Oppo has been hitting its stride lately with the Find X2 Pro smartphone and is slowly becoming a household name in New Zealand. While they don't have the same brand recognition as Apple, Samsung or Huawei, they are viable option for those looking for a new piece of tech. Their latest device is the Oppo Watch, aimed at Android users who are looking for a new smartwatch.
Let's first address the Apple-sized elephant in the room. The Oppo design team have shamelessly taken inspiration from the Apple Watch to the point where it's almost laughable. The square aluminium case and rubber band is near identical to those found on the wrists of those lining up at Auckland coffee shops. That said, it's hard to ignore that this is a well-built smartwatch which looks and feels premium.
The Oppo Watch is available in both a 41mm and 46mm version. My review unit is the black 46mm model but "pink gold" and "glossy gold" options are available. Turning on the watch for the first time, the vibrant AMOLED screen had me impressed by its brightness. There were no issues viewing the screen outdoors and the always-on display option is an unexpected bonus. After wearing the watch for 12 hours, I didn't find it uncomfortable or heavy on my wrist.
The built-in microphone and speaker are passable but I wouldn't recommend making calls directly from the watch while in noisy environments. Apart from the fact that you will look silly talking to your watch, the form-factor isn't ideal for making phone calls. Oppo advertises this model as supporting 50m water resistance but I wasn't brave enough to test it in our current wintry conditions.
There are two buttons on the right of the aluminium case. The top button is opens up the app drawer and the bottom button can be assigned to a specific app of your choosing. It is disappointing to see that the Oppo Watch doesn't have a rotating crown like competing Android smartwatches. While not essential, a crown does make it easier to scroll through apps or text messages.
The Oppo Watch runs on Google's Wear OS platform, an operating system that hasn't exactly been a priority for Google this last few years. While Apple has consistently updated watchOS with new features since it launched in 2015, Android fans haven't been so lucky. Given that the Oppo Watch is running on the two-year-old Snapdragon 3100 chipset, I didn't notice any lag or freezing. This is likely due to the 1GB of RAM which keeps the watch running smoothly.
Navigating the device is simple and it's easy to customise the watch to match your preferred style. Multiple watch faces are included, in addition to the downloadable apps where you can design your own custom look.
Oppo includes the 5-Minute Workouts app which features workout videos that play on the watch as you follow along. The device also supports Google Fit which can track more than 80 types of exercise. The step tracking is accurate and can display next to the watch face. Sleep tracking is also included but wearing any wristwatch in bed isn't comfortable.
The biggest disappointment with the Oppo Watch is the lack of Google Pay support. It's bizarre that Android smartphones have been able to tap and pay for years but this hasn't been extended to Google's wearable devices. Oppo says the hardware (NFC) and software is ready and will work as soon as Google launches the service in NZ.
The Oppo Watch includes the Google Assistant for managing tasks, asking questions, listening to music and controlling your smart home devices. Unfortunately, saying "OK Google" doesn't wake the Oppo Watch like it does on smartphones. I emailed Oppo about this issue and they said that updates will roll out over the next few months.
I was able to activate the Google Assistant by holding down the top button. As demonstrated in the video below, this allowed me to control my Hi-Fi, TV, lights and heat pump.
Battery life and charging
After taking the Oppo Watch off its charger at 7am, the battery lasted all day and was still running when I started charging again at 11pm. Wireless charging isn't included but I was able to charge the watch to 50 per cent battery in only 20 minutes. Oppo says the watch can last up to 21 days when using the power saver mode.
The watch marks Oppo's first foray into smartwatches and while the design is anything but original, it's hard to argue with the results. The Oppo Watch has great style and smooth software, two critical features which are rare with WearOS devices.
Like any fashion item, choosing a watch comes down to personal taste and I prefer Oppo's square display which allows for more screen real estate. Those who prefer round smartwatches and rotating crowns should take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.
I've found that getting notifications on my wrist has meant that I am using my smartphone less and the step tracking is keeping me active. iOS users have no reason to stray from their Apple Watch but Android fans should take notice.
Pricing and availability
The Oppo Watch will be available to purchase from Noel Leeming and 2degrees in-store and online from September 4. The 41mm model is available in black or "pink gold" for $399. The 46mm model is available in black or "glossy gold" for $599.