All this while, when you thought about smart watches, your choices were limited. And by that, I mean genuine choices. The ones that would look good. The ones that were worth the money you were parting away with. And the ones that would work as expected. The list included the Apple Watch. The list included the Samsung Galaxy Watch smartwatch line-up that runs the very slick Tizen OS. It also included fitness focused watches from Fitbit. What the list didn’t include thus far were watches running Google’s Wear OS. Mostly, the issues revolved around poor battery life, sluggish usability and far too many rough edges that didn’t really sit well after you had paid a lot of money for the potential. That actually was a big problem for Android phone users, because the Apple Watch isn’t yet an option for them, thereby further limiting choice. But that is now set to change, with the Oppo Watch making its presence felt. Prices of the Oppo Watch start at Rs 14,990 which gives it a serious advantage.
The Oppo Watch is the smartphone maker’s early foray into the smartwatch space, and well, let us just say, they haven’t not gone the whole hog with this when it comes to attention to detail and dialling in a very premium personality. You get this in two sizes—41mm and 46mm. There are colour choices too. The 41mm watch is available in Black, Pink Gold and Silver Mist colours, while the 46mm watch can be yours in Black or Glossy Gold colours. I was quite happy Oppo shared a Black watch with me, the 46mm variant complete with the all-black band that allows me to give the watch a rather dark personality. The Oppo Watch 41mm is priced at Rs 14,990 while the larger 46mm Oppo Watch costs Rs 19,990. That gives it a price advantage over the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 (Aluminum) which is priced around Rs 24,090 and the Fitbit Versa 2 which is priced around Rs 21,750.
The Oppo Watch Is Beautiful, But Where Have I Seen This Before?
There really is no other way of saying this—the Oppo Watch seems to take a lot of the design inspiration from the Apple Watch. Or is it just creative coincidence? Either way, the Oppo Watch comes across as a rather beautiful looking watch strapped around the wrist. The Watch frame is made of aluminum and rubber straps are very good quality too. The Oppo Watch weighs 39.3 grams, which is a tad heavier than the 36.5 grams the latest generation Apple Watch in aluminum weighs. But that is just nitpicking, because the Oppo Watch in the 46mm avatar looks gorgeous around the wrist. At least I really like it sitting there, comfortably, and doing what it promises to do.
The Oppo Watch is water resistant as well up to a depth of 50 meters. At this time, the accessory ecosystem around the Oppo Watch may not be too big, but give it time, and you will possibly have a much wider range of cool watch bands and strap options to choose from, particularly from third-party brands. That is when you will really be able to dress up the Oppo Watch so that it matches your attire.
On the right side spine of the Oppo Watch are two buttons. One is the home button and one is the multifunction button, including switching to apps open in the background or invoking Google Assistant. Unlike the Apple Watch, this doesn’t have a crown. Maybe that would have made things too similar? These can be used for accessing apps, the power menu and more.
This Display Is Brilliant, Indoors And Outdoors
The display, at least on the 46mm Oppo Watch, is a thing of beauty. This is a 1.91-inch AMOLED display, a curved AMOLED that gently cascades into the sides and gives your fingers a nice run-off feeling as you swipe or tap on the screen. This display supports the DCI-P3 colour gamut. It is bright, it is great to look at, crisp and colours do shine through very nicely indeed. Even under bright sunshine, you will not be squinting because this is adequately bright. To really make the display stand out, you must choose a nice watch face, and watch it get attention when your family and friends see it.
Match Your Clothes, Thanks To AI
The Oppo Watch does some rather cool AI based stuff that lets you take a photo of whatever it is that you are wearing or intend to wear, and it’ll create a watch face based on those colours. This will be a really interesting thing to check out before a date night. This is however limited to the Wear OS app for the Android phones, and I couldn’t get around to getting this done on an iPhone. Not that I had a date night to go to anyway.
As far as the rest of the watch face line-up goes, you get to pick from some very vivid and interesting options, with overlays of additional data that you might want. Such as the heart rate reading, steps walked and more. These watch face data layers can be customized on the watch itself.
Wear OS Gets Improved, With Hardware And Software
Oppo has customised the Wear OS on the watch, quite in line with expectations. This brings some customizations, such as icon packs, fitness apps overlays and a breathing app, for instance. The biggest advantage of Wear OS is that you get a full Play Store on the Oppo Watch itself. It is quite detailed. App recommendations based on what you are using, fitness apps, Wear OS optimised apps, media streaming apps and watch face apps. The popular ones, including the likes of Spotify, Strava, Telegram, AccuWeather and Google Keep are listed. I couldn’t find Google Pay listed on the Play Store or preloaded on the Oppo Watch, so perhaps that will arrive with a software update at some point.
If you are going to use the Oppo Watch for health tracking and sleep tracking, you will need to get the Google Fit app on your phone to make sense of all the data that it collects. That is if you don’t take stock of the situation on the watch itself. You can also sync your health data to the HeyTap Health app but that isn't available for the iPhone. Health tracking would nevertheless be incomplete without constant heart rate sensor data making sense of things.
The Oppo Watch heart rate sensor data is within 1-2 points of the readings on the Apple Watch, the heart rate sensor for which is medically quite popular. That makes the Oppo Watch as adept as giving you a general sense of your heart rate readings. Mind you, no wearable is absolutely accurate and if the readings do indicate an anomaly, do visit a doctor.
For Once, A Wear OS Watch That Really Impressed
In general, I was not only impressed by the rather smooth performance and the delivery of the battery life claims of the Oppo Watch, something that Wear OS watches and Android Wear watches before that, have just not delivered on. A lot of that credit must be given to the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor that is doing the duties in the Oppo Watch. I didn't notice the Oppo Watch stutter or struggle with apps, with general navigation of Wear OS or slow down when a barrage of notifications landed one after the other.
At the same time, this watch gets you through three full days of normal wearing from morning till evening, which will be great news once you start to step out of home regularly.This isn’t an LTE watch and relies on Wi-Fi or your phone to get the connectivity it needs. There is also the power saver mode which turns off all the non-essentials and sticks to the time display, basic health tracking such as the steps and the heart rate sensor logging. This, Oppo says, will mean that your Oppo Watch will last 21 days on a single charge. The 46mm Oppo Watch, mind you. Frankly, we have no reason to not trust this claim, but we haven’t yet been able to test this 21 day claim. As they say, Father Time makes no round trips.
The fast charging prowess from smartphones has been carried over to the Oppo Watch as well. This also gets the smartwatch version of the VOOC charging feature, which charges a fully discharged Oppo Watch to 46% in 15 minutes and to 100% in 75 minutes. Both figures, depending on how much of a hurry you are in, are great for a quick splash and dash of charge to get you through the day in case you forgot to charge the watch earlier.
The Last Word: Your Android Phone Finally Gets The Wear OS Watch It Deserves
Quite frankly, I have never been a fan of Google’s Wear OS smartwatch platform and the smartwatches that came with it. Never recommended any of those, and you wouldn’t have ever spotted me wearing one of those either. However, I can now safely recommend the Oppo Watch to anyone who wants to buy a smartwatch, in particular someone who uses an Android phone.