OnePlus Watch 2 is a great WearOS watch without WearOS

Okay, that's a weird headline, but let me get to it... that's for 2 reasons.

1:  It has more than just WearOS built in, it's got RTOS as well

2: It doesn't use the WearOS companion app, which messes with my brain.

But, that being said, it's still WearOS and I like it.  It's a nice 'return' to smartwatches for me that isn't the stylish/chic Pixel Watch minimalistic looking style, it feels like a real 'watch', and it's got brains to boot.

Let's dive in on this $399CAD watch; first up, what do you get:

  • 1.43" 466x466
  • Snapdragon W5 Gen1 (for WearOS)
  • BES2700BP (for RTOS)
  • 4GB RAM for RTOS
  • 2GB RAM for WearOS
  • 32GB storage
  • 500mAh (100hrs claim)
  • IP68/MIL-810-SD

So it's got some chops.  Like I mentioned above an interesting thing to spot is that it actually has 2 chips on it, each running their own OS.  That's cool.  This really is the crux of how they get that 100 hours of use.  One OS manages the notifications, the apps, the display.  

The RTOS manages a lot of the 'background detail', stuff you don't need the smartwatch to process.  Steps, position, time, etc... So one just clicks away in the background and WearOS jumps up when needed.

I thought I'd see some 'hiccupping' in between the 2, but I wouldn't have even known if you didn't tell me.  The watch clicks away without any sort of notice to the user.  That's pretty smart.

Also a super smart feature with this watch, which really doesn't have anything to do with the watch itself is the charger.  I just LOVE the fact the charger is a separate little block that has a port to plug in USB-C.  

Every other watch has a little base, and that base is connected to a cord, which has a USB-A or C plug.  So if I want to take the charger with me, I have to unplug the whole thing ... whereas with this.  I unplug the base from a cord and take it with me.  It's small enough to hardly notice and just plug it in to any of the USB-C plugs I have around me at all times (car, desktop, etc...).  So smart.

I would have preferred a Qi charging option, but I'll live with it I guess.  I miss my Moto360.

Let's go over the device here before I get ahead of myself.  It looks like a regular watch, and has a strap that feels like a proper watch (it's got 2 retainers on it to hold the excess band too, which I like) and there's an easy little slide to take them off and get replacements if you like.

The front face has a gorgeous display and I hope the glass is scratch resistant as it looks very sheen (so far no marring that I've seen).

We have 2 buttons.  A 'crown' looking one on the top of the right side (which doesn't rotate, no matter how much it feels like it does... it does nothing to interact) and a more flush rectangular one on the bottom of the right side.  We'll get to those.  There's also an opening on the left hand side for its speaker.

Running the watch it's very much like any other WearOS watch I've ever reviewed with its options and apps.

But where it differs is how you set it up initially.  Loading up the WearOS companion app on the OnePlus, I was let down.  

You have to download the OHealth app from the Play Store, which is normally just a fitness tracking app, but it's got a spot for 'devices'.  Okay.  And, it's not made by OnePlus.  It's from Bravo Unicorn... which the app was formerly HeyTap... I'm sure it's all fine and good, just feels like it could have been handled with WearOS, but my figuring is they want you to use THEIR health tracking app, and this ensures that.

initially you'll see a fair bit of other languages

Aside from that, you can still use all the WearOS features, access the Play Store and install apps, use Google Wallet to pay for things via the NFC (like some of the OnePlus devices, I did encounter a hiccup in initially setting it up, but the 2nd try it works fine - I think I hadn't set the phone up on tap to pay ... or it was because the watch needed a firmware update).  All works as normal.


Minor adjustments for the watch can be done via the OHealth app.  Take screenshots, adjust the wallpapers and even the tiles.

A couple minor differences from other WearOS devices - is that I do like the separate 'buttons' at the top screen just for Bluetooth headphones.  I like that feature, as when I do go to the gym I'm connecting my earbuds to the watch (so I can leave the phone in the locker).  That's appreciated.

There's also the app 'tray'.  The normal way to look at your apps is that single column to scroll through one by one.  This has a 'sphere' mode, where the apps are like on a 'ball' that you rotate around, or a bit of a hex grid you scroll up and down on.  The ball looks cool, but I don't get the way it's organized - it feels very 'gimmicky'.  You can manually adjust the order, but it would seem like it should be sorted in some intuitive way, especially as new apps I downloaded you couldn't see on the 'ball', so I had to rotate it around to find it (and unless you know what the app icon should look like, you could miss it).

They really want you to use their OHealth fitness trackers, and you can.  I made an account and then made sure Google's HealthConnect app would capture it and share it to Fit, as I also installed Google Fit on the watch and phone.

Outside of that, it worked just as advertised.  Battery life has been very good.  I haven't been using it as my daily; but I get home and plop it on and run around that way and it's lasting days.

The watch feels super fluid (again, most likely because of that separation of the 2 chipsets for the 2 types of activities).  I really like it.

For $399.99 ... and then you can trade in any watch for $60 off.  That's right, you could just grab some ol' Timex you've got sitting around and get $60 off (other smartwatches could net you more - the Galaxy Watch 4 was $100 off and some Apple watches could get you $300 off) makes it a really great deal.

Sure, it doesn't have LTE, but I'm okay with that.  I don't need it to connect to the internet separately from my phone - which is usually right there next to it (and if it isn't, it's connecting to WiFi).

There really isn't a lot to say on it, except that it works so well and feels like a proper watch, that you don't need to say much more than that - and that it's a great deal.

So, go check it out!