OnePlus Band Review: Should Xiaomi Be Worried?

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After foraying into the true wireless earbuds segment, OnePlus is set to mark its entry into the wearable market with its first-ever wearable device- the OnePlus Band. Priced at Rs. 2,499, the budget fitness tracker picks up a direct fight with the widely popular Xiaomi's Mi Band 5 which also retails at Rs. 2,499. Similar to the Mi Band 5, the OnePlus Band also features an AMOLED display and promises a 14-days battery life on one full charge. However, it ups the game by featuring a built-in SpO2 monitor to measure oxygen levels in your blood, which comes real handy if working out in the gym or outdoors is an important part of your daily routine.

 

Rating:
3.5/5

OnePlus Band Review

Besides, the band has a heart-rate monitor, tracks your sleeping pattern, and comes equipped with all the important features that one would expect from a budget fitness band. We have been using the OnePlus band for over a week now and here's how it performs as a budget fitness tracker.

Elegant Design With Dual-Color Straps

Elegant Design With Dual-Color Straps

OnePlus band has a very conventional fitness tracker design; however, it manages to make an impression with the dual-color straps paired with a big touch-enabled AMOLED display. By default the band ships with black color straps with light grey color baselines. Other color straps- Tangerine Gray and Navy Blue can be purchased separately at Rs. 399 each. We are testing the OnePlus band with the default strap color and it looks very elegant and sporty.

Durable Body (IP68, 5ATM Rated Design)
 

Durable Body (IP68, 5ATM Rated Design)

The strap quality is very good and thanks to the combined (capsule + straps) weight of just 23 grams, the band can be worn throughout the day and even during the night to monitor your sleep pattern without any discomfort. I did not feel any uneasiness on my wrist despite wearing the band throughout the day and night; however, the real test of these silicon bands will only happen in peak summers when rubber bands can cause sweaty wrists leading to discomfort. As far as durability is concerned, the band is IP68 rated and has a 5ATM design making it dust and water-resistant.

Dated Charging Mechanism

Dated Charging Mechanism

OnePlus band's capsule has a dated detachable design which needs to be taken out every time you want to plug it into charging. This is slightly disappointing as the market has evolved and the same price-point now offers fitness trackers with magnetic chargers which are much more convenient to use. The Mi Band 5 is one such recent example. OnePlus should have introduced the band with the updated charging mechanism to ease up the charging process.

1.1-inch (126 x 294 pixels) AMOLED Screen

1.1-inch (126 x 294 pixels) AMOLED Screen

Similar to the Mi Band 5, the OnePlus Band also features a 1.1-inch (126 x 294 pixels) full touch-enabled AMOLED display. OnePlus has not specified the peak brightness level but it seems to be in line with the Mi Band 5's 450 nits mark. Checking time and notifications isn't a problem even in direct sunlight as the screen gets fairly bright and produces vibrant colors. But the glass over the display is a smudge magnet. It easily attracts fingerprints which hamper visibility under harsh lighting.

Fluid And Responsive AMOLED Display

Fluid And Responsive AMOLED Display

What the OnePlus Band gets right is the screen responsiveness. It is one of the most responsive touch panels I have used on a budget fitness tracker which enhances your user-experience from a budget fitness band. The 1.1-inch display isn't the ideal size to check insights but it gets the job done by displaying basic things such as date, time, steps, calories burnt, battery indicator, etc. Reading a phone's notifications is a task on such tiny displays and the OnePlus Band is no different. This is one limitation you have to deal with if you are buying a budget fitness tracker.

Fitness Centric Features

Fitness Centric Features

Like most budget fitness trackers, the OnePlus band records your steps, calories burnt, distance covered, sleep pattern, and also comes equipped with a heart-rate monitor to keep a check on your cardiac health. The heart-rate monitor seems to offer accurate readings as the data matched with some of the premium wearables packed with high-end sensors. Sadly, the steps counter and distance measurement on the OnePlus Band isn't quite accurate as readings show notable differences. The band recorded 1.03 km reading for a 1.20 km stretch. It seems OnePlus needs some optimizations to improve the sensors' accuracy. Also, make sure you carry your smartphone while going out for a run or cycling if you want to trace the path as the band lacks a built-in GPS.

The band has 13 dedicated exercise modes including outdoor/ indoor Run, fat burn run, outdoor walk, outdoor/indoor cycling, elliptical trainer, rowing machine, cricket, badminton, swimming, and Free Training Yoga. You have to manually activate the workouts from the band itself so that it starts taking readings of your body's vitals. Interestingly, the band can automatically pause the measurements when you are resting and continue once you resume the workout. It's a small yet very neat feature that can be enabled from the OnePlus Health application.

Besides, the OnePlus Health app needs several refinements. The data is not presented holistically and you have to struggle your way to understand the insights. For instance, the ‘Daily Activity' tab does not show breakdown of past workout. Daily step count data graph could have also been a bit more intuitive.

Blood Oxygen Sensor (SpO2 Monitor)

Blood Oxygen Sensor (SpO2 Monitor)

OnePlus has managed to offer a highly useful feature on its first fitness tracker. The band comes equipped with a blood oxygen sensor that beams infrared light onto your skin to measure SpO2 levels. The sensor does that by sensing changes in the color of blood. You can run SpO2 check manually or activate continuous SpO2 monitoring while sleeping to keep a constant check on your blood oxygen levels. The readings seemed quite accurate and come extremely handy if you are really into fitness and like to keep a check on your blood oxygen levels.

Interestingly, the OnePlus band can monitor your sleep and SpO2 levels simultaneously which gives good insights into your sleeping pattern. The data is shown on the companion app in an easy-to-understand manner with insights about light sleep, deep sleep, and awake.

Real-Time Heart Rate And SpO2 Measurement

Real-Time Heart Rate And SpO2 Measurement

Further, the band offers real-time heart rate monitoring with three preset intervals- six minutes, two minutes, and every second to generate a heart rate graph for a detailed report of your cardiovascular health. Similarly, the band can be set to measure SpO2 in real-time. Notably, the battery consumption increases a lot if you enable 24x7 heart-rate and SpO2 measurements.

Other Useful Features And Compatibility

Other Useful Features And Compatibility

Moving on, the band allows you to reject incoming calls but doesn't let you accept them. It is a big limitation of these budget fitness bands and even some so-called smartwatches like the Mi Watch revolve and Realme Watch S Pro. Besides, the band offers music playback controls, stopwatch, timer, alarm (vibration), camera-shutter controls, and features like Find My Phone, weather information, and Zen Mode synchronization (with select OnePlus phone models).

OnePlus Band can be paired with Android phones running Android 6.0 and above via the OnePlus Health application. Sadly, the support for iOS devices is yet to be rolled out.

OnePlus Band Battery Life

OnePlus Band Battery Life

OnePlus promises a 14-day battery life on the band but that's within ideal usage scenarios. We have been using the band for over a week and the 100mAh battery cell hasn't died on us yet. The band still shows 12% battery power that should easily last for a day or two more. The band is set to run heart-rate checks every six-minute intervals and the display brightness is set at level three. In comparison, the Mi Band 5 offers slightly better battery life with similar usage scenarios. It easily offers 10-day battery life and more in some cases.

As far as charging is concerned, you have to pop the capsule out from the straps, which is a pain, and plug it inside the proprietary charger which recharges the battery from flat to 100% in about 58 minutes. Once again, the Mi Band 5's magnetic charger is more convenient to use than the dated charging mechanism OnePlus has offered.

Verdict

Verdict

OnePlus Band is a great addition to the budget fitness tracker category despite some shortcomings. Among its several useful features, the SpO2 monitor gives it an added advantage over budget fitness trackers lacking the sensor. The blood oxygen monitor along with a sleep tracker and heart-rate monitor makes it a great affordable fitness wearable for anyone looking to follow a fitness regime. And if you already are an OnePlus smartphone user, the band makes all the more sense.

However, if the SpO2 sensor isn't on your list and you find the pop and plug charging a pain point, the Mi Band 5 is the one you should go for. Xiaomi's band also offers iOS compatibility, a feature OnePlus Band lacks for now.

OnePlus Band will be available for open sale on January 13, 2021, across OnePlus.in, OnePlus Store App, Amazon.in, Flipkart.com, OnePlus exclusive offline stores, and partner outlets. The band will be available for purchase via an early access sale for Red Cable Club members, from 9:00 AM IST on January 12, 2021, exclusively on OnePlus.in and the OnePlus Store app. Members can log in to their OnePlus accounts to participate in the sale.

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