OnePlus Watch 2 review: Battery champ with two brains and some issues

OnePlus Watch 2 review: Battery champ with two brains and some issues

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OnePlus Watch 2 Intro

The new OnePlus Watch 2 aims to fix most of the objective criticisms that plagued its predecessor, and by doing so, the company doubles-down on its entry into the smartwatch market.  It’s been three years since the original OnePlus Watch, which wasn’t a good wearable, so you can excuse our assumption that OnePlus has all but abandoned the smartwatch scene.

The OnePlus Watch 2 comes along as a proper smartwatch, with a proper operating system and all the features you might expect out of a smartwatch released in 2024. With decent performance and Wear OS along with a host of exciting new features that certainly deserve attention, chief among which is the company’s pledge to outlast just about any other smartwatch as far as battery life goes. 

So, OnePlus has done its homework, time to assess it!

What’s new about the device

  • Dual-system, dual-OS architecture
  • Full smartwatch capabilities thanks to Wear OS
  • Google Assistant on deck
  • Large 500mAh battery delivering excellent battery life 
  • SpO2 tracking
  • NFC payments & Google Wallet support
  • Sapphire screen

Table of Contents:

OnePlus Watch 2 Unboxing

Inside the box of the OnePlus Watch 2, you’ll find the following:

  • OnePlus Watch 2
  • USB-C charger
  • USB-C cable
  • Leaflets

OnePlus Watch 2 Specs

These are the full OnePlus Watch 2 specs, with the essential ones summarized for you in this table:

The novel feature about the OnePlus Watch 2 is that it comes along with a dual-chipset, dual-OS setup. Google’s Wear OS 4 software (based on Android 13) runs exclusively on the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Gen chip, while OnePlus’ own RTOS (Real-Time Operating System) is running on the efficient BES2700 chip.Why is this so important? Simple, such a seemingly complicated setup allows OnePlus to offload core smartwatch functions like the always-on display and any background activities to the low-power chip, while smart functions like navigation apps and music playback are delegated to the performance chip/OS pair.

Other than that we have 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, as well as 4GB of storage dedicated to RTOS. There’s a dual-frequency L1+L5 GPS as well, similar to the one found on the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and other wearables. Such a dual-frequency GPS setup ensures much greater accuracy in the dense metropolitan jungle, where watches with single-frequency GPS usually have some accuracy issues. 

OnePlus Watch 2 Design & Sizes

It’s a pretty boy, but it’s a big boy
The OnePlus Watch 2 is one big stainless steel wearable, no way around that. It’s only available in a single 46mm version, and it’s just as large as the 47mm Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and the Apple Watch Ultra/Apple Watch Ultra 2. It doesn’t look out of place on my wrist, but is definitely pushing it; for reference, I’m 6’2″ with fairly wide wrists. What’s certain here is that this smartwatch would look comical on smaller wrists. 

As far as weight goes, the OnePlus Watch 2 is moderately bulky, and you will absolutely know it’s on your wrist. It tips the scales at roughly 49gr in total without the watch band, which is the middle of the ground in comparison with most other smartwatches out there. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 weighs 62gr, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic – 60gr, while the Pixel Watch 2 is lightest at just 31gr, all without watch bands. 

The newest OnePlus Watch comes with a large 1.43-inch AMOLED display up front. It can get very bright and is perfectly legible even under strong sunlight. Interestingly, the screen would actually qualify as a Retina one thanks to the 326ppi, ensuring excellent sharpness. The screen is a sapphire crystal one, giving the peace of mind for a scratch-free experience. 

Speaking of endurance, the OnePlus Watch 2 comes with the full IP68 water- and dust-resistance, and is also shock-proof as indicated by the MIL-STD-810H certification. The watch can resist up to 5ATM of pressure, which is more than most people will even experience. That’s as rugged as they come. 

One of the big disappointments of the OnePlus Watch 2 is its rotating crown button. You’d be excused for thinking this one could be used to easily navigate the interface and effortlessly swipe through long lists, but alas, the rotating crown doesn’t do that. In what’s one of the biggest missed opportunities with this wearable, the rotating crown is there just for durability’s sake, OnePlus says, as rotating buttons are seemingly more resilient than fixed ones. A rotating crown on the OnePlus Watch 2 would have been a great touch. Maybe next time…

OnePlus Watch 2 Bands

Comfortable fit

The default OnePlus Watch 2 band is a soft fluoro-rubber one––soft like silicone, but not as greasy and doesn’t attract lint as much, which is a big win. The band achieves fantastic results at wrapping around your wrist so that the fit is snug but comfortable. There are many adjustments holes on both straps, so aside from great flexibility when it comes to nailing your unique wrist fit, the watch band allows your skin to breathe and minimizes sweat accumulation. 

The OnePlus Watch 2 band comes with a very easy-to-use quick-release mechanism, which allows you to easily detach the band without any extra tools. The stainless-steel buckle feels very secure. By the way, the wearable uses 22mm bands, so it’s compatible with any 22mm watch band you might have around. 

OnePlus Watch 2 Software & Features

Wear OS, we meet again

While it may sound like you can you use two operating simultaneously on the OnePlus Watch 2, but that’s not the case: this is a typical Google Wear OS-powered smartwatch. You have access to the Play Store, with tons of apps optimized for the wearable on your wrist. You can control Spotify playback, interact with your smart home thanks to the Google Home support, reply to texts, swipe away those pesky emails you keep getting, and so on. 

You can’t pair the OnePlus Watch 2 with an iPhone. The Android companion app is called OHealth, and it’s a fairly decent hub for controlling most features and functions of the watch, allowing you to change watch faces, re-arrange existing ones or add new tiles, and even create your own custom workouts with up to five personalized data fields.

The OnePlus Watch 2 performs admirably. Sure, some apps may take longer to load (the Play Store is the “biggest” offender here), but navigating the interface and the logically laid-out menus of the watch itself is smooth sailing. You can detect micro-stutters if you look hard enough, but the overall performance is mostly similar to what you’d get out of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch lineup, or Google’s Pixel Watch devices. 

As far as updates go, OnePlus Watch 2 owners will get two years of major Wear OS updates and three years of security patches, which is on the lower part of the spectrum. Samsung has committed to four years of updates for its Galaxy Watches, while Apple tends to support its Apple Watches for up to five years.

In terms of health tracking and fitness-related features, the OnePlus Watch 2 is much better endowed than its predecessor. There’s SpO2 tracking, new on the OnePlus Watch 2. Its results are mostly consistent with other smartwatches, like the Apple Watch, but taking a measurement takes 30 seconds, twice as long. 

Heart rate monitoring as well as the usual high/low heart rate warnings, resting and baseline heart rates are also on board. There’s HRV (heart-rate variability) as well as stress monitoring, too. As far as heart rate accuracy is considered, I noticed that the OnePlus Watch 2 is usually consistent with results from other watches; for example, the Apple Watch Series 7 that I usually use tends to measure 1-2bpm higher on average than the OnePlus Watch 2. The latter also seems to update the heart rate data slightly faster. 

Sleep tracking is on deck, and the watch will give you a sleep score, assess your snoring risk, as well as give you daily sleep reports. Just like the Galaxy Watch and unlike the Apple Watch, the OnePlus Watch 2 will automatically detect if you’re taking a nap. 

As far as activity tracking goes, there are more than a hundred available, plus the option to create custom workouts with custom data displays. Probably the most common activity, running, gets a ton of data metrics: pace, cadence, stride length, vertical oscillation, GCT+Balance, VO2 Max, and heart rate. There’s no wrist-based power estimate, though.

OnePlus Watch 2 Battery and Charging

Battery champ

The main benefit of the dual-architecture setup of the OnePlus Watch 2 is that it effortlessly paves way for greatly enhanced battery life. The power-hungry Snapdragon chip is not used when the smartwatch is not actively used, offloading most background functions to the efficient chip. Thanks to this and the massive battery on board, you can expect roughly three days of battery life in Smart Mode, maybe even four if you’re frugal. 

Manually switching to the Power Save mode, which exclusively runs on the low-power chip, allows you to stretch the battery life up to 12 days. However, few features are available in the Power Saver mode.  Only the workout and health functions are available, while most apps and tiles won’t be available, most complications may fail to correctly sync data, and most importantly, you won’t be able to make SOS calls though regular calls are still available. Watch faces incompatible with Power Saver also get substituted for a basic watch face, and no always-on display functionality in this mode, either.  

Switching from Smart Mode to Power Save mode is easy, but the opposite scenario (going from Power Saver Mode to Smart Mode) forces the watch to reboot, which takes up to a minute of your time. 

The OnePlus Watch 2 charges very fast––it takes the wearable just an hour to fully charge from 0 to 100%, but even a 10-minute charge gets you enough juice to last you up to a day of regular use, which is superb.

OnePlus Watch 2 Models and Prices

The OnePlus Watch 2 is available in two different color versions, silver (Radiant Steel) and black (Black Steel). Both are available in a single 46mm size and with only Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity on board. It would have been nice to have a smaller size on sale to fit smaller wrists, as well as a cellular connectivity version.

As far as pricing goes, the OnePlus Watch 2 will usually cost you $299 regardless of which color version you go for. Currently, you can save $50 on the price by trading-in any device, in any condition, which is a great way to save nearly 17% on this watch. 

OnePlus Watch 2 Voice Calls and Haptics

The OnePlus Watch 2 is equipped with a microphone and a speaker on deck, so you can not only converse with the Google Assistant, but also make and receive phone calls on the OnePlus Watch 2. Have in mind that due to the lack of cellular connectivity, you will need to have your paired OnePlus phone nearby. Sound is a bit muffled, but you won’t have problems in making out speech most of the time. 

Haptic feedback, on the other hand, is terrible. The on-board vibrator doesn’t deliver exact and strong vibrations, but the polar opposite. You probably won’t miss an alarm or an incoming notification, but the experience surely isn’t as pleasing as it’s on any Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch you might wear. 

OnePlus Watch 2 Competitors

The OnePlus Watch 2 has many competitors in both the iOS and Android ecosystems. Chief among these are, of course, Google’s own Pixel Watch 2 and Samsung’s more varied Galaxy Watch lineup, but you can also throw Apple’s smartwatches in the pot as well. 

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is one of the more premium Wear OS alternatives out there. With a very premium build and the unique rotating bezel, Samsung’s smartwatch also has a lot more going on in the wellness and fitness-tracking department, notably offering a BMI reading thanks to its innovative BioActive sensor. Battery life on that smartwatch is less impressive, while the price tag is pricier. 
The Google Pixel Watch 2 is yet another Wear OS alternative, which is lighter, more compact, but equally capable. Battery life is way less impressive and the price is slightly higher, but this one is also available with cellular connectivity on board. 

OnePlus Watch 2 Summary and Final Verdict

The OnePlus Watch 2 is a decent smartwatch that I enjoyed using. 

There are a few shortcomings, of course: the fact that this large wearable is available in just a single size is terrible, as it automatically limits the potential user-base. Another oversight is the rotating but non-functional crown button, which could have set the OnePlus Watch 2 apart. 

Still, the rest is mostly great: we now have a proper smartwatch with a proper operating system and all the performance you might need. Most importantly, however, the OnePlus Watch 2 aces the single most essential smartwatch metric: battery life. This, paired with the very appealing $299 price tag, makes the smartwatch a very intriguing offering. 

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