The OnePlus Watch is the first OnePlus smartwatch and despite offering high quality finishes I have the feeling that in software they could have done much more. So, during all these days of testing, I have not been able to stop thinking about whether they have missed a great opportunity to be new benchmarks in this wearable business.
A design at the level of OnePlus
Before talking about the design, I want you to know a fact that will mark a good part of the analysis and my general opinion of the product: the OnePlus Watch only costs 159 euros . It is undoubtedly one of its great attractions, because it is an amount that the vast majority would be willing to spend on a watch of these characteristics. Although I also admit that the same is not ideal for depending on what needs you want to cover.
Aesthetically, OnePlus has built a very solid, elegant product with great finishes. I cannot say anything negative in this regard because from the first minute it seems to me a product that lives up to what is expected from the manufacturer, both in terms of aesthetics and quality of materials.
My only complaint would be the issue of dimensions. It is a large watch and for those who do not like to wear such a bulky product on their wrist, it could be a problem. And be careful, I understand that OnePlus is committed to a single size, a 46 mm diameter circular case , if it is not clear what the acceptance of the product will be. But by not offering a smaller version, they also limit themselves when it comes to reaching that other number of users who want something more compact.
However, if the issue of size is something that you do not care too much about, then I would dare to say that you will like this watch in all respects. Because it is shaped like a classic watch, because it feels great and because it is available in three colors. On the one hand there is the black model that we analyzed and on the other in gold and silver.
Making a little more focus on the details such as the screen itself, the frames, the button panel, the arrangement of the sensors and all the other elements that affect the physical section, this is what the OnePlus Watch offers:
- The panel used by OnePlus is of the OLED type and has dimensions of 1.39 inches. It is true that the frame is somewhat generous, but it is not a big problem either and the most important thing is that the screen looks great in all kinds of situations, whether indoors or outdoors. And best of all, the response to touch gestures is adequate to have a pleasant experience at all times.
- The ambient light sensor works properly and adjusts the brightness automatically to avoid being dazzled at night. Although you can always set the brightness level manually. As well as the screen time that would now reach a maximum of 8 seconds without interacting with it. OnePlus says it is working on an option to have Always On Display, but with the 4.0 update it did not arrive. So we’ll have to wait. Finally, and as a tip, at night set the sleep mode if you do not want to wake up with a flash of the screen if you move and think that what you want is to activate it with a turn of the wrist
- On the left side of the case there are two buttons that give access to the watch’s main menu and the sports functions that I’ll tell you more about later. Although that quick access button to the different workouts can be changed from the watch settings in case you want to activate the heart rate sensor, blood oxygen, etc.
- On the right side you will find a speaker that will not drive you crazy with its sound, but it fulfills the task for which it is designed (to do the functions of hands free)
- At the bottom there is a microphone that together with the speaker and Bluetooth connectivity allow you to use the watch as hands-free as we said before
- In the internal part or base of the watch are the different sensors that allow to measure the heart rate or the oxygen in the blood as well as the charging pins that make use of a special and magnetized base for the watch itself. The latter something already common in watches and bracelets of this type
- Lastly, the straps are standard. You can use any strap they sell for regular watches as long as they are the same width. A detail with which OnePlus gets rid of having to go around creating bracelets on its part to satisfy the customization needs of many users
Ready, this is all you basically have to know about the OnePlus Watch in terms of design. A product that, as you can see in the images, is very well built and does not give the feeling of being fragile at all. What’s more, it looks great and as a watch lover you will most likely like it for that same classic watch look.
Do you prefer it square? Well, that will be a matter of personal taste, because the experience does not suffer and that is what is truly important.
The Lost Opportunity in Software Issues
Let’s talk about the software and how OnePlus has lost, from my point of view, a great opportunity to demonstrate again with its first smartwatch why its phones have always been so highly valued in this regard with Oxygen OS.
To begin with, the OnePlus Watch does not use WearOS but instead relies on RTOS, an operating system that has advantages such as fast and agile operation since it requires fewer resources, a tighter energy consumption that allows it to offer a theoretical autonomy of about 10 days and some extra, but also some disadvantages that can take their toll on users looking for something else.
RTOS implies accepting a series of commitments where it is possibly the limitation of applications that weighs the most. Because with it you will not be able to use third-party apps that are very interesting on platforms such as WearOS since they allow you to access music services via streaming or interact in a much deeper way with apps that you have on your terminal and use daily.
There is also no clear benefit in managing notifications. It is true that the ideal is to only receive the ones that you really want to have in view, but that they send you messages by WhatsApp or Telegram and that the only responses you can give to those messages are four predefined is not attractive at all. Mainly because I don’t think they fit you all the time.
And finally there is the issue that there is no support for mobile payments. If they had added this feature, all of the above would still have been made more bearable, but not doing it is like it leaves you with the feeling that you can have many advantages in performance and autonomy, but in the end, whoever is looking for a smart watch is because they also expect something. more than looking at the time and two specific notifications.
However, we are not going to be excessively critical either because the price of the product is what it is and because in the sports section it performs very well. It is true that it can never replace a real specialized device or the opinion of an expert, but the monitoring of different sports activities, heart rate, blood oxygen or options that allow to measure the stress level are useful in the day a day.
In that sense, more sleep monitoring does make this OnePlus Watch more valuable than a quantification bracelet like the ones we all know. Because it offers you that and something more, such as being able to use the watch as a hands-free and even as a music player. Although you will have to synchronize MP3 files with the clock from the phone and nowadays it is not usual to have this type of files with so much service via streaming. Oh, and yes you can change the watch faces. By default there are few in it, but from the app you can add more.
Therefore, to avoid disappointment, it is important to know well what this watch can offer you. If you do it, you will surely find value in it and its price makes you consider it even before a simple bracelet. Especially because aesthetically you saw much more, because the quality is very high and because OnePlus has room for improvement via software updates. Without going any further, they have already promised that they will launch an option to enable the Always On mode with which the screen will always be on.
Finally, just remember that OnePlus Health , the app that is used to manage the clock, is only available on Android devices . No use of the watch with an iPhone.
Why bet on a OnePlus Watch
Given all this, is the OnePlus Watch worth it? Well yes, as long as you are not looking for the “Android Apple Watch”. That is, the clock has clear limitations due to the operating system it uses, but what it does it does quite well. In addition, the plus of autonomy is something that is always appreciated if you do not want to go around charging the watch every night.
And then there are aspects such as design that add a lot of value to it. Because aesthetically it is a product that you like and the price makes it quite attractive and affordable for those who need more than a quantification bracelet.
Personally, I liked it, although that does not mean that I feel that OnePlus has lost a great opportunity to demonstrate what they could have done at the software level if they had opted for WearOS. Maybe a future version of that watch that we all want the brand to make, especially knowing what they have achieved for so many years with their Oxygen OS system on Android phones.
But stay with this idea, for 159 euros and as a first step in this of smart watches and wearables in general, OnePlus is going in the right direction . Hopefully this ecosystem of products that they are beginning to create will only grow.