OnePlus Watch Review: Good hardware plagued by bad software

The OnePlus Watch appears and appears like a premium smartwatch with out the value tag to match. For $159 (£149, roughly AU$270) the OnePlus Watch provides fundamental smartwatch options like getting notifications out of your cellphone, plus superior well being options like blood oxygen monitoring, excessive and low coronary heart price alerts and a giant battery that may final for every week or extra. On paper, it sounds nearly too good to be true, in apply, it’s. 

In my week of testing I skilled severe connectivity points and located a number of the well being metrics to be inaccurate. In its present state it is exhausting to suggest the OnePlus Watch, however I anticipate it to evolve and enhance within the coming months as the corporate addresses a few of these points within the public model of the app.

Like

  • Elegant, round design
  • Cheaper than its rivals
  • Battery lasts every week (or longer)

Do not Like

  • Watch often loses reference to the cellphone
  • Coronary heart price knowledge is unreliable
  • No cell funds

For the aim of this evaluate I used to be given an early model of the OnePlus Well being app, which I loaded onto my Samsung Galaxy S20 Extremely. The OnePlus Watch is just appropriate with Android gadgets at launch, however the firm says will probably be rolling out iOS compatibility sooner or later. 

The silicon watch bands on the OnePlus Watch are nice for understanding, however can simply be swapped out for third social gathering options. 


Celso Bulgatti/CNET

Nothing low-cost about its design 

It is uncommon for a product to look higher in particular person than in pictures, however the OnePlus Watch is the exception. I used to be instantly taken by its strikingly massive 46mm round display screen, enclosed in a modern stainless-steel body and slim silhouette which rested comfortably on my wrist. I like the easy design: no dials or rotating bezels, simply the contact display screen and two small buttons on the facet. The silicone watch bands can simply swap out with a fast launch button latch. My one criticism with the design is that the watch solely is available in one measurement which overwhelmed my wrist and would swimsuit bigger wrists higher. Luckily, it did not get in my method an excessive amount of throughout sleep.

Very fundamental smartwatch performance 

The OnePlus Watch is Wi-Fi solely, which means it is a completely acceptable cellphone companion (when it truly connects), however is way from a cellphone substitute. It mirrors notifications, makes and solutions cellphone calls, and might function a distant to your cellphone digicam or OnePlus TV. It will probably retailer music, however it’s important to load it manually utilizing the cell app. It has no Spotify assist, or any third social gathering apps for that matter. It additionally lacks NFC for cell funds.

My greatest difficulty with the watch was that the reference to the cellphone was inconsistent. It might randomly disconnect from the cellphone and I would must unlock my cellphone, open the app and generally even re-pair the look ahead to it to sync. This might occur even when the cellphone was in Bluetooth vary. In consequence, I might cease receiving notifications on the watch and the watch would cease transmitting knowledge to the app. 

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Knowledge from the watch did not at all times sync to the OnePlus Well being app on the cellphone. 


Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

Well being and health metrics want work

The watch can observe over 110 completely different exercise varieties together with swimming, because it has a 5ATM IP68 score which implies it’s waterproof all the way down to 50 meters. It is best to be capable to go away your cellphone behind on a run, as a result of the OnePlus Watch does have built-in GPS to trace your route, but it surely’s not essentially the most dependable. I went on a few runs the place the GPS did not join and consequently I could not see my route after I accomplished my run. 

I like that it breaks out your coronary heart price zones based mostly on depth throughout exercises so I may see how exhausting I used to be working in every train, however the numbers had been off. I in contrast the guts price from the watch to my chest strap — the gold customary for monitoring coronary heart price throughout a exercise — and seen some inconsistencies between the 2. Coronary heart price on the OnePlus Watch lagged behind the strap’s throughout my runs and couple be wherever from 5-15 beats per minute off compared in actual time. As soon as on the exercise abstract within the app, the numbers appeared to even out and confirmed a a lot smaller distinction in peak and common bpm between the watch and the chest strap, however when you’re on the lookout for minute by minute accuracy this isn’t the look ahead to you. 

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Coronary heart price knowledge is unreliable on the OnePlus Watch.


Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

Even smartwatches which have obtained medical accreditations like FDA clearance ought to by no means be used rather than a doctor, however the OnePlus Watch missed the mark on extra than simply coronary heart price monitoring throughout a exercise. I wasn’t anticipating hospital grade accuracy from the OnePlusWatch, however having viable coronary heart price knowledge is vital to health monitoring, calculating energy burned and for coronary heart price alerts. 

Along with steady coronary heart price monitoring, the OnePlus Watch additionally alerts you when your coronary heart price is larger or decrease than a sure threshold. I obtained a excessive coronary heart price alert from the watch one morning whereas mendacity in mattress. Involved, I strapped on one other HR tracker to cross-check and my coronary heart price was within the regular vary. The false optimistic from the watch was sufficient to place me on edge for the remainder of the day.

Learn extraOnePlus Watch vs. Apple Watch spec comparability: Not in the identical league

The watch additionally measures SpO2 (blood oxygen ranges) on demand or throughout sleep in addition to stress ranges all through the day utilizing coronary heart price variability. Once I took a studying on demand, the SpO2 knowledge was inside vary of my pulse oximeter (the usual gadget for one of these measurement), however I felt as if the low stress studying was not indicative of my precise stress degree throughout a very nerve-wracking week. This anomaly just isn’t unique to the OnePlus Watch nevertheless, as I’ve had related conflicting outcomes from different coronary heart rate-based stress detectors on different smartwatches. 

The largest difficulty I had was that none of my sleep knowledge synced with the OnePlus Well being app, together with the SpO2 knowledge. Each morning the watch gave me a short sleep abstract on the display screen, which appeared to replicate my exercise at evening, however after six nights with the watch, none of this knowledge ever confirmed up or synced to the app. OnePlus says the ultimate model of the app will deal with the sleep monitoring difficulty, however I’ve but to try it out for myself. I’ll replace this evaluate as soon as I’ve. 

Battery life is on observe 

The one function it does ship on is battery life. I did not must cost it as soon as within the seven days I had it on my wrist. The corporate claims the watch will final two weeks between prices with regular use, however options like SpO2 monitoring at evening and GPS use begin to add up, so I am ending my week with little to spare. That is nonetheless miles forward of the battery life from a few of its rivals just like the Apple Watch SE and Galaxy Watch Energetic 2 — which do not go previous the two-day mark — and never having to cost it each evening earlier than mattress is nice for sleep monitoring, so long as you’ll be able to truly get the watch to sync within the morning to see your knowledge. However regardless of the long-lasting battery, you do sacrifice sure issues like an at all times on show (it is raise-to-wake solely) and total display screen brightness as I discovered it exhausting to see the display screen in direct daylight even with the brightness set to most. 

The watch prices shortly: You will get a full day of energy from 5 minutes on the charger, or wait 20 minutes for every week’s value of cost.

Pending fixes, proceed with warning

The OnePlus Watch is the corporate’s first smartwatch so I anticipate it to get higher with time. When you’re already within the OnePlus ecosystem, the value alone needs to be purpose sufficient to think about it, as soon as the corporate has had extra time to iron out the kinks. Whereas it does most of what it guarantees on paper, it was significantly buggy at launch. The excellent news is that this will enhance as OnePlus fixes its syncing and software program points with subsequent app updates. However the inconsistencies in metrics like coronary heart price monitoring throughout a exercise and excessive coronary heart price alerts could also be more durable to repair, and I nonetheless would not depend on this as a severe sports activities watch.