Placed side-by-side, the Polar Vantage V and the TicWatch Pro are about the same size, they have buttons and they have rubber-like straps, but that’s more or less it for their similarities.
Under the hood, these two watches are for two different types of consumers. The TicWatch Pro is meant for a user looking for a general purpose smartwatch that balances fitness functions and productivity use. Its $199 price (with a $50 coupon) is also $300 less than the Vantage V’s price.
The Vantage V is squarely meant for fitness junkies who want to know every aspect of their health. The Vantage V can’t compete with the TicWatch Pro on its smartwatch features but it features excellent fitness tracking functions and will also help you improve your fitness, sleep and lifestyle.
You can’t text, talk, check your calendar, the weather or play music on the Polar Vantage V, but you can on the TicWatch.
Calls and text
The TicWatch bring a lot of convenience onto your wrist. Built on the Wear OS platform, the watch integrates especially well with Android smartphones. Being able to answer a call without having to find your smartphone is great. Sound quality is acceptable and microphone quality is good.
Being able to reply to messages on your wrist is also useful given that sometimes all you need is a one-liner reply. The Wear OS system on the TicWatch has an excellent bunch of canned responses, a keyboard that is quite good despite its small size and also a speech-to-text system.
Winner: TicWatch Pro
Having the Wear OS also means you get access to Google Assistant, which is an excellent voice-activated task assistant. In addition, you can access the Google Play Store which allows you to download a wide range of apps including apps like Google Maps, Keep and Translate, which are not available on watches from Fitbit, Samsung or Polar. These apps are very convenient to have on your watch because you won’t have to pull your smartphone out in order to use them.
With the Polar Vantage V, you can forget about doing any of that. The watch will do what it is good at and nothing more. You can’t load any new apps on it until Polar does it for you. For example, Polar recently added a relaxation function called Serene which takes you through guided breathing (which the TicWatch has too).
The Polar Vantage V will receive notifications but you can’t do anything but read them. It’s the same experience you get when you pair an iPhone with a Wear OS watch. You get notifications that you have an incoming call, but you won’t be able to answer the call on your wrist — no, you’ll have to answer it on your phone.
Winner: TicWatch Pro
You just can’t beat the Polar Vantage V for its excellent fitness functions. All watch faces on the Vantage V speak to different aspects of your health and you cannot customize these. Contrast that to the TicWatch Pro, which has many watch faces from utilitarian to artsy.
Winner: TicWatch Pro
Motivation to exercise
While no watch can force you to go out and live a better lifestyle, the Vantage V can nudge you a lot better than the TicWatch Pro can. This is down to the metrics that both watches keep and display.
Whereas the TicWatch rarely even whispers a negative sentiment, the Vantage V is straight up about your statistics.
Both watches will tell you how active you have been. TicWatch just uses Google Fit’s Move Minutes and Heart Points, the latter measuring the intensity of your activity as well as time. You get to set your goals for both of these metrics.
It’s the same for the Polar V. You set your activity levels and the watch keeps you accountable by telling you how far you are to achieving it.
The Vantage goes a bit further. If you have been inactive for the last 55 minutes, the watch will remind you to get active. If you ignore this, it will give you a mark of inactivity, which will stain your log for that week.
Two watch faces really hit home how you’ve been performing in terms of exercise. The Cardio Load screen will tell you whether you’re exercising too little, at the right amount, or too much. It measures this by calculating the amount of strain your exercise subjects your body to and how much your tolerance is.
If your goal is to keep fit, seeing the word “detraining” on the watch is alarming. That made me do more exercise. The Vantage V is also able to create exercise plans based on your ability in the Fitspark screen.
Every day, Fitspark will give you different exercises split between cardio, strength and supportive categories, and it will guide you as to time and heart rate zone to stay within.
Finally, another watch face will also tell you how long it has been since your last training session. This kept me accountable to myself as I hoped to keep an exercise routine.
Winner:Polar Vantage V
The sleep tracking features of the Vantage is great. Not only do you get traditional sleep tracking data including your sleep depth, you also get a feature called Nightly Recharge, which gauges how well you have been recovering from the demands of your day.
On the other hand, the TicWatch Pro’s Google Fit app does not natively track sleep. You will need to download a third-party app to do this.
Winner: Polar Vantage V
Go swimming with the TicWatch Pro at your own risk. While the TicWatch’s manufacturer, Mobvoi, says that the watch is IP68 water and dust resistant, it does not say that the watch is good for swimming. Furthermore, you can’t track a swimming workout in Google Fit. You’ll have to get a third-party app for it.
On the other hand, the Vantage V can be taken into the water with no issues. While in the water, it tracked my heart rate with little issue. And because the watch has five buttons, it’s easy to toggle between screens even if you have a wet finger.
Winner: Polar Vantage V
This review was written in two main sections — one for productivity and the other for fitness. It’s plain to see that the TicWatch dominated the productivity part while the Vantage V dominated the fitness part.
That’s why, for regular folks looking for a general watch, you should avoid the Vantage V because it offers little use in helping you be more productive on the wrist. Rather, the Vantage V is a sportsperson’s companion and it can also help couch potatoes live a healthier life.
But it is also $300 more as compared to the TicWatch Pro, which is an excellent watch with many features which you can add on with third-party apps. It is quite a slow watch because of its older hardware, so you could consider other Wear OS watches if you are looking for a more productivity-focused watch.