Wearables

Lots of Promise for Just $159


I’ll admit, I was pretty skeptical before unboxing the first smartwatch from OnePlus, aptly named the OnePlus Watch. At $159, it’s less than half the price of our Editors’ Choice winner, the Apple Watch Series 6 (which starts at $399), and while it doesn’t work with iPhones, it offers many of the same features as Apple’s market-leading wearable.

Now, I’ve only been testing it for a day, but so far, my skepticism appears to have been unfounded. For $159, the OnePlus Watch offers a large color touch screen, built-in GPS, 2GB of storage, a 402mAh battery that promises two weeks of power, and the ability to make and receive calls. Its also has plenty of health and fitness features, including support for more than 110 workout types, automatic workout detection for jogging and running, rapid heart rate alerts, guided breathing exercises, stress detection, and the ability to measure your blood oxygen saturation. To find all of these features in any other wearable, be prepared to spend a lot more than $159.

OnePlus Watch

I’m in the process of testing the OnePlus Watch now. My full review won’t be ready until next week, but I have some thoughts to share before then. 


Bigger Isn’t Always Better 

When it comes to wearables, aesthetics are important. After all, you’re not going to want to wear something on your wrist every day if you don’t like the way it looks. From a design perspective, the OnePlus Watch has its pros and cons. 

For me, this watch is just too big. With a 46.4mm case, it’s one of the largest smartwatches I’ve tested. To give you some context, let’s compare it with the Apple Watch, which you’ve likely seen in person. Well, the largest watch in Apple’s current lineup has a 44mm case, which means the OnePlus Watch is even bigger. 

OnePlus Watch

Left to right: Apple Watch Series 6, OnePlus Watch, Polar Grit X

After testing the tiny Garmin Lily, I have a newfound appreciation for small wearables. The Lily has become my daily driver not necessarily because of its features—though it does pack a lot into its 34mm case—but for its stylish, feminine design. 

OnePlus Watch

If you have a small wrist like me, or if you simply prefer a smaller watch, that alone might be enough to make you consider something different. On the other hand, if you have a bigger wrist, chances are it’ll look just fine on you. And in that case, the size of the watch is actually an asset, as it has a large display that offers plenty of real estate to see your metrics and notifications.

Aside from case size, the OnePlus Watch measures less than half an inch thick (0.43 inches) and weighs 2.6 ounces with its fluoroelastomer (synthetic rubber) strap, or 1.5 ounces without it. It has a 5ATM water-resistance rating, so it’s safe to swim with. Overall, it feels secure, comfortable, and fairly light on my wrist. I wore it to bed last night and in the shower this morning without issue. 

OnePlus Watch


Aesthetic Appeal

The OnePlus Watch is an attractive wearable that will transition well from work, to the gym, to a night out. With its stainless steel case and black strap, it has a decidedly masculine look. Adding to the appeal is a 2.5D curved glass face with a series of subtle rings around the bezel. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on what those rings reminded me of. Then I looked at the press release and saw that OnePlus calls it a “CD pattern,” which is an apt description.  

OnePlus Watch

Some other smartwatch makers, including Apple and Garmin, release small and large models of their products with several different case and strap colors and materials to appeal to a wide range of prospective users. The only other model OnePlus has announced is a Cobalt Limited Edition version, and details about it are scant. There’s no word yet on pricing or availability, but that model will be made from hypoallergenic colbalt alloy, which OnePlus says is twice as hard as stainless steel and more resistant to corrosion. Its face has also been upgraded to specially treated sapphire glass with a Mohs hardness rating of 9 out of 10.

Left to right: Polar Ignite 2, OnePlus Watch, Garmin Lily

A OnePlus spokesperson says the black strap is the only one the company plans to sell in North America, but the watch is compatible with third-party bands. To feminize it a bit, I swapped the stock band out for a white one from the Polar Grit X (a standard 22mm quick-release strap), and it went on fine. 


A Responsive Touch Screen and Intuitive Navigation 

The watch’s 1.39-inch, 454-by-454-pixel AMOLED display is bright, beautiful, and exceptionally responsive. 

OnePlus Watch

Many other wearables, even more expensive ones like the $329.95 Fitbit Sense and the $229.95 Polar Ignite 2, can sometimes feel a bit laggy because they don’t respond to touch inputs on the first try. I haven’t had that problem with the OnePlus Watch. In my limited testing, the screen responsiveness has been on par with the Apple Watch, which is a good thing. 

The interface is colorful, well organized, and easy to navigate using the touch screen and two physical buttons on the right side of the case. You can swipe left to view tiles such as your heart rate, sleep metrics, and music controls. Swipe up for notifications and down for settings such as alarms and Do No Disturb mode. To go back, simply swipe right. The top button opens the app list, while the bottom button is a function/power key you can customize to quickly open the app of your choice (by default it’s set to the Workout app, and I’ll probably keep it that way). I’ve only been wearing the watch for a day, and I already feel comfortable navigating it. 

It’s worth noting that the watch is running on OnePlus Watch OS. It’s based on an RTOS (real-time operating system), which is an embedded system based on an open-source platform. I’m curious to see what the means for third-party app support.

OnePlus Watch


Stay Tuned

Given its low price and robust feature set, the OnePlus Watch looks pretty promising. I’ll be putting it through its paces over the next week, testing everything from its blood oxygen and stress apps to its calling features and music controls. 

Stay tuned for all the details, and in the meantime, check out our reviews of the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro. And for other wearable options, be sure to see our picks for the best smartwatches and fitness trackers. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *