OnePlus Watch launched in India: Here are our initial thoughts
It’s taken more years than I’ve kept count of, but OnePlus’ first smartwatch is finally here, the somewhat predictably named but highly anticipated OnePlus Watch. Missed the weeks of hype and last night’s announcement? While my opinions on the Watch are reserved for when I get some time with OnePlus’ latest wearable, here’s what you need to know about the OnePlus Watch and some of the factors to consider around OnePlus’ latest wearable.
Hardware: To begin with, the OnePlus Watch follows the likes of Amazfit and Samsung in its circular design, eschewing the squircle design popularized by the Apple Watch and more recently, the Oppo Watch. The case itself is made of stainless steel, in silver and black, with a 1.39-inch AMOLED display covered with sapphire glass adorning the rather substantial front of the Watch. Under the hood, it comes with 1GB of memory, 4GB of storage (for music, so you can leave your phone behind when on a run), integrated speakers and support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, but there’s no cellular variant for standalone connectivity. Interestingly, the OnePlus Watch comes with both IP68 and 5ATM (50 meters for 10 minutes) ratings for protection against water and dust.
Size: There’s a lot to be said about the classy, minimalist design once the Watch is in my hands (and on my wrist), but I’m not entirely sure the one-size-fits-all approach works, especially when that one size is a massive 46mm round dial. There’s a fair section of women in the audience who love their OnePlus phones and unless they lean towards oversized dials on their wrists, the OnePlus Watch isn’t going to cut it for them.
Fitness: The OnePlus Watch covers not only all the basics – heart rate monitoring, sleep and stress monitoring and even the du jour blood oxygen saturation – but it’s gone the extra bit to check off the fitness boxes on the Watch, with over 110 workout modes, built-in GPS and aforementioned water and dust resistance. Paired with the OnePlus Health app, you can track workout metrics like calories burnt, distance and speed, and even some swimming-specific metrics, while keeping an eye on your heart rate and activity levels to alert you when you should calm down or stand up! There’s auto-detection for workouts, a feature that one has seen previously on the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy wearables.
Platform: In a move that surprised no one, OnePlus looked past Google’s Wear OS to kit the Watch with OnePlus Watch OS, a platform the company has built on top of RTOS (real-time operating system, similar to what companies like Fitbit do). The Watch will connect to your Android phone – yep, iPhones aren’t supported at launch – with a companion app for handling all your calls, notifications and all the first-party apps and watchfaces that OnePlus builds in-house. While that does mean that owners will be limited, at least initially, in terms of choice of apps and watchfaces, there are distinct benefits to this approach. Battery life, for one, remains the bane of most smartwatches, and the claimed battery life on the OnePlus Watch puts it on par with many fitness bands. What’s more, the OnePlus Watch will fit right into your OnePlus ecosystem, if you’re a fan of the brand and have a OnePlus TV – the Watch can be used as a remote while you’re watching, and it’ll even turn the TV off if it detects you’ve fallen asleep on the couch.
Battery Life and Charging: With a 402mAh battery, OnePlus claims the Watch will last most folks two weeks of “sustainable use”, or a week for the power users out there. Staying on brand, OnePlus has equipped the Watch with its own ‘Warp Charge” fast charging system which delivers a day’s worth of power in just five minutes and a week’s worth in just twenty!
Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar