At first glance, it seems that the Apple Watch has a worthy competitor in. For starters, it has a sleek circular screen that looks more like a traditional wristwatch than a square Apple Watch. It also shares many of the same health features as the $ 400 Apple Watch Series, including SPO2 (or blood oxygen) monitoring and high heart rate warnings, but costs $ 160. The OnePlus watch is as much as $ 40 cheaper than the initial Apple Watch Series 3 starting at $ 200.
But even with all these features and a cheaper price, the OnePlus Watch has one major drawback that prevents it from competing in the same league as the Apple Watch. Not yet compatible with iPhone.
iOS compatibility: Is it worth the wait?
OnePlus says iOS compatibility is coming to the Watch in the future, but we don’t know exactly how it will work. Apple supports pairing non-Apple wearables with the iPhone, but the experience is not the same as when using an Apple Watch.
For example, Fitbit, Samsung and One Plus watches allow you to answer notifications and take calls on Android, but iPhone users can’t send so many thumbs with emojis from their wrists, let alone take a quick call, unless they’re their Apple Watch. One of the main advantages of a smartwatch is the ability to quickly look and react to notifications on the wrist, otherwise you could also wear a simple fitness strap.
You may also be limited when it comes to other connectivity options like LTE. The Apple Watch has a version with built-in LTE, so you can use the watch independently of the phone, while the OnePlus Watch only has a WiFi model.
Anecdotally, I also found that non-Apple watches don’t sync as fast when connected to iOS compared to the Apple Watch.
If you’re willing to overlook the compatibility shortcomings on iOS in favor of a cheaper price and longer battery life, other things should be considered as well.
When it comes to design, it’s a matter of preference. Do you like square or circular clocks? They both have AMOLED screens, but the screen brightness is just as important and we haven’t seen the OnePlus in action yet so we can’t say if it’s as bright as the latest Apple Watch.
Another design factor is size. Although the Apple Watch offers a 40 and 44mm option, the OnePlus Watch only comes in a 46mm mask option with a black bezel, which can prevail over smaller joints. Both have interchangeable watch straps.
The accuracy of health and fitness monitoring is TBD
Both watches track built-in GPS and water resistance, and track rhythm, distance, and heart rate, so you can use them to track swimming. The OnePlus Watch offers over 100 different exercise options compared to over 40 on the Apple Watch. There’s even a parkour option that you won’t find on the Apple Watch.
The health characteristics seem to be similar. They both have high heart rate warnings, monitor blood oxygen levels and monitor sleep. OnePlus also uses a heartbeat to monitor stress, which the Apple Watch does, but it lacks an electrocardiogram like the one you’ll find at the top of the Series 6 line.
But Apple has good results in confirming its health and fitness characteristics, including the FDA approval for the ECG application. The OnePlus Watch is completely new to the universe and will require testing and validation by both reviewers and medical associations.
OnePlus Watch lacks music
If music is a must on your smartwatch, the Apple Watch takes the crown. You can stream Apple Music or Spotify on the LTE version of the Apple Watch or store songs from your own library for offline listening, and the memory capacity varies depending on the version. If you want to listen to music in OnePlus class, you will have to pre-load it yourself. It has 2GB of storage which is good for about 500 songs.
Unbeatable battery life on the OnePlus watch
The OnePlus is a clear winner in terms of battery life, requiring two weeks of operation before it needs recharging. Obviously, this also has to be taken with a grain of salt until we can run our own tests, but even if the OnePlus Watch delivers only half of what it promises, it’s still miles ahead of any Apple watch that lasts a day and a half at best. The Apple Watch also takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to fully charge, while OnePlus says its watch can get a full week of charging in 20 minutes.
The jury is still out
Even with iOS compatibility, the OnePlus Watch has a lot to prove. On paper, it seems like a worthy rival to the Apple Watch, but we won’t know how well it fulfills all its promises until we test it ourselves. Meanwhile, the $ 200 Apple Watch Series 3 is still the best budget option for iPhone users.