OnePlus has surprised us all by being one of the most tracked brand in a very short period time. They only have four device on their list but because of the product quality, premium build quality, innovative design, and killing performance OnePlus has become one of the most talked about and a very well-known smartphone brand today. This company has given flagship experience in a budget price to all of their users. And that is how they made their mark on the market.
It is true that OnePlus has given very good devices and they have attracted many smartphone buyers since last two years, they haven’t been able to be the flagship killer that they intended to be. The first device OnePlus One had very good performance but it was not that good in design, camera quality and battery life. Their second device OnePlus 2 had bugs in fingerprint sensor and the software. Third was OnePlus X which is company’s most affordable device right now, but it also has some issues regarding to camera and build quality. And their invite system also made buying an OnePlus device a hard task.
But the time has now changed and it seems that OnePlus has heard the market response and complaints. They finally have ditched their invite system and therefore their new device OnePlus 3 is easily available for the buyers. Since the beginning, This manufacturer has offered flagship devices in an affordable rate, and they seem to continue their tradition also for this device. This OnePlus 3 device is available for purchase in $451.04 in the Indian market. And we are going to review this beautiful beast fraction by fraction and we will talk about every aspects of this device for you.
Build and Design
In OnePlus 3 the company has paid special attention to the design factor of the smartphone which leads to a batter quality of the phone. The sandstone finish of the rear panel is replaced with an aluminium panel. The phone has a uni-body design with metallic finish which reminds us of the HTC design factor because of its antenna lines over the camera. From the first look you can definitely say that OnePlus 3 is one of the best designed phones available now in the market.
The front has a Gorilla Glass 4 with curvy edges which offers good amount of protection against accidental damage and scratches. You can find a fingerprint sensor embedded with the home button on the front with two other keys on the sides. These two keys are invisible when not used but backlight makes them visible when touched. The device also have an option to disable them and use on screen keys instead if you prefer it that way.
OnePlus have given special attention to fingerprint sensor noticing the previous issues in OnePlus 2, and they have improved this sensor very well. You won’t need to wake up the device first, it can be unlocked quickly as you just touch the sensor. This improvement makes it much quicker than many of the devices with fingerprint sensors. It is also brilliantly accurate even with a gentle touch at the sensor. You can store up to five fingerprints. This sensor can also help to authorize purchases and unlock certain applications. OnePlus says that the sensor continuously learns and improves through you habits and your way of using it and therefore it the accuracy will grow with time.
The left side of the phone caries volume rockers and alert slider while the power button is placed on the right side along with the dual SIM tray. The bottom of the phone has the USB type-C, speaker and a standard 3.5 mm audio jack. You may not find the phone very much slimmer with the thickness of 7.35 mm but the sides of the phone feels a bit more slick thanks to the curved back, and it feels very comfortable to hold. Another thing that came to my notation that the camera has a slight bump thus if you are going to use it without a protective case it can be scratched or damaged accidentally. OnePlus also offers optional cases made with different finish and looks: Bamboo, Karbon, Apricot, Sandstone and Rosewood. These cases are created with beautiful finish and the device looks pretty good with or without these cases.
The OnePlus 3 has a 5.5 inches display with the resolution of 1080×1920 pixels and 401 ppi pixel density which is same as the previous OnePlus devices. However they have chosen an Amoled screen in this device which is similar to OnePlus X. Technically Amoled displays are not as bright as IPS LCD displays and that is also true for this phone. However there is a polorising layer to boost the performance in the bright sunlight. But we cannot neglect that this is not as good as 1440×2560 pixel resolution displays on many flagship devices these days. But it is very much sharp and it will surely give you a good quality picture.
You may think that the device could be batter with an IPS LCD, but Amoled displays does have their own advantages when it comes to contrast ratio, color gamut accuracy and black levels. Switching off individual pixels offers the most beautiful and deepest blacks we have seen on a smartphone screen, and the color range is superbly clean and accurate. The software also lets you modify color temperature of the screen as you prefer and you can also switch to a night mode with reduced blue levels automatically or manually. Therefore we can surely say that this is one of the best display available in smartphones.
There are now a handful of smartphones available in Indian market with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC but there are also exceptions like the LG G5 (Review). The OnePlus 3 not only has this SoC clocked with 2.2 GHz frequency for two cores and 1.6 GHz for another two cores, but it is also coupled with LPDDR4 RAM of 6 GB and also has a non-expandable 64 GB storage.
The OnePlus 3 flagship has dual SIM 4G connectivity with both TDD-Band and FDD-Band support along with Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, and NFC. Furthermore the phone is powered with a 3000 mAh battery which is a non-removable type. OnePlus is featuring a fast charging support for the first time. The device comes with a 20W Dash charger in the box and the battery of the device charges about 60 percent of its capacity in around 30 minutes. Even if the battery is completely drained it will get fully charged in an hour.
When the phone is connected with charger, the power management is shifted to the charger to ensure that phone does not heat much while it’s charging. We tested this technology and it seems to work very well and this means that you can also keep using the phone while plugged in without affecting the charging speed too much.
OnePlus also offers a Dash Charger for cars that can be purchased individually. This Dash can be plugged into a 12V car socket, and it does not charge the device as fast as the wall charger but it’s quite efficient while you are on the move.
Software and User Interface
The flagship device has OxyegnOS 3.1.1 on the top of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. The OxygenOS is very much similar to stock Android Marshmallow in terms of functionality and visual feel, but it does contains some useful advancements. Despite the fact that it is not as much light as the stock android MM, it still has the same easiness and it’s quite fast. The OxygenOS offers personalization additions and other features of Marshmallow has also been maintained pretty well. The OxygenOS will also enable you to quickly unlock the boot-loader which will then enable you to root your device and flash new firmware if you wish to.
The system has a key feature named Shelf which will allow you to quickly access weather information, widgets, contacts and other frequently used applications just by a gentle swipe form the right side of the home screen. You can access settings menu to get access to controls like adaptive brightness, color temperature settings, ambient display mode, etc. The ambient display mode gives you access to basic information like time without waking the device with the use of the proximity sensor which is quite cool.
The OnePlus 3 is packed with some other fantastic features including the Dark Mode. This changes the menu colors to a darker shade, button customization, and custom LED notification colors for individual functions. And not only that but is gives an excellent set of features as it follows some smart customization options from firmware like CynogenMod and we are absolutely in love with it.
The rear camera of the flagship is a 16 MP Sony IMX 298 sensor, and the front camera is a 8 MP sensor with 1.4-micron pixels. The rear camera has the ability to shoot videos at up to 4K resolution and also shoot videos in slow motion at 120fps. The selfie shooter can shoot video at up to 1080p at 30fps. The primary camera also has a fantastic optical image stabilization capability along with RAW image format support and phase detection auto-focus feature.
The default camera app is Google’s stock camera that you can find on all the nexus devices. It is well built and designed with simplicity and allows maximum screen space for view finding. There is only a single shutter button for capturing images and recording videos. Camera modes like slow motion, time laps, and panorama can be accessed with toggle in the top left corner.
The settings menu will introduce you to the settings of the current camera mode only. This is a useful thing so that you don’t get lost in multiple settings. While you are clicking pictures you can change the aspect ratio and self-timer. There are small controls given for toggling flash, HDR, and switching camera between primary and secondary. The settings and user interface is very much simple and you can access all the functionality with ease. But if you are not fond of the default app you can have other camera apps available on play store.
The camera result is very good when shooting videos and clicking pictures outdoor. During day time the image result is very good. You will experience sharp and detailed results. Sometimes auto focus can be a bit slow but once the subject is locked, the image result is very much well composed and beautifully rendered. The camera actually features two image stabilization technology, one is optical image stabilization and another is electronic image stabilization. And this both can help you shoot good videos and pictures. The only weak point we noticed is low light shots, which over saturates a bit.
Videos are excellently detailed at full-HD resolution and if you want it to be batter you can switch to 4K with enhanced detailing. Time laps and slow motion gives a good enhancement to camera finicality. The front selfie shooter will definitely satisfy your selfie needs and will not disappoint you at any point. Thus we can say that the overall camera performance is very good and you will enjoy clicking pictures and making memories.
The OnePlus 3 has dual Snapdragon 820 which makes it a strong contender and a killer performer. When it comes to performance this little beast compromises nothing at all, from gaming to web browsing, taking pictures and heavy multitasking you won’t feel even a slightest lag. With 6 GB of system memory we felt no performance issues no matter how hard we tried but we indeed felt it hard to shift to a lower performance phone after our time with this flagship killer. No heat issues really exist in this phone and we can say it is a complete performer in terms of resource and memory management.
The OnePlus 3 also broke a few benchmark score with its brilliant performance. The flagship scored highest AnTuTu score we have ever seen from a smartphone. It scored 142,674 when the Quadrant was 44,490. The 3DMark Ice storm Ultimate and GFXBench scored 30,276 with 59 fps. And actually this is the most powerful performer we have ever used.
We also tested Loop VR headset with the phone. We did faced slight setup problems and some with gyroscope calibration but it was on our side, the device is pretty solid. Watching 360 degree videos and playing games was a very good experience on the VR headset. It is very much comfortable and you will surely enjoy it.
It took three attempts, but OnePlus has managed to figure out everything as they always intended. This phone beats its competitors in each departments and they have fixed their previous issues very impressively. In terms of build quality, reliability, performance and looks, OnePlus have set different standards with this device and they are going to make their mark on the market with this very device.
However people can say that OnePlus is not perfect. 64 GB of non-expandable storage might seems a disadvantage to some and the lack of dual speaker setup might not be enough for music freaks like me but these are such small things and we cannot neglect the features and performance this device provides. In the price of Rs. 27,999, I think this is a perfect device and a total value for money and I definitely recommend this flagship killer to the readers.