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OnePlus Watch 2 review—a remarkable comeback and beyond

OnePlus Watch 2 review—a remarkable comeback and beyond

Upon the launch of its initial wearable in 2021, OnePlus faced criticism for an underpowered device with a cumbersome interface and subpar battery life. In response to this feedback, the company dedicated several years to refining the design and enhancing usability. The outcome is the OnePlus Watch 2 (accessible at OnePlus)—a sophisticated and stylish smartwatch boasting distinctive features, positioning it as a contender for the top smartwatches of 2024.

Catering specifically to OnePlus smartphone users, the OnePlus Watch 2 stands out as an excellent Android smartwatch. Equipped with Wear OS apps, advanced fitness-tracking capabilities, and a commendable battery life, it competes favorably with other flagship smartwatches across various aspects.

Pros                                                                                                                                          Cons

+ Effortless screen navigation and app utilization                                                                  – Available in a single, larger size

+ Impressive battery longevity with swift charging capabilities                                          – Lacks an ECG app and menstrual cycle tracking

+ Abundant Watch Face choices for a personalized aesthetic                                              – Significant absence of an always-on display

+ Boasts flagship-level design                                                                                                     – No fall detection feature

+ Equipped with Wear OS 4 software                                                                                       – Absence of an LTE option

+ Noteworthy fitness tracking features

About the OnePlus Watch 2

The OnePlus Watch 2 on a wrist with a grid of apps on display.

After a hiatus of several years, OnePlus has made a triumphant return to the smartwatch scene with the OnePlus Watch 2, a significant leap forward from its predecessor. A standout feature is its dual-engine chip architecture, comprising two chipsets collaborating seamlessly. This innovative design allows the smartwatch to switch between two operating systems, optimizing user experience while efficiently managing battery consumption. The more potent chipset engages only when necessary, ensuring the watch operates with impressive efficiency.

The OnePlus Watch 2 boasts an elegant aesthetic reminiscent of premium wristwatches and vintage cars, offered in two striking finishes—Black Stainless Steel and Silver Radiant Steel—accompanied by a 22mm interchangeable band. It meets rigorous durability standards, earning military-grade certification, as well as IP68 and 5ATM water-resistant ratings. This robust construction permits safe use in the shower or during freshwater swimming. The device features a main function button and an action button for quick access to workouts.

What distinguishes the OnePlus Watch 2 is its dual-chipset setup, allowing it to handle background tasks and more complex applications separately. This ensures a seamless user experience while effectively conserving battery life.

The OnePlus OHealth app provides a comprehensive overview of daily statistics and trends, offering customization options for watch faces, sync preferences, and notification settings. The smartwatch also enables on-screen responses to emails, control of music playback, interaction with Google Assistant, and even gaming experiences like Simon and Mini Soccer.

Tracking essential vitals, exhibiting a durable design, and running on the familiar WearOS 4 operating system, the OnePlus Watch 2 positions itself as a formidable competitor in the premium smartwatch market. Compatible with Android phones, our testing with the OnePlus 12 and Google Pixel 8 demonstrated seamless performance on both devices.

ONEPLUS WATCH 2 REVIEW: CHEAT SHEET

  • What is it?  The OnePlus Watch 2 is a great-looking, fitness-tracking smartwatch with Wear OS 4.
  • Who is it for?  Though it’s compatible with any Android phone, it’s best for OnePlus smartphone owners.
  • What is the price?  The OnePlus Watch 2 is available for $299 / £299.
  • How long is the battery life?   The battery lasts up to 100 hours in Smart mode and up to 12 days in Power Saver mode.
  • How is it different from the first OnePlus Watch?   It’s a major upgrade in almost every way.

ONEPLUS WATCH 2 REVIEW: SPECS

Header Cell – Column 0OnePlus Watch 2
Price$299 / £299
Size47mm x 46.6mm x 12.1mm
ColorsRadiant Steel, Black Steel
Weight1.73oz
ProcessorSnapdragon W5 +
DurabilityMIL-STD-810H, IP68, 5ATM
Battery lifeSmart mode: Up to 100 hours; Power Saver mode: Up to 12 days
Storage32GB + 2GB
CompatibilityAndroid 8.0 or later
ConnectivityDual-frequency (L1 + L5) GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Flagship-level design

While the initial OnePlus Watch lacked refinement, the OnePlus Watch 2 emerges as a stylish timepiece that distinguishes itself from other smartwatches. Available in two appealing finishes—Radiant Steel and Black Steel—the stainless steel chassis exudes a flagship-tier look and feel. Notably, the digital crown and action button slightly protrude from the chassis, a design choice that not only enhances aesthetics but also serves to prevent inadvertent button presses.

However, the elegance of its appearance doesn’t compromise its durability. The OnePlus Watch 2 is well-equipped for rugged activities, boasting the same MIL-STD-810H durability rating often found on top-tier Garmin watches designed for outdoor sports. With an IP68 water resistance rating and the ability to withstand water pressure up to 50 meters, it is suitable for swimming. The display is crafted from sapphire crystal, a premium material also used in high-end watches like the Garmin Epix Pro and Apple Watch Ultra, which typically come with a significantly higher price tag.

Wear OS 4 software

Rather than persisting with its own RTOS, OnePlus has opted for Google’s Wear OS software, a choice seen in many leading Android smartwatches. While bearing similarities to the Samsung Galaxy Watch, the OnePlus Watch 2 retains certain proprietary apps and functions, resulting in a hybrid Wear OS 4 + RTOS experience driven by a dual set of adaptive chipsets.

The incorporation of Google apps significantly enhances the OnePlus Watch 2’s utility. From my wrist, I seamlessly accessed Google Calendar to check my meeting schedule, utilized Google Maps for transit directions to the meeting venue, and employed Google Pay for my subway fare. While there are additional third-party apps accessible through the Google Play Store, I found that the pre-installed ones effectively addressed the most common smartwatch requirements.

Impressive fitness tracking

The OnePlus Watch 2 display showing duration of movement, heartbeats per minute, and calories burned.

Historically, I haven’t associated OnePlus with health-focused technology in the same way as Apple and Samsung, so my expectations for the fitness tracking capabilities of the OnePlus Watch 2 were initially modest. However, it pleasantly surprised me with robust support for numerous sports types and an intuitive activity-tracking app, simplifying the monitoring of daily movement, including step count. The sleep- and stress-tracking features offer additional wellness insights that can be conveniently accessed either from the wrist or through the companion OHealth app for Android.

In a comparative analysis, I pitted the heart rate sensor of the OnePlus Watch 2 against that of the Google Pixel Watch 2, known for its highly accurate sensor. Notably, the readings from the OnePlus Watch 2 closely matched those of the Google Pixel Watch 2. While I personally favor the fitness metrics delivered by Google’s Fitbit, the OnePlus Watch 2 also provides advanced insights for specific sports, such as running, encompassing vertical amplitude, ground contact time, stride length, cadence, pace, and VO2 max.

Great battery life and fast charging

OnePlus asserts that its second-generation smartwatch can endure up to two weeks in power saver mode and up to 100 hours in normal ‘smart’ mode. During my usage, involving occasional GPS activation for navigation or workout tracking using Google Maps, I found the need to recharge just under every three days. This still represents significantly longer stamina compared to most flagship smartwatches, such as the Galaxy Watch 6 and Google Pixel Watch 2, which typically require daily charging.

OnePlus: Never Settle

In terms of charging, the OnePlus Watch 2 impresses with its quick recharge capabilities. A mere 10 minutes of charging provides enough power for a full day, and a complete battery recharge takes just one hour. The proprietary charging base, equipped with a USB-C cable and OnePlus charging brick, facilitates fast charging. While utilizing the provided charging brick is recommended for optimal speed, the option to use a USB-C cable with the base offers a unique advantage, allowing for potentially fewer cables to carry while traveling. This sets the OnePlus Watch 2 apart from most smartwatches, which typically have an integrated charger with a fixed cable.

ONEPLUS WATCH 2 REVIEW: DOWNS

No fall detection

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