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OnePlus Watch: Premium looks without the premium price

Our first impressions of the $159 OnePlus Watch.

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OnePlus has created a smartwatch.

One Plus/Screenshot by CNET

OnePlus has entered the wearables market with its new OnePlus Watch, a seemingly high-end smartwatch in both looks and features, but at a lower price than the competition. The $159 (£149, roughly AU$270) OnePlus Watch has a lot going for it. It has a sleek design, advanced health sensors to keep tabs on blood oxygen and stress levels, and a week-long (or more) battery life that could put the Samsung Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch to shame.

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But it's not without its shortcomings. It's not compatible with iOS devices (yet), and has fewer third-party apps. 

In addition to its new watch, OnePlus has also introduced two new phones, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro.

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Simple, circular design  

At first glance, the OnePlus Watch bears a striking resemblance to the Galaxy Watch Active, Samsung's $250 sports watch. It has a round watch face and AMOLED touchscreen enclosed in a stainless steel frame. But unlike the Galaxy Watch Active, which comes in two sizes, the OnePlus Watch is only available in a 46mm case with interchangeable watch bands that can be swapped out for third-party alternatives. The watch also lacks a rotating bezel or digital crown and you'll have to use either the touchscreen or two side buttons to navigate. It feels comfortable to wear, but I was surprised by how massive it looked once I strapped it on my medium-sized wrist.

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OnePlus

Basic smartwatch functionality 

The OnePlus Watch does everything you'd expect a smartwatch to do in 2021: display and respond to notifications, make and answer phone calls, play music and serve as a remote for your phone camera and OnePlus TV. But it doesn't have Spotify support or any other music app, for that matter. Instead it comes with 2GB of internal storage for music. That translates to about 500 songs, which you can listen to on the go when paired with Bluetooth earbuds. It's only compatible with OnePlus and other Android phones for now, but the company says iOS support will come in time. 

Health and fitness features go beyond the basics

The watch also does your basic fitness tracking with over 110 different workout types to choose from and automatically logs your runs regardless of whether or not you have your phone with you. It has built-in GPS and a 5ATM IP68 rating, which makes it safe for swim tracking. 

It also goes beyond the basics and can measure SpO2 (blood oxygen levels) on demand, as well as detect stress levels and flag abnormally high heart rates. We'll report back on accuracy on both fitness and health features once we're able to test it out for ourselves. 

Battery life for days  

The other big selling point for the OnePlus Watch, aside from its price tag, is its battery life. Even if it doesn't last the two weeks of normal use that the company claims (one week firing at all cylinders), it's still miles ahead of the Galaxy Watch 3 and Apple Watch, which barely make it to the 48-hour mark. 

The watch also charges fast: You can get a full day of power from five minutes on the charger, or wait 20 minutes for a week's worth of charge.

Time will tell

The One Plus Watch seems to check all the boxes when it comes to price, features and design, but the jury's still out on whether or not the company's first smartwatch can deliver on all of its promises. Once I finish testing it out, I'll be able to tell you whether it's as good of a deal as it sounds. 

The OnePlus Watch goes on sale April 14. It's available from OnePlus