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OnePlus Watch buyer's guide: Everything you need to know
OnePlus fans and wearable enthusiasts have been clamoring for a OnePlus smartwatch ever since rumors of such a device first popped up years ago. After dipping its toe in the water with the limited-release OnePlus Band, the company follows up with its first globally available smartwatch, the aptly named OnePlus Watch. OnePlus makes some lofty promises here, but does it deliver in an increasingly competitive space? Here’s everything you need to know.
Our verdict: OnePlus Watch review — Don’t settle for this one
OnePlus Watch at a glance
The highly anticipated OnePlus Watch launched alongside the OnePlus 9 series. It’s technically the company’s second entry into the wearable space and follows the OnePlus Band. However, it is the first smartwatch from OnePlus and sees a far wider release than the fitness tracker. The OnePlus Watch is available in the US and various European markets this time, along with India, China, and other Asian countries.
On paper, the OnePlus Watch ticks all the right boxes. It offers all the features you’d expect from a smartwatch with a focus on fitness, including heart rate tracking and SpO2 monitoring, and comes with other sensors like a barometer and compass. You can take advantage of up to 110 fitness modes, with the caveat that most will be available with upcoming software updates. The watch also has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.
OnePlus aims to deliver on a couple of key factors that make for an excellent smartwatch — affordability and battery life. OnePlus claims a 14-day battery life, and it is certainly one of the cheapest smartwatches you can get right now, considering everything it brings to the table.
Is the OnePlus Watch worth buying?
After reading the “at a glance” section, I wouldn’t be surprised if you expected an enthusiastic “YES” regarding whether the OnePlus Watch is worth buying. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to recommend it in its current form. As good as the OnePlus Watch is on paper, it doesn’t deliver in areas that would make a smartwatch “smart.”
We can see what OnePlus was attempting to do here, but the watch mostly falls short. Its smart features are basic and no better than what you’d get with a generic fitness tracker that’s a third of the price. The OnePlus Health app needs a lot of work and provides an inconsistent experience. That’s a shame because the OnePlus Watch is a good fitness tracker. Step tracking, calorie counts, heart rate tracking, and SpO2 monitoring are all fairly accurate, sleep tracking is solid, and its GPS capabilities are strong.
No, the OnePlus Watch is not worth buying.
But there are plenty of fitness trackers that are excellent for, well, tracking fitness, and most of them are cheaper. The OnePlus Watch is an affordable smartwatch but doesn’t do nearly enough to be considered one. Yet.
OnePlus has been great with updating its phones to add features and fix problems, and the OnePlus Watch will likely receive the same attention. The OnePlus Health app will continue to improve. Many fitness modes will be available soon, and the basic watch OS will hopefully see major upgrades quickly. There’s a lot of potential here, but it’s not worth buying, for now, even though its price tag is particularly enticing.
The OnePlus Watch series is ideal for:
- Anyone looking for an inexpensive smartwatch (even though it’s more of an expensive fitness tracker in its current form)
- Anyone who wants good health and fitness tracking features
- Anyone who has a OnePlus smartphone
The OnePlus Watch may not be for you if:
- You’re looking for full-fledged smartwatch features
- You don’t want to overpay for a simplistic smartwatch
- You have an iPhone — the watch is currently only compatible with Android devices
What reviewers are saying about the OnePlus Watch
In his review, Android Authority’s Dhruv Bhutani says there’s certainly potential here. The design is simple, but the build quality is solid, the battery life is impressive, and “there’s scope for excellent fitness tracking.” However, the app feels unfinished, and the software completely diminishes the experience.
As good as the fitness tracking will eventually be, there’s already a sea of established alternatives available that are similarly priced or cheaper. The OnePlus Watch isn’t yet a worthy alternative to expensive smartwatches, and as Dhruv puts it, “OnePlus is charging far too much money for its glorified fitness tracker.”
What other reviewers from around the web think
Here’s what reviewers from other publications have to say about the OnePlus Watch.
- The Verge’s Dan Seifert says “OnePlus’ first smartwatch is missing a lot of what makes a smartwatch smart.” He says OnePlus’ decision to opt for proprietary software based on RTOS gives the watch a huge advantage in battery life but results in a lackluster software experience otherwise. There’s not much you can do with notifications, there’s no third-party app support, and the watch also lacks a voice assistant. He says “the OnePlus Watch may look like a lot of other smartwatches, but I can’t say it compares well to them.”
- CNET’s Vanessa Hand Orellana says that while the OnePlus Watch checks the right boxes in terms of looks, battery life, and features, she found the health tracking unreliable and faced issues with maintaining a connection with the mobile app. Orellana says, “If you’re already in the OnePlus ecosystem, the price alone should be reason enough to consider it once the company has had more time to iron out the kinks.” She adds that while sync and software issues can be addressed with software updates, fixing unreliable health tracking might be harder.
- On the other hand, TechRadar’s David Lumb says, “the OnePlus Watch is a great first smartwatch from OnePlus, blowing pricier rivals away in a couple of key areas, with sleek looks and week-long battery life.” He says that while its functionality is limited compared to Wear OS devices, the Galaxy Watch 3, and the Apple Watch, it’s up to the task as far as the basics are concerned. He adds that it’s a well-built watch that is similar to the far more expensive competition, offers “some of the best battery life we’ve seen in a smartwatch,” and is an all-around good option for the price.
What AA readers think of the OnePlus Watch
After the device was announced, we asked our readers if they would consider buying the OnePlus Watch. The majority answered with “Yes” with close to 40% of the total vote, while another 35% were undecided.
OnePlus Watch specs
454 x 454 resolution
Dimensions and weight
46.4 x 46.4 x 10.9mm (without sensor base)
316L stainless steel
Cobalt alloy (only for limited edition)
Midnight Black, Moonlight Silver
Air pressure sensor (Barometer)
Optical heart rate
100+ workout modes
Bluetooth 5.0 BLE
Android 5.0 and above
No iOS support
Design and hardware
OnePlus plays it safe when it comes to the OnePlus Watch’s design. It has a round display with a bezel around it and a couple of buttons on the side. It’s a design we’ve seen plenty of times. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a well-built watch. It looks the part of a premium smartwatch but at half the price of its smartwatch competition.
The 1.39-inch AMOLED display is a highlight of the watch. The 2.5D curved glass on top looks and feels great, and the screen is bright enough for comfortable outdoor viewing. You get a wide selection of watch faces to choose from, but you’re out of luck if you’re hoping for third-party watch face support. A bigger miss is the lack of an always-on display, which didn’t roll out to the watch until weeks after its announcement.
There are two buttons on the side — one for the menu and the other serving as a quick access key that defaults to the workout modes. Most other navigation is done by swiping on the display, and that works well. You get a straightforward silicon band with the OnePlus Watch. The rubber is soft and doesn’t attract much grime. The watch also uses a standard 22mm strap size, so you can easily switch out the strap for another one with the universal fitting.
Other features include IP68 and 5ATM ratings. This means you can submerge the OnePlus Watch by as much as 50 meters for up to 10 minutes. Suffice it to say, you can take it for a swim.
Overall, the OnePlus Watch’s design is neat and clean, if maybe a bit boring. In his review, Dhruv also liked the weight of the watch. He says, “it feels more like a well-built analog watch than a fitness tracker.”
How does the OnePlus Watch perform?
The OnePlus Watch works well and does everything it’s supposed to do. Unfortunately, that’s not a whole lot just yet. In his review, Dhruv mentions the OnePlus Watch is “really just a fitness watch with some “smart” features tacked on.” It makes sense, given OnePlus’ choice to opt for an RTOS software platform. Google’s Wear OS is far from flawless. It’s packed with features and enough app support to provide a solid standalone experience, though. That’s far from the case with the OnePlus Watch.
There’s no smart assistant support, and the most you can do with notifications is swipe them away. A handful of apps come with the option for canned responses, but that’s about it. The available apps — there’s no third-party app support — work as expected. The weather, alarm, stopwatch, timer, and flashlight apps are good, and additions like the barometer and compass will be useful once we’re actually allowed to go outside. You can also take advantage of a “find my phone” app, answer calls on the watch, and use it to control a OnePlus TV if you have one.
4GB of built-in storage, of which 2GB is available to users, lets you add your favorite songs to the watch using the OnePlus Health app. These are Bluetooth transfers, though, so be prepared for a long wait if you have many tracks to add. You can’t play the music through the built-in speaker either.
The watch connects to your phone using Bluetooth, and you’ll need to be connected to receive notifications. The strength of the connection has been a mixed bag across the board. While Dhruv was impressed with the robustness of the Bluetooth connection, quite a few reviewers have faced issues with keeping the watch connected to the phone.
Fitness tracking is the OnePlus Watch’s biggest selling point, at least in Dhruv’s experience during his review. The watch is packed with sensors. It does a good job of tracking the basics like steps, daily caloric burn, and distance, and is also excellent at heart rate monitoring and blood oxygen saturation monitoring. With more than a hundred fitness modes to choose from, you’ll undoubtedly be covered regardless of the type of activity. It’s also a fantastic option when it comes to sleep tracking. Sleeping with a big and bulky watch on your wrist can be uncomfortable, though.
The OnePlus Watch isn’t lacking in hardware, and the watch OS works well for what it is. The main issue is the OnePlus Health app. It’s too basic. There are plenty of pretty graphs and numbers, but the app doesn’t explain how it reaches those scores. The good news is that the app will continue to see improvements as we go along, so it’s not all bad. Sleep tracking is particularly impressive, with a detailed explanation of your sleep score and sleep cycles and important information about blood oxygen levels and how to improve your sleep.
What are some good OnePlus alternatives?
The OnePlus Watch falls short in terms of smart features compared to some of the best smartwatches out there and isn’t as feature-packed as the best fitness trackers you can get. There are plenty of great alternatives, but none match the OnePlus Watch’s price point. Here are a few options worth considering.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the best Wear OS smartwatch you can buy. It’s not a whole lot more expensive than the OnePlus Watch, either. It offers better, more advanced fitness tracking, a better companion app, higher-end hardware, and robust software. There really are few reasons to buy the OnePlus Watch over the Galaxy Watch 4.
- Fitbit Versa 3: The latest Fitbit smartwatch is unsurprisingly a good OnePlus Watch alternative. It’s a touch more expensive than the OnePlus Watch but is one of the best fitness tracking smartwatches you can get. It’s not feature-packed as far as “smart” features are concerned, but with a built-in voice assistant and better app support, the Versa has a leg up on the OnePlus Watch. Learn more in our full review.
- Apple Watch Series 7: If you have an iPhone, the OnePlus Watch isn’t for you. Your best bet as an iPhone user is going to be the Apple Watch. It trounces most watches with its third-party app support, fitness, and smart features. It’s a seriously great wearable. It’s also far more expensive than the OnePlus Watch. Learn more in our full review.
OnePlus Watch Limited Editions
OnePlus has released a few different limited editions of the OnePlus Watch, starting with the Cobalt Limited Edition.
The OnePlus Watch Cobalt Limited Edition is as self-descriptive as they come. This special edition of the OnePlus Watch swaps the stainless steel body with a cobalt alloy that is twice as durable and more resistant to corrosion. The cobalt alloy gives the watch a gold tinge, and OnePlus also replaces the standard silicone band with a green leather strap. Durability gets another boost with a sapphire crystal display that is incredibly scratch-resistant and allows for a brighter screen experience. Everything else, from the internal hardware to the software experience, remains the same though.
The Limited Edition, given the “limited” in its name, is hard to come by. It’s only available in China, priced at 1,599 yuan (~$250), and customers in Europe had a brief chance to get their wrists on one in early June 2021. It was also available in India in July for Rs 19,999 (~$268), but is no longer on sale.
Replacing it is the OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Limited Edition. It’s the same watch, but aesthetically quite different. It has gold accents and a brown leather strap that features an embossed Hogwarts crest on either side. Harry’s scar is also etched on the Watch’s secondary button. Adding to the theme, the wearable gains a set of dynamic watch faces with specific dials for all four houses and the Hogwarts coat of arms. Finally, the wearable arrives in a pretty smart “brick wall” collectors box, which looks fantastic.
The OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Edition went on sale a month ago for Rs 16,990 (~$226) from the OnePlus store. Like the Cobalt Edition, this limited edition series might not run for too long.
Where to buy the OnePlus Watch
The OnePlus Watch is available at $159 in the US, starting at Rs 14,999 (~$203) in India, and £149 (~$204) in the UK. As far as the price is concerned, it’s an inexpensive smartwatch. Given its current capabilities, though, it’s an overpriced fitness tracker. If you’re in the long haul, the OnePlus Watch is a good option for the price point alone. Just be prepared for a variety of growing pains.
Top OnePlus Watch questions and answers
Q: Does the OnePlus Watch support mobile payments?
A: Not yet. While the watch comes with NFC, mobile payments aren’t an option for now. It’s a feature that OnePlus might add down the road.
Q: What watch straps work with the OnePlus Watch?
A: The OnePlus Watch offers universal compatibility with any standard 22mm watch strap.
Q: Will the OnePlus Watch work with my iPhone?
A: No. For now, the OnePlus Watch is limited to Android-only compatibility.
Q: Can I use a SIM card with the OnePlus Watch?
A: No. The OnePlus Watch doesn’t offer LTE or Wi-Fi support. So your only option to stay connected is through your phone via Bluetooth. It does come with built-in GPS tracking, so you can take it on a run without carrying your phone. You won’t receive any notifications on the watch in this case.