OnePlus Watch Review: Seems like a rush job to join the race
OnePlus Watchlaunched alongside the OnePlus 9 series smartphones at ₹16,999.
- The watch offers tons of smart features alongside fitness and activity tracking.
- Can it be the best Android phone companion? Read our review.
The company made its debut in the wearable segment with an affordable fitness band aimed at the Indian market, but it didn't deliver the smarts we expected. Hence, our hopes were tied to the OnePlus watch, which has already witnessed a crazy amount of anticipation ever since it appeared.
OnePlus Watch brings a balance of fashion, fitness, and lifestyle features to find a place among wearables from tech giants like Apple, Samsung and traditional watchmakers Fossil and others who've entered the smartwatch business. Additionally, it also faces competition from budget-focused brands like Amazfit, Realme and Xiaomi.
I've been using the OnePlus Watch for the last five days and so far it seems like a great first step from the company, but with some cracks to fill. What are they? Read on to find out.
OnePlus Watch price, availability and variants
The standard OnePlus Watch will be available in Midnight Silver or Midnight Black for ₹16,999 in India, €159 in Europe, $159 in the US, $219 in Canada.
Apart from the standard edition, there's a Cobalt Limited Edition. It is made of Cobalt alloy with the front display covered with Sapphire Glass. It sports a Vegan leather strap (for India) and leather straps with a butterfly buckle. The price for the Cobalt Limited Edition is yet to be announced.
Look and feel -- sophisticated but not fresh
OnePlus Watch has a round dial that is said to bring the feel of a traditional watch. The round dial undoubtedly is a go-to choice for those who want a conventional feel, but there's nothing new with the design. It weighs 45 grams without the band and has a 46.4 x 46.4 x 10.9mm without protrusion measured. The dial isn't oversized but it's still big and chunky enough for someone with thin wrists, especially females to dump it right after trying it. However, you won't feel the heft while wearing it generally or even while sleeping.
There's nothing as exciting about the OnePlus Watch's design as there was with its first phone or the TV. The stainless steel case on the watch looks and feels premium, but it lacks originality. The dial reminds me of Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 with a little more chunk and the lock mechanism on the band is borrowed from the Apple Watch. What's new is the pattern on the band, and that's it. Maybe I'm asking for too much, but I expected OnePlus to be more creative with the design.
Like most wearables, you can swap bands to customise the look with a simple click and pull. You can further customise the look with up to 50 watch faces that look great on the 46mm dial with a 1.39-inch AMOLED display. The display has 454 x 454 pixel resolution with 326ppi density, and the on-paper specs translate quite well in real-world usage as well. The screen looks crisp, vivid and the 2.5D curved glass on top enhances the look even better even when the screen is turned off.
It has 5 ATM certification, which is the standard on all the flagship watches that makes it water-resistant to up to 50 metres in depth for 10 minutes.
How is it to use?
Using the OnePlus Watch is where you realise the finesse and fluidity that you expect from a OnePlus product. Right when I was setting it up, I could feel that touch response and the smoothness in the UI is what we're used to experiencing on OnePlus phones.
AdvertisementSetting it up is pretty straightforward, you just have to download the OnePlus Health app and follow the instructions on the screen. I paired it with the OnePlus 9R to get the best of the ecosystem that the company is aiming to build. OnePlus has chosen to go with its own version of an open-source real-time operating system (RTOS) instead of Android's Wear OS. As of now, it's only compatible with Android devices, so iOS users can drop the idea of buying it for their iPhone right away.
My favourite part of the OnePlus Watch was its UI. It's clean, easy to navigate and stutter-free, making me used to it within a few hours. Even the Health app has a neat and easy to consume interface. To see if the interface is intuitive enough to push towards fitness and motivate you to get out to exert, I'll have to use it at least for a month. But from what I can sense with my limited usage, I like the Fitbit platform to be more logical if you're more concerned about fitness and not the smart features.
Pressing the top button brings up the menu where you'll find all the features and apps. The button at the bottom opens the workout selection menu on a single press and power option when long-pressed. Other on-screen gestures include swipe left for tiles, swipe up for notification, swipe down for settings, swipe right to go back and more. The point is that all of it works just as it's intended to. Even the Bluetooth calling feature works seamlessly, but note that you can use the speaker only for calls and not listen to songs.
Using it as a remote with OnePlus TV is a cool add-on, but it’s not impressive enough to make you buy a OnePlus TV for that. It also gives you 2GB of internal storage to store songs, and listen over Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
AdvertisementIf I have to nitpick something shoddy about the interface then it's the icon pack, where everything seems good until you look at the music icon. The icon is a rip off of the 'Beats by Dre' logo but mirrored. It's not a deal-breaker at all, but do you expect this on a OnePlus product? Hell no! I admired OnePlus for its attention to detail and this is just messed up.
What's actually a deal-breaker though, is the missing always-on feature that is a must-have on smartwatches and bands. On top, the maximum screen on time you can set is 8 seconds, which seems like a step to save battery but it kills the user experience instead. It also lacks support for third-party apps as of now, and that really cuts off a chunk of 'smart' from the smartwatch.
How well do the features work?
The OnePlus Watch does everything you would expect on a smartwatch, but it's still unfurnished. It offers extensive activity and health tracking with features like SpO2 monitoring, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking and more.
I had put it against the data I collected with Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Charge 4, and metrics like steps, calories were not the same but close enough to be passed.
AdvertisementWorking out using the preset modes works perfectly and the interface is also very neat to use and understand. What I really like is there's a mode for cricket as well, which is a rare case on fitness trackers. I did not get a chance to do a full-fledged workout testing due to the rising Covid cases but we'll try and do a detailed fitness test of the OnePlus Watch with the competition soon.
All of that is handled by a 402mAh battery, which is claimed to offer two weeks with restricted use and up to a week of power for the most active users. I have only got to use the watch for 4-5 days and the battery has dropped to 60% with minimal use and no workout.
Is it any good?
The OnePlus Watch misses the opportunity of taking over the spot of the perfect smartwatch for the Android platform. Starting with the bulky design, to the lack of third-party app support and missing always-on feature, it skips some of the most critical checkboxes. It did impress me with the optimisation and the smoothness within the interface, but that alone doesn't give you a solid reason to buy it over its cheaper or expensive alternatives. Even for activity and fitness tracking, some alternatives like Fitbit Versa 3, or the Amazfit GTR 2 can do a better job at offering a more comprehensive fitness-oriented ecosystem with all the necessary features and no major trade-off.
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