Oppo Watch review

GSMArena team, 24 August 2020.

Design and controls

The Oppo Watch comes in two distinct size variants - 41mm and 46mm. That is roughly similar to the 40mm and 44mm versions that the Apple Watch is available in. What we have here for review is the larger 46mm version of the Oppo Watch.

However, the two Oppo Watch models do differ by more than just display size. The smaller of the pair lacks the curved display side edges of its bigger sibling, instead of going with a flatter, more Apple Watch-style screen surface. A smaller overall body, also means a smaller (300 mAh) battery in the 41mm Oppo Watch. The smaller model also lacks ceramics on its back panel. It is also rated at 3ATM of water-resistance, instead of 5ATM. On the flip side, that also helps reduce its weight down to 30 grams, while the 46mm Oppo Watch is about 10 grams heavier.

Oppo Watch review

Other than that, however, both internally and externally, there are no real important differences between the two size variants. Since the two models share all of their internals, the findings will be transferable. Sans for the battery ones, of course.

Speaking of battery and internals, the 46mm Oppo Watch can be had in either a Wi-Fi only configuration or an LTE one. We have the Wi-Fi only unit at our disposal. But, again, having LTE should only affect the experience slightly and mostly exhibit a small battery life hit.

Back to design, the Oppo Watch clearly draws a lot of inspiration from the Apple Watch line. However, it is far from a carbon copy. The curved display sides manage to instantly give it a distinctive look. The 1.91-inch diagonal panel on the 46mm model has a native resolution of 402 x 476 pixels, which might not sound like much, but at that diagonal amounts to a very sharp 326ppi. It looks gorgeous in person.

Oppo Watch review

Along with rather thin display bezels, the Oppo Watch looks premium, even from a distance. That body shape, alone, is also enough to instantly separate it from any other, cheaper rectangular watches and bands, like the Realme Watch or the Amazfit Bip to name a couple.

Oppo Watch review Left: Oppo Watch * Right: Apple Watch

Speaking of the body on the Oppo Watch, it differs from Apple's design on a conceptual level. Where the Apple Watch uses a more "unibody" approach, molding the bottom shell up into the sides and then inserting the display on top and a round sensor inlay on the bottom, the Oppo Watch uses a sandwich design.

The large back piece of the case is ceramic on the 46mm model and plastic on the 41mm. Beyond that, both have an aluminum middle frame and the same "fluororubber" bands.

A special Oppo Watch Luxury Edition exists as well. Its frame is stainless steel, making for a slightly heavier product, overall, at 45.5 grams. It uses an entirely different, more-standard strap design too, making it a totally different beast, compared to both sizes of the vanilla Oppo Watch.

Oppo Watch luxury edition - Oppo Watch review
Oppo Watch luxury edition

The Oppo Watch has a solid bill of material, even if slightly less impressive than Apple's in terms of construction methods.

The official specs on the Oppo website do not list any info on the protection layer over the curved and extra-exposed display. With some digging around, we found out that the 46mm Oppo Watch uses Schott Glass, while its flat-screened, 41mm sibling, relies on an undisclosed version of Corning Gorilla Glass. Sounds reasonable to us.

Oppo Watch review

On the flip side, Oppo has managed to seal the shell well enough to get a 5ATM rating for the 46mm model and 3ATM for the 41mm one. Ratings Oppo seems quite confident in, seeing how the Oppo Watch can track swimming performance.

Oppo Watch review

Color options for the 46mm Oppo Watch include Black and Glossy Gold. Ours is the former, and it looks very slick. Under certain lighting, the middle shell almost has a blueish hue to it, making it more of deep blue-inky color in our mind.

The 41mm variant gets one extra color and slightly different shades overall - Black, Pink Gold and Silver Mist.

Comfort

Before we move on the buttons, we have to talk about the "fluororubber" band on the Oppo Watch. First, the positives - it strikes a great balance between being sturdy and also soft and comfortable. Its rubberized finish is almost silky to the touch and pleasant on the skin. All the while, it resists scratches quite well, from things like nails or clothes and sleeves.

Oppo Watch review

Oppo has clearly wanted to get that naturally "flowing" look down, digging the attachment mechanism into the chassis of the watch. We can't sulk too much for it being non-standard, since it's a deliberate choice of looks over practicality.

That means it is not a standard strap. Instead, in latches into place with two small tabs on either side. These are released by pressing a well-hidden button on either side of the back of the wearable. The attachment works well, looks good, and feels secure.

What we can and absolutely will complain about is the outrageously poor clasp design. Seriously, it's so bad that it's almost unusable. Strapping on the Oppo Watch almost became an in-office meme after multiple people had to ask for assistance in the process. The problem is that there is no practical anchor point to insert one end of the band into the other easily and then adjust and fasten with one hand. The protruding clamp is always in the way, and even if it weren't, you'd still have to stuff the band into what is a very tight-gripping ring.

Oppo Watch review

The default band design on the Apple Watch might look similar, but it isn't. Its extra-large "thread," for the lack of a better term, makes putting it on a breeze in comparison. And, mind you, neither of these uses a classic, mechanical watch clasp, in the traditional sense, which would instantly give it a neck up. Oppo desperately needs to re-think this design for a future revision.

The band attachment scheme is by far our biggest criticism regarding the overall ergonomic experience with the Oppo Watch, though.

Once on the wrist, the Oppo Watch feels very comfortable. At around 40 grams, it is neither too heavy nor too light and right around what the Apple Watch offers. Thanks to its relatively thin profile of just shy of 13mm, the Oppo Watch lies comfortably flat against the wrist. It's unlikely that you will bump it accidentally, and the fit is good enough to wear while sleeping. Something that this particular reviewer was uncomfortable doing with other devices, like the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier and the Huawei Watch 2.

Oppo Watch review

A snug on-hand fit does is generally conducive to higher than usual sweating in the summer. Both the silky rubber band and ceramic back plate facilitate excessive sweating of the writs. The band remains perfectly comfortable and doesn't mind getting a bit wet. Neither does the ceramic back or the watch, as it's perfectly okay with swimming.

Controls

The main way of interaction with the Oppo Watch is going to be the touchscreen. It feels smooth to the touch and is perfectly responsive. Tap to wake is supported, but the raise gesture works pretty well, too. That being said, it is still not quite on par with the excellent raise detection on the Apple Watch. Pretty close, though.

Oppo Watch review

Touch navigation is decently consistent across both Wear OS and the battery-saving UI. A swipe right goes Back out of almost any interface, with the notable exception of keyboard input screens, for things like quick reply. All four swipe gestures are utilized from the home screen and invoke quick toggles (top), notifications (bottom), Google pane (left), and customizable tiles (right). But, more on that in the software section.

In terms of physical controls, the Oppo Watch has a pair of buttons. The Top One is Home and either brings you back straight to the watch face from any menu of opens the app drawer if you are already on the home screen. Below it - the Multifunction button is also stable in its functionality across the main Wear OS UI. It always triggers a pre-defined, but still customizable feature or app, from anywhere in the UI. We appreciate that Oppo didn't assign these buttons contextually in different parts of the UI. It's just simpler this way.

Oppo Watch review

In terms of actual feel, both bottoms are perfectly "clicky" and responsive. We like the color accent on the Multifunction button too.

The Oppo Watch has both a speaker and a microphone. They are mostly used to communicate with the Google assistant and perhaps, to take a call, if you don't have a more convenient way to do so. The speaker is also good for audio feedback during activity tracking. You could, technically, play music through it, as well, but it's not a particularly great speaker.

Voice comes out sounding quite articulate, from both calls and the Google assistant/activity tracking feedback. It's also impressive to see that Oppo managed to still pull-off water resistance with two rather sizeable speaker holes on the side.

The singular microphone on the Oppo Watch is also perfectly decent to give the Google assistant instructions and have a last-resort voice call. It sounds decent in a call, but there is no noise cancellation. Hence - last resort.

All things considered, we like what Oppo has done here in terms of controls. Even so, the digital crown on the Apple Watch is still in a league of its own. The same goes for Samsung's rotating watch bezel, for that matter. Oppo doesn't have anything to match either of these physical control methods.

Sensors and hardware

Still, some hardware aspects of the Oppo Watch are worth pointing out. First, the basics, in terms of sensors. The wearable has at its disposal a Tri-axial acceleration sensor, Gyroscope, Geomagnetic sensor, Barometric sensor and an Optical heartbeat sensor. The latter being the only visible one, on the bottom of the watch. Notably, no fancy ECG, like on the Apple Watch, but that's hardly going to be missed by most users.

Oppo Watch review

Some more conventional sensors include a Capacitance sensor and Ambient light sensor. The latter is installed under the display itself and does a swell job of automatically regulating its brightness. All of these are shared among all Oppo Watch models.

Same goes for general connectivity options, including Wi-Fi 2.4Ghz, Bluetooth 4.2, with BLE and NFC. The Oppo Watch has a built-in GPU receiver, with GLONASS and BDS support, as well. However, like all wearable GPU receivers, it is a bit limited and relies heavily on fresh A-GPS data from a connected phone. The watch can also get positioning data from a connected phone for better accuracy.

Moving on to slightly more-interesting bits, the Oppo Watch actually has two separate chipsets. One is a "full-featured" Snapdragon Wear unit, that powers the Wear OS experience. The other - an Ambiq Micro Apollo3 Wireless SoC, which is specifically there to power the Oppo Watch battery-saver mode, while still retaining basic smart functionality, like step counting, heart rate measurement and notifications. The latter is the silicon behind the advertised 21-day battery life on the 46mm unit and 14 days on the 41mm one.

Oppo Watch review

In yet another interesting twist, the international version of the Oppo Watch gets a Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, while the Chinese one has a Wear 2500 one. Despite the significant number difference, these two are actually very similar in hardware, both rocking four ARM Cortex-A7 cores, at up to 1.09Ghz and an Adreno 304 chipset. This chipset is paired with 1GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 8GB of eMMC 4.5 storage. The latter is non-expandable but is still good for storing your Wear OS apps and perhaps cashing some Spotify music, for use with a Bluetooth headset directly, without a phone.

Speaking of Wear OS, this is a good place to note that only the international Oppo Watch gets to run that. Units within China get ColorOS Watch OS as their smartwatch OS. The battery-saving OS is the same between the regional variants, and it is a proprietary affair. We'll get into it in the software section.

On the hardware side of things, it is interesting to note that switching from Wear OS to the battery-saving one and especially the other way around actually involves a reboot and takes a few seconds. This raises some interesting questions as to how separate the two chipsets are. Mainly since you don't really need to fully re-sync the Oppo Watch with your phone in both modes, so at least some part of the communication chain might be shared between the two environments. Fascinating stuff. For anyone interested in this further, we did dig-up a specs sheet for the Ambiq Micro Apollo3 SoC.

Specs table for Ambiq Micro Apollo3 - Oppo Watch review
Specs table for Ambiq Micro Apollo3

Finishing-off the hardware section, we should note that the Oppo Watch LTE version does not use a removable SIM card. It relies on eSIM. Band support for it includes: WCDMA(B1, B8), FDD(B1, B3, B7, B20) and TD-LTE(B38).

Reader comments

  • CWO

Bought this watch oct'20 , 56mm model after few days used ,noticed battery drain super fast less than 12hours ,and bluetooth connection was very very poor, it always reconnect, whatsapp does not support well,it always didn't show notificati...

  • Sonu

When will oppo provide LTE /4G support in India.?

  • Ilia.N

I really like it...