Chinese phone maker Oppo released its new generation of smartwatches, the Watch 3 series, in August with a price tag of RMB 1,599 – RMB 2,099 ($228 – $300). The company first entered the watch market in 2020 and updated it annually.  

The latest series has a new look and offer more premium features such as long battery life, and always-on feature supported by LTPO OLED display. 

The version we tested, the Watch 3 Pro, is currently only available in mainland China and Oppo has yet to reveal any plans regarding overseas markets, but there is an expectation that it will eventually be sold internationally. 

A refreshed design

The first thing that impressed us about Oppo’s new Watch 3 Pro is the massive 48.5 mm curved display. It offers more space to display content than most of its Android rivals. Apple’s newly released Apple Watch Ultra comes with a 49 mm display but is more than doubled the price of Oppo’s offering.

The larger display enables the watch to showcase more information and users can track more metrics at the same time. An innovative change is the watch’s curved display, which fits better with one’s wrist and offers a clearer view when checking the watch from different angles. 

Oppo Watch 3 Pro’s main display. Credit: TechNode/Ward Zhou

Another good touch of the watch is the mechanical rotating crown on the side. It offers another tangible way to interact with the watch, considering slides on the touch screen may sometimes block the display of other content. The crown also stimulates realistic mechanical vibration feedback when spinning.

Improvable on-wrist experience

The watch’s large size leads to a heavier weight of 37.5 g (without bands), – a thing to adjust for those who are used to a more lightweight watch. 

The black model we reviewed came with a classic-looking black rubber strap. The band is fastened through steps rather than being completely adjustable, which leaves it open to the possibility of being either too loose or too tight if your wrist doesn’t match up with the fixed steps. 

A side look of the watch. Credit: TechNode/Ward Zhou

The rubber material is waterproof (potentially making it a good companion for swimmers) and is also easy to clean. But for all-day use, we would recommend getting a nylon or Milanese strap, which fits more wrist sizes and has better breathability. If you want a more stylish look, the silver version with a leather strap could also be a better choice.

Solid core experience

The system interface has a decent design, with good readability and accessibility. The font size and weight are well chosen, while essential information is marked with vivid colors. The transitional animation is quick and clean. 

With a swipe of the home screen, the watch can access all essential secondary interfaces, like essential health metrics, widgets, quick setting toggles, and notifications, similar to a phone’s swipe-up feature.

The watch we reviewed was installed with ColorOS, and given its marketing to the Chinese market, it did not support Google Play or any other WearOS features. It provided over 80 apps through the built-in app store, covering the most common Chinese apps such as WeChat and Alipay. This means that if you enable the e-SIM feature, you can leave your phone at home and have access to the most essential software.

And just like other smartwatches, you can receive notifications and calls, monitor sleep stages, and conduct a quick electrocardiogram (ECG) test. However, the ECG app, for now, says “coming soon.”

A good workout companion 

When doing intense workouts, the weight of the watch and its slightly rigid watch band take some getting used to. 

Despite that, the Watch 3 Pro has the potential to be a great exercise companion tool. Oppo sets four goals for users to hit, displaying these as four loops: steps, calories, workout, and activity. We found it a little harder to achieve the default goals, but one can adjust them to meet your needs.

The device can auto-detect six kinds of workout, including running, walking, cycling, swimming, elliptical machine work, and rowing machine activity. We tested walking and cycling and it had no problem detecting the former, but somehow missed the latter so we had to manually record the workout from the health app instead.

When it comes to manually recording, the watch offers dozens of types of workouts to choose from, with some featuring detailed subcategories. Dance, for example, has ten different styles, including waltz, street, and jazz. While this enables fitness enthusiasts to track their niche interests, it can feel daunting to new dancers. It also lacks a more general choice to record less common or freestyle workouts.

The recorded workout generally offers information about GPS mapping, duration, burnt calories, heart rate, etc. It even highlights different heart rate zones, helping users understand how close to their maximum heart rate a certain activity is getting them; for example, zone one is “warmup” and zone two is “fat burn.” 

Long battery life

The Oppo Watch 3 Pro’s battery life is impressive. Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 processor provides higher performance and halves the amount of power consumption compared with the last generation. It has a large 550 mAh battery, even bigger than Apple Watch Ultra’s battery volume, according to iFixit.

The watch’s backside and the charging stand. Credit: TechNode/Ward Zhou

We turned almost all features on, including the always-on-display, all-day heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, and workout auto-detect, to drain its power as soon as possible. We also paired it with a phone that was installed with dozens of news and social media apps, sending a plethora of notifications to ensure that the watch display has a longer illuminated period. Despite all this, the watch managed to last three days without charging. For regular usage, the battery should last a few more days.

With its charging stand, the watch can be fully charged in around an hour. 

What surprised us is that Oppo adopted a universal design for its charging stand: you can plug in any USB Type-C cable and supported charger to power it. Helping travelers to carry one less cable. 

Another neat feature is that the stand uses magnets to connect with the watch, charging through contactors. Compared with wireless charging, it can reduce overheating issues, but the contact points could also age from oxidation and corrosion.

Conclusion

The Oppo Watch 3 Pro has a classic design, a large display, long battery life, and a solid core experience. There is room for improvement, such as a more comfortable strap and weight reduction, but overall it is a reasonably priced high-end Android smartwatch. 

The upcoming overseas version should come with the full suite of Google offerings. We would recommend this watch to Android users with a larger wrist size, especially those who own an Oppo phone and can therefore unlock features across devices. For Apple users, it can still provide core smartwatch features and comes with a cheaper price tag than an Apple Watch. 

Here is our summary:

Pros:

  • Long three-day battery life with all features on
  • Large display
  • Classic design
  • Solid core experience and health monitoring
  • Separate charging stand
  • A competitive price tag

Cons:

  • Less comfortable on the wrist with the default rubber band
  • Auto workout detection and data monitoring are less reliable on occasion

Ward Zhou

Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him via ward.zhou[a]technode.com or Twitter @zhounanyu.