OnePlus Watch: a premium look without the premium price

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OnePlus has created a connected watch.

One Plus / Screenshot by CNET

OnePlus has entered the wearable market with its new OnePlus watch, a seemingly high-end smartwatch in terms of looks and features, but at a lower price than the competition. The $ 159 OnePlus Watch (£ 149, around AU $ 270) has a lot to offer. It has a sleek design, advanced health sensors to keep an eye on blood oxygen and stress levels, and a week (or more) of battery life that could put the Samsung Galaxy Watch on and on. Apple watch to shame.


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But it is not without flaws. It is not (yet) compatible with iOS devices and contains fewer third-party apps.

In addition to its new watch, OnePlus also introduced two new phones, the Oneplus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro.


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Simple and circular design

At first glance, the OnePlus watch strikingly resembles the Galaxy Watch Active, Samsung’s $ 250 sports watch. It has a round dial and an AMOLED touchscreen enclosed in a stainless steel frame. But unlike the Galaxy Watch Active, which comes in two sizes, the OnePlus Watch is only available in a 46mm case with interchangeable watch bands that can be swapped out for third-party alternatives. The watch also lacks a rotating bezel or digital crown, and you’ll have to use either the touchscreen or two side buttons to navigate. It’s comfortable to wear, but I was amazed at how massive it looked once I strapped it to my mid-sized wrist.

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Oneplus

Basic smartwatch functionality

The OnePlus Watch does everything you’d expect from a smartwatch in 2021: display and respond to notifications, make and answer phone calls, listen to music, and serve as a remote control for your phone’s camera and OnePlus TV. But it doesn’t have Spotify support or any other music app for that matter. Instead, it comes with 2GB of internal storage for music. That translates to around 500 songs, which you can listen to on the go when paired with Bluetooth headphones. It’s only compatible with OnePlus and other Android phones at the moment, but the company says support for iOS will come in time.

Health and fitness features go beyond the basics

The watch also tracks your basic fitness with over 110 different workout types to choose from and automatically logs your runs whether or not you have your phone with you. It has built-in GPS and 5ATM IP68 rating, which makes it safe for swim tracking.

It also goes beyond the basics and can measure SpO2 (blood oxygen levels) on demand, as well as detect stress levels and signal abnormally high heart rates. We will report on the accuracy of the fitness and health features once we are able to test it for ourselves.

Battery life for days

The other big selling point of the OnePlus Watch aside from the price is its battery life. Even if it does not last the two weeks of normal use that the company claims (one week of shooting all cylinders), it is still miles ahead of the Galaxy Watch 3 and Apple Watch, which barely hit the 48-hour mark.

The watch also charges quickly: you can get a full day of battery life in five minutes on the charger, or wait 20 minutes for a week of charging.

Time will tell us

The One Plus watch appears to tick all the boxes when it comes to price, features, and design, but the jury is still out on whether the company’s first smartwatch can deliver on all of its promises. Once I’m done testing it, I can tell you if it’s as good as it looks.

The OnePlus watch goes on sale April 14. It is available from Oneplus.


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