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OnePlus Watch review

The OnePlus Watch is an elegant and affordable alternative

OnePlus Watch review
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

With elegance, durability, and consistent updates, the OnePlus Watch is a serious wearables contender thanks to its affordable price tag and features.

Pros

  • +

    Great battery life

  • +

    Affordable price

  • +

    Sturdy

  • +

    User-friendly

  • +

    Solid fitness and health tracking

Cons

  • -

    Lack SMS text response

  • -

    Access to more third-party apps

  • -

    Has NFC, yet no tap to pay

OnePlus Watch specs

Price: $159 

Display: 1.39 inch AMOLED (454×454) 326 PPI

Mobile Payments: No

Connectivity: Bluetooth, NFC

Battery: 7 days

Water resistance: 50m (164 feet)

Size: 1.83 x 1.83 x 0.43-inches

Weight: 1.59 ounces

The OnePlus Watch is an excellent affordable wearable option at just $159. The sleek, stylish midnight black chrome finish is dazzling and although it may lack some of the functionality of my old Apple Watch, I find myself smitten with the OnePlus Watch. 

There are a ton of options in the wearables market now so it comes down to a matter of personal preference and the OnePlus Watch is my kind of flawed perfection. Perfection because it does just about everything I really need it to do and its flaws I hope, can easily be addressed in updates. Thing is, I’m a very patient man, perhaps that’s my flaw but, with just a couple of tweaks, the OnePlus Watch could truly challenge the Apple watch. 

In the meantime, it’s comfortable, lasts a week on a charge, and provides me with all the vital health and fitness (or lack of fitness, my bad) information, while also allowing me to control my music, take calls, view emails and texts.

OnePlus Watch price and configurations

Currently, there is only one configuration of the OnePlus Watch and it starts at $159. It delivers on style, sturdiness, and arrives with many premium features for that price. The Watch is one of the most affordable smartwatches available.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

Its closest competitor in price, quality, and features is the Apple Watch Series 3 which will run you $199. Fitbit makes several smartwatches that are comparable in price like the Fitbit Versa 2, but it lacks many of the features of the OnePlus Watch. The Fitbit Sense comes to mind, but it's priced at $299.

OnePlus Watch 7 design

The OnePlus Watch comes in three color choices: midnight black, midnight silver, and cobalt. The overall design will remind you of the Samsung Galaxy Watch line and that's fine by me. 

When you open the box, you find the OnePlus Watch’s round face already attached to the rubber strap that neatly tucks into itself. On the right side of the watch are two function buttons to access its features. While my Apple Watch had more of a sporty appeal to it, I find the OnePlus is more sophisticated and elegant and its large AMOLED touchscreen and 45mm stainless steel case reminds me of this gorgeous black Bolivia watch my dad wore on special occasions.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

The OnePlus is a classy-looking timepiece with smartwatch features and it makes me want to dress up and go on a date. I do wish OnePlus offered a leather or black stainless steel band option to take it up several notches. However, as with most modern wearables, you can find several after-market bands made for the OnePlus Watch. 

Although the OnePlus appears much larger next to my old Apple Watch, it weighs less and looks far more elegant with all the curved surfaces fitting together perfectly flush.

OnePlus Watch display

The OnePlus Watch’s AMOLED display is very bright and colorful. I never had an issue reading it in bright sunlight nor in the dark. The OnePlus Watch is IP68 sweat and water-resistant with up to 5 ATM (50 meters or 164 feet) of water resistance, meaning you can shower with it or even go for a swim. I have showered, washed dishes, bumped into a few things with the OnePlus Watch on and it hasn’t scratched, dented, or chipped. The included thick rubber sports band is also very sturdy.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

There are over 50 watch faces for OnePlus Watch users to choose from, and they’re all pretty damn snazzy. I love how clean and bright the display is and the operating system is just super responsive. Fonts are crisp and brightly displayed, the large round display suits my large hands and wrists better than the rectangular Apple Watch.

OnePlus Watch health tracking

The health tracking and health apps on the OnePlus Watch are user-friendly, clear cut, and function well. From tracking your fitness, heart rate, and oxygen levels to reminding you to get up and move, the OnePlus Watch is looking out for you. There’s even actually a Zen app, to help you find and maximize your level of Zen.

OnePlus Watch health tracking

The health tracking and health apps on the OnePlus Watch are user-friendly, clear cut, and function well. From tracking your fitness, heart rate, and oxygen levels to reminding you to get up and move, the OnePlus Watch is looking out for you. There’s even actually a Zen app, to help you find and maximize your level of Zen.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

 

Optical Heart Rate sensor

The OnePlus Watch uses an optical heart rate sensor to collect pulse data while you’re wearing it. The device also detects heart fluctuations known as HRV which the stress application tracks to provide insights into your levels of stress, which could seriously affect your heart's function. Comparing the sensor’s results to my finger monitors, proved that the OnePlus Watch is very accurate at tracking my heart rate data. It actually has provided me with valuable information and even alerted me when my heart rate fell below normal.

SpO2 monitoring

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people are keeping a closer eye on their blood oxygen levels as a low level of saturation could be a major risk to your health. I own a finger monitor that checks my pulse and blood oxygen saturation levels and so I used it to gain a comparison. I am happy to report that the results matched 99.9% of the time and the one time they were off I may have moved while the OnePlus Watch was trying to monitor my levels.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

As a former smoker, I do monitor my levels and it’s good to see my lungs still function very well.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

The Sp02 software on the watch is very clean and simple to use. There is also an application very similar to the one on my Apple Watch that reminds me to take a break and just breathe, which I find helpful, not that I forget to breathe but, sometimes I forget to take a break.

 Heart rate tracking

The heart rate data generated by the Watch is accurate as I compared it to my finger monitor. Covid-19 is known to have lasting effects on heart health and though I have been lucky to avoid it, one never knows. Considering that I am a man approaching a certain age with family and work stresses, monitoring my heart health is simply a smart idea.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

Also tracking my heart rate while working out (it happens sometimes) or even just working in the backyard gives me an idea of where my fitness levels are at. Tracking your heart rate while you sleep is another very important function and you can easily view the results in the OnePlus Health app, which features a simple clean user interface. Lastly, you can easily share any or all of this information with your physician if you wish.

OnePlus Watch fitness tracking

The OnePlus Watch will track your fitness in the Health app, monitoring distances traveled while running, or walking.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

Although the watch doesn’t work in conjunction with Google Fit, it covers all of my needs and I can always add the info to the app later. Though the fitness application is rudimentary, it covers all your basic needs. Also, I’m hoping in time there will be an eventual update that will allow for the use of Google Fit, we’ve seen OnePlus do this with other applications.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

The OnePlus Watch provides 110 workout modes, with 15 professional fitness modes. Every mode I tried worked flawlessly, and the GPS is highly accurate for those who are cycling enthusiasts. I hope with updates there will be more functionality added to the fitness app

OnePlus Watch sleep tracking

I honestly did not use the sleep tracking functionality often enough to do a deep dive here. I did, however, fall asleep with it on once, and when I awoke there was one startling notification. My heart rate at one point dropped to 49 beats per minute, which is not a major concern, but I did consult a physician after reading up on it.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

Thankfully I am actually fine, and since my resting heart rate is normally in the 60’s it isn’t a concern. That said, it was very exciting to have that information and to be consulted on it. I am currently trying to learn to ignore having the Watch on my wrist so that I can gather more data on my sleep patterns and keep an eye on my heart rate, expect an update to this section in a few weeks. 

OnePlus Watch smartwatch features

The OnePlus Watch does not use Google’s Wear OS platform and instead comes with its custom RTOS (real-time operating system) which is very clean, basic, and super responsive.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

You can quickly explore and change settings on the watch easily using the navigation buttons and swiping right, left, up, or down. The speed at which you can switch apps is wonderful. The OnePlus RTOS has gotten some flack since its release for not having a lot of apps to choose from. I am happy to say that recent updates have expanded the number of applications and its capabilities. 

I can check my daily fitness such as steps taken, calories burned, energy used and distance traveled. The watch also lets me keep a workout record, monitor my running whether using a treadmill or running outdoors, and it also monitors my sleep.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

The functionality of the OnePlus Watch continues to grow via updates with Spotify controls recently being added to the already feature-rich set of options.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

You can answer and make calls via the watch, read texts and email notifications, but you are still unable to respond to them. That’s a miss but, again, could be addressed via a software update. Oddly, you can respond to messages in WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

As previously mentioned you can control your Spotify, including raising the volume and picking favorites off playlists. You can also control music stored on your phone or even use the 4GB of available storage on the watch to upload songs directly to it.

Yes, the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy watches have way more apps and yes you can use them to pay for things. However, the OnePlus Watch is equipped to do those things and most likely will do so soon as the RTOS is updated. One thing to keep in mind is that Apple, Samsung, and even Fitbit have been on the market for a few years so they have a head start. I'm hoping future updates bring expanded capabilities and access to more apps.

OnePlus Watch battery life and charging

Battery life is where the OnePlus Watch definitely separates itself from Apple and Samsung. Depending on your settings, you can get up to fourteen days of battery life from one charge. I have a lot of notifications, and I have the display set to always-on and get an average of 7.5 days without having to charge. This is a huge deal for sleep monitoring. I don’t have to worry about it dying while I’m asleep, unlike my Apple Watch, which I had to charge daily. I would always carry my charger because depending on how many calls or messages I got during the day or, if I worked out, the battery would tend to die on me.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re moving from the iOS universe to Android, the battery life on the OnePlus will be a welcome surprise. However, Apple has improved its charging speed, so you can charge your Apple Watch quickly, but it can’t compete with the OnePlus Watch in this regard and neither can the new Galaxy Watch 4 Classic with its claimed 40 hours of battery life.

OnePlus Watch review

(Image credit: Future)

The OnePlus Watch comes with a small black USB-C magnetic charging puck that I leave connected to my monitor. I put the watch down when it needs to be charged and walk away.  Don’t walk too far away because it only takes twenty minutes to fully charge the OnePlus Watch. It charges fast, lasts all week, I love it.

Bottom line

As a long-time Apple Watch user, I was very suspicious of the OnePlus Watch and its $159 price tag. After over two months with it, I’m a huge fan. From its large bright and colorful AMOLED display, elegant styling, durability, and user-friendly RTOS, it’s outstanding. It’s fast, simple, and provides me with all the information and connectivity options I need. As more firmware updates arrive its capabilities will grow. I can still use my map navigation, control my music, and keep tabs on my heart and lungs with it. It reminds me to have a few moments of Zen, breathe, and move, just like my Apple Watch did. I can make and answer calls with it. I’m set and for $159 you can’t beat it.

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.