Chinese phone maker Oppo released its new generation of smartwatches, the Watch 3 series, in August with a price tag of CNY 1,599 – CNY 2,099 ($228 – $300). The company first entered the watch market in 2020 and updated it annually.
The latest series has a new look and offers more premium features such as long battery life and always-on feature powered by the LTPO OLED display.
The version we tested, the Watch 3 Pro, is currently only available in mainland China, and Oppo has not yet revealed any plans for overseas markets, but there is an expectation that it will eventually be sold internationally.
The first thing that impressed us about the new Oppo Watch 3 Pro was the massive 48.5mm curved display. It offers more space for viewing content than most of its Android competitors. Apple’s newly released Apple Watch Ultra comes with a 49mm display but more than doubles Oppo’s offering price.
The larger screen of the watch allows more information to be displayed and users can track more metrics at the same time. An innovative change is the watch’s curved screen, which fits better on a person’s wrist and provides a clearer view when examining the watch from different angles.
Another good touch to the watch is the mechanical rotating crown on the side. It provides another tangible way to interact with the watch, considering that slides on the touchscreen can sometimes prevent other content from being displayed. The crown also induces realistic mechanical vibration feedback when spinning.
Non-removable experience on the wrist
The watch’s larger size results in a heavier weight of 37.5g (without straps), something that can be fine-tuned for those used to wearing a lightweight watch.
The black model we reviewed comes with a classic looking black rubber strap. The strap installs in steps rather than being fully adjustable, leaving it open to the possibility of it being either too loose or too tight if your wrist doesn’t match the fixed steps.
The rubber material is waterproof (which makes it a good companion for swimmers) and is easy to clean. But for all-day use, we recommend getting a nylon or Milanese strap, which fits more wrist sizes and has more breathability. If you want a more elegant look, the silver version with a leather strap may also be a better option.
Solid core experience
The interface of the system has a decent design, with good readability and accessibility. The font size and weight are well chosen, while the basic information is highlighted in bright colors. The transition animation is fast and clean.
By swiping the home screen, the watch can access all the primary secondary interfaces, such as primary health metrics, widgets, swipe keys, and notifications, similar to a phone’s swipe-up feature.
The watch we reviewed has ColorOS installed, and since it’s marketed for the Chinese market, it doesn’t support Google Play or any of the other WearOS features. It offered more than 80 apps through the built-in App Store, covering the most popular Chinese apps such as WeChat and Alipay. This means that if you enable the e-SIM feature, you can leave your phone at home and access your most important software.
And like other smartwatches, you can receive notifications and calls, monitor sleep stages, and take a rapid electrocardiogram (ECG) test. However, the ECG app, for now, says “soon.”
Good workout companion
When doing intense workouts, the watch’s slightly stiff weight and strap need some getting used to.
Despite this, the Watch 3 Pro has the potential to be a great companion to your workout. Oppo sets four goals for users to achieve, displaying them as four rings: steps, calories, exercise and activity. We found the default goals to be a little more difficult to achieve, but they can be modified to meet your needs.
The device can automatically detect six types of exercise, including running, walking, cycling, swimming, elliptical machine work and rowing machine activity. We tested walking and cycling and had no trouble spotting the former, but somehow we missed the latter, so we had to manually log our workout from the Health app instead.
When it comes to manual recording, the watch offers dozens of workout types to choose from, with some featuring detailed subcategories. Dance, for example, has ten different styles, including waltz, street, and jazz. While this enables fitness enthusiasts to track their niche interests, it can be intimidating for new dancers. It also lacks a more general option for logging less common workouts or free workouts.
The recorded exercise generally provides information about GPS mapping, duration, calories burned, heart rate, etc. It even highlights different heart rate zones, helping users understand how close a particular activity is to its maximum heart rate; For example, the first zone is the “warm-up” and the second zone is the “fat burner”.
Long battery life
The battery life of the Oppo Watch 3 Pro is impressive. Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon W5 + Gen 1 processor delivers higher performance and cuts power consumption in half compared to the last generation. It has a large 550mAh battery, which is larger than that of the Apple Watch Ultra, according to iFixit.
We turned on almost all the features, including the always-on display, all-day heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, and automatic exercise detection, to drain it as quickly as possible. We also paired it with a phone that installed dozens of news and social media apps, and sent out a ton of notifications to make sure the watch’s display had a longer light period. Despite all this, the watch managed to last for three days without charging. For regular use, the battery should last a few more days.
With its charging stand, the watch can be fully charged in about an hour.
What surprised us is that Oppo has adopted a universal design for its charging stand: you can connect any USB Type-C cable and a supported charger to power it. Help travelers carry one less cable.
Another neat feature is that the stand uses magnets to connect to the watch and charge through the connectors. Compared with wireless charging, it can reduce overheating problems, but the contact points may also be aging due to oxidation and corrosion.
Oppo Watch 3 Pro has a classic design, large screen, long battery life and a solid core experience. There is room for improvement, such as a more comfortable strap and reduced weight, but overall it is a high quality Android smartwatch.
The upcoming external release should come with a full suite of Google offerings. We recommend this watch to Android users with a larger wrist size, especially those who own an Oppo phone and can therefore unlock features across devices. For Apple users, it can still provide basic smartwatch features and comes at a cheaper price than the Apple Watch.
Here is our summary:
- Three-day long battery life with all features turned on
- Big Screen
- classic design
- Strong core experience and health monitoring
- Separate charging base
- competitive price
- Less comfortable on the wrist with the virtual elastic band
- Automatic exercise detection and data monitoring is sometimes less reliable
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