Oppo announced on Friday that it will release its watch to global markets. The Oppo watch (which sounds like “ Apple Watch ” besides being very close to it in terms of design) is the first Wear OS smartwatch from the Chinese phone maker. The Chinese variant runs a modified version of Android 8.1, but the overall variant has a few key differences.
The first is the inclusion of the Snapdragon 3100 Wear platform, which is almost two years old at this point, but is the fastest chipset available for portable devices from Qualcomm. In contrast, the Chinese version of the watch uses the Snapdragon 2500 Wear. Both versions also have a secondary Ambiq Micro Apollo 3 chipset that powers its second low-power operating system.
Oppo Watch Specifications (Global):
- Body: 46mm: 6000 series aluminum, plastic and ceramic backplate; 41mm: same aluminum body, plastic backplate only
- Display: 46mm / 41mm: 1.91 / 1.6 inch rectangular 3D flexible AMOLED display; 72.76 / 65.22% screen-to-body ratio; 402 x 476/320 x 360 px; 326/301 dpi
- Chipset: Snapdragon Wear 3100 + Ambig Micro Apollo 3 platform
- Memory: 1 GB of RAM + 8 GB of storage
- Drums: 430mAh or 300mAh
- Software: Wear OS
- Connectivity: Bluetooth v4.2 + BLE, NFC, Wi-Fi b / g / n; LTE available on the 46mm model
Even the watch packaging is familiar to anyone who has ever unboxed an Apple Watch. The watch comes with a magnetic pin charger, which can charge the 46mm variant to over 40% in 15 minutes and a 75 minute charge brings the watch to a full battery. There is also an additional watch strap buckle.
Design and display
The screen of this 46mm model is larger than the larger Apple Watch in the 5 series. That, and the fact that it offers a square screen is a significant change from the mostly round smartwatches we have. seen on most Wear OS smartwatches in recent years.
The screen curves gently around the edges, which benefits Wear OS’s swiping gestures. We love how the frame and back panel look like a miniaturized glass sandwich smartphone. Even the back panel of the watch case has tapered edges.
The frame is 6000 series aluminum, while the back side is plastic and the dome where the heart rate monitor is located is ceramic on the 46mm model, the 41mm version is all plastic on the back.
There are two buttons on the right side of the case: one is the home / apps drawer button and the lower button (the one with the green accent) is a programmable hotkey. It also doubles as a power menu when you hold it down. A speaker port is on the left side of the watch case, also in the same way as the Apple Watch. The mic is back on the right side between the two physical keys.
The bracelet is made of a material Oppo calls “Fluorubber”. Honestly, its surface looks like a silicone strip, but has a more rigid construction. The bracelet is comfortable and soft on my wrist. This watch uses proprietary watch straps, so the choice will be much more limited compared to other Wear OS watches.
The AMOLED screen looks beautiful on the Oppo Watch. This is a 1.91 inch flexible 3D AMOLED display with 72.8% screen-to-body ratio and 326ppi pixel density.
Boy, is it weird to see Android Wear in something that looks like an Apple Watch. I wasn’t sure how I would feel at first, but I’m warming up a bit.
Wear OS is somewhat unrecognizable. It still behaves the same, but the custom app launcher and smooth performance really add refinement to the experience. It has a Color OS look and feel, with vibrant app icons and sparkling animations in the app drawer.
It’s also refreshing to see Wear OS in a square format in addition to the many round designs we’ve seen in recent years. A square watch lets you see a lot more of what’s on the screen, and it’s so different from regular use of the Skagen Falster 3 and TicWatch Pro 4G.
The watch uses Oppo’s Hey Tap Health companion app. It syncs steps, heart rate, workouts, sleep information, and daily activity with your phone. It’s also the go-to app for managing watch faces with photos from your gallery and creating a watch face to quickly match your outfit.
The app is also used to send notifications to the watch when it is in power saving mode. This is the secondary operating system that the watch uses to extend its charge. It can continue to track heart rate, steps, and send you notifications, like a basic fitness tracker.
In this mode, the battery is assumed up to 21 days. Started in the full Wear OS, the battery life is only 36 hours, so it will be a smartwatch charged every day.
The 46mm watch can get a 46% battery charge in just 15 minutes on the charger. The watch can charge up to 5V @ 1.5A or 7.5W with a full charge expected in 75 minutes. We haven’t seen how battery life and charge behave in real life yet.
The Oppo watch got me excited about Wear OS. This somehow proves that Wear OS in its purest form is not enough to compete with other watch platforms. With enough attention to detail in the software and an additional app for integration with health and other features, it might be enough to gain market share on Wear OS devices.
Seeing and responding to notifications on Wear OS is great and using the Oppo Watch has been fun so far. It will have a few shortcomings like battery life and average vibration motor, but it’s a start for Oppo’s journey in wearable devices and a new page for Wear OS. Wear OS still needs work from Google, and Qualcomm needs to create a more efficient chipset for smartwatches.
Overall, the Oppo Watch shows a bright future for Wear OS. We hope to see more OEMs trying to improve the existing barebone Wear OS experience. Some OEMs have already done a great job of optimizing software and operating system fluidity. Google keeps twiddling its thumbs as it reflects on the future of Wear OS, which hasn’t seen a major update since 2018. We wonder if that will change anytime soon.