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The Nordic Blue OnePlus Watch 2 might be my favourite smartwatch of 2024

OPINION: I’ve been in Helsinki for the past few days to cover the launch of the OnePlus Pad Go and OnePlus Watch 2 Nordic Blue Edition, a more upmarket version of the already-impressive OnePlus Watch 2 exclusively available in Europe. 

During that time I’ve been testing out the functionality of the watch, be it fat biking along a Finnish peninsula or hiking through snow-covered woods, and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen.

Combined with the generally slick Wear OS performance and charming Nordic-inspired look, it might be my favourite smartwatch of 2024 so far. 

To me, the Nordic Blue variant of the watch fixes one of the complaints we had with the regular Watch 2; it didn’t do much to stand out from a crowd of similar-looking smartwatches. That can’t be said of the Nordic Blue edition, with a charming blue and white theme across the smartwatch, from the bezel around the display to the matching strap and stitching. 

I also really like the look of the new hybrid leather strap, which uses a fluoroelastomer band on the inside and a leather band on the outside, essentially allowing you to wear the leather strap when exercising without worrying about the degradation of the leather. The flouroelastomer inner strap also means it’s not as irritating as leather straps can be – in my experience, anyway. 

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There’s even an exclusive OnePlus-designed watch face to complement the high-end look, though I am slightly disappointed that the widgets aren’t customisable like most others in the OnePlus Watch collection. 

Still, it remains a stunningly good-looking watch that I can’t help but admire as I check the time or recent notifications.

More than just a looker

As I mentioned, I’ve had the privilege of enjoying the Finnish countryside as part of the launch, which gave me the perfect opportunity to test out not only the fitness tracking but dual-band GPS. 

Despite fairly thick tree coverage during both biking and hiking, the GPS-generated map looked fairly accurate, and compared to others also wearing the Watch 2, we got near-identical distance calculations. That’s pretty consistent for a challenging environment like that. 

GPS tracking on the OnePlus Watch 2 Nordic Blue edition
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There are occasional inaccuracies with heart rate monitoring, as Mike Sawh noted in our regular OnePlus Watch 2 review, but I’d argue that it’s accurate enough for most wanting to get a little fitter.  

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s sleep tracking, and the Watch 2 excels in this department. It’ll offer the same insights into your sleep as most other wearables, delivering information like time asleep, sleep zones, heart rate and blood oxygen, but the Watch 2 goes a step further by bringing your smartphone into the mix to monitor your snoring.

It does require you to hit a little button on the app before you go to sleep, but having used Sleep Cycle for years for similar purposes, I don’t mind all that much. 

Using all that data, the watch can give you a breakdown of your risk of breathing problems, including information like snoring duration, average sleep SpO2 and more. That’s way more insightful than anything I’ve ever got from the Apple Watch and comes pretty close to the sleep apnea detection of the Galaxy Watch 6, but that’s only available in the US for now. Not great for us Brits. 

Fitness and sleep tracking aside, it’s a great smartwatch to use in everyday life. Small elements, like the curved edges of the screen to make swiping from the edge a little nicer, really elevate the experience on offer. It also boasts a slick dual OS setup, which in itself isn’t new – TicWatch has something similar with the Watch 5 Pro – but the integration is much more flawless here. 

OnePlus Watch 2 Nordic Blue Edition
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Essentially, the Watch will run Google Wear OS most of the time, but if the battery runs too low or you want to really extend endurance, you can switch to RTOS, a system that’s much less taxing on the battery. Sure, you’ll lose access to certain faces and Wear OS apps, but important elements – notification delivery, health and sleep tracking, workout tracking with GPS and more – are all still present and accounted for. 

Speaking of battery life, that’s one of the main reasons I’m enjoying the OnePlus Watch 2 Nordic Blue edition. Like the regular variant, the watch boasts an impressive 100-hour battery life that’s seen me through much of the trip despite tracking various exercises, but that can be increased to a whopping 12 days by switching to the RTOS operating system mentioned earlier. 

Compared to some of the best smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, which lasts around 2 days, that’s impressive, and even more so when compared to the paltry 18-hour offering from the Apple Watch Series 9

Admittedly, most of this is also true of the regular OnePlus Watch 2 with near-identical hardware, but I think that the elevated design of the Nordic Blue edition really seals the deal for me. It looks the part, it works extremely well, lasts for days on end at £329 for the new colour option, it’s not that pricey either. For me, it’s a no-brainer – this is my favourite smartwatch of 2024 so far.

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