It’s the tiniest device OnePlus has ever launched, yet it has generated a lot of buzz. At a time when many consumers are upgrading from bands and trackers to smartwatches, OnePlus has just taken the wraps off its first wearable – a fitness band. It’s clearly not a one-off; even before the launch on January 11, the rumour mill was already busy with leaks of a OnePlus smartwatch in the works. There’s more than one reason why the OnePlus band might break the clutter in a crowded fitness band segment. It all starts with the form factor.
It’s tough to differentiate a tracker in a fiercely competitive marketplace where Indian consumers are rarely willing to spend above Rs 3,000 for a band. The OnePlus band manages it with a polished build. There are two things that grabbed my attention – the dual tone (our review unit was a black on the outside and grey on the inside) band and a ribbed finish on the strap that helps it stand apart. Aside from our more sedate black colour option, this band is also available in funky tangerine and a navy blue. The 1.1-inch AMOLED display (126 x 294 pixels) is vibrant and offers great visibility for a screen this size. At 22.6 gm, its featherlight like most other bands and easy to keep on 24/7. That’s handy if you want to take advantage of the sleep tracking feature.
It’s the fitness features that make the OnePlus band a serious contender. SpO2 tracking or keeping tab of your blood oxygen levels has gained a lot of awareness in a post-COVID world. This band becomes one of the cheapest devices to offer SpO2 tracking. I tested it multiple times and it works quite well as long as you follow simple instructions like fastening the band tight and staying still with your hand on a flat surface as it measures your blood oxygen levels. Pairing the device is simple too – I paired it with a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Not surprisingly, the companion App (OnePlus Health)is pleasing on the eye and offers an elaborate dashboard.
Aside from the headline SpO2 tracking feature, the OnePlus band offers heart rate monitoring and 13 exercise modes. I tried the outdoor cycling mode (without the phone and therefore without GPS tracking) and the calorie count matched the Apple Watch that was strapped on my other wrist. In terms of smartwatch-type features, you get call and text notifications on your wrist and you can also control your music and cam from your wrist. There are also other handy touches like the 5ATM and IPS68 certification – yes, you can plunge into the pool with this. And then there’s the battery life that OnePlus pegs at 14 days. After using it for about 5 days, the battery dropped to about 70%; impressive.
The OnePlus band reopens the fitness tracker vs. smartwatch debate. Do you really need to spend over Rs 10,000 on smartwatches aside from the Apple Watch or from brands like Samsung or Fitbit (that come with more smartwatch functionality) or does a band that keeps the time and does basic fitness tracking tick all the boxes for you. That might boil down to whether you want to show up at a business meeting or a Microsoft Teams call with a tracker or an elegant smartwatch.
The OnePlus Band costs Rs 2,499 /- and comes in a choice of black, tangerine and navy colour options