Home Ideas The OnePlus Watch 2 Is Almost Ready to Take on Apple

The OnePlus Watch 2 Is Almost Ready to Take on Apple

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After a three-year hiatus, OnePlus is finally back with a new smartwatch. The aptly named OnePlus Watch 2 promises a return to form for the company that originally made its name by offering flagship-like devices at much more affordable prices.

While I won’t say that the OnePlus Watch 2 blows the other Android smartwatches out of the water, and there are a few things that it could improve on, it does feel like a drastic improvement from the first OnePlus Watch—something that long-standing OnePlus fans will be happy to hear.

OnePlus Watch 2 specs

First, the basics. The numbers and items seen here are exactly what you’d expect from a flagship-class smartwatch, including 2.5D Sapphire Crystal glass and a stainless steel chassis:

  • Size: 47mm x 46.6mm x 12.1mm

  • Weight: 49g without strap / 80g with strap

  • Display: 1.43-inch AMOLED panel at 60Hz, 1,000 nit brightness, 466 x 466 resolution

  • Case: Stainless steel

  • Chipset: Dual Engine Architecture SnapdragonTM W5 + BES2700

  • Storage: 32GB

  • RAM: 2GB

  • Sensors: Acceleration, Gyroscope, Optical Heart Rate, Optical Pulse Oximeter, Geomagnetic, Light, Barometer, Dual-frequency L1 + L5, Beidou, GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, QZSS

  • LTE: No

  • Battery size: 500mAh

  • Water resistance: 5ATM+IP68

  • OS: Wear OS 4

  • Compatible Phones: Android 8.0 and up, GMS 23.45.23 or later

As you can see, all of these specs are solid options, and on paper, they look like they would offer a premium smartwatch experience that’s more than capable of keeping up with the Pixel Watch 2 and the latest Galaxy smartwatches. Of course, if you’re running an iOS device, then you’re not going to want to purchase this: The OnePlus Watch 2 continues the trend of many recent Wear OS devices and doesn’t support iOS in any way.

I’ve spent the past week with the OnePlus Watch, and here’s what I’ve learned.

Doubling down

OnePlus Watch 2 battery estimations

Credit: Joshua Hawkins

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the OnePlus Watch 2, and what initially caught my attention when OnePlus reached out to me about it, is the dual-engine architecture. With this dual architecture, OnePlus promises that it will deliver up to 100 hours of power on a single charge.

These kinds of battery claims aren’t uncommon for the company, as the first OnePlus Watch had amazing battery life but not much else going for it. By putting both a Snapdragon W5 and BES 2700 chipset into the watch, OnePlus says the watch can easily swap between the two to utilize the more powerful Snapdragon W5 when it’s needed. And overall, I’d say the company really delivered here.

While using the OnePlus Watch 2, I never felt like the watch was lagging behind, even when messing around with third-party apps. Operating between the various tilesets was always snappy, and the charge held really well. I charged the watch on Tuesday and was able to use it until Friday without having to put it back on the charger. Even then, the watch hadn’t completely died, and with Power Saver mode on, I could eke another day out of it, giving me almost four days of charge with mild usage.

Charging it is also extremely easy, with the watch only taking around 30 minutes or so to fully charge when using a OnePlus power brick. The charging rate might vary if you aren’t using a OnePlus brick, though it shouldn’t be that drastic of a difference. I did notice that charging the watch was a bit annoying—the band gets in the way, so I had to turn the watch over on its side to get it to sit flush on my desk. But since you don’t have to charge it for longer periods of time, it isn’t a huge issue.

Ultimately, I’d call the dual-engine design a huge win for the smartwatch, especially considering my usual daily driver (the Apple Watch Ultra 2) usually has to be recharged every other day.

Getting smarter

OnePlus Watch 2 on blue wavy background

Credit: OnePlus

The key to delivering this battery life is what OnePlus calls “Smart mode.” It’s turned on by default, and it doesn’t lock you out of any of the watch’s various capabilities, according to OnePlus. I didn’t notice anything missing from the watch’s functionality while using it, and I was easily able to start up workouts and check my heart rate, stress, and other health parameters with ease.

Overall, OnePlus really seems to have pulled out all the stops this time following the OnePlus Watch in 2021. Workouts are easy to start, and OnePlus has included a few additional workout choices—including Badminton, Tennis, and Skiing modes, just to name a few of the more niche options. There are, of course, the other usual workout options, like running, walking, and so on.

OnePlus brings all of its health tracking and smartwatch functionality into the new OHealth app, which is launching alongside the smartwatch. The app is easy to set up, and it provides a lot of detailed information. It’s not groundbreaking, as smartwatch apps go, but it does the job well, and I don’t have any complaints about it. Most people should find it perfectly usable.

Like most smartwatches these days, you’ll get a bit more out of the watch if you pair it up with your similarly branded smartphone, though while testing the watch with the OnePlus 12 and Pixel 8 Pro, I didn’t notice any distinct features or anything missing. It mostly seems to be tied to the performance of the device.

As far as the sensor accuracy goes, I didn’t notice any big issues with anything OnePlus was measuring. Sleep tracking seemed to work well enough compared to other smartwatches I’ve used, like the Apple Watch Ultra 2. However, I will say that the stress monitoring can get a bit annoying to deal with at times, so if you use one of the complications for it, you might find yourself getting a good few notifications if your levels jump from the “moderate” range.

The watch uses an eight-channel optical heart rate sensor, so it should provide accurate responses, and anytime I checked my heart rate, nothing looked off or it appeared like it was struggling to get the job done.

There’s no period tracking or body temperature tracking here, either. Users looking for that in a smartwatch will need to look elsewhere. It also doesn’t have fall detection, though the way OnePlus talked, that might come later down the line. But that’s just speculation on my part.

Design and feel

OnePlus Watch 2 face design

Credit: OnePlus

But performance and smartness aren’t everything. Sure, the OnePlus Watch 2 has great battery life and performs really well, but how does it look? To put it quite frankly, the watch is beautiful. It’s honestly one of the more appealing Android smartwatches on the market right now, and the stainless steel casing really helps deliver a solid and premium feeling device.

It never felt too heavy on my wrist, and the fact that OnePlus includes a “one size fits all” style watch band with a lot of wiggle room is nice. The bands are also easily removable, which should make it easy for those who like to customize their bands to find new ones once they’re available.

Overall, using the device felt good. There’s a lot of room for customization, from watch faces to the various tiles you can set up on the main screen, and I think a lot of users will be happy with what OnePlus offers this time around. The company says it supports 80 downloadable first-party watch faces along with third-party faces. However, the third-party faces won’t work with the Power Saver mode. So that’s definitely something to keep in mind.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, the OnePlus Watch 2 feels like a clear improvement from what the company offered with its first smartwatch. The design is great, the features deliver, and I didn’t notice any big turnoffs that Android users will need to look out for. The lack of any support for iOS is disappointing, especially as someone who uses an iPhone as their daily driver. I’d love to be able to pair this up with my iPhone and use it instead of my Apple Watch, but this divide is nothing new in the smartphone/smartwatch industry.

I don’t have a lot of gripes with the watch. The various management and health monitoring systems can be annoying to deal with, but that’s true of just about every smartwatch these days. The sensors might not be the most accurate on the market, but they provide solid measurements that should more than do the job in most cases. The GPS worked well in my testing, and while I’m not really a runner, the test run I did seemed to offer a lot of functionality for runners that should put this watch on par with others on the market right now.

The OnePlus Watch 2 is a solid smartwatch, especially for OnePlus fans. It continues the company’s recent successes, and at $299.99, it’s hard to beat its premium design and great battery life. It goes on sale today, Feb. 26, and is available to preorder on OnePlus.com.

Source: LifeHacker.com