OnePlus now has a smart band. Maybe, it was among the few things missing in its smart portfolio. The OnePlus Band certainly plugs that gap for the company and could be the start of a series of bands and smartwatch, the latter being a better brand fit in my books.
So what is different about the OnePlus Band? Well, not much. In fact, the OnePlus Band is a very normal looking band with a colour display, comfortable strap and battery life that lasts 14 days. All features that would have awed you three years back. For 2021, the band comes with the ability to measure SPO2 and heart rate almost realtime.
The OnePlus Band has a vibrant 1.1-inch AMOLED display with touch. There are no buttons on the tracker and you have just screen to touch into apps and swipe back to get to the main screen. This can be a bit frustrating initially, but you will get the hang of it. The band itself is basic, but comfortable to wear for long hours or take to bed.
There are a bunch of watch faces, and the watch has almost everything you will need in a band from notifications, to music and weather. There are enough bells and whistles out there to add more value. You can use the band to control your phone camera, find the phone or just control the music. All that you would expect to see in a band. What OnePlus has done is curate everything you have seen in different bands into its wearable. This one literally ticks all the boxes.
The band works with the OnePlus Health app, which is being released for Android and iOS. The app is clearly one of the best features parts of the band and shows how OnePlus has a clear edge when it comes to making clean, functional software. The app gives a deep dive into the data and puts it across in a way that gives more context.
Of course, the OnePlus Band tracks steps. You can also switch on specific workouts, which interestingly includes even games like cricket and badminton which makes this band really unique. The step and calorie burn measurements are good and I did tally it with the Apple Watch for validation. The OnePlus Band is good enough to be taken for a swim too as it is waterproof.
The heart rate monitoring is realtime, though the app takes a minute to give you the first reading on the band. After that you see the numbers ticking almost every other second, and settling to a bit lower than where it started initially.
What impressed me also was the sleep tracking. The data on offer is very detailed and the sleep patterns are juxtaposed with the SPO2 graph telling you how your oxygen levels were during the night. So even if you are not looking at Covid-19 indicators, it can tell you if your sleep itself is being impacted. I validated this data with the Dozee device which I was using for sleep monitoring around the same time. I would have lived the app to show the corresponding heart rate too, because I have learnt over time that higher heart rates almost always impacts the quality of sleep also.
Despite the colour display and real-time heart rate monitoring, the OnePlus Band is able to offer a 14-battery life from its 100 mAh cell. But since you don’t have to charge this band often, its also not that easy to charge the band. You have the pry the tracker out of the band and plug it into a USB charger. A bit old fashioned if you ask me. Also, you will be adding one more charge to your collection with this one.
If the OnePlus Band lacks something it is the one killer feature we have come to expect from OnePlus in everything it does. Here the company has taken a safer approach by offering a band that does everything and does everything well. And it has a price point that makes it competitive, despite being a bit expensive in comparison to what others are offering. That’s because of the premium consumers will be willing to pay for the OnePlus branding. However, I get the sense OnePlus is testing the waters with the band is just setting the ground for an OnePlus Watch.
At the moment, this is among the best smart bands you can buy, especially if you already have an OnePlus phone.
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