OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Limited Edition hands-on: There's no magic here

OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Limited Edition
(Image: © Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

My family is obsessed with the world of Harry Potter. I went through the first four books in a week back when I was a teenager, and lined up at a local bookstore to pick up Order of the Phoenix on launch day. I was so eager to get started that I read the first 100 pages at the bookstore itself (I wasn't the only one), and I did the same for the following books in the series.

So when OnePlus said it was launching a Harry Potter variant of the OnePlus Watch and asked if I'd be interested in taking a look, I immediately agreed. I did so knowing full well that the standard model of the OnePlus Watch is inherently flawed; it fails at basic tasks, doesn't integrate with services I actually use, and the interface is laughably amateurish.

So if you're thinking that OnePlus somehow sorted out the issues for the Harry Potter version, you'd be mistaken. This smartwatch has the same set of downsides, so if you want a wearable you'd want to use daily, you should take a look at the best Android smartwatches instead. Oh, and there's the little matter that this edition is limited to India, so buying it is a moot point anyway if you're reading this from outside the country.

OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Limited Edition

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

As such, I'll focus on how the OnePlus Watch Harry Potter edition holds up as a collectible. I know that there's enough of an audience for Harry Potter in India that there shouldn't be any issues in finding interested buyers. And in that context, there is a lot to like.

Let's start with the design: the Harry Potter version comes in a bronze finish that immediately makes the smartwatch look very elegant. I had no issues with the design of the standard model (that was one of the few things I liked about it), but the bronze color scheme elevates the look and feel of the smartwatch.

The vegan leather band also adds to that look; it feels great on-hand and you'll find the Hogwarts crest embossed on the band. There are subtle design tweaks elsewhere: the words Harry Potter are inscribed on the outside of the clasp, and there's a lightning bolt icon on the power button.

Other embellishments include six unique watch faces: four for each of the Hogwarts houses, one of the castle, and a face with the Hogwarts crest. Curiously, the faces don't include the names of the houses but are labeled Snake, Lion, Badger, and Eagle. The crest is far and above the best one of the lot, with the yellow color scheme pairing very well with the bronze design of the OnePlus Watch Harry Potter edition.

OnePlus also designed a charging animation that is very intriguing, and the packaging consists of a large box that splits in the middle — it's styled to look like the secret entrance to Diagon Alley.

Other than the design changes and the custom faces, the hardware itself is unchanged from the standard model. That means you get a 1.39-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 454 x 454 and with a 2.5D curved glass design, 4GB of internal storage, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and a 402mAh battery.

Now, one of the biggest issues with the standard OnePlus Watch when it launched was that it didn't have an always-on mode. OnePlus fixed that particular issue a few weeks down the line, and while it's disabled out of the box, you can easily toggle the mode from the settings. There is a noticeable hit on battery life, but you'll at least be able to see the time and date throughout the day, and that's fundamental to a smartwatch.

The OnePlus Watch gets a few things right, but it isn't anywhere as good a smartwatch as its rivals.

The heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring works relatively well, and the smartwatch has 5ATM water resistance along with an IP68 rating that allows it to handle extreme weather. There's also Spotify integration now, but the way it is handled is clunky.

In fact, the RTOS interface as a whole feels like it was cobbled together in a few weeks; it is fluid, but it lacks a lot of the features that you'd want in a smartwatch in this category. There's no digital assistant integration, and activity tracking is inconsistent for various modes — there are a total of 110 exercise modes, and it would have been much better if it had a tenth of those modes but if they worked well.

I used a lot of smartwatches at both ends of the pricing scale this year — starting with the $50 Mi Band 6 and going all the way to the $530 Apple Watch Series 7 — and the one thing that's always evident when I switch back to the OnePlus Watch is that it doesn't feel cohesive. To be sure, Amazfit and other RTOS smartwatches aren't what I'd call refined, but they have a strong feature-set and affordability, and that's still missing with the OnePlus Watch.

OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Limited Edition

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

OnePlus introduced a lot of limited edition products over the last five years, and they've all been thoroughly enjoyable. The OnePlus 5T Star Wars continues to be one of my favorite phones, and the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition has an understated elegance that serves as a nice contrast to its ostentatious packaging.

The OnePlus Watch Harry Potter edition is very good in the sense that it has a unique design and comes with a lot of features that will delight Harry Potter fans. However, as a product you'll use day-to-day, it just isn't worth the hassle; there are much better smartwatches for just about every use case.

But if you like the world of Harry Potter and are looking to buy it as a collectible, you should definitely get your hands on this — I would've done the same if OnePlus didn't send one over. Coming in at ₹16,999 ($225), it is just ₹2,000 ($25) more than the standard model, and that's not bad at all considering it is sold in limited quantities.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.