Oppo Watch LTE review: the bigger 46mm Oppo tried and tested

The bigger Oppo Watch ups the screen quality and connectivity. At a price.
Oppo Watch LTE
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When Oppo unveiled its first smartwatch in the first half of 2020 in China, it made the rest of the world wait until the second half of the year to get hold of it.

It was the smaller 41mm version that made it out first and as a Wear OS newbie, impressed us enough to be named Newcomer of the Year at the 2020 Wareable Tech Awards.

At the tail end of 2020, Oppo then made it easier to get hold of the 46mm Oppo Watch, which isn't simply just a bigger version of the smartwatch.

It's packing a higher resolution display, even quicker fast charging powers and LTE support. That means it joins a select few smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, Apple Watch Series 6 and the latest TicWatch Pro 3 in letting you use key smartwatch features without needing your phone nearby.

Read our review: Oppo Watch 41mm

Those desirable extras do come at a significant extra cost. The 46mm Oppo Watch is priced in at $484, which is a bit of a step up from the $279 cost of the smaller 41mm Oppo Watch.

The LTE version is now available in the UK through Vodafone on a £22 month contract through its OneNumber plan. That lets you share your minutes and data across phone and smartwatch. In the US, it works on Celron and Orange networks and like the UK, is one where those LTE powers only work when it's paired to an Android phone.

So there's a bigger, better screen, extra connectivity and quicker charging powers. Is that enough to make it worth paying more for the 46mm Oppo Watch? Does it hold up well against other LTE smartwatches? We've been living with it to find out. Here's our full verdict.

Oppo Watch LTE: Design and screen

Oppo Watch 46mm Design and screen

Yes, this watch is clearly inspired by the Apple Watch, but there's a bit more to this square smartwatch and how it compares to the square competition and its smaller sibling.

At its core, you're still getting an aluminium alloy case that comes in two colors as opposed to three available for the 41mm version. That's matched up with what is now a slightly larger flurorubber (silicone) strap. There's two physical buttons on the right hand side of the watch case and a touchscreen display front and centre.

That display lives very differently on the larger Oppo Watch as it curves on either side eating into the watch case creating a more fluid, sleeker look. Oppo calls it a flexible, dual-curved display. There's now both ceramic and plastic in the case back too.

Oppo Watch 46mm vs 41mm

Oppo Watch 46mm (left), Oppo Watch 41mm (middle) and Apple Watch Series 6 (right)

That screen is strangely quite long in comparison to the smaller Oppo and even the biggest sized Apple Watch, which means it really fills up that wrist space. It feels a little too big at first, but it's something we actually got used to over time.

While it's actually slimmer than the 41mm version, the overall weight has jumped up 10g on the 41mm model and that extra heft really is noticeable when you get it out of its Apple Watch-inspired packaging. It feels, too heavy. When it's on, it's a bit less noticeable, but there's no hiding that this is no way near as light fitting as the smaller Oppo Watch.

As a package, it's got a higher 5ATM waterproof rating, that makes it safe for swimming and showering up to 50 metres depth. The 41mm packs a 3ATM rating.

Oppo Watch 46mm screen

Along with the change in screen design, you're getting something that's larger and higher quality to show off Oppo's combination of its own Color OS operating system and Google's Wear OS. It's a 1.91-inch AMOLED display, up from a 1.6-inch one on the smaller Oppo Watch and resolution has jumped from 320 x 360 to a sharper, 402 x 476 resolution display.

The 41mm Oppo Watch's display certainly isn't bad and didn't pose any problems for us, but this is a step up in overall quality. That extra screen doesn't seem to offer any extras from a software optimisation point of view. It simply creates a much nicer look.

Much like the strap on the smaller Oppo Watch, it's comfortable to wear, though the combination of buttons and clasp can initially be a little fiddly to get in place. Once it's there though, it didn't really budge. When we got into the water for a swim the strap did manage to slip out of the buckle on one occasion. The watch didn't fall off, but it clearly pays to make sure it's securely in place before you get in the water.

The bigger Oppo Watch certainly has bit more about it as far as offering a nicer, slightly more unique look. It's less of your conventional square smartwatch and while it's a bit on the big side, it's one on the whole we've enjoyed living with.

Oppo Watch LTE: Smartwatch features and LTE

Oppo Watch LTE mobile data

So a lot of what you read here echoes what we've said about the first Oppo Watch we tested.

The software is a mix of Wear OS and Oppo's Color OS and it's powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor and an Ambiq Micro Apollo 3 processor to handle low-power tasks. That's accompanied by 1GB of RAM and 8GB storage.

You'll set the watch up in Google's Wear OS companion app and use Oppo's HeyTap Health app to view your health and fitness stats.

On the watch, you can quickly establish what's been retained from Google's OS and what's been added by Oppo. Swipe down to see your quick settings, swipe up to see your notifications and swipe left to see widgets or Tiles as Google refers to them as. A swipe right brings up Google's Assistant, which can also be summoned by pressing down on the top physical button.

Oppo Watch LTE notifications

Tap that same button and you're pushed into your app tray and that's where things are done the Oppo way. You can view a rows of apps where you'll find Google's suite of apps like Pay, breathing exercises and Google Play store access pushed down the bottom.

Like the smaller Oppo Watch, you have the ability to change watch faces with a mix of static and animated faces available to choose from. The live options certainly have a more elevated look on the more impressive display packed onto the bigger Oppo Watch.

Those Wear OS features work much in the way they do on smartwatches that go all in on Google's operating system. Notifications are easy to read, Google Assistant is useful sometimes, but not all the time. Accessing the Google Play Store is a bit sluggish to load and operate and it's a case once again of Google's software being a bit of a mix bag.

Oppo Watch LTE menus

To get LTE up and running you'll need to do that in the Wear OS app. Our watch was set up with a Vodafone OneNumber account where you need to have a compatible Android phone to run it. As mentioned, these features are for Android phone users, so it's not a viable LTE smartwatch alternative to the Apple Watch for iPhone users.

The handsets listed by Vodafone as supported handsets are the OPPO Find X2 Lite, Find X2 Pro, A72 and Reno4 Pro. We were using it with the Find X2 Lite though we did encounter some issues in the setup, which appeared tied to our watch sample. Once that sample was replaced we had no issues getting set up.

Once it is working, you can jump into the connectivity menu where you'll find all of the key settings and then you just get to living with your LTE smartwatch. It means you can view notifications, access the Play Store, though the now missing music support on Wear OS means you do miss out on a desirable ability of being able to stream music.

Oppo Watch LTE: Fitness and sports tracking

Oppo Watch 46mm sports tracking

The Oppo Watch covers the features bases to make it a pretty useful fitness tracker and a stand-in sports watch.

There's the motion sensors onboard to track steps, enable sleep monitoring and also better track indoor workouts like treadmill running. When you head outside, you've got built-in GPS at your disposal with support for A-GPS and GLONASS too. There's also a barometric altimeter to monitor and track elevation here too.

There's an optical heart rate monitor to enable continuous monitoring, view resting heart rate data and take on the spot measurements. You can also track heart rate during exercise. Oppo recently added an ECG sensor to its Watch too, but only in its China version. It will face the same challenges as Apple and Fitbit in offering that feature in more countries until it gets the necessary regulatory approval.

As a fitness tracker, the Oppo Watch does a pretty good job not just recording your stats, but making better efforts to keep you active during more inactive periods of your day. There's a dedicated Daily Activity widget on the watch to quickly glance steps, workout time, calories burned and times in the day you were most active.

There's a nice set of graphs to view one the watch to check in on progress over the day. Crucially, Oppo goes to the trouble of explaining what those stats actually mean. It features inactivity alerts like most fitness trackers, but when you haven't been moving for a while, it will suggest a series of stretches and exercises to get you mobile. It's a nice way to add value to those features beyond simply tracking your activity and inactivity.

Oppo Watch LTE step accuracy

Step tracking compared: Oppo Watch (left and centre) and Garmin fitness tracker (right)

Accuracy-wise, daily activity data was in the ballpark of the figures dished out by the Garmin fitness tracker we compared it against. So aspects like step counts and distance covered during the day felt like insights you could largely rely on.

When it's time for bed, it keeps things to the basics offering a breakdown of deep and light sleep along with acknowledging time awake too. Compared to the Fitbit Sense, data was generally a little more generous with recording sleep duration as well as deep and light sleep periods, but it's certainly not the worst we've seen for sleep tracking. If you want a rough guideline of how much sleep you manage, it does a good enough job.

Oppo Watch LTE sleep tracking accuracy

Sleep tracking compared: Oppo Watch (left) and Fitbit Sense (right)

Oppo includes two of its own fitness apps to offer alternatives to Google's ones. The 5 Minute Workouts are just that, quick workouts to get you feeling energised in the morning or giving you a quick fat blasting session. All workouts are accompanied with animations to help you to show what you're doing.

The other app is the Workouts app where you'll see things like fitness run, fat burn run, outdoor walk, cycling and pool swimming profiles. It's slightly disappointing there's not a general workout mode or better support for indoor exercise from Oppo here though.

Oppo Watch LTE running

Run tracking compared: Oppo Watch (left and centre) and Garmin Forerunner 945 (right)

For running, it didn't keep us waiting long for a GPS signal lock on and you have the ability to set goals based on distance, duration and calories. Data is displayed mainly one screen with an additional screen dedicated to display heart rate zones.

The larger screen certainly makes it easier to absorb data on the move. One thing that does annoyingly persist is that when the screen turns off, it moves back to the main watch screen as opposed to leaving you in the workout screen, forcing you open it back up to view real-time data.

Oppo Watch LTE review

Swim tracking compared: Oppo Watch (left and centre) and Form Swim Goggles (right)

In the water, you'll have the ability to track pool swimming only. Once the screen is locked, it'll track number of lengths, you average pace, calorie burn and duration.

If you care about heart rate accuracy during the day and during exercise, well, the bigger Oppo Watch much like the smaller one doesn't do a fantastic job. On the spot measurements were generally in line with a chest strap monitor, though did on many occasions post readings that were 5bpm higher.

Oppo Watch LTE heart rate accuracy

Heart rate tracking compared: Oppo Watch LTE (left) and Garmin HRM-Pro chest strap monitor (centre and right)

When you work that heart a little harder, it doesn't get much better. Even on a quite steady run, it reported a significantly higher average and maximum BPM readings as the screens above show.

If you want a competent fitness tracker and want to throw in the odd short run, swim or cycle, then the Oppo Watch will likely do the job. Just don't expect it to rival a Garmin, Polar or even an Apple Watch for sports tracking performance.

Oppo Watch LTE: Battery life

With a bigger watch and more features to power, there's inevitably the need to pack in a higher capacity battery.

So the 46mm Oppo Watch uses a 430mAh battery to deliver 30 hours or just over a day of battery life in smartwatch mode. That's six more hours than the smaller Oppo Watch. When you factor in LTE, that number drops, but you're basically playing with a day here.

There's also a power saving mode, which is not as limited as other power saving modes you'll find on other smartwatches and promises to last up to 21 days in this mode. In this mode you can view time, step count, heart rate and still be notified of incoming notifications.

In that full smartwatch mode, it will give you that 30 hours and not more. We had the full compliment of features in use and from around the morning till about 5-6pm to about 60-70%. An hour of outdoor run using GPS or pool swimming knocked battery by around 10%. With LTE in the picture, we found that battery was around the same. You're going to get a day. With a similar setup, a 30-45 minute GPS run and notifications streaming in, from 9am to midnight we were down to 51%.

When you do hit 0%, Oppo's VOOC flash charging technology is on board and gets you fully charged quicker than the smaller Oppo Watch, giving you just under 50% battery from a 15-minute charge, so that's 30% to get back up to full capacity.

Just like the Fitbit's introduction of similar technology to its smartwatches, it's a solution to dealing with issue of battery performance full-fat smartwatches until they can find a way to better handle those power-hungry features.


Oppo Watch LTE
By Oppo
The bigger Oppo Watch takes the smaller Oppo Watch and makes it a lot more desirable. We definitely prefer the curvier look of the display and the bump up in resolution. The speedier quick charge tech is also welcome too. Add LTE into the mix and it makes it a strong contender as the best LTE smartwatch for Android users. We've not put the LTE version of the TicWatch Pro 3 to the test, but if you like the idea of a square smartwatch and can stomach the higher price tag, there's still a lot to like about the LTE Oppo Watch.

Hit
  • Nicer screen than smaller Oppo Watch
  • Speedier fast charging
  • Good mix of Color OS/Wear OS
Miss
  • LTE only for Android users
  • Battery life still good for a day
  • Pricey