Introduction – all sensors failed after 27 days
I have been using a Garmin Vivoactive 3 for several years and was quite happy with it, but thought for my birthday I would wish for a TicWatch Pro 3 GPS as I wanted to try out Google wear with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor. I also considered the Samsung Galaxy Watch3, but in the end, I decided to support the underdog Mobvoi as the reviews were good and it was less cluttered with Samsung apps.
On my birthday in November, I received a TicWatch Pro 3 GPS from my wife and kids and was very happy with the watch for the first 27 days. Unfortunately on the night of the 27th day, after having worked out on a home-training bike, I rinsed off the sweat and salt by running the watch under cold water in the faucet in my bathroom. This is something I have done with all these watches to avoid having them covered in salt from the sweat.
On the morning of the 28th day, none of the sensors including the heart rate sensor worked and the battery indicator on the TN display was blinking, indicating low battery, even though the watch was fully charged.
After months of no updates from Mobvoi, where I occasionally Mobvoi aware of this blog post and my plans to contact the EU ombudsman as the next step, my request for a warranty replacement was suddenly accepted, and after sending back my defective watch I have now received a new one. This time I am treating the watch like a delicate little flower on my wrist that cannot handle water in any shape or form and is not suitable training activity where I might sweat. So far, as a work-watch, it works fine 🙂
IP68 rating and TicExercise Pool Swimming
The watch is in Mobvois own words “IP68 and pool swimming suitable” and the Mobvoi app called TicExercise contains a “Pool swimming” mode. The IP68 rating covers “1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes”.
A widespread problem and some possible fixes
The most active threads on the official Mobvoi forum for the TicWatch Pro 3, https://forum.mobvoi.com are two threads each with thousands of views and hundreds of post, called:
- forum.mobvoi.com/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=56647: Battery indicator keeps blinking on TN display
- forum.mobvoi.com/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=56630: Sensors not working
In these treads, other owners had their watches fail in a similar manner after only hours or days. Some are lucky to get a replacement and others are seemingly randomly denied by the Mobvoi support.
From reading these there are some things people suggest to try, but only helped a smaller subset:
- Speaker draining: Long-press the lower button and press Speaker draining. This will make a sound that supposedly should push out the water of the speaker.
- “Disconnect and reset: Settings > System > Disconnect and reset. This factory resets the watch completely and everything has to be connected and setup again.
- “Shipping mode: Press and hold both buttons for ~10 seconds. Use the lower button to select the option “Enter Ship Mode”. Use the upper button to select it. This should power the watch down completely and the restart from this mode (Long upper button press) should reboot everything.
Like many other users, I tried them all, but nothing worked.
Mobvoi support – unhelpful and canned messages
I contacted support to get a warranty replacement they supplied debugging steps, like the ones above, which I tried and then answered:
Thanks for getting back to me. I have never swum or showered with the watch, but I do sweat a lot when I work out, so I have rinsed it under a running tap for a few seconds to clear the sweat off after workouts, but that shouldn’t be a problem, right? I have also never dropped the watch in the short time I have had it.
I have tried the instruction you provided a few times now, but I have still not been able to get any life in the sensors. The weird battery blinking in the low-power display is also still present even though the battery in the menus is at 99% currently.
This resulted in this seemingly canned message:
We are sincerely sorry to hear that the troubleshooting doesn’t help. According to the Product Safety Information, TicWatch Pro 3 can be used for water activities in shallow waters such as swimming pools, but it should avoid contact with high-speed water.
For your case now, we could provide you a 30% OFF discount to purchase a new watch (based on the original price), and you don’t need to return the faulty watch back to us.
Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to your reply.
This made no sense to me, so I re-iterated that the water had not been exposed to “high-speed” water, so I replied
I think there must be something lost in translation here as your answers do not make any sense.
The watch has not, as I have already stated, been in contact with high-speed water.
I have washed it gently in cold water for a few seconds to rinse off the sweat from the watch after workouts which in any comparison constitutes a minute exposure to water “speed” whatever is meant by that, water pressure and time, etc. than “shallow waters such as swimming pools”. Quite clearly there is a manufacturing defect in the watch. I only had this watch for 27 days and it is not working anymore even though it has been treated even more gently than the instructions, so I cannot see any other option than a replacement. Can you please reconsider your reply above as I have the feeling it was based on a false assumption?
This made no difference to them and I received this message from them:
The watch could support swimming in swimming pools under the pool-swimming mode, but it does not support to be put for washing under the running tap directly, nor does it support showering environments.
Our general repair policy for official orders now is to offer customers a coupon to purchase a new same model from our official website at a discount. Thank you for your time and understanding.
A bold assumption to think anybody would spend more money with a company that ships watches that fails after days or weeks and this was also their last mail.
Conclusion: Do not buy watches from Mobvoi – they are not a mature company
The watch was bought directly from Mobvoi which I regret now. If the watch had been bought at a local webshop or somewhere else with a real return policy, I would perhaps be able to the watch replaced or the money returned. I am now again using my old Garmin watch and I am beginning to realize that I will probably never get a new watch from Mobvoi and that the 300 euro are lost. My only hope is to warn other users not to trust Mobvoi with their business as I think their product is fundamentally broken, their support is nonexistent, and most importantly there are other more mature smart-watch companies that would rather deal with.