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Get the most out of a bad situation – Review Geek



Grade:
6/10
?

  • 1 – Absolutely hot garbage
  • 2 – Sorta ljummet sopor
  • 3 – Strongly incorrect design
  • 4 – Some advantages, lots of disadvantages
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to buy for sale
  • 7 – Good, but not the best in class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money
  • 10 – Absolute design Nirvana

Award: £ 229 / £ 369

46mm OPPO watch in gold on a white table top
Comb

The world of smartwatches has evolved dramatically and rapidly. That’s if you’re not thinking about Google’s Wear OS platform, which has not grown or changed much since the 2.0 update almost two years ago. That was what OPPO had to work with for its Watch – a platform with many shortcomings compared to the rest of the market. But by adding its own features, it hopes to compensate for Wear OS’s flaws.

Here’s what we like

  • Large, beautiful screen
  • Good messaging system
  • Good performance

And what we do not do

  • Wear OS is not compared to other smartwatch platforms
  • Weak training functions feel like an afterthought
  • Bad battery life in Smart Mode
  • Own watch straps

Cutting right to the hunt: it is not enough.

OPPO works with what it has here. It takes years to build a good smartwatch platform like Samsung and Apple have done, and Wear OS is freely available for manufacturers to use in their own smartwatches. I can see the appeal for manufacturers here, especially considering that they can not only license an actually good smartwatch OS from Apple, Samsung or even Fitbit. So they have two options: Build their own smartwatch operating system or use Wear OS.

Like many others, OPPO chose the latter. But it’s not just a layered Wear OS experience, remember. OPPO tried to add at least some of the features that users want – like fitness and sleep tracking. But these features feel at best like an afterthought and at worst a half-baked solution. They are limited and not so accurate. If you’re looking for an exercise machine on your wrist and do not care about fitness (or anything else), it might be good enough for you.

But I’m going ahead now.

Availability note: OPPO has not announced US availability for Watch at this time. It is currently limited to India (Rs 14,990 / Rs 19,900) and will be released in the UK (£ 229 / £ 369) in October 2020.

Yes, it looks like an Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 3 next to OPPO Watch
It’s creepy. Well, almost creepy. Comb

When OPPO announced the watch back in March this year, the aesthetic similarities with the Apple Watch were immediately drawn. It is, without a doubt, strongly inspired by Apple’s smartwatch. The biggest difference is that it has a pair of physical buttons instead of a crown, and both the sizes 41 mm and 46 mm are slightly larger than their respective Apple Watch counterparts (40 mm and 44 mm).

OPPO also chose to clone Apple Watch’s own tape system – just not to the point where you can use Apple Watch tapes on OPPO Watch. Instead, it is a similar but equally proprietary system. This means that you have to buy tapes that are specially made for OPPO Watch, which are definitely not in abundance at the time of writing. Apple can use its own system because it is Apple – third party manufacturers will always make accessories for their products. OPPO does it not have the same type of leverage, so that you are left with what OPPO sells and maybe a handful of alternatives without a third name. Congratulations.

The proprietary watch straps disconnected from OPPO Watch
They are some of their own bands. Yep. Comb

Speaking of the band, it’s … good. I do not love it personally, but it does the job done. I have grown to hate most bands that have a free loop instead of a buckle-and-tuck design, but I realize that it is more subjective than the scope of this review should be. Of all the aesthetic ideas that OPPO borrowed from Apple Watch, I still wish the band would have been one of them.

The watch’s large screen (for a watch, at least) is one of the highlights. It’s an OLED panel and it shows – the colors are bright and vibrant, blacks are black as black can be, and 326 PPI density keeps everything sharp. I really enjoy watching OPPO Watch, although the only thing that really shows me is the time and the messages.

Overall, the OPPO Watch looks good, even though it’s an obvious Apple ripoff. It may be disgusting to some people (including myself), but if you do not mind the copycat aesthetic, you should be happy with the overall look of the watch.

And it does some smartwatch stuff

Oppp smart watch

What do you want a smartwatch to do? Tell me time? Mirror notifications from your phone? OPPO Watch does these things. If that’s all you’re looking for, you’ll probably be happy with it. But what if you want to run dedicated apps on your watch? That’s when things start to get a little more complicated.

Wear OS has apps. It has its own version of the Play Store … but to access the Play Store, you must do so directly from Watch. Have you tried navigating a store or typing on a 1.91-inch screen? It’s not a great experience. To be clear, this is 100 percent a decision from Google. This is how Wear OS works, for better or worse (spoiler: it’s worse).

You can install Wear OS apps that are also installed on your phone quite easily, which is useful. (There is a special section for this in the Wear OS Play Store.) Anything earlier that is more painful, especially if you are looking for a specific app. But I guess if it’s one of those things you just have to do now and then, it’s not so bad. When everything’s up and running, it’s okay.

Once you have gone through the hassle of getting them installed, some of the apps are really useful. Such as Google Keep. I forgot how much I love having Keep on my wrist (haven’t had a Wear OS watch in a while!) Until now. Of course, these are watered down versions of their counterparts and it is often easier to just use your phone. But for some hyperspecific occasions, Wear OS apps are nice to have.

OPPO Watch on one arm with always activated display
Always in display mode. Comb

Then there is battery life. Nobody likes having to charge their watch as often as their phone, but with OPPO Watch you’re better prepared for it. OPPO claims that it can get “up to 36 hours” in what it calls Smart Mode, which seems a bit liberal to me. On more than one occasion I got under 20 hours, but after a bit of tweaking (Tilt to Wake toggled off made the biggest difference) I was able to push it to about 24 (ish) hours, even with the always on-display function switched on.

The watch also has an energy saving mode that dramatically extends its life. OPPO says that Power Saver mode allows the watch to work for three weeks without having to charge. Of course, this dramatically limits what the watch can do, but I was still amazed at some of the features that remain. Even in Power Saver, it still has a pedometer, heart rate monitor and synchronizes notifications from your phone. It really becomes a very basic fitness tracker at that time, which is not so bad.

The alleged time period of three weeks was beyond the scope I had for this review (given that I had to use all its features), but I could see that it was almost possible. I bet you can get a couple of weeks with a charge exclusively in power mode, anyway.

And also some fitness stuff

OPPO Watch with the training side on the screen
Comb

Then there is the extra shit that OPPO threw at itself. These are mostly fitness-related things, but as I said before, it feels more like an afterthought than something that is really useful.

If you swipe left on the main screen, you get an overview of your daily activity, with steps, training time, calories and activity sessions there. The next screen is for the heart rate monitor, which is always on, followed by the training screen and finally sleep tracking data.

The watch has no form of automatic training sensing, which is quite annoying. If you forget to start exercising, you pretty much lost all the information you would otherwise have had. What’s worse, if your heart rate is above 120 for more than 10 minutes, it will warn you that your resting heart rate is too high. Because you know, it can not automatically say that you do not actually rest.

Most watches have automatic training sensing, so you may be wondering why OPPO omitted this. I thought it was because the watch only tracks a handful of workouts.

A screenshot of the Daily Activity screen A screenshot of available workouts A screenshot of heart rate data

It can track total five training sessions: Fitness driving, fat burning, outdoor walking, outdoor cycling and swimming. So, to begin with – what the hell is the difference between a workout and a fat burn? According to OPPO Watch, you should keep a heart rate between 60-70 percent of your maximum heart rate (which it suggests you find by subtracting your age from 220) for more than 30 minutes. I’m honestly not sure why this needed its own post, but okay.

You may have noticed a clear lack of indoor activity tracking. There is one – under the Fitness Run option you can choose to track it as an indoor or outdoor exercise. That is it, however; the rest are all just outdoors. The clock makes has GPS + GLONASS, so you can track your workouts without carrying your phone. It’s at least something.

The watch also tracks sleep – at least. It’s the most basic sleep tracking feature I’ve ever used, and basically only tells you when you went to bed and when you woke up. It also tries to detect certain sleep stages, with calculations for deep and light sleep, as well as time you were awake. This is dramatically easier than what you get from something like Fitbit or Samsung.

A screenshot of sleep tracking data from the Fitbit app A screenshot of sleep tracking from the HeyTap Health app synchronized with the OPPO watch L: Sleep tracking on Fitbit Versa; R: The same night is tracked on OPPO Watch. Guess which one is more accurate?

The best part is that it’s not even that accurate. On more than one occasion, I got out of bed to go to the bathroom or check on my youngest son (or both), but the clock told me I was awake for zero minutes through the night. I literally walked through the house! However, my Fitbit Versa always nails the waking times.

It’s also strangely heavy, at least compared to the Fitbit Versa that I lovingly carry on my left arm (that’s right, I’m looking at it twice right now) and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 I was wearing before. It’s all well and good once you get used to it, but it’s still not super comfortable to sleep with.

You can sync all your health and fitness information with Google Fit and HeyTap Health, though both are much more rudimentary than most of the actual fitness tracking apps out there. Once again, Fitbit and Samsung Health run circles around training data provided by OPPO Watch paired with any of these apps.

Conclusion: A decent smartwatch and a poor fitness tracker

OPPO Watch gives a warning when your heart rate exceeds 120 for more than 10 minutes
Do you think I might not rest? Comb

Wear OS started as a good smartwatch platform but has simply been surpassed by Apple and Samsung in recent years. Fitbit is an excellent fitness tracker but offers almost all the smartwatch features that many users want.

OPPO Watch simply can not compete. If you are an Android user looking for a smartwatch-first wrist companion, just get a Samsung Galaxy Watch. If you are looking for a fitness tracker with smartwatch features, look for something like Fitbit Versa 3 or Sense.

There is little reason to consider OPPO Watch right now, outside the niche group that may love Wear OS and just wish it had more workout features.

Grade: 6/10

Award: £ 229 / £ 369

Here’s what we like

  • Large, beautiful screen
  • Good messaging system
  • Good performance

And what we do not do

  • Wear OS is not compared to other smartwatch platforms
  • Weak training functions feel like an afterthought
  • Bad battery life in Smart Mode
  • Own watch straps




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