OnePlus 3 in-depth review - Three is the magic number

Until recently it has only been Apple flagships that have generated the kind of mass hysteria that OnePlus have gotten with their phones. Universally loved and feted, the OnePlus 3 does not disappoint either.

 OnePlus 3 Review - Three is the magic number
5

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,7/11/2016 4:23:29 PM

9

out of 10

Performance

10

out of 5

Look and feel

10

out of 5

Ease of use

9

out of 5

Features

9

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Reasonably priced | Beautiful build quality | AMOLED screen | turbo charger in box

Cons:

No expandable storage | Camera isn't great

- By Sunetra Chakravarti

Have you heard of OnePlus? No? It is time you did. Not available in stores, it can be bought online only and if you like value for money and great specs in your phone, then this is the one you need.

 

 It costs £329, but does it look premium?

 It looks as premium as any of the other flagship phones which will leave you out of pocket by hundreds of pounds more. It looks more premium than the LG G5 and on the same level as the HTC 10. In fact the OnePlus 3 is a lighter version of the HTC 10 at just 158g, with the same curved metal back- a feature I love because it feels more secure in the hand and the antenna lines across the top and the slightly protruding camera lens at the back.

The fingerprint sensor isn't at the back of the phone as is becoming very popular but on the lozenge-shaped home button. However, the physical button is a lot bigger than the similar shaped one you find on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and unlocks the phone lightening fast like from 'dead' even if your finger touches it at an odd angle.

There is a slider button on the side of the phone which OnePlus have christined 'Alert Slider' in an effort to give the user complete control over notifications. Toggle between all notifications, priority notifications, or silent with the flick of the switch in a feature that has been borroed from the iPhone. 

Additionally, you get the opportunity to set up the three fuctional buttons either on the glass on the sides of the Home button or on the display. 

How's the display on the OnePlus 3?

 OnePlus have opted for a Full HD AMOLED display which does not disappoint. Once you have ironed out the issues with the oversaturated colours, you get a crisp and bright display which when stretched across the 5.5-inch display is an absolute pleasure to consume media on.  

How to get sRGB colour tone on your OnePlus 3:

Go into Settings/About this phone. Then tap on Build Number 7 times, this then lets you go into developer mode. Once enabled, go back into Settings, scroll down and click on 'Developer options' and move the toggle button to switch them on. Finaly, scroll down to 'Picture colour mode' and move the switch to the 'on' position to enable sRGB mode. Simples.

The display will seem yellow-ish to start off with but don't worry, once your eyes adjust to the change, colours will look more vibrant and there wil be no tinges to them.  

OnePlus 3: Processor, battery and software

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 is onboard, as it is on every high-end smartphone on the market and it works like a dream. The gargantuan 6GB RAM further sweetens the deal and if you are a gamer, you will be very pleased with your purchase. GAmes run without any glitches and the superior display makes the experience really good.

I ran an AnTuTu benchmark score and the OnePlus 3 scored 143371, quite some way up from the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge,  Apple iPhone 6S and LG G5. Whether it is down to the top of the class Snapdragon 820 processor or the 6GB RAM, I cannot tell but it is surely a combination of the two.

Of the 64 GB available, you get a touch over 52.66GB to play with. And you also get told almost all the time how much of the 6GB RAM is being used and what's your average use. It is 1.77GB for me during the few weeks I have been using it for. The staggering 6GB RAM is certainly a lot more than is available on any other phone right now, even the S7 and S7 edge and shuld be able to make sure that you don't need to upgrade your phone in a rush very soon. 

OnePlus call their overlay Oxygen and it is a wafer thin one over Android 6, so much so that you will not be able to tell the difference between stock android and this, but differences there are... Under the Customisations area you can see all the way you are able to make the phone your own. From a battery saving 'dark mode' to bespoke gestures options- drawing an O on the phone opens up the camera and you double tap it to wake it up.

Elsewhere, you can set up a separate area called Shelf so you only need to swipe right to get a list of your most commonly used apps, notes and other essentials. You are also able to manually add widgets and customise the look and feel of the area.

Accent colours can be changed at will and there is Night Mode, which uses special hardware to filter blue light and reduce eye strain in the dark.

Battery-wise, the OnePlus 3 is a winner with more than 2 days between chargesduring my medium/heavy usage this week. It is a 3000 mAH one and the Oxygen OS has several baked-in customisation options that help with conserving battery power over and able those built into Android M.

Is the camera on the OnePlus 3 as good as the one on the Samsung Galaxy S7?

The short answer is: No. However, I would hasten to add, the camera is very very good. With OIS, the 16-MP primary jobber boasts of EIS too and a manual mode that supports RAW images. 

The front-facing camera is an 8-MP one and it has a 'Smile Capture' function as well as the beauty slider so you never have any nightmare selfies again.

Should I buy the OnePlus 3?

While the deal was sweeter before Brexit when the OnePlus 3 cost £20 lesser, it is still an incredibly good one. A lighter, brighter clone of the HTC 10 looks-wise, it smashed all the benchmark tests to finish at the top of the pile scoring more than stalwarts like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge that retail for more than £600...

Fantastic battery life coupled with Dash charge, a superstar processor and a 6GB RAM makes this a device to invest in sharpish. The camera isn't the best but just very good and there is no expandable storage just 64GB onboard, and despite these, this is a superstar phone. 

OnePlus 3 specifications

Website: oneplus.net

Price: £329

Operating System: OxygenOS based on Android™ Marshmallow

Dimensions: 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm

Weight: 158 g

Resolution: 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) 401 ppi

Display: 5.5-inch touchscreen Optic AMOLED; Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4

Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 Quad Core, Kryo™: 2x 2.2 GHz, 2x 1.6 GHz; 6GB LPDDR4

Camera: 16-MP, Sony IMX 298 Sensor; OIS; 4K resolution video at 30fps. 8-MP selfie camera 

Memory: 64GB UFS 2.0, No microSD

Battery: 3000 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Yes

Misc: USB 2.0, Type-C; Ambient light mode; Dash charge