Best OnePlus Watch Review: Anticlimactic

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OnePlus Watch Review: To measure blood oxygen levels, the SpO2 sensor in the OnePlus watch can be used.

The company’s first smartwatch is the OnePlus Watch, which many Android users are eagerly awaiting. The OnePlus Watch features a circular dial and AMOLED display. SpO2 tracking is a great feature.

OnePlus Watch
OnePlus Watch

The surprise of the launch was that this watch does not run Google’s WearOS, as many had hoped. How does the OnePlus watch compare to the rest? Is this the watch for you? These are the questions I’ll try to answer in this review.

India price of OnePlus Watch

The OnePlus Watch retails at Rs 14,999. In India, the OnePlus Watch is priced at Rs. 14,999 The OnePlus Watch Cobalt Limited Edition will soon be available. We don’t know the launch date or price, but it is likely to be more expensive. The internals of both variants are identical, but the exteriors will differ in a few ways. I’ll explain these differences later.

OnePlus Watch Design

There are two options for smartwatches: a square or circle dial. The Apple Watch’s square shape (or “squircle”) has become very popular, but there are still people who prefer a circular dial that looks more like a traditional watch.

OnePlus chose the latter and created a 46mm diameter circular dial in a stainless steel case. It looks and feels premium, and comes in Midnight Black or Moonlight Silver.

The OnePlus Watch features a 1.39-inch AMOLED screen and thin bezels, which were difficult to see on my Midnight Black unit. The 2.5D curved glass at the top of the display rises slightly above its case’s rim. The overall design is clean with two buttons on each side. One button has OnePlus engraved on the top, while the other is unengraved.

You’ll see that the OnePlus Watch’s underside is made of plastic. It houses multiple sensors and the charging contacts. The left side has a speaker port and the right has a microphone hole. The case lugs are designed to fit all 22mm standard straps and extend outward.

The standard OnePlus Watch comes with a fluoroelastomer-strap. The watch was worn for more than two weeks without any skin irritation. The straps are similar to the Apple Watch’s pin and tuck design, which I found convenient and reassuring. The strap can be removed without tools and replaced with another 22mm strap.

Even without the attached strap, the OnePlus Watch alone weighs in at 45gms. This is noticeable when it’s worn. OnePlus offers only one 46mm dial size. This might make it look too big on small wrists.

It is also quite thick so you may accidentally bump it into something while walking or simply moving your hands. The watch did get knocked into a few doors frames while I was using it. However, the watch didn’t scratch any of them during my review.

The OnePlus Watch Cobalt Limited Edition offers better build quality. This variant’s case is made from a Cobalt alloy, rather than stainless steel. It also has a gold finish. The display is protected by sapphire glass, which is believed to be more scratch resistant.

OnePlus includes two straps in the Cobalt Limited Edition. One is a fluoroelastomer, which looks identical to the standard strap, and the other is a vegan leather strap with a butterfly clasp.

To charge its 402mAh battery, the OnePlus Watch uses a pogo pin charger. This watch supports fast charging, in true OnePlus fashion. The OnePlus Watch is IP68 rated for water and dust resistance. It can also withstand pressures up to 5ATM, according to the company.

Software and specifications for OnePlus Watch

When the first leaks regarding the OnePlus Watch surfaced, I speculated that it would run Google’s WearOS and feature the Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor. You might have expected something similar. The OnePlus Watch uses a customized Real-Time Operating System, not WearOS.

It has three distinct processors that each perform a different function. According to a forum post from a OnePlus Product Manager, the OnePlus Watch has a mixture of ST32, Apollo 3 and Cypress chips. These chips are responsible for driving the display, low power usage and communications.

The OnePlus Watch features an accelerometer and ambient light sensor as well as a gyroscope. It also has a geomagnetic sensor, barometer and blood oxygen sensor. Bluetooth 5 and NFC are supported, as well as four satellite navigation systems.

The OnePlus Watch has 4GB storage, which allows you to store a few audio tracks for offline listening. Bluetooth headphones can be paired with the watch to allow you to take your phone along on a run.

The OnePlus Watch can be paired with any Android smartphone running Android 6.0 or higher. The smartwatch is not yet compatible with iPhones, so it has a limited user base. To set up the smartwatch, you will need to use the OnePlus Health app.

The pairing process was very easy and the connection never dropped once the OnePlus Watch was connected, unless my phone was out of range.

The OnePlus Health app acts as your dashboard for all of your fitness data. You can also make changes directly from the app to certain device settings. You can even change your watch face and download new ones.

Although you can choose between an analog or digital watch face, it was not possible to set one in the 12-hour time format. Only the 24-hour format was available. You can also create your own watch faces using your photos. This app is needed to transfer music from your smartphone to the OnePlus Watch.

Performance and battery life of the OnePlus Watch

The OnePlus Watch’s UI is very easy to use. Swiping up on the watch face will show you pending notifications. A swipe down will give you quick toggles. To change the watch face, you can tap and hold it. Although I was able to read the notifications easily, I couldn’t reply to them using the predefined quick replies templates. This isn’t ideal.

Although the OnePlus Watch didn’t have an Always-On Display capability, it was added in a software update shortly afterwards. This can be enabled directly from the watch and you can choose from four different faces. The OnePlus Watch also features an ambient light sensor, which can automatically adjust the screen brightness.

The OnePlus Watch was very efficient with power saving. After I had finished looking at the screen, it would turn off very quickly. The default brightness was a little too low, and the auto-brightness adjustment is also quite aggressive. It is possible to increase the brightness, which I did.

The OnePlus Watch tracks your workouts, heart rate and sleep. To see how the watch performs, I used it for nearly a month. I compared the readings of the watch against the Apple Watch SE to verify the accuracy of its heart-rate sensor. The heart rate readings on both devices were almost identical, I found. While working out, however, the accuracy of heart rate tracking was not consistent.

I walked 1,000 steps to test the accuracy of step tracking. However, the OnePlus Watch reported 930 steps. To track my activity throughout the day, I also wore the OnePlus Watch SE. The Apple Watch was able to measure 2,056 steps, while the OnePlus Watch recorded 1,532 steps in the same day.

The OnePlus Watch and the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus were tested for SpO2 monitoring. I got identical readings. SpO2 readings ranged between 96 percent to -98 percent. This is the ideal range for healthy individuals.

The OnePlus Watch was able to track sleep accurately and was able match what the Apple Watch SE could record. The OnePlus Health app gives you a breakdown of deep sleep, light sleep, and awake durations.

The app also provides information on the optimal duration of each sleep phase. The OnePlus Watch also features SpO2 tracking while sleeping. Because it is heavy on the battery, this feature is default disabled. The app will display the lowest SpO2 levels during sleep if enabled. In my case, it was 90 percent (Normal).

You can also make calls using the OnePlus Watch’s speaker and microphone. If you hold the watch up to your ear, the speaker volume will be sufficient. One of my callers mentioned that I sound a bit distant.

The battery life of the OnePlus Watch was excellent. It lasted me for about 12 days on a single recharge. With WhatsApp notifications enabled and indoor training being tracked, this was a very good result.

OnePlus Watch
OnePlus Watch

If you don’t track your workouts as often and only use the OnePlus Watch for notifications, then you will be able achieve the two-week battery lifetime that OnePlus claims. If you keep track of your heart rate and SpO2 levels, battery life can vary.

The OnePlus Watch’s always-on display has cut the battery life in half, for roughly the same usage. You can expect battery life to drop further if SpO2 tracking is enabled during sleep.

Fast charging is a common feature on OnePlus phones. The OnePlus Watch comes with Warp Charge, which the company refers to as a fast charging system. In just five minutes, the OnePlus Watch reached 20 percent.

This should be sufficient for a full-day of use even with my type of usage. In just 20 minutes, the watch reached 55 percent. Charging it fully took 53 minutes. The OnePlus Watch is fast charging and has a long battery life so you don’t have to worry about it running out.

Verdict

Although the OnePlus Watch was highly anticipated, it turned out to be anticlimactic. You won’t be able to access Google’s extensive ecosystem or a wide range of apps because it doesn’t run WearOS.

This device is more of a smartnotifier than a smartwatch in terms of functionality. The OnePlus Watch has a lot going for it: good battery life, accurate sleeping tracking, and SpO2 monitoring. Step tracking and heart rate tracking during exercise were not consistent.

The Amazfit GTR 2e smartwatch is a good choice if you’re looking to track your fitness. It’s also cheaper. The Oppo Watch 46mm, which runs Google’s Wear OS, is another option worth considering.

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