Oppo Watch review

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Quick Verdict: Despite its obvious copying of Apple's Watch design, Oppo's Watch delivers the goods if you're keen on an Android Wear watch to cover the smartphone basics in a stylish way.

  • Slick, if somewhat familiar design
  • Quick VOOC charging
  • WearOS is nicely configurable
  • Wrist strap isn't always comfortable
  • Battery life is highly variable
  • No LTE for Australia

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Back when Oppo first launched into the Australian market, you could sum up its phone products pretty simply. The designs were nice, the cameras were better than you'd typically get in their price ranges, and the software was an absolute shameless clone of Apple's iOS, except that it was Android underneath.

Oppo has moved on from that stance with its phones, and its ColorOS overlay now looks more like an Android device than anything else. Old habits die hard, its seems, because its first wearable to launch in Australia is another shameless Apple clone, but this time for the Apple Watch. More than once while testing it I've had folks think that was exactly what I was wearing, and maybe that's the point.

While Apple's design and legal folks might ponder on this, the more important question to answer is whether or not the Oppo Watch is any good.


Design

Design

  • 41mm or 46mm watch sizes
  • Choice of two colours
  • No band choices locally
Oppo Watch

You don't even have to unpack the Oppo Watch to get a feel for how much of an Apple clone it is, because if you've ever seen the packaging for an Apple Watch, you'll get an eerie feeling of déjà vu when the Oppo Watch slides into view.

While it's a bold move that may have some folks wondering if you are wearing an Apple Watch, it means it's built on a design that works quite well in a smartwatch sense. Watch traditionalists may prefer a round watch shape – and that's fine if that's your preference – but the big benefit in a rectangular watch shape is that you can fit a lot more information into the space in a way that's much easier to read.

Despite the design similarities, Oppo's Watch is a little different in a few key areas. There's no "digital crown" for app selection, replaced instead with two thin side buttons, one of which activates workouts by default.

The strap looks like it's built in a similar slide-in fashion to the Apple Watch, but it actually pulls out from the Oppo Watch rather than sliding sideways. There's actually not much point in doing so right now though, because while Oppo does sell Oppo Watch band options in its home Chinese market, Oppo representatives told me that there are no plans to offer those in Australia just yet.

The clipping mechanism uses a simple plastic nub and loop arrangement that takes a little getting used to. Your experience and wrist size can and probably does vary, but I found it was either just a little pinchy and tight, or just too loose for good heart rate measurements on my own wrist, so the option for alternate bands and clasps would have been very welcome in my case.

That leaves you with the default band that comes with your watch, which may vary depending on which size Oppo Watch you buy. The larger 46mm model ships in Black or Glossy Gold, while the smaller 41mm variant comes in either Black or Pink Gold. I tested with the larger 46mm variant, which features a nicely dual-curved AMOLED display with a 402x476 pixel 1.91-inch display. Opt for the smaller 41mm variant and you'll get a flatter 1.6-inch 320x360 pixel AMOLED display instead.


Performance

Performance

  • WearOS with ColorOS improvements covers the smartphone basics well
  • Nice variety in watch faces
  • No LTE model for Australia
Oppo Watch

The Oppo Watch may look like an Apple Watch, but naturally, it's not running on Apple's wearOS, and despite the design and that external packaging, it doesn't really even pretend to in any significant way. Instead, it's a wearOS device using Google's wearable operating system that hasn't actually seen use on all that many locally released smart wearables of late.

Oppo being Oppo, it's also overlaid its own ColorOS optimisations on top of wearOS, but unlike on its phones, where I tend to find them garish, I actually quite liked the redesigned colour schemes, icons and layout of the Oppo Watch. It's sensible and very easy to learn once you've got the Oppo Watch paired with a compatible phone. As it's basically just wearOS, it will pair with any Android or iOS device of recent vintage with minimal fuss.

At a hardware level, the Oppo Watch uses a dual processor array, with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 doing the heavy lifting, alongside an Ambiq Micro Apollo3 ultra low power chip that kicks in if you engage the power saving mode. As you'd expect, power saving mode really only offers you the "watch" basics with little of the "smart", but even the Snapdragon Wear 3100 isn't exactly a powerhouse processor – or all that new a processor either. Qualcomm has a newer wearable device processor in its arsenal in the form of the much newer Wear 4100, but what you're stuck with here is a processor that first appeared two years ago. That's a long time in processor terms, although Oppo does at least provide it with 1GB of RAM to help smooth out any performance bumps.

Google's wearOS is an entirely capable wearable operating system to cover the basics of notifications, call taking, small scale app usage and health and fitness tracking, but it's stuck in the same rut that pretty much every smartwatch is right now. I can't help but feel that all we're getting is iterations on already solved problems in the wearable space, and while the Oppo Watch handles all those basics well enough, it doesn't really do all that much to make it stand out from the pack apart from its similarity to the Apple Watch.

What you do get that the Apple Watch lacks, to be fair, is quite a bit more flexibility when it comes to Watch faces. There's a good quantity of faces to pick from out of the box, plus faces you can download from the Google Play Store. Some of these have totally been built with circular smartwatches in mind, so they can look a tad distorted on the Oppo Watch, but at least you get more choice and customisability in this respect than you do with the Apple Watch.

While we've seen an increasing range of smartwatches launch with integrated LTE, most typically utilising an eSIM and a partnered plan with a supporting telco, you won't find that on the Oppo Watch as sold in Australia. Oppo does produce an LTE model of the Oppo Watch in the 46mm size only in other markets, but here it's a purely Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connected option only.


Battery life

Battery life

  • Watch endurance varies a lot
  • Smart charging clip, but no in-box charger
  • VOOC support – but only if you're an existing OPPO owner
  • Predictably smaller battery in the smaller watch variant
Oppo Watch

The 46mm variant of the Oppo Watch that I tested ships with an integrated 430mAh battery. There's less physical space in the smaller 41mm variant, which has to make do with a 300mAh power pack; that's probably why Oppo doesn't make an LTE variant in that smaller size.

Actual battery life varied quite a lot during my review period, although it wasn't hard to see why that was. By default, the Oppo Watch doesn't utilise an always-on display, and if you leave it that way you'll get a lot more battery life out of it. I like to have my smartwatch at least showing the time and my notifications without having to rely on taps or raise to wake gestures. Once I enabled that, I did see battery life drop down quite a lot. A single day is still pretty feasible, but not if you also wanted to use its smart sleep tracking features overnight.

Oppo provides a charging base on a cable with magnetic charging pins that make it pretty easy to slip the Oppo Watch into place when you do need to juice it up. However, that's not going to actually give you any power, because what you don't get in the box is any kind of charger. The Oppo Watch is compatible with its own VOOC fast charging standard, with a claim that a 15-minute charge can cover a whole day's usage. That relies on you having a VOOC charger, which you'll only own if you're already an Oppo phone user, however. As it's USB A on the other end of the charging cable, you can use it with just about any phone charger at least.

Oppo's claim is that it's capable of "up to" 21 days of usage, but that's only true in its power saver mode, which drops the screen resolution and functions of the Oppo Watch pretty sharply. For actual smartwatch usage – and who buys a smartwatch not to have it be smart, really – you're more looking at a 1-2 day battery life. While the LTE version doesn't officially sell here, you can probably drop that second day given the extra power draw that LTE is likely to introduce.


Should you buy the Oppo Watch?

  • Buy it if you want a good all-round wearOS watch that apes the Apple Watch style.
  • Don't buy it if you need LTE or tighter app integration.
Finder score: 3.5
How we score our reviews

The Oppo Watch is Oppo's first wearable device, and in a lot of ways Oppo has learned from many of the mistakes of its competitors before coming to market. While it's a very shameless clone of the Apple Watch, that design does work quite well and looks quite nice in most settings, as long as your preference doesn't run to more classical round watch shapes. Google's wearOS covers the basics quite well, and the overall package is quite appealing as long as your needs are modest.


Pricing and availability

Price

The 41mm Oppo Watch sells in Australia for $449 outright, while the 46mm Oppo Watch as tested costs $549 outright.

Where to buy


Specifications

Oppo Watch

General

Face Size
46mm or 41mm
Colours
Black, Glossy Gold, Pink Gold
Battery Life
Up to 36 hours

Connectivity

Bluetooth
Version 4.2
NFC
Yes

Features

Calories Burned
Yes
Distance
Yes
Gps
Yes
Heart Rate
Yes
Nfc
Yes
Pedometer
Yes
Rechargeable
Yes
Sleep Tracker
Yes
Touchscreen
Yes
Water Resistant
Yes

Images: Alex Kidman

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