Oppo Watch Review: Looks like Apple, ticks like Google
Connectivity - Smartwatch that does not feature an Always-On display
The specifications sheet of the Oppo Watch looks quite impressive: 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, GPS for turn-by-turn navigation with Google Maps as well as NFC for contactless payments. The angular Oppo Watch looks a lot like the Apple Watch. However, on closer inspection, it is plain to see that the missing crown is not the only thing that is different.
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Without the bands, the Oppo Watch weighs 29.4 g (~1.0 oz), which means that it is lighter than the previously reviewed Moto 360 Gen 3 (52 g/~1.8 oz) and TicWatch C2+ (42 g/~1.5 oz). While the competing watches are made of stainless steel, the Oppo Watch is made of aluminium and polycarbonate. The Oppo Watch has rather small dimensions. Nevertheless, it has a larger screen (1.6 in) than the Moto 360 (1.2 in) and the TicWatch C2+ (1.3 in). All three watches come with an AMOLED display, which is legible in daylight. While both the Oppo Watch and the Moto 360 feature an ambient light sensor, which automatically adjusts the display brightness, the TicWatch C2+ does not. Having said that, the Oppo Watch does not support Always-On Display functionality.
The special feature of the Oppo Watch is that it offers two SoCs: Besides the high-performance Snapdragon Wear 3100, there is also the low-power Apollo3 SoC from Ambiq, which enables the smartwatch to last for up to two weeks in low-energy mode. Oppo uses this solution to combat the poor battery life of smartwatches, which usually last only a day or so.
The Oppo smartwatch features 8 GB of internal storage. However, only 3.86 GB is available to the user. The rest is occupied by the OS and the preinstalled applications. That being said, the Moto 360 offers 5.5 GB of usable storage.
The Oppo Watch is controlled via the touchscreen and the two side buttons. Thanks to the speaker and the microphone, Google Assistant can be used. Buyers can also make calls when the watch is tethered to the smartphone.
Setup and Handling- Oppo with proprietary apps
The watch does not automatically switch on after charging: To turn it on, you will have to long-press the lower of the two buttons. Later, you can use this button to launch an application or perform an action. The upper button can be used to bring up the app list. In certain circumstances, it can also serve as a home button.
Like with all Wear OS devices, in order to use applications from the Google Play Store you will need to connect the watch to the smartphone. You can customise the watch face and choose the applications, from which you want to receive notifications.
Oppo wants you to install its HeyTap Health application from the Google Play Store. You can use this application to set personal goals and manage your fitness programme. Moreover, the application produces useful diagrams, which can help you track your progress.
The Oppo Watch comes with proprietary applications for breathing exercises and guided workouts. However, it also features similar applications from Google. Buyers will have to decide on their own which fitness applications they want to use.
Thanks to Wear OS, the Oppo Watch supports many applications, which can be downloaded from the Play Store. The operating system is not as refined as Apple’s watchOS. Nevertheless, it is quite mature. For instance, users can reply to text messages via dictation.
The speaker and the microphone are utilised not only for Google Assistant but also for making phone calls. All of our call partners said that we sounded rather quiet.
Health and Fitness – GPS for outdoor workouts
You can track the heart rate, stress level and the overall physical condition through the HeyTap companion application. The smartwatch also provides useful diagrams, which you can use to track your health. The Oppo Watch cannot monitor the oxygen saturation, which is a feature that many users demand. In fact, some manufacturers brought this functionality to their older smartwatches.
The Oppo Watch attaches a lot of value to health improvement. This is why it includes not only health and fitness tracking applications but also short guided workouts, which make it easier to engage in physical activity. Such workouts usually last 7 minutes, but in Oppo’s case, they last 5 minutes. There are various levels of difficulty from your normal morning and evening workouts to full body workouts. There are even very intensive workouts. Just like the Play Store applications, the Oppo Watch provides step-by-step instructions for workouts, which are quite legible thanks to an AMOLED display. By pressing the lower button, you can pause the workout.
Thanks to a GPS module, the Oppo Watch can map your route without a smartphone. The smartwatch offers two applications for running, one for biking and one for swimming. When swimming the smartwatch automatically locks up. You will need to long-press a button to unlock it again. The Oppo Watch is certified to withstand 3 bars of pressure. However, when swimming or diving the pressure can easily exceed 3 bars.
Battery Life - Between one day and two weeks
In normal operation, the battery lasts one day, which means that the Oppo Watch needs to be recharged every evening. However, there should not be any problems if you decide to use the watch during the night to monitor your sleep, because the watch takes three quarters of an hour to fully charge. The watch can easily be charged in the morning.
Even when we used the smartwatch intensively (a workout plus a 3.5-hour bike ride with GPS on), we still had a 7% battery charge left at the end of a 14-hour day.
The energy-saving mode is activated when the battery charge dips below 5%. Even in this simplified mode, the display of the smartwatch automatically switches on when you raise the wrist. Moreover, the Oppo Watch still tracks your heart rate and your steps. It also continues to receive notifications. However, you cannot answer phone calls in this mode.
The energy-saving mode can be activated at any time by long-pressing the lower button. If you use the smartwatch only in this mode, you will get a battery life of about two weeks, according to Oppo. This seems realistic, because the Oppo Watch lasted 19 hours in this mode with only a 5% battery charge. If we extrapolate it to 100%, we shall get a battery runtime of 16 days.
Thanks to Oppo’s proprietary VOOC fast-charging technology, the 300-mAh battery charges very quickly: The battery takes 20 minutes to charge from 5 to 50%. It fully charges in about an hour.
Verdict – Wear OS smartwatch with a bonus
With finesse, Oppo makes an attempt to combine the functionality of Google’s Wear OS with the battery life of Amazfit or Huawei watches. However, it would be unreasonable to assume that every buyer is going to use the smartphone in energy-saving mode, in which the functionality is severely reduced. Nevertheless, this feature can come in very handy in certain circumstances.
Oppo maxes out the advantages of Wear OS by combining it with an energy-saving mode that significantly increases battery life.
However, the power-saving mode is optional, and the overall package is good. If you forget to charge the smartwatch at night you can quickly charge it in the morning, thanks to Oppo’s fast-charging technology. The main drawback of the Oppo Watch is that it does not feature an Always-On display.
Oppo has also announced that a bigger LTE-enabled 46-mm smartwatch with a 1.9-in screen will be sold in Germany. It will cost 399 Euros (~$473).