Finally, animations throughout the watch are pretty lackluster. Swipe away a notification and it doesn’t slide away, but instantly disappears into a void. The user interface doesn’t look polished, and it makes interacting with the watch a little unsatisfying.
Inconsistent … Everything
The first time I noticed issues with the watch’s tracking abilities was when I donned it on a beautiful Saturday morning as I walked from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to a little further than Times Square in Manhattan. It’s a long walk! Well, not according to the OnePlus Watch.
For most of the trip, it was accurately counting my steps. Halfway through, the watch … reset. What was originally more than 15,000 steps on the watch turned into around 7,000. I checked the companion OnePlus Health app on my phone and it was showing me accurate numbers that matched data from the Google Fit app. By the end of the day, the step count displayed on the Watch was wildly lower than what was shown in the two mobile apps. It never synced properly.
When comparing the activity tracking features to those on the Apple Watch Series 5, I found the OnePlus’ step counts to be imprecise to a significant degree. On another long walk with a watch on each wrist and a phone in my pocket, the Apple Watch counted 8,735 steps and my phone’s Google Fit app displayed 9,248, whereas the OnePlus Watch had me at a paltry 4,340.
I had issues with the watch auto-detecting my walks too (it’s supposed to auto-detect walks or runs). Initially, it never detected anything. After I switched from a Nokia phone to the OnePlus 9, it … still didn’t detect anything. It wasn’t until this past weekend that it correctly auto-started an “Outdoor Walk” activity, though it only began more than 15 minutes after I left my house. At least it did a solid job of pausing when I stopped to grab a coffee.
The same thing happened with movement reminders. The watch is supposed to remind me to get up and move every so often, yet it only started working this past weekend. (And yes, I am pretty sedentary, so I should have seen an alert before then.)
Heart rate tracking is generally accurate until you start an activity. I regularly found the OnePlus Watch recorded a higher beats-per-minute rate than the Apple Watch (and a manual test). It also always said I burned more calories and traveled further, and SpO2 data was always a percentage lower than my trusty fingertip pulse oximeter. Given the inaccurate step counts and auto-detection issues, I just had a hard time trusting any of this data.
There are only 14 activities you can manually track at the moment (and it only auto-detects walking and running), but OnePlus says an over-the-air update in May will deliver more than 110 workout types.
That’s good to hear, but considering all the problems I’ve had, you’re just better off buying the similarly-priced Fitbit Charge 4 or Garmin Venu Sq from reliable brands that have had years to refine and perfect tracking data. That’s what’s most important in a fitness tracker, and the OnePlus Watch lags far behind.
Over-the-air updates could fix many of these issues. In fact, OnePlus issued an update on Monday of this week—while I was writing this review, in fact—that adds more watch faces and claims to fix some bugs, such as the notifications not disappearing on the phone, along with improved auto-detect. I paused my work and went on another long walk, which it did not auto-detect, and notifications I swiped away on the watch are still on my phone. I’m not optimistic. OnePlus also says other issues I ran into will be fixed in another update coming this month, but I can only test what I have in front of me.
Die-hard OnePlus fan? I still say wait for the OnePlus Watch 2. Hopefully, it can regain my trust.