Make phone calls on my wrist

When it comes to smartwatches, I’ve generally used one that’s slightly fancier than a FitBit. For two reasons. First, I don’t own any Apple device, so an Apple Watch isn’t for me. Second, my skin is allergic to literally every watch strap I’ve ever worn. It gets red and itchy after maybe a day of wear. So I used just one while I was training to count steps. For the past two weeks, I’ve tried the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS ($210) with Wear OS By Google operating system. And I’m surprised to say that I really like it.

It’s been out for a while now and received generally positive praise. The first thing I noticed was that it has a screen with two display layers. There’s a monotone “off” low-power display that tells you the time and date. It’s so dark you’d think you wouldn’t see it anywhere. But in reality, it’s quite the opposite. In fact, I think it’s super easy to see, even in direct sunlight, because it shines where it’s needed. Kind of a cool concept, actually. Then there’s the bright and colorful 1.4-inch Gorilla Glass AMOLED display, which is also pretty good. The watch is armed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 platform and Mobvoi dual-processor system, is designed to meet military-grade rugged standard and supports five GNSS location services. Thus, it will help you plan routes and guide you along the way. Its battery charge lasts up to 45 days per charge in “essential” mode. It’s health-focused, so it can track your vitals with real-time 24-hour heart rate, as well as on-demand fatigue and energy levels so you can train smarter. The built-in barometer provides consistent elevation information, as you can track cumulative elevation gains and losses during a hike. Fluorine elastic is durable and strong, but also gentle on the skin. It is a high density material that is resistant to heat, oxidation, oil and chemicals.

I downloaded several apps. Most of them work fine – and no, you don’t need to keep it paired to your smartphone via Bluetooth after pairing the two devices. But if you want to take phone calls and read text messages on your wrist, it looks like you need it. I tried several phone calls on it several times and it worked pretty well. People I talked to said it felt like I was in a tunnel if my mouth was more than two feet from my wrist, but if I brought my arm closer to my mouth they said it was strong and clear. For me, it sounded surprisingly good. I also downloaded an app to allow me to open and close my garage door from the watch – it worked unevenly though. The GPS was still fine, however, offering step-by-step written directions as I rode my bike. For health, I like that the watch measures my steps and heart information. Good to know it’s there. Although I haven’t used it to assess my sleep – I don’t like wearing watches in bed – it does have the ability to track REM stages. Another great app included is TicZen which continuously monitors your stress throughout the day, producing a stress score to offer insights into your mental well-being. And the TicBreathe guided breathing app helps you find your inner peace.

I realize there are several good Google smartwatches out there, and this one is really decent for the money. Honestly, it’s a bit like having a brand new phone on your wrist. Which is pretty amazing – as long as the band doesn’t cause a rash.

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