Just a few weeks ago Oppo has also launched its Watch Free in ItalyWearable wrist whose size is halfway between a band and a watch, after having presented the Chinese market last September.
Lightweight, compact, with a young air, has a specific function dedicated to sleep which aims to detect anomalies during rest; interesting features that, however, in a market increasingly crowded with competitors such as wearables, find it difficult to justify the somewhat high launch price.
This does not rule out that once you come to one street price more adequate or perhaps as part of some bundle, it does not become a noteworthy product. Here is our response after a few days of testing.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
As anticipated at the beginning, the design is halfway between that of a smartband and that of a classic watch: in fact, the dimensions and finishes are very reminiscent of the Huawei Band 6 launched last April (of which you can find the review here), and also the functions are similar. It is available in two colors, gold and black; I tried the second one.
The 1.64 ” AMOLED display is of good quality, the color rendering is brilliant and is visible in all light conditions, as well as having a fairly reactive touchscreen; to awaken it, just turn your wrist or tap, and in 9 cases out of 10 it will respond in the desired way. The brightness automatically adjusts effectively, but if you prefer you can manually set it to three levels of intensity.
The watchface they deserve a separate chapter because obviously Oppo is committed to it and the result is appreciable: in addition to the preset ones (among which my favorite is the fluorescent one) and the possibility of using the images from the smartphone gallery as a background, there is also an AI Outfit feature that offers watch faces based on your outfit of the day and also a Light Paint function that allows you to “draw” your own background with the help of software.
The build quality is average: the satin edges of the plastic case are pleasing to the eye, while the strap is soft but not too much. The lacing is the classic pin buckle, which I always appreciate, even if the end of the strap tucks inside to make it as less bulky as possible. Very light (32 g), you practically forget you are wearing itwhich is a fundamental requirement for those who want to use it even at night.
Resistant to water and sweat, it also has a special mode to lock the display when you are in the pool; in this regard though I would have preferred the presence of a physical button to better manage the training in the water but also to navigate more easily within the menu and above all turn the Watch Free back on (at the moment it is only possible to turn it off from the menu but to turn it back on you have to connect it to the charging base; not very convenient if you are out and about ).
SPORTS ACTIVITIES AND PARAMETERS
The Watch Free also allows you to keep track of your sports activities at an essential level: you choose from a hundred sports for which you can set specific goals such as the number of laps for swimming, kilometers for running, the number of rope jumps or more general calories.
There are also four auto-sensing sports: running, brisk walking, rowing and elliptical; I tried to carry out the first two activities and actually after a few minutes the Watch Free asked me if I wanted to start a workout. Too bad the absence of integrated GPS, that would have allowed me to go out to train without having to carry the smartphone on which the Watch Free relies to trace my path.
In addition to heart rate monitoring (which can be set continuously or at intervals) the oxygen saturation in the blood is also detected (ditto), and everything is summarized in a general picture of the activities on the app. The reliability of the surveys is in line with other smart bands, even if we must always consider that they are not medical devices and therefore only simple indications remain.
Specific functions are dedicated to sleep, from a reminder of the best time to go to sleep (convenient; also present on the Apple Watch) to sleep monitoring with continuous SpO2 measurement which is combined with snoring monitoring if you keep the smartphone on the bedside table. Maybe I don’t snore enough, but I didn’t notice any particular differences compared to the (albeit fine) summary screen that summarizes the time spent in the various stages of sleep that is also found on other bands.
Other features include weather info, the ability to set timers and alarms directly from the Watch (something not obvious on the bands) that trigger a vibration of medium intensity a little humming, the flashlight, the shutter to take pictures at a distance, the control of music playback and the sound search of the smartphone to which it is connected. No NFC instead, with all the payment options connected.
APP AND SOFTWARE
The Watch Free works in combo with the HeyTap Health app, the same as Oppo Watch and Oppo Band, also available on iOS. This is a fairly basic application that is divided into three screens. Health, Fitness And Manage.
The first, appreciable, allows you to have a glance on the global measurements and the activities of the day (steps, calories, workouts, heart rate, SpO2 and sleep); the second, a bit sparse, allows you to start a running or walking workout; the third, functional, focuses on Watch Free settings and customizations and it is made in a linear way, you will find everything you need.
Navigation within the Watch Free is intuitive and customizable via the app: Flowing from the top frame down to access the drop down menu of the quick, while with the opposite gesture you see the notifications; scrolling from right to left frame opens the health center with information on activities of the day, sleep, heart rate and SpO2, while with the opposite movement leads to the list of apps. To go back you scroll to the right to change the background just take down the home of the dial for 2 seconds to turn off the screen just cover it with your hand.
Notifications, as almost always happens on bands, arrive promptly but you can’t interact with them that much: only read them if they are messages or reject them if they are calls. It is possible to delete them one by one, but the communication is one-way: even if they are deleted on the smartphone, they remain on the Watch Free, and deleting them on the Watch Free does not make them disappear from the smartphone. There are no pre-set answers available, and the emoticons are not read.
Autonomy is undoubtedly one of the strengths of the Watch Free, Because it comes up to 14 days with a basic use, but 5 days filled with taking all active monitoring in a continuous way. Recharging then is very rapid, in style Oppo: it takes 5 minutes to two-pin magnetic base for the autonomy necessary to hold a full day.
PRICE AND CONCLUSIONS
In conclusion, despite the name of the Watch Free it is closer to a band like the aforementioned Huawei than to a smartwatch in the strict sense, because it is not possible to interact with notifications, answer calls directly and the operating system is “closed” to third-party apps.
Precisely for this reason, also considering the absence of NFC for payments and integrated GPS for training, the introductory price of 99 euro is a bit ‘excessive in relation to the possibilities offered by the productwhich could instead deal well with proposals such as the Huawei Band 6, launched at 59 euros and now dropped to 39 euros or, if you prefer a product with integrated NFC by sacrificing a bit of display, the Mi Band 6 which is online on 50 euros.