OnePlus Watch review: a reasonable price for a very basic smartwatch

The OnePlus Watch is the first smartwatch from the Chinese brand (OnePlus)

OnePlus has become a pretty well-known smartphone brand by this point and is clearly trying to follow the ‘ecosystem’ path laid down by Apple.

To compliment the really-rather-good OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, we now have the OnePlus Watch. It’s the Chinese company’s first wearable and it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Before we get into it, the pricing for the OnePlus Watch starts at £149 – which makes it eminently affordable.

By comparison, two big competitors: the Fitbit Versa 3 and Apple Watch SE cost £199 and £269 respectively. So although the OnePlus Watch doesn’t offer as much functionality, it definitely wins on value.

Although it’s a OnePlus device, it will work with any Android phone through the OnePlus health app. No such luck if you’re on an iPhone as the app isn’t available on iOS.

Design-wise, the OnePlus Watch is pretty generic. The round face comprises a 1.39-inch OLED screen inside a 46mm case. There are no other sizings available so if you have small wrists, you will definitely notice it strapped there.

The OnePlus Watch is only available in one size (

While having such a large face isn’t always discreet, it’s great for exercise because you can see it clearly when glancing down for half a second.

There are two buttons on the side and the watch is made from stainless steel. It comes in a choice of Midnight Black or Moonlight Silver.

If you want, there’s a Cobalt edition coming later this year with a leather green strap which is a bit more costly.

Thankfully, the design of the watch isn’t very thick and neither is it particularly heavy. The standard black silicone strap means it’ll pair okay with both leisure and formal wear.

It may be large, but it’s not too thick (

The screen is colourful and bright enough to be seen even outside in broad daylight. However, there’s no always-on feature so you’ll consistently have to raise your wrist to wake it up.

In terms of watch faces, you’ve got about 50 to choose from – all designed by OnePlus. There are no third-party watch faces here like you may find on the Fitbit Sense.

OnePlus has clearly designed the watch around fitness. There’s on-board GPS and a choice of 14 (OnePlus says more are coming in a software update) different workout modes.

There’s also a heart rate sensor, blood oxygen sensor and, if you wear it to bed, you’ll get sleep tracking as well.

Heart rate and blood oxygen sensors are on the back of the watch (

How did the OnePlus Watch fare when it came to tracking? In my experience, it was mostly good with a couple of annoying bugs.

I took it out for a 16-minute stroll alongside a Fitbit Charge 4 activity tracker. I covered the 1.5km distance in 1,853 steps according to the Fitbit and 1,835 steps according to the OnePlus Watch.

Similarly, a 3.2km run with both devices notched up 4,697 steps with the OnePlus Watch and 4,482 steps with the Charge 4. So, in terms of accuracy – it’s certainly close enough to use as a basis for a fitness plan.

But, there are some problems.

While I was able to see a breakdown of my cadence, calories and heart rate on the watch face, the equivalent data wouldn’t load on the app. Sure enough, the OnePlus Health app had the workout logged – but any attempt to delve into the data just resulted in an error and a failure to load.

Interestingly, this only occurred when I used the app on a Pixel phone from Google. When I tried it on the OnePlus 9 Pro, it worked as it should.

Trying to access workout records on a Pixel phone resulted in a ‘data == null’ error (
On the OnePlus Health app running on a OnePlus 9 Pro the data loaded as expected (

And while the OnePlus Watch was fine during walking and running, it consistently failed to record bike rides.

On three separate occasions after finishing a ride, the OnePlus Watch failed to record anything bar my heart rate, and failed to log the session because I had travelled less than 500m. This was after a solid 8km cycle.

Despite 25 minutes of energetic cycling, I had travelled 0km (
This happened every time I took a bike ride with the OnePlus Watch (

Finally, the sleep tracking did appear to be accurate. But the Watch did, on occasion, record me as being asleep when I had simply taken it off and laid it on the desk.

An important factor with this device is that OnePlus hasn’t used Google’s WearOS platform for the Watch, opting instead for a proprietary OS.

This means two things: it’s able to vastly increase the battery life and the third-party app selection is non-existent.

You get the following apps: Alarm clock, timer, stopwatch, flashlight, barometer, compass and TV connect. The last one is pointless, unless you live in India and own a OnePlus TV.

That means, for example, you can’t install Spotify for music. Instead, you can transfer MP3 files from your phone to the OnePlus Watch’s 4GB of internal storage (I occasionally encountered another bug here when music wouldn’t transfer because the watch was below 50% of power even though I had more than 60% left in the tank). Likewise, you can’t use Strava to track your runs – you have to use OnePlus’ own platform.

There’s also no voice assistant, no mobile payment option and no WiFi or LTE functionality.

The OnePlus Watch arrives with a starting price of £149 (OnePlus)

But, on the flip side, the battery life is pretty damn good because there’s no bloated OS or multiple apps running a cacophony of processes in the background.

OnePlus quotes 10 days which is great and, at least in my experience, very accurate. I lasted just shy of 10 days on a single charge through wearing it all day and night, activating GPS a couple of times each day for exercise, streaming music and getting a load of notifications through.

It charges quickly, too. You can attach it to the proprietary charger for just 20 minutes to juice it up by 50%.

Having a device last this long is fantastic – you don’t have to worry about plugging in every night. It’s just that the reason it lasts so long is because it doesn’t really do very much apart from track your fitness.

This is really just an activity tracker dressed up to look like a smartwatch.

And, unfortunately, one of the biggest letdowns of the OnePlus Watch – is the accompanying app.

Compared to established players like Apple, Fitbit and Garmin the OnePlus Health app is extremely basic.

You get basic graphics for activity, showing calories and steps alongside ones for sleep, heart rate, stress and SpO2.

Then you can see a slightly more detailed breakdown of your workouts (when it works) and, finally, the option to add watch faces and music to the device.

That’s about it.

All in all, the OnePlus Watch is a bit of a tricky one to recommend.

It’s got a big, bright and colourful display and yonks of battery life. The tracking is accurate in the most part and the design won’t offend anyone.

On the other hand (or wrist?) it doesn’t do much apart from fitness tracking and for anyone who wants that there are better (albeit more expensive) options available from Fitbit, Garmin and Apple.

The OnePlus Watch is an affordable smartwatch that handles the basics and nothing more (OnePlus)

I am hopeful that OnePlus can address some of the issues with future software updates. And given the affordable pricing, you can forgive some of the shortcomings.

But I kept running into bugs and niggles with the OnePlus Watch that gives me the feeling it was a bit rushed and not all the kinks have been ironed out.

Given this is the first proper smartwatch from a company that makes such great phones, I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed.

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