The OPPO Watch will be launched together with the OPPO Reno4 Pro on 15 Aug 2020. It’s OPPO’s first smartwatch and it runs on Android Wear OS with customised features that could have been mistaken as stock Android, thanks to its cohesive colour scheme with Google.
The 41mm version retails at S$299 with a battery life of 24 hours, while the 46mm version goes for S$399 with about 36 hours of battery life. They run on 2 processors: the Snapdragon Wear 3100 and Ambiq Micro’s Apollo3 Wireless SoC. When running on power saver mode, the watch can last up to 21 days even with message notifications, step tracking and heartrate monitoring. The watch supports Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can actually get content directly from your home network. It also supports NFC, GPS, but turning them on will definitely drain the battery faster. The 41mm watch offers 3ATM water resistance while the 46mm model supports 5 ATM. With built-in speakers and mic, you can make calls over via Bluetooth.
Since the watch runs on Wear OS, it means the watch is compatible with any Android smartphones as well as iOS, as long as you install the Wear OS app. You are encouraged to also install the HeyTap Health app which allows tracking data to be synced from the watch.
I believe many people will compare the OPPO Watch with Apple Watch and casually claim it’s a copy. There may be some truth because the Apple Watch design element is very recognisable and I believe OPPO is targeting these consumers who likes the Apple Watch look. However, OPPO Watch does come with its own design characteristics. For instance, instead of the watch crown, there are 2 buttons; instead of the slide-out watch band, the OPPO Watch detaches directly. Also, the 46mm version has a prominently curved display similar to the OPPO Reno4 Pro.
In my opinion, a square smartwatch is better than the round one as it maximises information display and offers a more reliable edge swipe actions. The screen-to-weight ratio is also higher because there is no thick bezels: well, there isn’t many makers who opted for bezel-less round smartwatch design so far, as everyone seems to want their smartwatches to look like a traditional watch.
The OPPO Watch offers one of the more intuitive user experiences on an Android wearable. That’s because swiping all 4 directions will trigger different content appearing. From top, you get the shortcut icons. From bottom, you get the notification list. From left, you get the Google Assistant cards. From right, you get the customisable widget tiles.
And because it’s Wear OS, you can install selected apps from the Google Play Store so that you can access the apps directly from the watch instead of the phone, for instance, Messages.
The watch runs smoothly, the touch actions are responsive and accurate, the whole device just feels very polished. The only major disappointment is the lacklustre battery life, but fortunately it can last more than 24 hours, so I think I could live with charging the watch daily during a fixed routine, for instance, during my shower. Thank goodness, the watch supports VOOC Flash Charging, so it takes less than an hour to charge it in full.
The watch tracks steps, heartrate, sleep, and activities, which most fitness tracker offers. What’s special is that each function represents a colour and you can easily see the progress from your watch face.
During workout session, the watch plays out the statuses to motivate you. You can monitor your distance, space, heartrate, calorie burned by lifting your wrist. It supports tracking activities like running, swimming, cycling, walking. You can also use Google Fit to track other activities. Once the workout is completed, the data would be synced to the smartphone app with all the data for your analysis.
As a first attempt, the OPPO Watch is getting some fundamentals right. My only major concern is the battery life, but two factors mitigate my concern: it lasts more than 24 hours confidently, and it charges rapidly. It’s also no benefit unless makers can extend the battery life by more than 48 hours, if not I would still need to charge every day in case it could not last the following day. What sets OPPO Watch aside is that the Battery Saver mode is also quite a capable smartwatch with some tracking functions so that I could switch over to use without disrupting my tracking data.
I think OPPO should continue to develop the OPPO Watch ecosystem to offer a differentiating solution. Since Samsung and Huawei are in their respective proprietary formats, the OPPO Watch running on Wear OS offers a refreshing option, especially with its square format at a more reasonable price point than Samsung and other traditional watch brands like Fossil. It also does not have compatibility issues and the need to install numerous plugin apps as evident from Samsung and Huawei just to get the companion smartwatches to work with other-brand phones.
- Smooth UX
- Square design maximises UI display for easy reading of notifications
- Supports Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, speaker, mic, 5 ATM waterproof
- Poor battery life
- Constrained by Wear OS platform with has stagnated development
- NFC not useful at the moment as Google Pay is not supported yet