Our Impressions and Experience
Oppo is a big name in the smartphone space and is currently one of the top phone makers originating from China. Besides its phones, which are sold in Kenya, the company has never been shy from immersing its toes in new waters. A while back, Oppo said it would release a smartwatch, and it went ahead and did just that in August.
The Oppo Watch is currently on sale in the country for a little under Kes 25000. It is a capable wearable that does many things right, and then some more. Mileage may vary especially for people who may need more from their smart wearables, but for most people, the device is capable by all means, and will make them happy.
The name Oppo Watch is a little suspect because it sounds like, you guessed, it, Apple Watch. The name borrowing does not end there: the watch is shaped like an Apple watch, but the design features end there. Whereas the Apple Watch has a crown that you can use to adjust, the Oppo counterpart has two buttons.
The Oppo Watch runs Android, specifically Google’s Wear OS. The China version runs a version of ColorOS, which is the company’s highly customizable overlay that is baked on top of their Android Phones.
The package is powered by a Snapdragon 3100 Wear Platform that is not the latest around. Nevertheless, it is the most capable chipset from Qualcomm for smartwatches on the Android side of things.
The version that was under test is the 41mm version. It is made using 6000-series aluminium alloy with plastic edges and a ceramic back. The back is equipped with key sensor (you will see them glow from time to time), as well as a couple of pins for charging.
In terms of memory, the Oppo Watch is served by 8 GB of storage that can hold a couple of apps. RAM is at 1 GB.
The 300 mAh cell isn’t the biggest around, but it gets the job done for the most part. You will get a day’s use if it is constantly linked to your smartphone. This means it buzzes you when notifications stream in.
If used as a normal watch (not linked your smartphone), then you should be able to get three days out of it.
Still, this endurance is not the best when competitors clock more hours. However, the power issue can be ignored considering the price, the features, its stylishness and the overall appeal and comfort the Oppo watch brings to the table.
Before we forget, the watch runs Bluetooth 4.2, supports Wi-Fi, and LTE is only available on the 46mm model. NFC is here too.
The Oppo Watch is juiced up with a magnetic-pin charger that you can hook to any of your charging bricks. The device charges to 100 percent in under an hour. The bigger model, which we doubt is available locally, takes a little more time to fill up.
The included black straps feel rubbery and comfortable. No complaints here.
So, about the display: it is a square, and has some pleasing curves on the edges. The curved edges come in handy because you are are going to navigate to navigate throughout the interface with gestures/swipes. It makes the exercise nature, ergonomic and intuitive.
About the buttons, they are positioned on the right side. The bigger button at the top opens the app drawer, and returns you to the home page. The lower button has a green accent, and can be customized to a number of functions. The button also serves as the power menu when long-pressed. A tine speaker is positioned on the left side of the smartwatch.
On the software side of things, the device works as advertised. This is and Android Wear device, which is important to note because other popular smartwatches in the market, particularly Samsung’s are based on Tizen. Not many smartwatches in Kenya are natively running Wear OS.
The OS guides you quite well when setting up the wearable for the first time. You are asked to install the Wear app on your device, which then prompts you with straightforward instructions all the way until everything is ready. The process takes less than ten minutes.
Of course, we don’t know how the device works with other platforms such as iOS, obviously because there isn’t such a device at our disposal.
On the whole, the UI experience is speedy, and app icons look wholesome and easily recognizable.
You can add apps by navigating to the Play Store and finding your popular title. We tried Telegram, and while the download speeds were abysmal (had nothing to do with internet speeds), the app loaded well.
However, interactions are limited due to a tiny keyboard, and a couple of performance hiccups, because let’s be honest, you shouldn’t expect a blazing fast UI here.
The healthy conscious should be reminded off the Hey tap Health app that has been included in the watch. It does the majority of things you would expect: sync steps, heart rate, sleep patterns, daily actions on your smartphone and other workouts.
You can also hold onto your current watch face and swipe across to see more. We are certain you can find a face that works just for you. The same action can be completed from the Wear app on your phone.
The Oppo Watch is an exciting device that exceeds expectations, at least on a level platform with rivals. The OS isn’t are near or as robust as what other wearables offer, particulary the Apple watch. But we should remember the latter costs twice as much, perhaps more based on configurations.
The software just needs more work, and the horsepower could be supplemented for a more streamlined and buttery experience.
Also, expect to charge the device on the daily, especially if it is connected to your phone.
However, at the price of under Kes 25k, there isn’t any better solution out there, which is why we know you will be very happy with the Oppo Watch.
[We tested the device on the Oppo Reno4, read our review here].