Much like the way the iPad has been the benchmark for tablets, the Apple Watch has been the standard against which all smartwatches are inevitably compared. The Apple Watch dominates the smartwatch category globally, so it makes sense that companies want to learn and emulate Apple’s formula. For it was Steve Jobs who famously said, “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” The reason I mention the Apple Watch is because it’s a clear source of inspiration for the OPPO Watch, which is the actual subject of our review today.
The OPPO Watch is the first ever smartwatch from the brand. It comes with an AMOLED display and curved glass on top. The wearable runs Google Wear OS and comes with features like heart-rate tracking, sleep detection, and more. I tested the OPPO Watch for a few days and here’s my review.
At a starting price of Rs 14,990, the OPPO Watch is quite easily one of the best Android smartwatches in the Indian market. There’s aren’t a lot of good affordable Wear OS options out there, to be honest, which is why the OPPO Watch impresses with its premium design language, smooth and simple user interface, and an excellent display.
OPPO Watch design and display
The OPPO Watch has clearly been inspired by the Apple Watch in terms of packaging and design. It comes in a long box that includes the wireless charger. The silicone watch strap is similar to the one you find on the Apple Watch. And the body itself is square rather than circular. The curved glass doesn’t really offer any benefits for content on the screen but does make swiping through the UI smooth and comfortable.
The OPPO Watch does not feel cheap. In addition to a smooth curved glass on top, you get a frame that is made up of aluminium alloy. I received the 46mm variant, which is a good size, especially for those with bigger wrists. There are two flat buttons on the right side of the frame, one of which has a nice green accent, similar to what you find on some OPPO phones. I feel the one thing OPPO really should have picked up from the Apple Watch is the rotating crown, which would have made navigating through the UI easier. You also get a speaker on the left side of the watch for calls, listening to the onboard assistant, and more.
The Apple Watch-like silicone straps are of decent quality, but they did feel uncomfortable on the wrist on a humid day as it lacks breathability. The watch weighs over 39 grams, which is heavier than my Apple Watch Series 3. I could definitely feel the weight when switching from my Apple Watch to the OPPO Watch.
The 46mm variant of the OPPO Watch sports a 1.91-inch dual-curved AMOLED display with a 402 x 476 resolution, while the 41mm version offers a flat 1.6-inch screen with a 320 x 360 resolution. As I mentioned earlier, the curved screen on the 46mm variant doesn’t offer any practical use, but it looks great when scrolling and seeing content flow on the sides. The whole display in fact, looks great with punchy, vivid colours and good viewing angles.
I found the auto brightness to be iffy when running outdoors under bright sunlight and had to manually adjust the brightness settings, which can be quite annoying. I feel OPPO has capped peak auto brightness in order to conserve battery life, which I suppose is understandable when you look at how average the battery life is.
OPPO Watch connectivity
The OPPO Watch works on both Android and iOS phones, but the experience you get is slightly different. For example, you can respond to notifications only if the OPPO Watch is paired with an Android phone. Moreover, you can experience a seamless and quick pairing when connecting the smartwatch to an OPPO phone.
To properly set up the OPPO Watch, you will need to install a few apps such as WearOS, Google Fit, and HeyTap. The former two are available on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store while the HeyTap app is only available on Android. OPPO’s HeyTap app is only really helpful for accessing the AI watch face feature. The feature allows you to create a customised watch face based on the clothes you wear by taking a picture of your outfit.
I used the OPPO Watch with my iPhone XR and the OPPO Reno4 Pro during the review period and found the connection to be quite stable and reliable throughout. The watch comes with built-in GPS, which is able to track your workout route quite accurately. It also comes with NFC support, allowing you to make contactless payment.
The OPPO Watch is powered by the Snapdragon Wear 3100, which is a dated chipset. However, I never felt any sluggishness while using the watch. In fact, I found the smartwatch quite responsive and fluid To use. Scrolling through the UI, starting a workout, talking to Google Assistant all felt quick and lag-free. You get 8GB of storage onboard, which I think is enough to store some apps and songs.
If it wasn’t clear by now, the OPPO Watch runs on Wear OS. This is the first time I’m testing a smartwatch with Wear OS and that’s because there aren’t a lot of good, affordable smartwatches with Wear OS in the Indian market. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by how well Wear OS works on the OPPO Watch. Animations are nice and the circular app icons look pleasing and colourful.
The OPPO Watch comes preloaded with apps like weather, timer, alarm, sleep tracker, Google Translate, and so on. You can tap on the Play Store icon to download more third-party apps like Spotify, Nike Run Club, Telegram, Messages, Google Maps, among others. I tried out Google Maps and it worked pretty well, provided you have your Android phone with you.
Let’s talk about health features now. The OPPO Watch comes with a limited set of pre-loaded workouts like fitness run, outdoor walk, outdoor cycling, and swimming (the 46mm variant is 5ATM water-resistant). You can download more fitness apps from the Play Store, of course. I couldn’t try out a lot of the workout modes due to the pandemic situation. I did check out the running and walking workouts, and found the steps tracking and heart rate monitoring to be fairly close to the figures shown by my Apple Watch Series 3.
The OPPO Watch comes with a sleep tracking app that I found was pretty accurate at detecting when I went to sleep at night and when I woke up. It will show data on your light and deep sleep patterns, and you can see your performance over days, weeks, months, or years through the HeyTap app.
The 46mm model comes with a 430mAh battery that will last you a full day but that’s all you can expect out of it. On most days, after fully charging the battery in the morning, I was left with about 20 percent by night time. I was a little disappointed by this as I had to charge the watch once at night if I wanted the sleep tracker to work all night. While my Apple Watch Series 3 is also nothing to write home about when it comes to battery life, I could still count on it to last through the night as it consistently delivered a day and a half worth of juice on a single charge. In this regard, I feel the Huawei Watch GT 2e (review) does a stellar job in the battery department.
On a more positive note, the OPPO Watch supports VOOC fast charging, which takes about 15 minutes to charge the watch up to 50 percent and roughly 45 minutes to fully charge the device. You can also enable the power saver mode which drastically reduces the functionality of the watch if you want to get some extra juice out of it.
The OPPO Watch is the Apple Watch of the Android world. The smartwatch borrows a lot of elements from Apple’s wearables, but OPPO manages to make it it’s own. The OPPO Watch works on several levels. It comes with an affordable price tag. It offers an attractive design and a stunning AMOLED display. It also gets some neat fitness features and makes for a good companion to your Android phone, especially your OPPO phone.
My biggest issue with the OPPO Watch was the battery life which requires you to charge the device every day. But if you don’t mind charging the watch every day, the OPPO Watch is a capable smartwatch and an excellent first attempt by the brand. If you’re looking for a good yet affordable Wear OS smartwatch, look no further than the OPPO Watch.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Stunning AMOLED display
- Attractive design
- Smooth user experience
- Battery life could have been better
- Iffy auto-brightness