Oppo challenges Garmin and Fitbit with its latest super-cheap smartwatch

Oppo Watch Free
(Image credit: Oppo)

Oppo has unveiled a new cheap fitness tracker that seems to be taking the big players Garmin and Fitbit head-on, at a much lower price point. The watch's design leaked a few days ago (as reported by Wareable) but now we know its full specifications – and they look impressive.

The Oppo Watch Free, unveiled on September 26, has the usual array of workout tracking modes, but its sleep tracking is what really stands out. The watch will monitor SpO2 levels and heart rate variability overnight, which it will use to sleep stages. In the morning, you can check your sleep stats right on your wrist, without opening the smartphone app.

That's not all, though. Fitbit has just begun rolling out snore detection for the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, but the Oppo Watch Free will offer the same feature at launch, albeit implemented slightly differently.

Whereas the Sense and Versa 3 listen out for snoring with their built-in microphone, the Oppo Watch Free bases its judgments on variations in SpO2, plus heart rate variability and sound levels detected by your smartphone. We've yet to compare the two, but it will be interesting to see which proves more accurate.

If you wake feeling groggy in the morning and snoring isn't the culprit, the Oppo Watch Free may be able to offer more insight. Like a watchful parent, it will track how long you spend messing about on your phone after settling down for the night, and encourage you to cut down the amount of time you spend scrolling through Twitter in bed.

This feature will only work with Android phones though; iPhone users will need to exercise self-restraint by themselves.

E-sports mode

The Oppo Watch Free boasts over 100 sports tracking modes, though we suspect that most of these will be very similar, simply tracking heart rate and time under different names. However, it also has an e-sports mode – an area Garmin ventured into with the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition in September 2020, but which has received little attention since.

Like the special edition Garmin Instinct, the Oppo Watch Free will monitor your heart rate during intense gaming sessions. However, while the Garmin can stream this data to your Twitch followers, the Oppo Free will only let you see the stats yourself.

Oppo's gaming mode does have a few extra tricks up its sleeve though, including the ability to push all notifications from your phone to your wrist so you don't miss anything, and give regular reminders when it's time to take a break from the screen.

Man wearing gaming headset and Garmin Instinct Esports Edition smartwatch

Like the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition, the Oppo Watch Free can monitor your heart rate during intense gaming sessions, though only the Instinct can stream these stats to Twitch (Image credit: Garmin)

The Oppo Watch Free looks the part too, with a 1.63in AMOLED display and a pixel density of 326PPI (only slightly less than the Apple Watch 7). It can even generate a custom watch face based on the colors of your outfit,

There's even the option of NFC for contactless payments, rivaling Garmin Pay and Fitbit Pay. The watch will cost 599 Yuan (about $90 / £70 / AU$130) for the version with NFC, or 549 Yuan (about $85 / £60 / AU$120) for the model without. 

That makes it cheaper than any Fitbit or Garmin device currently on sale, though Oppo has yet to announce any details of an international release. We'll keep you updated as soon as we know more.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)