- The OnePlus Nord Watch is the first smartwatch and wearable from the OnePlus’ Nord brand.
- In keeping with the values of the Nord brand, the Nord Watch brings a very classy design to the budget smartwatch section, along with a lot of functionality and features.
- While its design makes the OnePlus Nord Watch stand out in the sub-Rs 5,000 smartwatch segment, it will still face considerable competition from other players who bring more features to the table.
When it comes to smartwatches priced below Rs 5,000, function inevitably triumphs over form. It is not as if budget smartwatches look bad. Amazfit, Realme, and Redmi have some decent-looking devices in that price segment, but it is safe to say that when you consider investing around Rs 5,000 in a smartwatch, your design expectations are on the lower side. That might change with the OnePlus Nord Watch, the first wearable in the Nord range, which looks to combine some rather good design with fitness tracking features and some handy smarts, all while keeping the price in the budget category.
OnePlus Nord Watch Review: Looks of a premium smartwatch
The biggest ace that the OnePlus Nord Watch has up its sleeve is its design. It is easily the best-looking smartwatch we have seen in its price segment. Although it went with a circular dial with its OnePlus Watch, OnePlus has opted for a square shape in the Nord Watch with a crown bang in the center of the right side. And it has executed the design with an understated elegance that is rare to see in this segment.
The Nord Watch is by no means small. It has a 1.78-inch display, which is large for the segment. The Redmi Watch 2 Lite and the Amazfit GTS 2 mini, which have similar prices, come with 1.55-inch displays. However, the Nord Watch does not look oversized or bulky. It is on the slim side and weighs a little over 50 grams, even with the band. A zinc alloy frame and a bright 1.78-inch AMOLED display give it a very premium touch, which has the same resolution (448 x 368px) as the 44mm Apple Watch and a 60 Hz refresh rate.
There are hundreds of watchfaces to play around with, although only five remain on the watch. For more options, you will have to go to the N Health connecting app (more on which later). The watchface collection is impressive and includes some animated options, which will turn a few heads, especially on that display.
The colors on the display are definitely oversaturated, but we think that is a good move as it makes them more noticeable and makes watchfaces and graphics stand out. It is not an always-on display, but the rise-to-wake functionality works reasonably well. All in all, the Nord Watch comes with an understated elegance that enables it to blend in wherever it goes, from the gym to the boardroom to the cafe.
It comes with IP68 dust and water resistance as well, so while you cannot take it swimming, it certainly can easily survive the rigors of a gym or a spell in the rain. The strap in the box is very similar to the one that came with the OnePlus Watch with subtly curving stripes and is made of breathable material. All of these, taken together, give the Nord Watch an appearance of a much more expensive device than it actually is.
OnePlus Nord Watch: A smooth operator
Within that rather stylish form is a fair deal of functionality as well. The Nord Watch runs on Realtime OS (RTOS), which is the preferred platform of many smartwatches that prefer to focus on fitness tracking abilities. This means there are not too many third-party apps available for it, but on the flip side, you get great battery life and a fair number of features right out of the box.
Whether it is because of the 60 Hz refresh rate, powerful innards, or both, the Nord Watch comes across as a smooth operator. The display is big enough to read on and very responsive. The interface is simple enough – a swipe down from the top gets you to some basic settings, while a swipe up shows you notifications. Swiping on either side brings you health and fitness-related information – Activity levels, Heart Rate, Stress, Blood Oxygen, and Sleep. The function of the crown is simple – pressing it when you are on the homescreen takes you to a very Apple Watch-like menu with app icons in a cluster of bubbles, and pressing it when you are in any other app either takes you a step back or takes you to the homescreen. Yes, you can rotate the crown, but doing so does precisely nothing.
OnePlus Mord Watch: And mostly accurate too
It serves up a fair bit of data too. The watch measures heart rate constantly, blood oxygen while you are sleeping (and when you check manually), counts steps, tracks sleep, women’s cycles, and stress. There is also a Personal Health Summary, which is worked out by combining stress, blood oxygen, and heart rate over two minutes. From our experience, the Nord Watch got the information right almost all the time. It is the first wearable in the segment that was able to track our slightly erratic sleeping cycle and was reasonably accurate on the heart rate and blood oxygen front too.
Step counting was one area where it seemed a little erratic at times, but the error levels were never too high – perhaps the absence of onboard GPS is a factor here (the watch your phone for GPS). The watch also claims to track 105 exercises and delivers information like duration of exercise, heart rate, and calories burnt. However, it was often unable to automatically detect when we started running or were walking, which it claims to be able to do. And while you do get data on heart rate and stress, the watch will not alert you to any data that might be of concern to you – for instance, a high heart rate or a high level of stress. The Redmi Watch 2 Lite, for instance, does send you abnormal heart rate alerts.
OnePlus Nord Watch: Some smarts and a super battery life
The Nord Watch comes with”some “smart” functions as well, taking it beyond the ambit of a fitness tracker. You can see incoming calls and reject them on the watch, but you cannot use the watch to actually make or receive calls. You also get notifications from social media and messages. You cannot respond to them from the watch, but the larger display and its higher resolution do make reading easier. You can actually read messages instead of just getting a notification that someone messaged you. A handy tool is the option to control the camera of your phone as well as the music on the phone from the watch, and both work smoothly enough. You can also keep an eye on the weather, but there is no way of keeping an eye on navigation (Google Maps) or news.
The battery life on the OnePlus Nord Watch is very good indeed. We had an animated watchface most of the time, had sleep tracking and blood oxygen measurement on, and got through close to ten days, which is about what the brand claims. This is quite good considering the quality and brightness of that display and the amount of data we are getting.
OnePlus Nord Watch: It has a new health app too
The Nord Watch can pair with Android and iOS apps, and interestingly, the pairing happens through a new app called N Health, as opposed to the standard Health app we used for the OnePlus Watch and fitness band. The N stands for Nord, we assume, and perhaps the brand’s determination to give the Nord range a separate identity of its own. The app is handy enough and gives you access to data in more detail on a larger screen.
Pairing the Nord Watch was easy enough – you launch the N Health app on your phone (with Bluetooth switched on), switch on the watch, and add it from the app. It is as simple as observing the same passkey on both phone and watch.
OnePlus Nord Watch Review: A budget smartwatch that doesn’t look like one
At its price of Rs 4,999, the OnePlus Nord Watch is perhaps the best option out there for those on a relatively tight budget who want a watch that looks stylish as well as acts smart. The Nord Watch loses out on an always-on display, and GPS, and it definitely needs to be better when it comes to detecting workouts and activity, but it more than compensates with that stellar design and display.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite is available in the same price range and also brings GPS to the table, but it has a relatively modest design and a smaller LCD display. A more potent challenger is the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini, which also comes with an AMOLED display, has an always-on display option, and GPS on board as well. However, it, too, does not quite match up to Nord in terms of display quality and design.
The OnePlus Nord Watch is very similar to the OnePlus Nord phones in that while it might lose out to some on the spec front, it comes out on top as the most well-rounded package of them all when you factor in things like design and display quality. The Nord Watch might not appeal to fitness fanatics who perhaps would like GPS, more information, and the option to take the watch for a swim as well. But those who want a watch that does a lot of the smart stuff and manages to look stylish will also love the OnePlus Nord Watch. It is a very OnePlus Nord product – bringing style to a segment known more for functionality.
- Stylish design
- Super display
- Good battery life
- Overall good performance
- IP68 rating
- Attractive watch faces
- No always-on display
- No GPS
- Automatic exercise detection is erratic
- No option to respond to messages and can only reject calls
|Design & appearance||
|Ease of Use||
|Value for Money||
While its design makes the OnePlus Nord Watch stand out in the sub-Rs 5,000 smartwatch segment, it will still face considerable competition from other players who bring more features to the table. Here's our OnePlus Nord Watch review.