HomeReviews The world of wearables is changing. And after the countless smartwatches and smartbands on the market, hybrid products begin to arrive, which incorporate characteristics of both sides, to give life to basically new products. This is the case of OPPO Watch Free, which represents the union between the two worlds. Certainly a band, but which believes itself to be a smartwatch. Here's what we think.
OPPO is not new to the wearables landscape, and it was the first to compete with Apple Watch, with its OPPO Watch, which recalled its lines and elegance. OPPO Watch Free, as the name suggests, is a more “easy” version of its watch, obviously much cheaper, but which in fact we can consider to all intents and purposes a smart band.
The elegant and elongated packaging, in clear OPPO premium style, denotes the attention to detail that the brand places for its products. The content, however, is extremely essential: the band is present, along with the manuals and the charging cable with proprietary pins. Nothing else.
Design and materials
The design of OPPO Watch Free, as already anticipated, wants to be a hybrid, halfway between a smartweatch and a smartband. In fact, it offers an elongated screen, not as big as that of a smartwatch, but not as small as that of a smartband.
Aesthetically very pleasant, also due to the total absence of keys. The dial is completely devoid of buttons, and only the touch screen will be available for interfacing with the peripheral. The strap is in breathable silicone, with a pattern that almost makes it look like leather. It fits very well on the wrist, and has a closure that is particularly safe and stable, which enhances its aesthetics, because it disappears under the wrist band itself. It's a bit like the mechanism that Apple uses for its silicone straps.
It does not even feel on the wrist, making it extremely delicate, a feature that makes it an ideal companion 24 hours a day, being able to wear it even at night, without almost noticing its presence. Several times, going to bed in the evening, we almost forgot we were wearing it.
Display and hardware
The key feature of this band is certainly the display. It is a 1.64 inch AMOLED panel, particularly sharp, very detailed and with excellent brightness in the sun. The face of the watch is very pleasant, and it is precisely this element that brings it closer to a smartwatch, with a quality standard that can rival the same OPPO Watch.
The hardware of the OPPO Watch Free has a standard equipment for its genre, with a heart rate sensor, one for blood oxygenation (SpO2), and without giving up an accelerometer, a 6-axis gyroscope and to the brightness sensor.
Software and user experience
In everyday life, the watch is extremely fluid, and navigation in the UI is practically lightning-fast, like few other bands on the market. Also from this point of view the peripheral is closer to the standards of a premium watch, than to those of a budget band.
The software is not Wear OS like OPPO Watch, but it is certainly complete. From this point of view, the absence of Wear OS shows more the side and the spirit of smartband, than that of smartwatch. It is a device mainly dedicated to those who practice sports, and thanks to the support of the Hey Tap Health app it will be possible to monitor your physical exercise.
The main screen of the app, as well as the OPPO proprietary dial, features four colored lines, each of which represents a daily goal: steps, calories, exercise and number of activities. These four data provide the daily overview of the objectives that the user will have to accomplish.
Of course, there are also other data that the indomitable is able to track, such as sleep, heart rate, the percentage of oxygen in the blood. These last measurements seem to us quite plausible and accurate.
Curious to note how the and also has the reminder for fluid intake, which helps to remind us when to well, to keep the body always properly hydrated.
Obviously, there is also the possibility of receiving notifications on the wrist: they are really precise and arrive on time, even if it is not possible to interact in any way: you cannot reply, not even with emojis or pre-set phrases. Speaking of emojis, the watch does not detect them, and this also leads to receiving blank notifications, in case the message contains only smilies and the like.
Other really nice features include the ability to watch the weather on your wrist, take photos with your smartphone from your wrist, and In addition, there are the remote camera shutter and control for music playback on your smartphone.
Lots of workouts you can keep track of: OPPO Watch Free has more than 100 preset training modes, from swimming to fat-burning running, automatically recognizes the start and end of your workout and monitors your heart rate and calories burned during sporting activity. We cannot, however, silence the absence of the GPS: for the list price, in all honesty, we would have bet on its presence. Just as the NFC module is also absent, which would also have transformed the bracelet into an ally for mobile payments.
Fortunately, it has a 5ATM certification, so as to be water resistant up to 50 meters, and can also be used during the summer season and for training in the pool.
An applause must also be made to the watch faces present. They are not very many, but they are all absolutely valid, particular, well redefined and can adapt to any situation. There is also the possibility of creating watch faces depending on the clothing worn. In this case, by taking a photo with the smartphone, the OPPO watch Free automatically creates a colored pattern to set as wallpaper. In our case it also worked, truly returning a “face” suited to the colors we wore.
The autonomy of this OPPO smartwatch is more than enough. Two weeks of use are practically guaranteed, with normal use, but even under stress, such as in training or with the receipt of many notifications, we have not noticed drastic drops. The merit is all of the 230 mAh battery, as well as the software optimization.
The conclusions on this OPPO Watch Free cannot ignore a premise on the price. Its price list is € 99.99, therefore higher than a common smartband, but lower than that of a smartwatch.
Certainly, the build quality, as well as the responsiveness of the system, and the accuracy of the sensors, justify the price. A little less the absence of integrated GPS and NFC module. The absence of the second could also justify it, but the first no: a sports bracelet at this price should also have offered GPS.
If we exclude this detail, in our opinion it is one of the wrist peripherals with the highest quality: the operating system is lightning fast, the display is truly a sight, and everything works perfectly.
Beyond the GPS we find no obvious flaws in this bracelet, which looks good, and works just as well. Maybe those 20 euros less would have helped him to become popular on the wrist of sportsmen.
Price and availability
On Amazon you can buy directly at this address.