OnePlus Watch Test: The Watch That We Had Idealized Too Much
On the sidelines of the presentation of its OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro (tested here), the Chinese manufacturer presented the OnePlus Watch, its first connected watch. This arrives on an already crowded market but has a strong argument for it: its price. €159. A fairly low price because of its services. Indeed, OnePlus promises audio calls, onboard music, 110 sports activities, many sensors, etc. It’s simple, and the Chinese brand seems to be doing the trick with its smartphones: offering a high-end product at a tight price.
Price And Availability
The OnePlus Watch will be available on April 30, a few days after the OnePlus 9, which you can find the test here. OnePlus will open its pre-orders on April 14. Attention, only the Classic version will be marketed initially. It has a stainless steel case and a fluoroelastomer strap in midnight black and moonlight silver. Its look is more sporty than the Cobalt Edition expected for next May. More upscale, this model has a cobalt case, a material more resistant than steel, and is fitted with a leather strap. Its price is still unknown.
A Basic Yet Complicated Design
As we have just said, the OnePlus Watch comes in two very different models in terms of finish. We wear the Classic version with a stainless steel case for this test. However, this is a costly watch. In appearance, it is furiously reminiscent of a Galaxy Watch. She has that little something sporty about her.
The use of a fluoroelastomer wristband must have something to do with it. This material has many interesting properties for a “dynamic” watch. Thanks to the presence of fluorine in its composition, it offers excellent resistance to heat, chemicals, bad weather and even fire (a flame). When worn, this bracelet is very comfortable. Besides that, we bugged to install it. Indeed, no pin buckle here.
OnePlus has chosen an attachment identical to the Apple Watch sports bracelet. The principle is to fix the rod in a hole and pass the rest of the bracelet through the loop. A helping hand to take, but this guarantees an excellent hold of the watch. The elastic material of the bracelet also offers excellent tension, allowing the watch to be placed correctly on the wrist without tightening more than reason.
Back to the case. In stainless steel, it has a dark chrome finish. The rendering is shiny and gives the impression of a plastic casing, which seems to us a shame. Especially since OnePlus has worked on its subject with hand finishes. Rather than choosing a straight case, OnePlus wanted to take up the classic codes of watchmaking, giving a curvature to the sides of its watch. A complicated operation to be carried out with machines. It, therefore, requires a hand finish through different polishes.
We step back and discover an imposing watch with 19 mm thickness. It measures 46mm in diameter, and no other sizes are available. It is impressive, especially when you know that Apple is limited to 42 mm and offers an alternative with 38 mm. Admittedly, this is not the only reference in the matter, but it must be recognized that with its 46 mm, OnePlus risks restricting its market to the strongest wrists.
Next, the OnePlus Watch is quite light. Count 45g and 76g with its bracelet. We can counterbalance this first impression with the sobriety of the model. We are dealing with a simple dial without frills. We can barely distinguish the two unique buttons that adorn its right side. One of them, moreover, is subtly surmounted by the name of the brand.
The lugs are nicely drawn, their lines flowing from the case without breakage. Note in passing that the inner corner is 22 mm. OnePlus uses a quick release for its wristbands. The original one can, therefore, easily be changed. In the end, the OnePlus Watch is large, of course, but also discreet and, cut for sport, it is also IP68, allowing you to swim up to 50 meters deep, theoretically.
The OnePlus Watch Screen Won’t Stay On
This is the central part of the watch: its dial. Here, it, therefore, accommodates a 1.39-inch screen. Its definition is 454×454 pixels. What is unfortunate here is that this screen does not cover the entire front face. Rather, it leaves plenty of room for the bezel dressed in concentric circles. On the other hand, we can only welcome using a sapphire crystal to cover this screen. It offers excellent impact resistance and is hard to scratch (9 Mohs).
For reference, this type of glass is most often found on much more expensive watches. It guarantees quality, and at 159 €, it is a feat. Amoled, the screen of the OnePlus Watch offers a deep black. We measured its performance with our X-Rite i1Display Pro Plus probe. The color temperature is 7132K. So it’s bluish, but nothing dramatic for a watch. In brightness, we note a maximum peak of 433 nits; the OnePlus Watch offers four brightness modes: low, medium, high and automatic.
It’s good, but not great either. You may need to cover your watch in direct sunlight to see its information. The problem of peak brightness is inherent in the Oled technology from which AMOLED is derived. However, it offers infinite contrast by turning off its LEDs, which promotes autonomy. Ideal, therefore, for an always-on display, i.e. the screen always on. Yes, but no, since OnePlus does not offer such an option on its watch. OnePlus justifies its choice by explaining that it wanted to favor autonomy.
Leaving the choice to the user seems more reasonable. With this first OnePlus Watch, we are condemned to wear a black screen on the wrist. To wake it up, you have to bring your wrist to yourself; the accelerometer/gyroscope combo recognizes the movement of your elbow. Also, tapping on the screen doesn’t turn it on either. Movement or buttons are the only possibilities.
OnePlus Called A Watch
The OnePlus Watch has a built-in microphone and speaker. A duo is present to allow audio calls. It is Bluetooth with the telephone that it works with. Having used it this way, it fulfills its function. The caller and the called party hear each other distinctly as long as you are not in a noisy environment. The size of the speaker limits the rendering, but it works. We will see this function more as a tool ancillary to sports activities. It is practical for picking up while running without taking out your phone.
OnePlus Makes Its System But Approaches Wear OS
For its connected watch, OnePlus has decided to go it alone. There is no Android Wear, but Smart Wear is the manufacturer’s new in-house operating system. However, the Google system was under study, and the two firms have worked together for this purpose. But by starting Smart Wear, we find the paw of Google.
There is the same drop-down menu grouping all the applications, a top pane allowing access to shortcuts and different windows allowing quick access to some applications. Everything works well and is intuitive. We did not observe any slowdown during our test. OnePlus offers various watch faces through its companion app interface.
There are quite a few, but they have the merit of being clear and useful, especially if you want to have your nose on your health information. It is also possible to use a personal photo as wallpaper. To be configured in the application again. Like any well-connected watch, the of OnePlus allows you to receive notifications. They are found here in the bottom pane of the screen. We are then warned by vibration, but the screen remains off. You have to unlock the watch to view them. Tedious.
Regarding the applications, well, since we are dealing with a new proprietary OS, we have to do with those preinstalled. No app store currently exists for this watch. The classic functions, such as the stopwatch, the timer, the weather and even the TV connection, are nevertheless present. The latter allows you to control your TV from your watch, like Android Wear with a Google TV. The problem is that this interaction only works with OnePlus televisions distributed outside of India.
A function that confirms that we have a preview of the OnePlus Watch in our hands. The other functions/applications of the watch are sport oriented. You can measure your heart rate, of course, but also your SpO2, which corresponds to the oxygen saturation in the blood. Sleep, stress, and breathing are other interesting functions allowing you to know yourself better. It should be noted in this respect that there is no function for monitoring menstrual cycles, as can be found at Garmin in particular.
The OnePlus Watch Is Quasi-Autonomous
Athletes will agree it is good to go out to do sports without weighing down your smartphone. In this sense, a complete watch is ideal. The OnePlus Watch tends towards this objective without achieving it perfectly. When you play sports, you have to track your activity. OnePlus claims to reference more than 110 activities. During our test, the watch only offered us 14. However, the classic ones are running, cycling, swimming, rowing or mountaineering. Free training allows you to customize your training.
It remains light since you choose the duration or the number of calories to burn. From a sports point of view, we are far from the tenors of the sector like Polar or Garmin. However, for a dabbler sports watch, the OnePlus Watch should deliver. And to follow its activity, it is equipped with GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and even Beidou, the Chinese navigation system. We can therefore leave with peace of mind.
Another interesting function during his sports sessions: was the music player. Impossible to have Spotify or Deezer on your OnePlus watch, but you can load your music there. It has 2 GB of storage that can be used for this purpose, enough to load around 500 songs. You can pair headphones or a Bluetooth headset to the watch to listen. He only needs a contactless payment system to pick up bread on his way home from jogging. And once back, you can also synchronize your data with Google Fit (to be associated beforehand), enough to allow specialists to retrieve their data on Strava then.
A False Theoretical Autonomy
When announcing its watch, OnePlus struck a blow by announcing a 15-day autonomy. AMOLED screen, limited maximum brightness, always-on-display unavailable, all the ingredients (good or bad) are there to promote autonomy. The OnePlus Watch is equipped with a 402 mAh battery. During our use, we were losing about 10% per day. After the first day of playing with the watch, it stayed on our wrists undisturbed. It is, therefore, the natural decline that is reflected there.
We would therefore be at 10 days of autonomy by extrapolating, and this, without sports activity and therefore without requesting the GPS. If the current autonomy is far from the promise, it is not ridiculous, but below some competitors like the recent Realme Watch S Pro tested here. Finally, a proprietary cable is in the box to charge the OnePlus Watch. OnePlus promises 10 days of battery life in 20 minutes of charging. We regain 60% of battery, or 6 days according to our experience.
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