OnePlus really isn’t a fan of always-on display, a.k.a. AOD, features, it seems. It took a strong community vote to almost force it to implement such a feature on its phones. Even then, it still reserved the right to change its mind if it couldn’t find a solution that would satisfy its standards when it comes to battery life. That is, of course, history by now but it seems that history might repeat itself with the OnePlus Watch though, hopefully, that will also end well in the long run.
With advancements in display technologies and software, AOD features have become more common on many smartphones. Even Apple is rumored to be working on its own implementation for the iPhone 13 later this year. The feature doesn’t come without a cost, however, and naturally impacts battery life which is OnePlus’ biggest reservation about implement it for its phones.
While some may consider it just a “nice to have” on smartphones, AOD may actually be more important on smartwatches where you need to have access to information almost instantly. While it’s possible to wake up the display when you raise your arm, there’s still a slight delay that makes it inconvenient. It also breaks the illusion that the smartwatch is still a watch since almost all (non-smart) watches always have their “displays” visible.
The OnePlus Watch unsurprisingly didn’t launch with AOD but, fortunately, the company revealed in a FAQ that it is considering adding the feature in a future update. Of course, it also warns that AOD could increase the smartwatch’s power consumption by 50% and wants to know if people are willing to pay that price. For a smartwatch that boasts days of battery life, that still might not be a bad deal.
The FAQ also dove into other parts of the OnePlus Watch’s experience, like the choice of a custom real-time OS or RTOS over Wear OS and its three-chip combination, both designed to prolong the life of the smartwatch. It also reveals that 2GB of the device’s 4GB storage is dedicated to music alone and that, at least for now, the OnePlus Watch doesn’t work with iPhones.