The OnePlus Watch is the very first connected watch from the eponymous manufacturer who has rather accustomed us to smartphones. This product was designed as a complement to the brand’s terminals, but also as a device focused on fitness. First successful attempt or dispensable gadget? Answer in this test.
OnePlus recently released its new flagship smartphones: the OnePlus 9 as well as the OnePlus 9 Pro, which we both tested. On the sidelines, he also announced the OnePlus Watch. This is the first its connected watch. OnePlus released its Buds Z a few months ago and the arrival of the Watch shows a certain willingness to offer a complete ecosystem.
Focusing on fitness, this new product also wants to assert itself as a “lifestyle” object that can be worn in everyday life with its elegant design. We will now dissect this new terminal and see if it is worth the price, fixed at 159 euros.
Before starting to read this test, there is one important thing to note. OnePlus sent us a loan copy well in advance of release. Therefore, the companion app is not yet available to the general public. We had access to a version not yet completed (and a little buggy) which should evolve. Likewise, the OS of the watch showed some weaknesses which we will discuss in the following paragraphs, but these problems could be fixed before its marketing. However, other than these details, the experience we are going to describe will be the same as yours if you have a crush on release day.
Pricing and availability
The OnePlus Watch will be available on April 26 on the OnePlus website. It will be sold in two colors: silver and black, at a price of 159 euros. A relatively affordable price for a connected watch. High-end models like Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 easily exceed 200 euros.
Note that a Cobalt version, with a gold dial, will be available on the OnePlus website on May 17.
On paper, the watch is enviable. When we look at the technical sheet, we immediately notice a 1.39-inch round AMOLED display that promises a lot.
|Dimensions||46.4 x 46.4 x 10.9 mm|
|Weight||76 grams (with bracelet)|
454 x 454 pixels
326 pixels per inch
|Functions||GPS (Galileo, Glonass)
accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
heart rate monitor, oximeter
|Water resistance||IP 68|
Autonomy announced: 14 days
|Wireless Qi charging||Yes|
Cobalt (limited edition)
We find there all the classic of connected mounts : Bluetooth, GPS, cardiac sensor, oxygen sensor or even the accelerometer. We are on familiar ground. Finally, it should be noted that OnePlus promises a lot in terms of autonomy, since the watch can theoretically last 15 days without recharging. We will of course check this point. Finally, it should be noted that OnePlus here uses a home OS called Smart Wear rather than Wear OS.
A design between two waters
Design is hands down the most important thing when it comes to a smartwatch. Indeed, the user will have to wear it every day and not only during his sports activities. It must therefore be impeccable. On this point, the manufacturer has chosen the camp of sobriety, failing to be original.
First and foremost, the Watch is very impressive for small wrists with its 46mm diameter and 11mm thickness. We remain, however, in the realm of what is acceptable for an item in this category. Same thing for the weight of 76 grams. Everything will depend on the user’s taste in the matter, some (like me) being satisfied with massive dials.
As for the design itself, OnePlus sails between two waters. On the one hand we have a very neat aluminum body (black for our test, but which also exists in silver) of the most beautiful effect. It is both chic and very sober. We will notice an interior part made of plastic which contrasts with the rest, but which has the merit of not being seen once the watch has been worn.
Around the dial, we find two well-placed buttons: one to access the menus, the other to directly open a previously chosen application.
On the other side we have the bracelet part which is much more sports oriented. In rubber, it contrasts with the dial. This bracelet also has the annoying tendency to attract all dust and other dirt on its surface. A bit of a pain and not very clean.
Some aspects are even cheap, such as the buckle which deforms after only a few hours of use. The tether is a slip-on wound, but has the advantage of securing the object well on the wrist.
Note that OnePlus does not (yet) offer additional bracelets in its store. However, size is standard (22mm) and it is possible to change it, especially since there is a mechanism to easily remove it. Note that the Cobalt version, which will be limited, will have a leather strap.
Overall, we have a watch that doesn’t seem to know quite where to stand, hesitating between a chic, understated dial and a very sport-oriented strap. It is kind of a shame. We would have liked OnePlus to go fully into a segment instead of hesitating. It gives a bit of a bastard design, but it has the merit to be discreet and have beautiful finishes. Despite its size and weight, it is quickly forgotten once you get used to it.
A quality AMOLED screen, but without Always-on-Display
We said it, OnePlus chose a round AMOLED screen 1.39 inch resolution of 454 x 454 pixels with a refresh rate of 60 Hz. This is actually not the first time that we have dealt with this panel, since the Realme Watch S Pro had the even.
Because the OS did not allow this, we were unable to perform our usual measurements using a probe. That didn’t stop us from noticing some interesting things. The contrast, first of all, is infinite, AMOLED obliges. The whites are bright and the blacks are deep. Likewise, the OnePlus Watch has excellent brightness. If we have not been able to quantify it exactly, we can say that it is very high. Even on a bright day, the image is still readable. Plus, the auto-brightness works flawlessly. Nothing to complain about on this side. You could pout in front of the colors, a little too “sharp”, but that’s not disturbing for a product whose image must be obvious anyway.
Read also – OnePlus 9 Pro test: an excellent smartphone weighed down by a nasty flaw
Technically, this is therefore a success, but we will point the finger at a fault which is actually more software than relative to the screen: the absence of an alway-on-display mode, yet enabled by the AMOLED display. OnePlus justified itself by saying that this choice was made to gain autonomy, but it is still a shame for a watch. Just to check the time, you have to jerk your wrist. Not very discreet, especially if you just want to take a look while you are in a meeting. OnePlus has signaled, however, that it will be working on an AoD mode which will be rolled out a bit later. A good thing. It will then be up to you to decide whether you want to invest in battery life or ease of use, but we would have liked to have had a choice from the start.
Since we’re talking about image, let’s talk about sound. The Watch has a loudspeaker and a microphone for telephone conversations. A success on this point, since the microphone delivers a clear voice for your interlocutor, even if your arm is far from your mouth. The speakers do not work miracles given their very small size. The voices are audible and understandable, despite a “radio” effect which distorts the tone and a certain lack of power (this makes use outdoors difficult). It’s far from unbelievable, but it’s correct.
A very classic OS
For its very first connected watch, OnePlus chose not to use Google’s Wear OS, but its in-house Smart Wear system. The latter is very basic in its use and gets to the point. With the upper button, you can access a series of applications arranged online. Here we have the great classic of connected watches: Analysis of sleep, oxygen in the blood, heart rate or even alarm and music player. It brings other applications like “Breathing” which allows you to focus on your breath to reduce stress, or the flashlight, ideal if you get up at night. Note also the presence of a very practical feature that allows you to find your cell phone by ringing it.
Smart Wear offers its own training programs based on your activity (running, cycling, swimming, walking, etc.) and records performance for better monitoring. There are fourteen in total, which is a bit tight. Here again, we are in the great classic, but we appreciate all the same. You will understand, the watch is water resistant, which is not useless for aquatic activities, let’s face it.
The watch connects via Bluetooth to your phone and comes with an application named OnePlus Health. The latter offers an extension of use by summarizing all the data recorded by the Watch. It also allows you to personalize the experience, for example by changing the appearance of the dial. On this point, OnePlus is spoiled for choice and even allows you to change up to the colors of certain displays.
In short, the OnePlus Watch does not reinvent the wheel and does not offer applications that are really out of the ordinary. But overall, the usual “package” is there and works, if not original.
Read also – Apple Watch SE test: the iPhone SE is now available as a connected watch
Rough use with some pitfalls
In everyday life, thea OnePlus Watch has as many strengths as it has weaknesses. We talked about the qualities: we have everything we can expect in a connected watch and everything works as it should. Regarding daily use, there is still room for improvement. For example, we can evoke an OS that sometimes grinds, showing slowdowns and very painful jerks. It’s relatively rare, but we saw it two or three times in our week of testing. Likewise, the navigation would have deserved more care, not being really intuitive in some cases.
For example, accessing the main menu is via the top button. Pressing it when the watch is on brings up the list of apps. But sometimes the pressing does not work instantly and therefore prompts you to press a second time, which relocks the watch again, because the first press has finally been taken into account. When it is off, you have to press it twice. In short, we quickly get tangled up in the brushes. Frustrating.
Another example of poorly designed intuitiveness concerns notifications. You receive a message via SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger or any other service, your Watch vibrates to alert you, which is normal. What is less is that the said texts appear unreadable once they accumulate. While a single message can be read at a glance (unless it’s a bit long), it becomes impossible when you have several piling up. You then have to select them one by one to read them, which is not very practical on such a small screen. We would therefore prefer to take out our smartphone in these cases. Likewise, the watch regularly receives the same messages twice, which does not help. Pity. Finally, the applications are classified in a list, and the navigation is not really ideal if you have big fingers.
But we have already reported it, we use a “pre-release” version watch, it is therefore possible that the concerns mentioned above are quickly corrected after marketing via a patch.
For the rest, we have a classic watch, but efficient. If it connects well with Bluetooth, it can be used separately when you go for a run. You can then store 4 GB of music for your sport, which is appreciable. A simple tap on the Android application reconnects it. We also appreciate the extremely simple shortcut menu, which allows us to interact with the most basic functions (flashlight, alarm clock) and to see its battery level.
Overall, therefore, the record is rather average when it comes to use. There are wanderings, but overall, the contract is respected and the manufacturer embeds everything that the competition does in its watch. So far, we don’t really see the gain of Smart Wear compared to Wear OS.
Battery life is the OnePlus Watch’s biggest promise. The manufacturer indicates up to 15 days between each recharge with its 402 mAh battery. In fact, we see that the estimate is wide. Very large. The Watch still has decent battery life. During our week of testing, we found that the watch lost an average of 12% of battery power each day. So that makes us 8 days on average for a charge, which is far from the promise, but acceptable. This result was obtained with a brightness set to automatic and a so-called normal use. However, it could be lengthened by several factors, such as manual brightness set to minimum. Note that this duration is allowed by the fact that the screen does not have an always-on-display mode. With such a mode, if it is integrated one day, we can expect autonomy to be halved.
The OnePlus Watch box includes a wireless charging stand for recharging your watch (it does not have a USB Type-C port). The manufacturer promises a week of recharging in 20 minutes. In practice the Watch is capable to refuel from 1 to 60% in this period of time, ie five days. It’s already good. In autonomy, the promise is therefore not kept. Realme, offers much better on the same price segment, for comparison.