OnePlus Watch early review: 5 things to know
OnePlus' first-ever smartwatch is here, and on our wrist.
The OnePlus Watch is here and it’s a slick-looking smartwatch that doesn’t cost the earth. This is OnePlus’ first stab at a smartwatch - usually the company is busy creating decent phones and audio goodies.
Having used it for a few days now we’re impressed with some things the watch can do but this is a crowded market, so does it do enough to rival the likes of Garmin, Apple and Motorola?
Here are 5 things to know about the OnePlus Watch…
1. The design is decent
First impressions of the OnePlus Watch are that it is good-looking wearable. OnePlus has opted for a circular display and it’s a large one, At 1.39-inches (the entire bezel is 46mm), the AMOLED screen is bright and has more than enough real estate for the apps you are going to use on it. In fact, it may be a little too large for some and this is the only size the watch comes in - a smaller 42mm option would be nice. We got on with it fine, though, and it didn’t look too bulky on our wrists.
The bezel of the watch has been hand polished and if you are feeling fancy, a limited edition version made from cobalt alloy (which is apparently a first in the smartwatch world) will be available. The standard stainless-steel Midnight Black version we tested has a refined look. Other than the two buttons on the side of the device (the top one is a back button, the bottom takes you to the workouts section) this isn’t a watch that stands out on your wrist - and that’s certainly not a bad thing.
2. The screen is lovely but we want to see it more!
As mentioned, the AMOLED screen is brilliantly bright (even in direct sunlight, yep we have actually had some in the UK lately) but we really wish that there’s an always-on display option. While the lift-to-wake feature works well, there were a couple of times when we had to give our wrist an extra flick to get the screen to come on.
The selection of watch faces are great, though. You can change the watch faces through the OnePlus Health app, or by long pressing on the screen.
3. Software is sufficient but there’s no app store
While you may well be au fait with the likes of WatchOS and Wear OS, OnePlus has opted to create its own software setup for the OnePlus Watch. In many ways you won’t notice too much difference between the look and design of the operating system, the biggest difference here is that there isn’t an app store for the watch. This means that third-party apps can’t be installed on the thing.
OnePlus isn’t the first to do this and it certainly won’t be the last, but those wanting things like Google Maps and Spotify integration will have to look elsewhere, or opt for OnePlus’ version of these apps.
What you get on board are things like a compass, barometers, weather information, a flashlight and timer. It’s also packing a lot of health features.
4. Health is where the heart is for the OnePlus Watch
Flip the watch over and there are two sensors: one for blood oxygen and another for heart rate. This is a smartwatch that’s primed for fitness, with 14 presets - including running, elliptical training and cycling. As well as this there are separate heart rate, sleep, stress and sleep trackers.
We haven’t had the watch long enough to put these through full tests but there are some reports of tracking not always working as it should. OnePlus is always quick on the software updates, so if this is the case we’re sure it’ll be fixed in due course.
The niggles we had was with heart rate, which was because the watch wasn’t tight enough to our wrist. Having blood monitoring is definitely a USP as this isn’t available on all smartwatches yet, especially at the price that the OnePlus Watch comes in at. The data also syncs to Google Fit which is welcomed.
5. Battery life is big, really life
While we have only had the OnePlus Watch a few days, battery life can’t be fully tested but there hasn’t been much drop at all in the time we have had with it. OnePlus is quoting 14 days for typical use. But when you start blitzing the GPS, using sleep monitoring and blood monitoring this will go down quite significantly. But OnePlus has done well to get a decent amount of juice into this watch and it’s definitely one of the standout features.
OnePlus Watch: early verdict
Big on battery life and screen, the OnePlus Watch is an affordable, nice-looking smartwatch. Its fitness features are plentiful but you are stuck with the pre-installed apps. It’s great to see things like blood monitoring on board, as well as GPS and a healthy 4GB of storage space for MP3s and the like.
We would like to see NFC payments added, some sort of voice assistant and third party app integration would also be welcomed.
At £149, though, the OnePlus Watch is certainly an option for those who don’t want to spend a fortune on making their wrists that bit smarter.
The OnePlus Watch is available to pre-order from 14 April.