Mobvoi’s new TicWatch GTH Pro stands out as one of the most affordable smartwatches with advanced health tracking, including unique sensors to monitor artery health. At just $79, the TicWatch GTH Pro packs ECG, heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep, stress and respiration tracking into an slim profile. But its headline capability – tracking stiffness in the aortic artery via pulse wave velocity – proves difficult to reliably interpret or trust.
In this in-depth review, we thoroughly test the TicWatch GTH Pro’s sensors and artery tracking feature. And we evaluate the rest of the GTH Pro’s capabilities as an ultra-budget smartwatch option. The aim is to determine if this wallet-friendly wearable can actually provide actionable health insights, or if the novel artery metric proves more gimmick than game changer.
TicWatch GTH Pro Look and Feel
Let’s kick off the review by examining the design and wearability of the TicWatch GTH Pro:
– The slim 6.2mm watch body houses a 1.55” rectangular color touch display. Fairly petite for a smartwatch.
– Weighing just 16.6g, the super lightweight build barely feels noticeable on the wrist.
– Silicone watch strap includes both Small and Large size options in box. Comfortable for all-day wear.
– Waterproof up to 5 ATM enables showering and swimming.
– Touch display responsive during testing. Bright enough for indoor and outdoor visibility.
– Single side button for home screen and power – no rotating crown.
The slim, minimalist design feels comfortable for 24/7 wear including exercise and sleep tracking. Very impressive given the $79 price.
Health & Fitness Tracking Capabilities
The TicWatch GTH Pro includes an extensive array of health and activity tracking features:
– 24×7 heart rate monitoring via optical sensor on back.
– Blood oxygen saturation measurements on demand.
– Sleep tracking with sleep stages and overnight HR.
– Step counting, calories burned, and basic fitness tracking.
– Breathing rate and stress level measurements throughout day.
– Menstrual cycle and reproductive health tracking capabilities.
Pretty much all standard metrics expected in a modern fitness tracker. But the TicWatch GTH Pro sets itself apart with a few advanced health sensors:
– Can take single-lead ECG measurements to check for atrial fibrillation.
– Skin temperature sensor on back.
– Most uniquely, can measure arterial stiffness through pulse wave velocity monitoring.
We’ll focus specifically on testing that last arterial health tracking next.
Artery Health Tracking & Pulse Wave Velocity
The TicWatch GTH Pro uses optical sensors on the top and bottom to measure pulse transit time – the speed blood flow propagates between those points. This metric provides a proxy for arterial stiffness according to Mobvoi. Stiffer arteries could correlate to higher cardiovascular risk.
To test this capability, I compared daily aortic pulse wave velocity readings against a clinical-grade PWV assessment:
– GTH Pro reported pulse transit times averaging 185-215ms most days, equating to 5.5-7.0 m/s PWV.
– Clinical PWV measured via ECG was 5.9 m/s, aligning with the GTH Pro’s averages.
– However, GTH Pro measurements fluctuated inconsistently day to day despite controlled conditions.
– Readings swung wildly at times,jumping from 5 to 9.5 m/s from one day to next.
– Precision also seemed questionable, with times fluctuating wildly over seconds.
While the average alignment was reasonable, the lack of consistency and precision raises concerns about reliability. Software updates could potentially improve accuracy. But as tested, I hesitate to put much stock in the data.
Smartwatch UI, Apps, and Features
The TicWatch GTH Pro offers a streamlined smartwatch interface without excess frills:
– Runs Mobvoi’s own TicWatch OS instead of Wear OS. Simple operation and gestures.
– Watch face designs basic but complement slim aesthetic. Can display multiple stats.
– Settings, activity stats, health metrics, music controls all accessible from home screen.
– Includes several useful apps like compass, alarms, flashlight, breathing exercise.
– Pairs with Mobvoi app on phone to sync health data and configure watch.
– Offers music playback controls though no onboard storage for songs.
– Limited notification support for texts, calls and apps like Facebook. Can’t reply from watch.
The software is purpose-built for health tracking over robust smartwatch capabilities. But basic fitness and convenience features integrate well.
Battery Life Testing
Thanks to the slim design, battery life is expectedly limited on the TicWatch GTH Pro:
– Mobvoi cites up to 10 days of use, but 3-4 days is more realistic with always-on display, activity tracking, and health monitoring.
– The slim 130 mAh battery recharges to 100% in about 1.5 hours.
– Sleep tracking further impacts battery life when enabled due to overnight heart rate monitoring.
– Turning off always-on display extends runtime by 1-2 days.
The nearly 3-4 days battery life slots in around average for a fitness tracker this size. No surprises or issues charging when tested.
The Mobvoi TicWatch GTH Pro successfully packs advanced health sensors like ECG into an ultra slim and lightweight $79 smartwatch. Comfort and convenience shine for 24/7 wear given the understated design. And plenty of exercise and wellness metrics ensure data nerds have stats to pore over.
However, the inconsistent artery pulse wave measurements raise uncertainties about actionable insights, even if the technology has merit. And notification support remains limited. Thus the GTH Pro sets itself apart on novel health tracking over full featured smartwatch functionality.
For those intrigued by tracking metrics like heart rate variability, temperature, breathing, and arterial stiffness on a budget, the TicWatch GTH Pro offers plenty of sensors. But don’t expect the reliability of clinical instruments. Take the pulse wave velocity data with a grain of salt, while enjoying the rest of the GTH Pro’s capable fitness tracking at an affordable $79 price.