One of the best-looking Wear OS smartwatches on sale today is made by a company you probably haven't heard of.
The TicWatch C2 was revealed this week by Mobvoi, a Chinese startup which produces some of the most attractive smartwatches of 2018. The company has seemingly come out of nowhere, but has managed to pair traditional watch looks with smartwatch technology in a way major tech firms have struggled to achieve.
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Mobvoi was founded in 2012 and received $2.1 million in funding from a 2016 Kickstarter project to launch its first model of TicWatch. In 2017 the company completed a $180 million funding round backed by Volkswagen Group China, which will see Mobvoi develop technologies for the automotive market.
The new TicWatch C2 is made from steel, is powered by Google's Wear OS, and comes in two variants. The first measures 42mm wide and 13mm thick, accepts regular 20mm wide straps, and is offered in black and platinum color options.
The second model, offered in rose gold, is also 42mm wide but is 12mm thick and is fitted with an 18mm wide strap. All versions of TicWatch C2 cost $199.
Despite being relatively unheard of, Mobvoi's TicWatch range - which also includes the Pro, S and E - goes up against fellow Wear OS watches from the Fossil Group, plus Samsung's Tizen-powered Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch.
All models of the TicWatch C2 come with a leather strap as standard and feature a circular 1.3-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 360x360 - the same as the Samsung Galaxy Watch.
The C2 has NFC for payments through Google Pay and GPS for tracking your outdoor runs without needing a smartphone with you. Mobvoi is claiming 36 hours of battery life, although this will vary depending on GPS use, and there is a heart rate monitor.
There is also an IP68 rating to make sure the watch isn't damaged by rain and dirt, and a wide range of customizable watch faces to pick from. Being a Wear OS device, the TicWatch works with both iOS and Android smartphones.
Our only real cause for concern with this $199 smartwatch is its Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, which is almost three years old now and was recently replaced by the more powerful Wear 3100. Hopefully the ageing processor of the TicWatch C2 won't cause any performance issues.
Pre-orders for the TicWatch C2 are open now, with deliveries starting in early December - just in time for the holiday season.
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