OnePlus clearly has aspirations well beyond being a smartphone brand… like any other smartphone company. Its latest launch is the OnePlus Watch, a premium smart timepiece that plugs in seamlessly into its ecosystems of devices and also tries to propagate its unique sense of style. With so many affordable smart watches in the market now, the OnePlus Watch caters to those who are willing to pay a premium for branding, an ecosystem and features that are a bit better than what the competition can offer.
OnePlus Watch specs: 1.39”, 454 x 454 HD, AMOLED 2.5D glass touchscreen, ~ 326 PPI | STM32 processor with 4GB storage | Bluetooth 5 + NFC | GPS | 402mAh battery | 46mm (watch case) | 45g without strap
OnePlus Watch Price in India: Rs 14,999
The OnePlus Watch does not have a unique design, though it clearly gives you a sense of premium and durability. A lot of the watches and bands these days come across as flimsy tech and sort of reiterate this by ending up broken in a few months. The OnePlus Watch on the other hand seems more in the Apple Watch kind of space. In fact, the packaging, in a long box, seems to be inspired by a certain company in Cupertino. Also, the steel buckle is also very reminiscent of the first Apple Watch straps, though this one locks in exactly the opposite fashion to those.
Even the watch faces remind me of a very subtle styling which oozes premium without doing in a minimalist kind of way.
OnePlus Watch: What’s good?
I really liked the design of the OnePlus Watch — it is simple but functional. There are two buttons on the side, one that opens the app tray and the other that switches off the watch. The watch face is large and bright enough for OnePlus to add a torch feature using the display. Navigation is simple and reminded me a lot of Android wear. But the user interface (UI) is different and a bit more fluid. Quick settings and notifications can be easily access from the Home Screen itself.
For me the primary use of a smartwatch these days is as an extension of my smartphone, one that minimises my need to pick up the larger screen. And from that perspective the OnePlus Watch works pretty well and I could take or reject calls and read notifications without touching the smartphone.
The other aspect that a smartwatch helps me with is keep track of my fitness, especially in times like these when staying active needs some extra effort. I tried the OnePlus Watch along with the Apple Watch and the two showed almost identically numbers when it came to calories burnt, steps and distance. This was pleasantly surprising, as usually Android wearables differ hugely from the Apple Watch’s counts.
During a brisk evening walk, the OnePlus Watch prompted me to switch on Outdoor Walk mode as I had forgotten to do so. Only the Apple Watch has given me this nudge before. However, in contrast to the Apple Watch, the OnePlus Watch does not count steps for the entire workout and switches on the counter only once you have started the workout mode. Also, you have to ensure that the workout has ended every time, as next day when you switch on the workout mode it will show you that the count has been on for an entire day.
On the OnePlus Health app, the workout shows up with the map thanks to the inbuilt GPS, which is a feature I really loved. It also shows the kilometres and pace with details that allow you to improve your workout. Also, the watch is dust and water resistant and you can of course wear it for a swim whenever the pandemic allows those luxuries again.
The OnePlus Watch is comfortable to wear to bed and does a decent job of tracking sleep. I got a good split of my deep and light sleep. Thankfully, I was not waking up during the night and as a result I got a sleep score of 93.6 with a decent 20% deep sleep. The sleep data is among the best I have seen from a native app.
Among the other features, the watch has everything that is coming these days from heart rate monitoring to blood oxygen levels. The counts are accurate for both. However, the few days I wore the watch, it did not show anything against my stress levels. I doubt it would be right to say I have no stress and guess this might need more days of use to set the base value.
There is also a quick fitness test where you try and push yourself for a fast run and see how your vitals are holding up.
The OnePlus Health app lets you keep track of your progress and deep dive into most of the data points. It also lets you manage the watch and set new watch faces or even create ones with your own images. All this works well, though there is a dearth of watch faces at the moment.
The watch can work independent of a phone, especially by playing music for you when on a run or a cycling workout. There is about 2GB of storage available here, though for someone like me it is pointless as I no longer have any stored music and prefer to stream all my songs.
One of the best aspects about the OnePlus Watch is the battery. In the week I have taken to write this review, the battery has drained to about half from a full charge. The charging dock is unique and you will need to keep it safely and get a back up one for the time you are travelling.
OnePlus Watch: What is not good?
There isn’t much I didn’t like about this watch. However, there are some quirks. To start with it takes a double tap on screen to wake up the watch at times, especially if you haven’t really turned your wrist towards your face — so you can’t sneak a glance of the watch face.
There are a lot of features on this watch and I would have liked a way to favourite some of them for quick access. Other than a quick apps feature, it does not let you pin specific apps to the watch face.
OnePlus Watch: Should you buy?
Yes, especially if you have a OnePlus phone and other devices. Remember, the phone also lets you connect and control a OnePlus TV, though I could not try that feature out. So it makes more sense for those invested in the OnePlus ecosystem.
The watch is stylish and looks premium. For this you also pay a premium as there are some good smartwatches out there which don’t cost as much. But then they are not from OnePlus and don’t carry the aspirational value of the brand.
For those buying the OnePlus Watch, they can be assured of some good times keeping track of their fitness and wellness, staying connected and adding an extra layer of smartness on their already smart lives. This is among the best smart watches in the market now.