Oppo Watch review: An excellent Wear OS smartwatch

Patrick

Fashion brands aside, the Wear OS-powered smartwatch landscape isn’t exactly flourishing. Oppo’s smartwatch comes at an interesting time as the smartphone giant tries to make a broader ecosystem play including true wireless earphones and now, wearables. Oppo’s first Wear OS watch is unapologetically inspired by a certain other smartwatch. However, execution is key.

Read Android Authority’s Oppo Watch review to find out if the smartwatch delivers a high-end experience — or if it should be relegated to the long list of lackluster Apple Watch alternatives.

About this Oppo Watch review: I wrote this Oppo Watch review after spending ten days with the smartwatch. Oppo India supplied the device, which was running Wear OS 2.19.

Oppo Watch review: Design and display

Oppo Watch on wrist lead image

  • Display: 1.91/1.6-inch AMOLED
  • 402 x 476 or 320 x 360 pixels
  • 326 or 301ppi
  • Case size: 46mm/41mm

The Oppo Watch is unapologetic in its design inspiration. From afar, the watch could pass off as a facsimile of the Apple Watch. How much that matters to you is personal preference. But hey, as far as copy-cat designs go, Oppo did a really good job here.

The curved AMOLED display flows seamlessly into the 6000-series aluminum frame. The frame houses two buttons on the side, and of these one is programmable.

Oppo Watch accent button

The programmable key has an emerald green accent on it that adds some visual flair. The key also doubles as the power menu with a long press. While the one programmable key is nice to have, I’d have preferred two for shortcuts. Alternatives from Fossil offer a range of programmable pushers.

A spinning crown would have made scrolling through apps a lot easier.

The buttons are easy to press, though I would have appreciated a spinning crown instead for easier navigation through the app drawer.

A speaker for making calls and interacting with Google Assistant is on the left side of the watch.

Oppo Watch with side buttons

Construction of the rear panel is mostly plastic, though the central sensor module is made of ceramic. The smaller 41mm model swaps out the ceramic sensor hub for plastic.

Oppo Watch side profile

As far as build quality goes, my biggest gripe is with the choice of proprietary straps. Oppo calls the material fluoro-rubber, but to me it feels just like a regular silicon strap. I have relatively small wrists and I struggled to find a good fit even with the smaller watch band. It doesn’t help that Oppo opted for a nub instead of a regular clasp.

The 46mm variant is a pretty heavy and chunky. Paired with the less-than-ideal fit of the strap, I didn’t find it too comfortable for running.

Even after using the watch for several weeks, I could not find a suitable first- or third-party replacement. It might be something worth keeping in mind if you like to swap out straps to match outfits.

Oppo Watch in hand showing apps

The real stand out feature is the display. The high-resolution AMOLED panel gets incredibly bright, which means outdoor visibility is never an issue. Icons flow beautifully off the curved edges and album covers look visually stunning. Oppo claims the watch has an ambient light sensor built-in, but it was pretty useless in my time with the watch; I found myself adjusting brightness levels manually. It often was not effective enough to accurately gauge the ambient setting and adjust accordingly.

The Oppo Watch exudes luxury.

Copycat design aside, the Oppo Watch exudes luxury. The entire construction has a certain heft to it. While the 46mm size of our review unit was just a bit too big for me, the build quality was spot on. The Oppo Watch is right up there with the best in the business.

Hardware and performance

Oppo Watch in hand showing notifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC
  • Ambig Micro Apollo 3 low-power SoC
  • 1GB RAM / 8GB storage
  • 430mAh / 300mAh
  • GPS
  • Heart rate sensor
  • NFC
  • 46mm – 5ATM; 41mm – 3ATM
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi

Lack of LTE aside, the Oppo Watch packs all the niceties you could want in a modern Wear OS smartwatch. It is not running the absolute latest Snapdragon 4100 chipset, but, for what it’s worth, Oppo did a very good job fine-tuning performance, which is fantastic. I didn’t notice any stutters or frame drops at all.

The 1GB of RAM goes a long way in maintaining that slick fluidity. The included storage is more than enough for all the apps and music you might want to store.

Like most modern Wear OS watches, there’s support for GPS and NFC here. The latter can be used for contactless payments. Unfortunately due to GSuite limitations, I could not test this feature. Get on it Google! Additional sensors include an accelerometer and a gyroscope, but no altimeter.

The 430mAh battery on the Oppo Watch lasts all day and I had no issues pushing it with a notification-heavy workload, overnight sleep tracking. Even with the always-on display switched on, I could get a full 24 hours of use. With lighter workloads, the watch should easily last a full day and part of the next.

Oppo Watch power saver mode

If you plan to go off the grid for extended periods of time, you’ll appreciate the power saver mode on the Oppo Watch. In this mode, the watch switches off Wear OS altogether, instead, you are presented with a rudimentary clock face with a few fitness functions. The mode still lets you receive message notifications, check the time, track steps and heart rate, and essentially converts the Oppo Watch into a fitness tracker.

VOOC charging tops-off the watch to just under 50% in 15 minutes.

When it comes time to top-up the Oppo Watch, VOOC charging support comes in very handy. While it took me over an hour to fully charge the watch, it can be topped off to just short of 50% in 15 minutes. A quick charge while you make your morning cup of coffee should be enough to get you through most of the day.

Fitness and sleep tracking

Oppo Watch on wrist

Fitness tracking is functional, but not as full-featured as something like the Suunto 7. Oppo includes its own watch-based fitness tracking app that can track five different types of exercises, including swimming, but I was unable to find a companion app for it on the phone to analyze the data. There’s Google Fit, of course, and you can use a range of third-party fitness apps if you have a preference for a certain application.

With my usual running trails still blocked, I could only take the watch out for a quick walk around the block. It took mere seconds to get a solid GPS lock and distance tracking was absolutely accurate. There’s a heart rate sensor built into the watch. I compared the data with my go-to Fitbit Ionic and the step count and heart rate measurement were close enough to not be an issue for most users.

Oppo Watch showing sleep data

The Oppo Watch does a pretty good job at sleep tracking, though it can only track data between 8PM and 10AM — an odd quirk. Looks like Oppo doesn’t imagine you’ll ever sleep late over the weekend.

Oppo’s pre-loaded apps are good enough to get you started, but are a bit short on features.

Other pre-loaded apps include a timer, clock, and stopwatch. You’ll also find apps for breathing exercises as well as guided workouts. The range of workouts here is pretty limited and it isn’t much more than a beginner’s guide to getting started on a fitness journey. You’ll also find a sound recorder as well as a range of Google apps.

I really like the tile-like widgets on Wear OS, but weirdly enough, the Oppo Watch wouldn’t display my calendar entries on the Google Calendar tile. Huh.

The ability to take phone calls over the watch’s speaker definitely tickled my inner Dick Tracy. However, the tinny sound wasn’t particularly great and I didn’t find myself using the feature much. Still, the speaker is a valuable addition for when you need to quickly interact with Google Assistant.

Value and competition

Oppo Watch in hand

The Oppo Watch nails the key tenets of a good smartwatch. All-day battery life, fluid performance, reliable connectivity, and affordability.

The two variants are priced between Rs. 14,990 (~$200) and Rs. 19,990 (~$269) in India. Smartwatch buyers in the UK can get their hands on the 41mm watch in September for £229 while the 46mm variant goes on sale a bit later in October for £369.

Oppo Watch

The Oppo Watch delivers the essentials and then some. The build quality is fantastic, battery goes all day long, and Wear OS is fluid despite the older the Snapdragon 3100 platform of choice. It certainly helps that the price point is appealing too.

At least in India, this makes the Oppo Watch one of, if not the most, affordable Wear OS options around. It certainly helps that Oppo did a great job here. The level of polish is good enough that I’m willing to forgive the absence of the absolute latest chipset. Additionally, while a rotary dial would have been a nice addition, as well as the ability to use both the keys as shortcuts, these doesn’t take away from the core experience.

If you are not too enthused by Google’s lackluster approach towards Wear OS, there are ample fitness-focused options around.

The Fitbit Versa 2 is an excellent alternative that blends fitness capabilities with just enough smarts. The stellar battery life is a great up-sell too.

Garmin makes some great smartwatches as well. The Vivoactive 4 and the Garmin Venu stand out as great options with solid fitness functionality and just the right number of features like Garmin Pay, music storage, and notifications.

Finally, there’s the Galaxy Watch 3, which ranks amongst the best smartwatch options for Android users. However, at Rs. 29,990 in India and $399 in the US, expect to pay top dollar for the experience.

Oppo Watch review: The verdict

Oppo Watch on wrist

The Oppo Watch focuses on what matters to users: great style, excellent fit and finish, and reliability. It doesn’t take the kitchen sink approach, and that minimalistic approach works in its favor.

The software is clean and usable, the battery lasts a full day and a bit more, which allows for activities such as sleep tracking.

The screen is visually stunning and the overall build quality impresses. The Oppo Watch is an easy recommendation for anyone who wants to dip their toes in the Wear OS smartwatch experience.

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