OnePlus Nord Watch Review – News GSMArena.com
The OnePlus Nord Watch is the company’s second smartwatch and the first to be released under the affordable Nord line. A rebranded version of another Chinese smartwatch – the Haylou RS4 Plus – the Nord Watch is supposed to be an entry-level product for the Indian market, at just INR 4,999.
Visually, the Nord Watch is nearly identical to the RS4 Plus, except for a different “crown” and strap design. The design appears to be inspired by the Apple Watch, which is not uncommon for entry-level Chinese smartwatches.
The watch case is zinc alloy but the back is plastic. The display glass is scratch resistant and has slightly curved edges. The straps are attached to the protruding legs with easy-to-remove sliding spring bars. The watch straps resemble those of the more expensive OnePlus Watch, but with a traditional buckle design. The watch is available in two colors, Deep Blue and Midnight Black (pictured here).
The design of the Nord Watch is rather pedestrian. While not necessarily bad, it’s downright unremarkable and boring to look at, especially in black.
The screen of the watch is a 1.78-inch AMOLED panel, 368 x 448 resolution with 60Hz refresh rate. outside. However, the screen doesn’t have an automatic brightness adjustment, so you’ll have to do it manually. You also can’t just place your palm over the screen to turn it off like you can on most other portable devices and instead have to wait for it to turn itself off.
Another missing feature is an always-on display, at least the kind you normally find on other devices. The watch, however, allows you to keep the display on for up to 30 minutes. It’s not the same low-power version you find on other devices, but rather the normal watch face lit at whatever brightness you set. It kinda hits the mark, but in an incredibly clumsy way.
It’s probably a good time to dive into the software. On the watch itself, the device runs something called RTOS. It’s the same sort of glorified fitness device UI we find on other budget ‘smartwatches’, but with heavy watchOS inspiration. Either way, it’s quite easy to navigate and the watch has good UI performance.
Since it is the renamed Haylou watch, the associated phone app is also a renamed Haylou app called N Health. This would be frustrating for existing OnePlus wearable users because the OnePlus Health app used for OnePlus Watch and OnePlus Band cannot be used for Nord Watch. The N Health app also requires you to create an account, which as far as I know there is no reason to do so. The setup process is also frustrating with a dozen different permissions you need to enable before the app is usable.
N Health app
Once set up, the app is quite easy to use. There are also a good number of the usual fitness features, including heart rate, sleep, SpO2 and step tracking, although SpO2 tracking only works automatically when you sleep and not throughout the day. . There’s also an option to track women’s health, which was missing on other OnePlus wearables.
The app also comes with a ton of watch faces, some of which are also animated. There’s a good variety here and more are added through updates, but there’s no way to customize any part of a watch face.
All the inspirations and idiosyncrasies would have been tolerable if the software had at least worked well, but the Nord Watch was extremely buggy in testing. Besides the wake up feature not working, the heart rate sensor also stopped working at some point and the solution for both was to reset and reconfigure the watch. At the start of testing, the map view in the Exercise section of the N Health app was also broken. The drive detection also never seemed to detect anything.
But by far the worst problem was that the Nord Watch wouldn’t track time properly, which you’d assume a thing with a watch in its name would be able to do. It was always 30 minutes behind the current time and it didn’t matter if the time changed from the paired phone (because there’s no way to change the time on the watch itself or through its app ), the time difference was maintained.
Luckily I got a second review unit, which didn’t have this issue and the first watch was eventually fixed with a software update. Still, the first time I experienced it, it really baffled me because I thought I was somehow losing track of time.
The watch even has hardware issues. You can see in the video above that pressing the crown often does nothing as the button is apparently broken on one of the watches. The watch also initially had trouble reconnecting with the phone if one was out of range. Eventually it just stopped pairing with the phone completely and the app just showed an error saying “The network connection is abnormal, please check and try again”.
After a while, I lost interest in testing the product. I’m not sure about the accuracy of the fitness functions because apparently you can’t even rely on this watch to display the time correctly. And while battery life seems pretty good, no matter how long it lasts when it often doesn’t seem to perform very well. I even have two but they both take turns messing up and at no time did either work properly.
In the end, the Nord Watch is a vigorous refutation of the adage “There are no bad products, only bad prices”. Some products are bad at any price, and the Nord Watch is one of them.