Review: The OnePlus Smartwatch Is Hardly Smart

    The OnePlus Watch falls short of expectations

    For the better part of two years, speculation has been rife about an upcoming OnePlus Watch. There was a lot by way of expectations, as is the case with any new OnePlus product. And having been witness to how OnePlus takes on new product categories with total commitment, I was excited to try the OnePlus watch when it first launched. But when the time finally came, I was, quite frankly, disappointed at OnePlus’s first attempt at a smartwatch. Let me explain why.

    On the outside, the OnePlus Watch belies its $159 price point. The materials feel premium, the design is well thought out, and the large circular dial feels more expensive than it is. It might be too large for most people’s wrists, but that is the only critique I have of the watch’s build and design. The 1.39-inch OLED screen too, is fairly good and easy to use even in bright sunlight. 

    But it is when you start using the watch that the problems come to light. Most importantly, the OnePlus Watch doesn’t use Wear OS. Instead, it uses a real-time operating system, in essence a closed system that doesn’t integrate with other apps and services for the most part. While this means that the watch is very responsive and power efficient (it can easily last a couple of weeks on one charge), it also means that there is very little that you can do with the watch. 

    While the UI design is clean and modern, there are only a limited number of watchfaces to choose from with even limited customizability. The layout for notifications is also fairly similar—swipe down to open the notification panel and then scroll to go through your notifications. But there is a major problem—you can’t really do much with the notifications. There are only four canned replies and those can be used only in five apps that for some reason doesn’t include text messaging. 

    There are only a handful of applications on the watch; new applications cannot be downloaded and installed. So, essential applications like a calendar and calculator are sorely missed. The watch also lacks a voice assistant and doesn’t support NFC payments. The fitness tracking leaves a lot to be desired with as well, while the inaccurate step-counting makes it hard to use the watch regularly. 

    In all, the much-hyped OnePlus Watch underwhelms on almost all counts. Sure, the battery life is great, but that is achieved purely by not doing most of the things other smartwatches do. I can only hope that OnePlus ups its game whenever they plan on releasing a follow-up device. 


    author avatar
    Afzal Rawuther




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