OnePlus Nord Watch | An ordinary smartwatch with a king-size battery life

Without doubt, this smartwatch's winning feature is its battery performance, which is nothing short of formidable

Updated - October 20, 2022 04:01 pm IST

Published - October 20, 2022 03:08 pm IST

OnePlus Nord Watch | An ordinary smartwatch with a king-size battery life

OnePlus Nord Watch | An ordinary smartwatch with a king-size battery life | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Smartwatches have become important wearables that give users details about their lifestyle and fitness routines. There are different types of watches, with a wide range of prices and features. Some are built for solo adventurers while others perform well in closed-room settings. In this review, we share how the OnePlus Nord Watch performed in crowded gyms, serene offices, and bustling streets.

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In the box

The OnePlus Nord Watch comes in a small but sturdy cardboard cube, containing the smartwatch, the magnetic USB-D charging cable, a welcome benefits card, and the documentation for the product.

Design

Upon opening the box, we were struck by the watch's face that strikes the perfect balance between square and oblong, as well as the textured strap with a generous number of buckle holes for wrists of all sizes. The product weighs 52.4g with the strap.

OnePlus Nord Watch | An ordinary smartwatch with a king-size battery life

OnePlus Nord Watch | An ordinary smartwatch with a king-size battery life | Photo Credit: Sahana Venugopal

The bezels are medium sized and there is a single power button on the side. The display protrudes slightly and is prone to very light scratches if accidentally hit against rough surfaces.

The available band colours are Midnight Black and Deep Blue. A white-based or lighter colour option would have been a fun bonus for fashion lovers.

Display

The OnePlus Nord smartwatch has a 1.78-inch AMOLED display, with a resolution of 368 x 448. The touch-display remains sensitive and accurate even during intense activity, thanks to the 60Hz refresh rate.

The screen’s brightness is strong and health metrics on the watch are visible even under bright sunlight. The display doubles as a small but handy torchlight. Overall, the screen is bright, immersive, and close to perfect.

Settings and sports modes

Whatever sport or workout you choose, it seems the OnePlus Nord Watch has you covered with both standard and unique options that include Belly Dancing and Muay Thai. There are over 100 sports modes, which track your workouts and record whether your heart is relaxing, resting, involved in cardio, fat burning activity, anaerobic exercise, or maximum effort activity. This is a comprehensive tool for users who want to personalise their workouts. Still, one inconvenience is that when a certain sports mode is in active use, wearers cannot navigate away from it to check another feature or glance at their messages. What's more, several modes for strenuous yet slow-paced activities (such as the climbing machine) recorded inaccurate metrics.

OnePlus Nord Watch | An ordinary smartwatch with a king-size battery life

OnePlus Nord Watch | An ordinary smartwatch with a king-size battery life | Photo Credit: Sahana Venugopal

The smartwatch does not work well with vibrations, as it registered cardio-related exertion when in a car that was going over a bumpy road. These errors were confusing, to say the least.

The OnePlus Nord Watch is not capable of taking or making calls, recording media, or sending messages. Overall, the device would suit athletes and health enthusiasts who wish to keep track of their heart rates, but is not the best accessory for working professionals who need an office-oriented tool.

The messages and social media notification feature, while present, is quite weak as well. Smartwatch wearers can see some WhatsApp notifications but the messages appear out of context and without any display pictures. This function is slow and inconvenient for users who need to stay on top of their inboxes.

On the other hand, the smartwatch's health reports are meticulous. There is a real-time heart rate monitor, which is easy to understand at a glance. My heart rate fluctuated between the extremes of 65 and 150 but the watch did not issue any alerts for this pulse range. The smartwatch also measures blood oxygen and stress levels, in addition to taking two minutes to produce an overall health summary featuring all these health metrics. This could have been faster.

The built-in sleep tracker is a welcome addition, as it records the wearer's light and deep sleep intervals along with middle-of-the-night awakenings. The sleep time heart rate is also recorded with the sleep data so you can estimate your REM cycles. However, the smartwatch has a tendency to suddenly stop tracking sleep data and heart rates for about an hour or so, before starting up again. This was disappointing, as it led to incomplete reports.

Another feature that did not work as per expectations was the smartwatch camera, which never connected to my Google Pixel 6 smartphone, so I could not test it out.

The Women's Health Tracker is another feature we tried out, but it was a major let down. For starters, in 2022, a gender-neutral term such as "Menstrual Health Tracker" or even "Menstrual Cycle Tracker" would have been preferred. The tracker in the smartwatch is a simple algorithm which registers the user's period dates, their average cycle length, and then calculates the next period and "fertile period" (possible ovulation days) based on the data. This is a crude method of calculating cycles as we found no way to account for irregular periods and conditions such as PCOS or Endometriosis, which many Indians have. Integrating this health tracker with an existing period app that encrypts its data would have been more effective.

The Pomodoro Technique timer, which guides hour-long study sessions with pre-programmed breaks, was a creative touch.

There are also three guided breathing exercises which were engaging and did indeed pull down my heart rate.

Battery life

Without a doubt, this smartwatch's winning feature is its battery performance, which is nothing short of formidable.

While smartwatches more than twice the price of the OnePlus Nord Watch require charging every 3-4 days, this watch powers its hungriest settings and loses only about 10% of its charge each day. I opted for high brightness levels, set up the maximum waking period of 30 seconds, and primed the watch to constantly monitor my stress levels. Draining the watch from 66% to zero still took about a week or so. In short, the battery's 230mAh capacity goes above and beyond its pay grade.

The magnetic charger is convenient to use, although a USB-C cable would have been preferred.

Daily use

While lightweight, the OnePlus Nord Watch is rather chunky in shape so it can get in the way while working on a laptop. The strap was rather itchy for me, and one has to wear it uncomfortably tight while sleeping so that the trackers do not lose track of your pulse.

Rated IP68 for water resistance, I didn't feel safe showering or swimming with the device. However, one can comfortably wear the smartwatch while washing clothes or dishes as it appears to cope well with accidental immersions in water.

App experience

In order to make the best use of the smartwatch and review health summaries, users will need to download the N Health app on their smartphones and pair the smartwatch. While the N Health user interface was clean and the additional selection of watch faces was entrancing, I was largely underwhelmed by the app as it was often slow to respond.

One serious error that needs to be corrected is the app's period tracker, which uses the entered data to calculate the wearer's ovulation days. However, the app labels days outside the fertile period as a "Safe Period." This is a dangerous assumption as conception can happen during any time of the month, including when the user is menstruating. There is no such thing as a "Safe Period" and this phrase is misleading.

Verdict

The OnePlus Nord Watch comes packed with a premium-end battery and a dizzying array of sports modes, but its accompanying app could use some overhauls. Despite its stunning potential, the smartphone’s limitations mean it’s an entry product best suited to first time smartwatch users.

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