The Oppo Watch marks the Chinese tech company’s first foray into the world of smartwatches, and makes its mark by ape-ing the design of a certain market-leading device.
But for Android users looking at devices like the Apple Watch SE with envy, the Oppo’s borrowed design won’t be an issue.
The Oppo Watch runs on Google’s Wear OS, but that’s also been mixed with Oppo’s own Color OS to offer a slicker experience. It offers key smartwatch features such as payments and notifications, with a few software extras that Oppo has thrown in too.
It comes in two sizes: 41mm and 46mm. The smaller 41mm Oppo Watch we tested comes in at £229, which is cheaper than something like the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 £269.
We’ve been living with it the past few weeks to find out. Here’s our full verdict.
Oppo Watch: Design and screen
We alluded to it above and we’ll say it again, the Oppo Watch looks like an Apple Watch – just much less premium.
It’s got a rectangular case to offer that same profile, and the even the rubber watch strap looks like one of Apple’s sporty bands.
Get up closer and you’ll know this isn’t an Apple Watch you’re looking at. The Oppo Watch isn’t badly made or bad looking, but put it next to Apple’s smartwatch and there are some clear differences in the construction.
The Oppo Watch comes in 41mm and 46mm sizes with both featuring an aluminium case. The 41mm does miss out on some of the extra design flourishes that makes the 46mm model the more attractive option.
The bigger Oppo uses ceramic in the rear of the case and uses a dual curved display instead of the rigid screen used on the smaller Watch.
The smaller Oppo Watch is also slightly thicker than the larger option and at 30g, weighs in 10g lighter than it too.
Front and centre is a 1.6-inch, 320 x 360 resolution AMOLED screen that offers bright, sharp surroundings and good visibility in bright light and when we took it for a dip in the pool. It’s a great quality screen and while you miss out on the extra screen estate and resolution, it’s still a solid smartwatch display.
Joining the touchscreen display are two physical buttons that sit almost flush with the side.
The bottom button can be assigned to different apps, but by default launches Oppo’s workout app.
We do need to talk about the band, which is removable by pressing two buttons on the back of the case. It has thankfully been comfortable to wear during the day, in bed and for exercise. We did though have some issues with securing the clasp on occasions that did cause the band to fall off once or twice in bed.
The entire watch package comes with a 3ATM water resistant rating. Oppo clarified that it is indeed safe for swimming and showering, but it is a lower rating than most rivals with 5ATM now being largely standard.
Oppo Watch: Wear OS and smartwatch features
The Oppo Watch runs Google’s Wear OS, but with a difference. It’s been blended with Oppo’s own Color OS that changes the look and feel of the vanilla Google experience.
It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, with 1GB or RAM and 8GB storage. While this is clearly a Wear OS watch, it feels very unlike any one we’ve used before and that’s actually a good thing.
It works in largely the same way. Swipe right to access Google Assistant to make use of the built-in speaker and microphone.
Swipe down to see the quick settings menu and swipe up to view your notifications.
Things change when you hit the top physical button, which opens up the app tray. What you get is rows of apps as opposed to the list you scroll through on Wear watches. It looks nicer and makes better use of the screen.
You can also swipe left to see the Tiles like activity tracking, heart rate measurements and workout tracking. The little software touches that Color OS brings to the party makes Wear feel a more pleasing experience to use.
Oppo will let you change watch faces and gives you a nice collection of static and live faces that make the most of that high quality display. It’s also added a few fitness-focused apps that we found we looked for over Google’s own.
The Daily Activity app shows off steps, calories, activity sessions and workout minutes. The five minute workout app is designed to keep you moving, even you don’t want to go smash out a gym session.
These include workouts called Morning Energizer or Bedtime Stretches. You’ll be shown what those exercises should look like and there’s a simple countdown to let you know how long you have left.
Last up is Workouts app, which we’ll get more into in the section below. Ultimately though our experience with the Oppo Watch from a software point of view is a positive one.
It takes all of the good features from Wear OS like payments, notification support and native Google apps. It matches that with a UI and presentation that just feels nicer to use.
So thumbs up to Oppo and what is has pulled off here.
Oppo Watch: Fitness tracking
While its design doesn’t scream sport, it does have all the sensors onboard to make it a pretty solid workout companion.
It features built-in GPS along with support for GLONASS to widen mapping coverage. There’s a barometer and accelerometer sensors and an optical heart rate sensor here too.
While you can look to Google’s own suite of health and fitness apps to track your step counts or runs, Oppo does also include a couple of its own apps to use instead.
If you don’t want to use those apps and want to review data away from the watch, you’ll additionally need to download the HeyTap Health phone app to do that.
Step tracking compared: Oppo Watch (left and centre) and Garmin fitness tracking (right)
That Health app will display heart rate, sleep, workout history and daily activity data. You can also track runs and walks from here and overall it’s a very clean-looking place that reminds us a bit of Samsung’s Health app. Only less busy.
Sleep tracking compared: Oppo Watch (left) and Garmin sleep tracking (right)
Accuracy-wise, we found it was pretty well in line with a Garmin fitness tracker for step counts, while sleep tracking felt a bit more reliable than the Garmin when it came to recognising correct sleep and awake times.
The sleep breakdown covers deep and light sleep stages, so there’s no REM sleep recorded or any record of heart rate during that bed time.
Oppo Watch: Sports tracking
When you’re ready to track, the emphasis from an Oppo point of view is on running, cycling or pool swimming.
It has options like fitness run, fat burn run, outdoor cycling or swimming. For running, it doesn’t keep you waiting agonisingly waiting long for a GPS signal.
During a run it’ll display metrics like pace, heart rate and calories burned in a UI that feels a lot like the one Samsung uses on its Galaxy Watches.
One annoying quirk we noticed is that if you hit a daily activity goal during a run, it will interrupt the workout screen with a notification and close the workout app. It doesn’t stop the tracking, but does mean glancing down at your watch requires reopening that app.
Run tracking compared: Oppo Watch (left) and Garmin Forerunner 745 (right)
From a data accuracy point of view, it tended to come up short of a dedicated running watch for distance tracking, which meant average pace and cadence that was also recorded wasn’t all that reliable.
Swim tracking compared: Oppo Watch (left) and Form Swim Goggles via Strava (right)
When we moved into the pool, things performed a little better on the accuracy front.
During the swim, you can view length counts, average pace, calorie burn and duration. It will also lock the screen to make sure hitting the water doesn’t send the screen into a frenzy. It accurately tracked distance, number of lengths and was pretty much there with average pace too.
In workout mode, you can also measure heart rate. Oppo’s sensor is also used for continuous measurements, though as we found it tended to report high maximum and average readings.
During a workout, it well at times but was also susceptible to issues that face most optical sensors when you up the intensity.
HR tracking compared: Oppo Watch (left) and MyZone chest strap (right)
The data above is from a easy paced run where average heart rate is not far off a chest strap monitor. It’s slightly different story for the maximum reading, which is significantly higher. There were plenty of workouts where it was one or two BPM out of the chest strap, but there were also moments like the one above where those random spikes appeared.
Oppo Watch: Battery life
Whether you go big or small Oppo Watch, what they promise in terms of battery life doesn’t break the mould as far as what full fat smartwatches are capable of.
Our smaller Oppo Watch packs a 300mAh capacity battery that promises up to 24 hours. If you go for the larger 46mm model, that jumps up to 36 hours of 30 hours with LTE.
We found that 24 hours pretty much on the money in terms of what we experienced. When you factor in things like sports tracking, even an hour run using GPS knocked the battery by 15-20%
What the Oppo does have in its favour is quite impressive ability to power itself back up when it does hit 0%.
When you drop it onto its charging cradle Oppo uses its VOOC flash charging technology to get you up to 30% in 15 minutes and takes 75 minutes to get up to 100%. It’s more impressive numbers for the 46mm version where it gets up to 46% battery after 15 minute charge.
While the charging doesn’t work as quickly on the smaller Oppo Watch, it was good enough on a few occasions when we’d been running low before going to bed to test out the sleep tracking.
Another aspect of battery performance to mention is the power saving mode, which is designed to give you an extra 21 days or 24 hours in the smart mode.
Unlike a lot of power saving modes, it’s not as restrictive letting you still track step counts, check notifications and measure heart rate.
The Oppo Watch might run on Wear OS, but it certainly doesn’t behave in the same way. It’s cleaner and much tidier presentation of Google’s software. Yes, it clearly is an Apple Watch copycat, but it’s hard to knock this well-built smartwatch. The 46mm version will offer a better experience, but if you can live without the LTE, screen quality and snappier fast charging, the smaller Oppo Watch is still a solid performer and worth considering.
- Mix of Wear OS and Color OS
- Sharp touchscreen
- Easy to use
- Fast charging
- Copycat design
- Short battery life
- GPS accuracy issue
- Clasp can be fiddly