Oppo Watch Free review, is virtue somewhere in between?

Oppo Watch Free review, is virtue somewhere in between?

Oppo Watch Free review

The boundary between smartwatch and smartband is thinning more and more: there are devices, such as the new Oppo Watch Free, which are placed exactly in the middle between the two categories, with their large form factor and a lower price than smartwatches "facts and finished "which makes them extremely competitive in this sector.

On board Oppo Watch Free, which arrived in Italy a few weeks ago, we find an essential proprietary operating system, without a dedicated store and not too dissimilar to that of a smartband, which, however, as we will see in the following paragraphs, integrates with most of the features of Android and iOS smartphones.

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Intrigued by the potential of the hybrid solution that Oppo Watch offers, we tested it for you. Will he have convinced us? Let's find out together.

Look and feel and design

Already from the first impression, the new Oppo Watch Free stands out for its refined appearance given by its squared, slim and decidedly more elegant shape than other devices designed specifically for sports use. The most immediate comparison, at least in look and feel, is certainly the one with the Apple Watch, even if the similarities begin and end at a very superficial level.

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Unfortunately, the construction quality of the rubber strap did not convince me as much, which has a fairly coarse texture compared to to that seen on other wearables that also use this material, less valuable but in fact optimal for a more active use. Likewise, the plastic used for the buckle gave me the impression of being the most delicate component of the whole smartwatch, appearing several times on the verge of folding as I tightened the strap to put it on.

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This is not the case, however. case: during this trial period I was able within a few days to accept the presence of Oppo Watch Free on my wrist (although quite minute, in any case reachable from the last holes of the buckle) and integrate its functions with my daily routine , always within the limits that this device has and that we will see together shortly.

Oppo Watch Free: technical specifications

Although this device has "Watch" in the name, it is the technical sheet that betrays its nature derived from smart bands for fitness, but this observation is not necessarily to be understood as something negative. I am referring here above all to the battery which, despite only 230mAh, brings the Oppo Watch Free to at least twelve days of autonomy (without active sleep detection), a result very close to the 14 days declared by the company.

This excellent battery, however, makes use of a proprietary charging system, which if on the one hand manages to fully recharge the Oppo Watch Free in just under an hour, on the other hand it uses a very weak magnetic connector, which is really inconvenient if you want to consult some menus while the wearable is charging.

The 1.64-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 326 ppi certainly contributes to this. The times of the first smart bands, which featured pixels visible to the naked eye and barely legible fonts, are now a distant memory: the elements of the interface, thanks to the high contrast screen, are well defined and the maximum brightness allows you to consult the device even under the beating sun.

The dial can be changed from the HeyTap Health app, which as we will see later constitutes the bridge between the device and the smartphone: from here you can download many free watchfaces, ranging from from the most classic to animated wallpapers by Oppo able to coordinate with your outfit or show the number of steps taken.

Up to seven dials can be stored on Oppo Watch Free, interchangeable at any time directly from the device starting from the menu that is activated with a long press on the center of the screen.

On the connectivity front we are again in full smartband territory: There are Bluetooth 5.0, essential for connecting with smartphones, and the sensors necessary to detect heartbeat, blood oxygenation and ambient light. The six-axis acceleration sensor that detects movement is particularly noteworthy, and as we will see later also quite accurate in field use.

Some important features are missing, such as the NFC chip for payments. contactless (present in a version of Oppo Watch Free marketed in the East, but not in the one destined for the international market), the microphone, the GPS and e-SIM support.

Consequently this device is still thought of to be supported at all times by a smartphone, and given the direction taken by more and more smartwatches (to be honest still far from the price range of Oppo Watch Free) it is good to specify it in anticipation of the purchase.

Running and sleeping companion

Wearables are usually associated with sport, fitness or at least an active lifestyle: with Oppo Watch Free the brand has made a bold and somewhat controversial choice , directing good part of the marketing of the device on the exact opposite, that is, on the functions for monitoring sleep.

However, this does not mean that your new wearable will let you laze without consequences: the device is in fact optimized to measure heart rate and blood oxygenation level both by entering the dedicated sections and in time. real. If Oppo Watch Free detects long periods of inactivity, it will notify you by means of a notification and stimulate you to do some exercise.

Also on this line there are also specific timers to remind you to drink water and wash your hands: these are features that for many users can be superfluous and at times ridiculous, but we must always remember that, even if they are not medical devices, cheap wearables like this are the ideal companions for disabled or elderly people, but also for anyone in need to monitor one's vital parameters and other aspects of self-care.

Oppo Watch Free also has a sporting soul, and in this sense Oppo is doing much better than many competitors : there are more than 100 pre-installed workouts from which you can choose, from daily actions (walking the dog, sport walking and recreational activities) to real sports, without forgetting different types of yoga and p ilates.

Added to this is an automatic detection that is sometimes too scrupulous, really excellent in the management of pauses and resumption of movement, but which tends to overestimate the level of activity that is taking place at that moment: my pace is quite brisk and not infrequently the Oppo Watch Free has detected a simple crossing of the road as a sporty walk or jogging. The localization is instead managed entirely by the GPS of the smartphone.

Finally, if you are new to wearables, it will be difficult to get used to wearing the device even during the night, but your efforts will be rewarded. Oppo Watch Free reminds you to go to bed at the set time, automatically detects your sleep (with the risk of mistaking the quietest moments of your evenings for naps) and monitors:

Percentage of deep sleep, light sleep and REM phase; Snoring (detected by the smartphone to which it is paired); Interference of the use of screens with the sleep routine; Breathing and the presence of any apneas.

Oppo Watch Free: integration with the smartphone

Once extracted from the package you will have to turn on your new Oppo Watch Free by connecting it to the charging base, so as to choose the language of use and prepare the connection via Bluetooth to your smartphone . The pairing between the two devices takes place entirely through the Oppo HeyTap Health proprietary app: this addition, which is not always welcome, is however compensated by the care that the brand has reserved for the interface, which, although not perfect, holds up the comparison very well. with competitors.

First of all, unlike the equivalent service offered by Fitbit for its Charge 5, there is no paywall or premium subscription to subscribe in order to have access to all services forever, which in my opinion it is always a positive element when it comes to devices which, although they do not reach astronomical figures, still have a list price that is not indifferent to many.

HeyTap Health has two great advantages compared to other equivalent apps: the Italian translation is almost flawless, an element that I noticed with pleasure even on board the wearable, it has very few slips if compared to the much more complete Mobvoi suite tested here a few weeks ago, and above all it makes the synchronization between smartwatch and smartphone almost immediate.

In short, I found an attention to the product that has improved my user experience, but I am still not entirely satisfied. The fault is partly attributable to the failure to respond to notifications even with only pre-filled responses, a limit that forces the user to take the smartphone out of his pocket more often than with a real smartwatch. Emoji support is also missing, which led me to receive some empty notifications from messaging apps.

Given these premises, I was positively surprised by the integration with Spotify for managing music in playback and with Google Fit for sharing fitness data and vital signs. Unlike Wear OS smartwatches, the points of contact between Oppo Watch Free and Android services are few but targeted, while the rest is entrusted to a good proprietary application that meets the needs of most of the basic users.

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