Review: Mobvoi Ticwatch E Android Wear

I've been testing out the Ticwatch E for the past 10 days, and I thought I'd share some of my thoughts.

I had been hunting around for a replacement for my Pebble watch for the last few months, based on the fact that Fitbit are shutting off the servers that support it in a few months. I also wanted to see what advancements had been made with Android Wear since the LG G Watch I bought 4 years ago.

My requirements for a smart watch were that it had to:

  • Work with my Android phone – thus ruling out the Apple Watch
  • Have a simple design, a round face, and not look like a sports watch
  • Be easy to update and install apps
  • Be not too expensive 

Android Wear

The Ticwatch E runs on Android Wear version 2, which is a new development for Mobvoi, as their previous Ticwatch models ran on a bespoke operating system called Ticwear OS. The support of Android Wear was important to me, as I would be free to install whatever apps I wanted, rather than having to wait for the manufacturer to decide to provide updated.

Android Wear 2 seems to be a big step forward from the original Android Wear OS, and it's good to see the Google are providing regular updates that bring additional refinements. At the moment it's on version 2.8, which brought improvements to notification displays and battery life.


I had been slightly concerned that the battery life for the watch, as some reviews had expressed problems with it running out of juice during the day. And indeed, when I first got the watch, the battery did seem to die quite quickly. But after 2 full zero-to-full charges, the battery life improved considerably.

Ten days on, I find that I'm disconnecting the charger cable at roughly 7.00am every morning, and by the time I go to bed at 11.00pm there's about 40% left of the battery. I keep the screen brightness set at level 2 (out of 5) which is plenty bright to see inside – although it could be a bit dim in bright conditions outside.

I put mine on to charge every night, but if you wanted to use your watch for sleep tracking then you might need to find another time during the day to charge it.


I like the simplicity of design of the Ticwatch E, and the fact that it doesn't have thick bezels with numbers written on them. The watch case is quite visibly made of plastic, and doesn't look very "premium" when compared to other smart watched that cost twice the price. It's more like a Swatch watch, and more suited towards casual dress rather than formal-wear.

Ticwatch E

One thing that may annoy some people is that the watch has it's one physical button on the left side of the dial, which is the opposite side to pretty much every watch ever sold. I'm not sure why they made this decision, but it suits me rather well. I'm left-handed, and wear my watch on my right wrist, and so I can press the button on the left easily without obstructing the screen. Right-handed people may not like this design feature as much!

The watch face that I use is one of the ones from the Pear Watch Face app.

I'm not sure whether I'll stick with the silicone watch strap. It's fine and does the job well, but I may switch over to a leather strap in the coming weeks. The supplied strap comes with quick-release notches that would make swapping to another 20mm strap quite easy.

Fitness features

The watch comes with step tracking, inbuilt GPS and a heart rate monitor. I've not tested these features very much. The step tracking between my phone and watch seems to differ during the day, but the Google Fit app seems to decide upon one of the values to use.

The heart rate monitor is not running all the time – presumably to save battery life – but can be enabled on demand when you're exercising.

This isn't the watch for you if you want a lot of fitness tracking features. You might be better off with a Fitbit or another dedicated fitness tracker, but it does seem to do the basics quite well.


I got my Ticwatch E from Amazon, and it cost £117 (approx. €132). You can alternatively buy direct from Mobvoi for around €123 at the moment with after a 20% promotional discount has been applied. 

When you compare this to the likes of the Apple Watch which costs between €279 (series 1) and €379 (series 3), and the Samsung Galaxy Gear S3 watch that cost around €300, then the Ticwatch is quite cheap in comparison.

Migrating my WordPress blog to SiteGround

I was looking around for a different web hosting company, and decided to give SiteGround a try, because they seem to have a good quality service at a reasonable price.

I signed up for their GrowBig hosting plan that allows you to host multiple domains/sites on one account, and also fully supports the Let's Encrypt free SSL service

Google are keen for the whole of the web to be encrypted. They announced a few years ago that they started to boost web pages in their search results that are hosted on secure sites, and also that later this year the Chrome browser will highlight "Not Secure" web sites.

I had already played around with installing an SSL certificate for my site, but SSL certs can be expensive to buy and maintain, and my old host would only allow me to install one cert on my shared hosting account – so I could only secure one of my domains.

To perform the migration of my WordPress blog between hosts, I followed the instructions on this page:

How to Move WordPress to a New Host or Server With No Downtime

It uses a plugin called Duplicator that does all the heavy lifting of creating a complete backup of your existing site – including the WordPress database (that stores all your posts, pages, comments, and settings), and all the WordPress files (the WordPress software itself plus any themes and plugins you've installed).

The blog installed without any problems on my new hosting account, and I was left with an exact copy of my old WordPress installation.

Then all that was left was to log into the SiteGround control panel and enable the Let's Encrypt SSL for that domain with a couple of clicks, and I was all set.

I also installed the SG Optimizer plugin that allows me to make use of the SiteGround dynamic web cache (which really speeds up my web site) and allows for a one-click option to force all blog traffic over the HTTPS secure connection.

The problem with Grand Canal cycle path traffic lights

The segregated cycle path along Grand Canal is an example of the kind of cycling infrastructure that we should have all over the city.

It’s clearly a very popular resource, especially during the rush hours, with thousands of bikes passing every hour – mostly with people heading to and from the Grand Canal Dock area. It gets so busy that as many as 50 bikes bunch up to wait at each phase of the traffic lights crossing the arterial roads such as Charlemont Street and Baggot Street.

Unfortunately the traffic light sequences just aren’t long enough for the sheer volume of cyclists. The bike-specific green light only lasts for a few seconds – enough time for maybe 10 bikes to get through. And so cyclists are routinely setting off to cross the roads as soon as the pedestrian lights go green (ahead of the bicycle green light), which obviously leads to some contention with pedestrians trying to cross at the same time.

Most of the cyclists are respectful of the pedestrians, and wait for them to cross first, but there are a small minority of cyclists that act in a way that can appear selfish or dangerous to pedestrians.

On top of this there are also vehicles, waiting at the traffic lights, that sometimes block the junctions where people are trying to cross – leading to more contention between pedestrians and cyclists being squeezed into a small space between cars.

The answer to this would seem to be to adjust the bicycle-specific traffic lights along this route to allow a lot more time for bikes to get through – even if that's just for weekday rush hours. And also, to keep junctions free of vehicles, I would suggest that yellow boxes should be extended to include the crossing areas.

By doing this, we can make this route a safer and more pleasant environment for both pedestrians and cyclists, who vastly outnumber those in cars, and enhance this popular commuting route.

Pebble support ends June 2018

Fitbit has announced that formal support of Pebble watches will end on 30th June 2018.

After acquiring Pebble's software division when the Pebble closed down at the end of 2016, Fitbit pledged to keep the back-end servers that support Pebble's online services running until the end of 2017. And with this recent news the support has extended by a further 6 months.

The servers run the Pebble software API, and support some of the watch features such as:

  • Voice recognition
  • Timeline pins from applications
  • Text messages and email via iOS
  • Pebble app store and forums

You might want to whitelist your favourite web sites

Adblock plugins for web browsers are great! They block out all the annoying and distracting adverts on web pages, and make the browsing experience for visitors altogether more pleasant.

They're very popular – so popular that some web site owners are getting hurt from the lack of ad revenue. Publishers are fighting back using pop-up messages to try and persuade you to disable the adblock – and some even block access to their content until you whitelist them.

I'm not a fan of forcing people to turn off their ad blockers, but I have been thinking recently about the impact of using them.

I read an article a few days ago about a popular site that closed down because it wasn't making any money – and they cited the lack of ad revenue as a major contributory factor.

So it got me thinking about some of the websites that I visit every day – the blogs and news sites that I rely on for information and entertainment. I didn't like the idea that they might suddenly disappear because they had become financially unsustainable.

And so, short of actually sending the publishers of these sites money – something that's often not even an option – I realised that the only way I could give them my patronage was to whitelist them in the ad blocker. At least that way, they could earn a little bit of revenue from my visits. And I figured it was a small inconvenience for me to bear in order to support the writers I enjoy.