The first smartwatch by OnePlus, which appeared two years ago, failed to impress. It was limited and had nothing in particular to recommend, besides a list of other issues. The recently released OnePlus Watch 2 on the other hand, has made quite some strides. It's large, but very premium looking and a lot closer to flagship watches like Samsung's. It has a lot of new hardware and is now based on Google's WearOS 4, shedding a proprietary operating system. It actually works with two chips to divide the workload and gives battery life that can extend to twelve days, under specific conditions. But, the first thing you would notice is how it looks.

There's no glossing over the form and design of the OnePlus Watch 2. It is, above all, a really large watch. It swallows up a feminine or delicate slim wrist in one gobble. There are other watches that are as big - Samsung's Galaxy Watch comes to mind. - but this one is heavy as well, and that makes it somehow seem larger. Many will have no real quarrel with the size, however, and that includes women who like a strong and bold aesthetic. It's somewhat attention grabbing, but the world has long since become accustomed to big wrist-wear - along with large phones. It comes in only one size, 46mm, and has two variants, Black Steel and Radiant Steel. It weighs 49gms without the strap and 80gms with the strap.

The OnePlus Watch 2 is all about its 1.43 inch round bright AMOLED display with 466 x 466 pixels (~326 ppi density) and 1000 nits of brightness. There are rather prominent bezels around the screen, for some reason. Other watches like to spill elegantly off the edges. The watch's Raise-to-wake and Always On display works very sensitively and a quick turn of the wrist will let you see what you need to, on the fly. The watch, in all its roundness, is built to look like a traditional watch, specially with the native watch-faces being used. On one countered edge, there are two buttons, one for power and another that switches from an app to the Home Screen. The top button revolves, but that doesn't make the watch do anything in particular. By the next iteration, OnePlus should link the movement with some action as this has been something almost everyone has complained about.

At all times, you feel the presence of the watch on your wrist. How you take to that depends on the individual wearer but it may well be a little cumbersome to wear while asleep which many may want to do in order to track sleep metrics. The watch is made from sapphire crystal on the front and a stainless steel frame and plastic back which houses all the sensors and the magnetic pins that hold the proprietary charger in place. The watch is IP68 dust/water resistant for up to 1.5m for 30 mins and is even military standards compliant. OnePlus seems to have hit upon the term 'rugged elegance' for the wearable.

Long battery life

One reason for the Watch 2's weight is a 500mAh battery on the inside. It's this, along with the division of tasks between the two chips, that actually enables long battery life, a highlight feature of the watch. Many believe that this feature alone is enough reason to buy the watch. What you will get depends on what you do, and your settings. OnePlus promises 100 hours of battery life until you need to charge. It definitely lasts about 80 hours. This is a lot for fully functional smartwatches. If you go into its power saving mode, battery life extends on 12 days and cuts down on full functionality. Allowing this to happen first of all, is the presence of Google's Wear OS 4 (with Snapdragon W5 Gen 1) which enables it to work with two operating systems at the same time. Wear OS handles higher end tasks while RTOS handles basic ones which you might need to keep going if you’re traveling. You can switch between the two modes depending on when you plan to charge.

Charging this watch is easy--the little charger snaps magnetically into place almost on its own and all you need to do is make sure it's connected to an adaptor and regular USB-C cable.

Tracking fitness

Getting down to what the OnePlus Watch 2 can do, well, most of what you would expect from a high end smartwatch. You have access to apps through the Play Store and can add WhatsApp and Spotify, Google Keep and many other compatible apps and can also pull in the main fitness apps you may already be familiar with. You have access to the Google Assistant, of course, and can make and receive calls. One thing you do not have is a small keyboard, so input to apps and other areas is through voice typing and for the phone also through a dialer. Google Pay doesn't currently work on the watch in India. It also doesn't include LTE functionality and has to be used with the phone.

But it is fitness tracking that users are most interested in on smartwatches. For that, this watch has heart rate, activity tracking, very basic sleep metrics, SpO2, and a whole host of exercise and workout types. Stress is also tracked - a dubious metric on any smartwatch. Tracking needs some improvement in terms of accuracy, but it’ll do the job. There’s an OHealth companion app, but that too needs some developing. The watch also needs to build in encouragement and motivation aspects. It also lacks high end health features like fall detection, ECG, menstrual cycle tracking or crash detection.

All in all, the OnePlus Watch 2 offers a viable option in a milieu that is teeming with cheap and somewhat dubious smartwatches with only premium watches there to rely on. It's reasonably priced at ₹24,999 or slightly less with schemes.

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