Oppo Watch Free Review: Fitness monitoring in style

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Oppo Watch Free Review: Fitness monitoring in style


The Oppo Watch Free is an affordable fitness tracker that focuses on a polished user experience without sacrificing most features. Should you buy it?

The Oppo Watch came out in 2020 as Oppo’s answer to the mainstream smartwatches from Apple and other Wear OS brands. Considering its price, it was one of the nicest watches to buy. However, it was out of reach for many and in a bid to expand its accessibility, Oppo later announced the Watch Free. Launched in India now at a price of Rs. 5,999, it is almost half the price of the Oppo Watch and promises a lot on paper.

It is, however, a lot different than the Oppo Watch. In fact, the Oppo Watch Free is essentially a fitness tracker rather than a full fledged smartwatch. It looks like a fitness tracker too. Hence, it steps into a segment of “wannabe smartwatches” that want to do it all but miss out on certain street smarts. And, is it worth choosing over all those others?

To find out, I have been wearing the Oppo Watch Free for two weeks and here is what I found.

Oppo Watch Free Design

The Watch Free plays it safe with its design and hence, it looks familiar to a couple of fitness trackers from Honor and Huawei. You get a band-like design that has a slim and thick display, with its silicon straps emerging out of the top and bottom. The strap has a leather-like texture, which adds to the overall appeal of the Watch Free.

The body of the watch itself is devoid of any physical buttons, which adds to overall sleekness of the Watch Free. The 1.64-inch display stretched almost edge to edge, but there are some noticeable bezels at the bottom. This is an AMOLED display and that too of a good quality. Hence, you get to see bright and vivid watch faces in the best of ways Oppo intended. There is an auto-brightness sensor, which is of great convenience. The display responds swiftly to touches, although I feel the animations and response could be tuned better for a more fluid experience.

Oppo Watch Free Smart Features

Given that this is a fitness tracker, Oppo has gone for a proprietary operating system on the Watch Free, which is the norm in this sub-Rs. 10,000 smartwatch space. And this is easily one of the nicest smartwatch user interfaces we have seen in a while. The design is practical and well-thought of. It is fast and fluid, and does not clutter the menus with unnecessary options you may never tamper with.

Bring up the menu and you will see the apps for all the health monitoring systems, as well as a couple of info-based apps and certain control apps. You get stuff such as Alarm, Weather, Camera Control, Timer, Stop Watch, and more. Sadly, you cannot download any third party apps on this watch. The navigation is completely based on swipe gestures, which I think is a clever utilisation of this large display.

Then there are the watch faces, which are some of the best I have seen on any large-screen fitness tracker yet. You get a couple of them preloaded on the watch, and a myriad of others to choose from the companion app. The collection is limited though and I wish Oppo threw a couple more watch faces, just how Xiaomi and Amazfit do it with their watches.

Sadly, the Oppo Watch Free relies solely on Bluetooth for connection and data transfer. Hence, applying a new watch face tests your patience. Moreover, due to the limited storage onboard, you can only store seven faces at a time, which I find weird. A little extra space to store at least 10 faces would have been better, Oppo!

There’s more sadness! The Watch Free can show notifications from your smartphone but it is limited. It struggles with emojis, Hindi font, and images; like most fitness bands available at this price.

The HeyTap Health companion app is available on both Android and iOS, which means the Oppo Watch Free works with both iPhones and Android devices. All features are available on both platforms, which is a positive aspect. The app itself is well designed, collecting and presenting all health and fitness data in neatly laid out graphs. You can also alter the settings of the watch from here.

Oppo Watch Free Fitness

For those concerned with their health, the Oppo Watch Free has all the goodies one can expect. As is the norm, you get to see a heart rate sensor and SpO2 monitoring sensor doing their duties of keeping an eye on your pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation monitoring. Then there are over 100 sports modes to track your workouts in various disciplines, which include running, walking, swimming, weightlifting, and more.

Now I am no athlete but I did try out the “walking” mode to monitor my evening walks, and the data tracking was on par with what my Apple Watch Series 7 recorded. I did not have a medical grade device to compare the data’s reliability. The sports mode shows useful stuff such as pace, live heart rate, location mapping, and more.

The heart rate and Blood Oxygen saturation data is also comparable to that on the Apple Watch most of the time, with seldom inaccuracies. That said, this isn’t a medical grade device and hence, you should never rely solely on the data from these devices.

Oppo, however, advertises sleep tracking as the USP and in reality, it seems like the one of the best systems in the market, even beating the Apple Watch Series 7 in this regard. It is precise in the way it racks the hours, and variation in sleep quality. You get to see your sleep data divided into light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep and even the “Awake” hours. And thanks to slim band-like design, it doesn’t interfere with the comfort factor.

Oppo Watch Free Battery life

Oppo claims up to 14 days of battery life on single charge, which is only possible in the most compromised state. In reality, I was able to stretch out up to 10 days of usage at max with regular 1 hours of sports mode tracking, all-day heart rate tracking, and constant connection to my phone. When depleted, the battery takes over 2 hours to do a full recharge.

Verdict

It is sad to see Oppo populating its “Watch” lineup of wearables with not-really smart fitness trackers — maybe calling it the Oppo Band Pro would have made more sense. Because that is what this Watch Free is — a glorified fitness tracker. It has no intentions of being a smartwatch, especially in the way it functions.

Once you tailor your expectations to the standards of a fitness tracker, the Oppo Watch Free is the best that there is. It has a beautifully large display, a nicely designed OS that also runs fast, is built well, has a comfy strap, and is priced reasonably. The compatibility with both Android and iPhones makes it more accessible to everyone. And if you are into fitness stuff, this should suffice, especially with its workout modes and a cleverly designed companion app.

It isn’t perfect though, as the Oppo Watch Free missed out on an opportunity of setting a new benchmark for affordable watches and fitness trackers. Features such as Bluetooth calling and a better notification system with support for emojis and local languages could have helped justify its price of Rs. 5,999 better.

For those seeking a better looking fitness tracker and don’t mind spending north of Rs. 5,000, the Oppo Watch Free is worth checking out. For those wanting better value, the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini and Amazfit GTR watches will make more sense.

Product Name

Oppo Watch Free

Pros

  • Good Battery Life
  • Beautiful display
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Lacks smart features





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