvoi started venturing into the consumer electronics market. They developed an Android-based smartwatch operating system called TicWear OS. And soon after, they worked together with Frog Design to release the TicWatch. 

The TicWatch brand differentiated itself from other smartwatches by having a strong integration with their AI technology. Its launch was very successful and only trails behind the Apple Watch in the domestic Chinese market. 

Today, Mobvoi continues to bring its expertise to the smartwatch market with the newer versions of the TicWatch. And with each new iteration, TicWatch gets one step closer to fulfilling its dream of ushering in the next generation of human and computer interaction.

Huawei Brand Overview

huawei-watch-logo

Huawei is no stranger to the smartwatch market. They have made successful smartwatches in the past, such as the original Huawei Watch and Huawei Watch GT. However, the success of their watches has largely been overshadowed by the success of their smartphones. 

Their wearables have been mostly a side project in the past. However, in recent years, they have been consistently revamping their lineup and are proving to be a fierce competitor in the smartwatch market. This is evident with the successful release of the Watch GT Series. 

Huawei has most notably moved away from Google’s Wear OS platform and has developed its proprietary operating system called the Huawei Light OS. Their current lineup is simple and is easy to follow. It consists of the flagship Watch GT 2,  the midrange Watch GT 2, and the original Watch GT (which may be discontinued in the future). 

You can learn more about Huawei’s history and product lineup in our Huawei Brand Overview

Packaging and Unboxing Experience 

 

gt2-vs-s2-unboxing
S2 and GT 2 Unboxing

Winner:  Tie

The unboxing experience is a crucial part of any product. It serves as our first glimpse into these watches and serves as our first impression. And despite their budget asking price, both the TicWatch S2 and Huawei Watch GT 2e have a very impressive unboxing experience. 

The Huawei Watch GT 2e’s packaging is slick and minimalistic. It’s rocking an all-black color scheme with an artwork that matches the watch’s color scheme. 

The presentation inside the box is very straightforward, with the centerpiece being the watch. All the other accessories are neatly packed in their own compartments. 

The TicWatch S2, on the other hand, comes in a small and compact box. It has all the details, such as the specs on the sides, and has a very nice image of the watch on the front. The unboxing is rather straightforward, but the presentation is very impressive since it mimics that of a premium wristwatch. 

There is no clear winner here since both brands exhibit impressive design language in their boxes. 

Design and Build Quality

Overall Winner: Huawei Watch GT 2e

Both smartwatches are marketed for sports and fitness. However, the approach that each brand took is quite different in these two watches. 

The Huawei GT 2e has both the looks and the functionality to appeal to both casual users and fitness enthusiasts. Its design strongly resembles the Huawei Watch GT 2, meaning it can still be worn in public. 

The Huawei Watch GT 2e uses aluminum and plastic for its watch case to ensure that it survives outdoor use. Additionally, the buttons have been redesigned to be flatter to avoid bumping into your wrist. 

The strap has also seen an overhaul. It now features perforations making the wrist material more breathable during intense workout scenarios. The tradeoff is that the watch cannot be laid flat. 

Most sports watches also feature this, but I’m just not a fan of this design. You could actually drop the watch if you aren’t careful due to the elastic nature of the strap. But overall, the build quality and aesthetics make it feel more expensive than it actually is. 

The TicWatch S2, on the other hand, has a more basic build. The whole watch is completely made of plastic and does not look as premium as the Huawei Watch GT 2e. It does have a US Military Standard 810G rating which ensures its durability. 

Just like the Huawei Watch GT 2e, the TicWatch S2 features a flat low profile button. However, there is only one button here. This feels like a massive misstep, especially for a fitness-focused watch. Without the second button, there is no quick way to access your preferred fitness app. 

Mobvoi has added some flair to the TicWatch S2’s design. The bezel has some markings, and the watch case is bulkier, giving it that sports watch aesthetic. The strap also has some interesting patterns that give it more texture. 

But overall, the TicWatch S2’s design is pretty lackluster, especially when compared to the Huawei Watch GT 2e. It looks and feels very similar to the TicWatch E2, which is already a very basic-looking watch. 

Overall, the Huawei Watch GT 2e takes the cake in terms of design and build quality. 

Display Quality 

Winner: Tie

Both watches have high-quality AMOLED displays that display sharp and vibrant images. Throughout our testing, both watches can get very bright and can easily be seen both in indoors and in bright outdoor environments. 

One key difference is that the TicWatch S2 uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect its screen, while the Huawei Watch GT 2e does not officially have industry-standard screen protection. But with that said, we have personally tested out the Huawei Watch GT 2e for several months now and have not run into any issues. 

Features

Winner: TicWatch S2

The Huawei Watch GT 2e is one of the best budget watches when it comes to the number of its features. It is one of the most complete smartwatches at its price point and will satisfy all your basic needs. However, the Google Wear OS platform is simply superior when it comes to customizability and features. 

Both watches take care of the basics. They both have health and fitness tracking features along with a wide array of sensors and built-in GPS to give the best possible results. Both also have full notification support, which can be customized in their respective companion smartphone apps. Other essential smartwatch features such as alarm, timer, weather, find my phone are also present. 

However, what sets the two apart is their software. Huawei’s Light OS is more limited when it comes to the number of its features. You do get updates from time to time, but it is heavily reliant on how Huawei wants to handle the watch. 

The TicWatch S2, on the other hand, has way more capabilities. Notifications are not only well done, but they also have the ability for users to reply to certain notifications such as text using your voice, the onscreen keyboard, or via handwriting gestures. 

Additionally, the TicWatch S2 has access to the Google Play Store, giving it the ability to install apps. We were able to find everything from great-looking watch faces such as A/D Watch Faces and Google Pixel Watch Face to unique apps such as “Drink Water Reminder” and the “Wash Hands Reminder. 

There are some noteworthy omissions on the TicWatch S2, such as the lack of a built-in sleep tracking app. To be fair, most Wear OS watches lack native sleep tracking since it isn’t part of the Wear OS platform. 

Mobvoi has addressed this via TicSleep app. However, TicSleep is currently not supported on the TicWatch S2. There are alternatives found on the Play Store, but we did not find one that worked as reliably as the one found on the Huawei Watch GT 2e. 

There are some omissions in both watches. The TicWatch S2 and the Huawei Watch GT 2e both lack a speaker. This means that neither of these watches supports phone calls. This also means that the TicWatch S2 does not have a speaker for the Google Voice Assistant. The Huawei Watch GT 2e does not have a microphone meaning it has no support for voice assistants (and there currently isn’t one for Huawei’s devices anyway). 

Also, both watches lack NFC for cashless transactions. Huawei does not offer this in any of its watches, while TicWatch offers Google pay for its higher-end watches.  

Overall, the TicWatch S2 is the clear winner when it comes to features. However, the Huawei Watch GT 2e is no slouch since it manages to pack as many features as possible. 

Health and Fitness Tracking

Winner: Tie

Both watches are very good options when it comes to health and fitness tracking. The Huawei Watch GT 2e has all the essentials. It has reliable heart rate tracking as well as additional features such as stress tracking. Its sports mode is also very comprehensive, and its built-in GPS is fast and reliable. 

The same can be said for the TicWatch S2. However, it gives the user more options by offering both Google and TicWatch apps out of the box. 

You can learn our full thoughts on the health tracking features in our full review. But the gist of it is that it is enough to satisfy both fitness enthusiasts and casual users. Additionally, you can install more apps that further enhance the fitness tracking experience.

Our one complaint with Mobvoi’s approach is that each app stores its own data and does not share it with the other apps. Huawei, on the other hand, has a more cohesive experience since everything is handled by the Huawei Health App. 

Overall, both watches have their pros and cons when it comes to health and fitness tracking. But at the end of the day, both perform well and will surely satisfy most users’ needs. 

Watch Software Performance

Overall Winner: Huawei Watch GT 2e

The software performance is the one area where both watches wildly differ. You might think that the TicWatch S2 has the edge over the Huawei GT 2e, given its superior feature list. However, this is not the case. 

The TicWatch utilizes the older Snapdragon 2100 processor and only pairs it with 500 MB of RAM. These aren’t enough to run Wear OS smoothly. And as a result, the OS is very sluggish. 

The S2 sometimes drops frames during navigation. Opening both built-in and third-party apps is also slow. And worst of all, opening apps such as the Google Play Store sometimes leads to a crash. 

The watch is still usable. And there are even some ways to potentially speed up the Wear OS experience. You can go to developer options to adjust animations. However, we believe that a good product should be ready to go out of the box and should not need user modifications to make it usable. 

The Huawei Watch GT 2e, on the other hand, is much faster thanks to its more efficient software and hardware. Huawei’s in-house Kirin A1 processor is optimized to run well with the software. And as a result, you get a very stable and reliable system that is free from random crashes. 

And while there are still some slowdowns, particularly with swiping through the main menu, its performance still beats the TicWatch S2. 

Watch Faces 

Winner: TicWatch S2

Despite the TicWatch S2’s software performance, we will still give them credit when it comes to watch faces. Mobvoi does provide great watch faces out of the box. But once you access the Play Store, you’ll be provided with even more options. 

The Play Store offers clean-looking and customizable watch faces. We had a great time with apps such as A/D Watch Faces, Facer, and the Pixel Watch Face. However, we would not advise using the more advanced watch faces since they can slow down the watch. 

Huawei’s selection isn’t bad. In just a few years, they were able to expand their offerings which include a lot of great-looking watch faces. They also have collaborations and a lot of premium watch faces that are easily worth their asking price. 

And unless you want deep customizability in your watch faces, Huawei’s selection should be enough. However, we find the S2’s AOD watch face implementation to be better. 

Huawei only allows you to choose between a few AOD watch faces. The TicWatch S2, on the other hand, bases its AOD watch face deepening on your current watch face. This not only gives you consistency but also better variation in your AOD watch faces. 

Battery Life 

Winner: Huawei Watch GT 2e

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the TicWatch S2’s battery life isn’t great. Given the number of its features, it is already expected that it won’t last as long as the Huawei Watch GT 2e. 

Mobvoi has stated that the TicWatch S2 can last up to two days. However, during our use, the S2 only managed to last a single day. You can extend the battery life by activating essential mode. However, this basically disables everything, which defeats the purpose of this watch. 

In comparison, the Huawei Watch GT 2e could easily last up to two weeks. Even when using features such as GPS and always-on display, you will still get at least a week of use. 

Both watches have their own proprietary magnetic chargers. We are fine with Huawei’s implementation since we only use the charger twice a month. Plus, it features a detachable USB Type-C cable which makes it easy to transport. 

But for the S2, we wished it had other charging methods such as wireless charging since we do not want to bring the magnetic charger with us on a road trip. And its non-detachable cable means we have to carry the whole thing around.  

Comparison Winner: Huawei Watch GT 2e

The Ticwatch S2 is a very promising smartwatch. It aims to offer the Wear OS experience at a very affordable price point. However, we believe that it has too many compromises.

Its outdated hardware prevents it from showing its true potential. And its lackluster will surely not appeal to everyone. 

In contrast, the Huawei Watch GT2e does everything right. Sure, it does not have the most advanced features. However, its stable software and solid implementation of the features easily make it a superior watch to the TicWatch S2. 

Unless you know what you are signing up for, we highly recommend the Huawei GT 2e. 

Specifications 

  Huawei GT2e

Mobvoi TicWatch S2

TicWatch S2 Design

 

Brand Huawei Mobvoi
Model GT2e TicWatch S2
Screen Size 1.39” AMOLED Display 1.39” AMOLED Display
Screen Protection No Official Certification Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Screen Resolution 454 x 454 pixel 400 x 400 pixel
Pixel Density 326 PPI 407 PPI
Input Type Touch Screen Touch Screen
Watch Dimensions 53 x 46.8 x 10.8 mm 46.6 x 51.8 x 12.9mm
Weight 43  grams(without strap) 53.2  grams(with strap)

34.4g (without strap)

Watch Case Material  Stainless Steel+Plastic Polyamide & glass fiber
Bezel Material Ceramic Polycarbonate
Watch Design Circular Circular, Curved
Strap Size 22 mm 22 mm
Watch Colors Graphite Black, Lava Red, Mint Green, and Icy White Midnight(black), Glacier(white)
Water Resistance Waterproof (5ATM) Waterproof (5ATM)
Swim-proof Yes Yes, recommended
NFC Yes(China only) Not Supported
GPS GPS/GLONASS GPS/GLONASS/Beidou 
CONNECTIVITY

     Wi-fi

No Yes
    Bluetooth Yes  Yes 
 SENSORS       Accelerometer   Yes Yes
    Heart Rate Yes Yes
    Compass Yes No
    Gyroscope Yes Yes
    Altimeter Yes No
    SPO2 No No
    Elevation   Yes Yes
    Ambient Light No No
    Barometer Yes No
FITNESS TRACKING

     Sleep tracking

Yes Yes
    Steps Yes Yes
    Floors Climbed No No
    Heart Rate Monitoring Yes Yes
    Calories Yes Yes
    Distance Yes Yes
    Stress Yes Yes
    VO2 Max Yes Yes
    Blood Oxygen Yes No
    Blood Pressure No No
    Menstrual cycle tracking No No
    Swim tracking Yes No
    Underwater heart rate  

          tracking

No No
    On-screen workout modes No No
    Triathlon mode Yes No
    ECG tracking No  No 
    Preloaded sport modes Yes Yes
    Safety tracking No No
Battery Life 14 days Standby: 2 days+; Mixed usage: 1 day+
Battery Technology Li-Ion Li-Ion
Charging Time About 1-2 Hours About 1-2 Hours
Charging Type USB based charging dock USB based charging dock
Compatible OS Android

 iOS

Android

iOS 

NOTIFICATIONS

     Email Alert

Yes Yes
    SMS Alert Yes Yes
    Calls Alert Yes Yes
    Event Reminder Yes Yes
    Weather Yes Yes
    Third-party Apps No Yes
MEDIA

     Audio

mp3/mp4 mp3/mp4
    Music Streaming No  Yes 
    Bluetooth Music Yes Yes
    Radio No No
    Loud Speaker No Yes
    Microphone No Yes
CLOCK FEATURES

     Time/Date

Yes Yes
      Stopwatch Yes Yes
    Alarm Yes Yes
OTHER FUNCTIONS     Control camera Yes Yes
    Music Control Yes Yes
    Find Phone Yes Yes
    Text Response No Yes(Android Only)
    Answer Call No Yes
MISC 

     Payment System

No No
      Companion App Huawei Health Mobvoi App
Customizable watch face Yes Yes
Interchangeable band Yes Yes
Voice command No Yes
Internal Storage 4 GB 4 GB
Operating system Huawei Light OS Wear OS by Google™
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