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A typical complaint of smartwatch users is poor battery life. This is especially the case with Wear OS devices. Google is working hard to try and rectify the issue with a new low-power GPS mode.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
GPS ensures that all your running stats are accurate. It uses lots of battery and finding a signal can sometimes be hard. However, the results are definitely worth it. It works by connecting to a series of GPS satellites. The receiver gathers the signals, calculates the distance to these satellites, and uses the information to work out its location.
The low-power GPS mode has so far only launched on Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro. So if you own the device, the battery saving functionality should be there next time you update Google Fit.
Exactly how it extends life is unclear and there are no comparisons on just how much it will help. It might work something like the Suunto FusedTrack algorithm, which combines GPS and motion sensor data. This allows users to extend battery life by lowering GPS power without significantly compromising accuracy.
With so many other GPS enabled Wear OS devices, it is also not clear why Google chose TicWatch Pro to be the first to get the update. Especially taking into consideration its battery life is impressive compared to many other Wear OS watches. TicWatch Pro can keep going for around 2-3 days in smartwatch mode and up to a month in Essential Mode.
Hopefully it won’t be too long before the new functionality rolls out to other Wear OS devices. It will definitely appeal to users who actively use GPS.
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