Its been months since the ‘Flagship Killer’ OnePlus 3 entered the market and set new standards for its competitiors. The 5 pillars of a smartphone are the Design, Display, Performance, Camera/Battery & Software Experience, so its necessary to check that the phone satisfies these 5 aspects so that the buyer gets exactly what he/she pays for one way or the other. We have been using the device for quite some time since its launch and this is the full in-depth review of the OnePlus 3.
The design phase has the biggest advancements with the OnePlus 3. This time the company shifted from their unique sandstones backs to a solid Aluminium Uni-body design. Unlike the OnePlus 2, the back is not removable. But if you need that unique sandstone feel then OnePlus is providing Sand stone back cover along with four other variants. Although the OP3 is quite big, still its comfortable to hold because of its curves around the corner. Its quite slippery, so be careful while holding your device or better start using a back cover. The device is pretty sleek being 7.3mm thick at the most and feels lighter in hands with 158gm weight.
On the front you will find the Notification LED, Proximity sensor, 8 Megapixel camera with sensor, and a FingerPrint scanner which doubles as a home button at the bottom. The capacitive keys are dots with backlight and their functionality can be swapped with new functions that can be assigned (like what happens when you long press or double-tap, under the software segment).
Fingerprint sensor is a capacitive button unlike the ones present on the Mi5 or Galaxy S7 on which the button can be pressed. Its made of ceramic and honestly it is the fastest scanner I have ever used. It beats Apple 6s Touch Id with or without all the animation turned off on both the devices. OnePlus says that its is capable of opening the device in just 0.2sec and improves over time, although we can’t measure it but it is possible to say its lightning fast and opens the device from OFF state within a blink. There was a bug which set the fingerprint scanner active, scanning even when it was in the pocket making the phone tad warm but the issue was fixed with the OxygenOS update.
On the back you will find a 16 Megapixel Sony sensor with a little bulge to it (use a trendy back cover to cover the bulge if you like), Noise cancellation Mic, LED flash along with a minimalistic OnePlus logo. The Camera houses a glass lens and is less prone to scratches. On the right we have the dual sim tray and the power button and on the left we have the Volume rockers and OnePlus’s exclusive Alert Slider. The Alert slider has 3 notification modes: All, Priority and Silent. Adding to it all these buttons are made of metal. These little things are worth mentioning because it adds up to give the device a more premium look when compared to other devices.
There is nothing on the top while at the bottom there is a mono speaker, Type C charging port, 3.5mm Audio jack and Mic.
OnePlus 3 sports a 5.5inch Optic AMOLED capacitive display with a 1080p resolution along with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 screen protection. I was really conscious about everyone saying that its just 1080p, hence you cannot enjoy VR etc. But when we tested the OP3 I personally got very amused by the display. Its great and you can’t tell the difference being a 1080p. Display is bright, crisp and produces deep inky blacks. Viewing angles are great. Although the pixel density is 401 PPI but still its pretty sharp for day to day usage. The advantage of having a 1080p with an AMOLED display is that it consumes less battery juice and puts less pressure on the GPU.
Talking about the VR experience, I guess no one walks the whole day wearing a VR but if VR is really your Hardcore preference then OP3 is not for you.
Some people might complain about colors having a bluish tone. For that OnePlus recently released OTA update which provides sRGB option in developers settings. sRGB shifts the colors to a little dull side but its upto the user to use sRGB or not. To enable sRGB follow these steps-
-Go to settings.
-Tap 6-7 times on build number.
-Go back and go into developer options.
-Tap on enable sRGB.
*Make sure you are running on the latest Oxygen OS.
2.5D Curved Gorilla Glass 4 protects the display from scratches but I would still recommend a screen protector.
Final conclusion about the display is that its great for day to day usage producing deep black enhancing multimedia experience. It saves battery and doesn’t put load on the GPU so overall its a good package.
PERFORMANCE AND STORAGE
This ‘ 2k16 Flagship killer ‘ is powered by the same ultra powerful Snapdragon 820 chipset which powers the other flagships like HTC 10 but the area that makes the difference is that OP3 has 6 Gigabytes of RAM ; more than most of the flagships like Mi5 with 3GB and the HTC 10 and Galaxy s7 with 4GB RAM.
Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 is a 64bit Quad Core chip, Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo with Aderno 530. There are no words regarding the performance,its top notch apps opens really fast and is pretty snappy and fluid. Snapdragon 820 provides a tremendous performance and is battery efficient. Benchmark scores are Top of the line.
6 Gigabytes of LPDDR4 RAM is more than enough but no one dislikes extra power within a budget price. Although more RAM means better multitasking or more number of apps can be opened in the background but that was not the case with OnePlus 3. Previous version of the Oxygen OS forced the apps out of the RAM even when plenty of RAM was free for saving more battery. So the question arised why 6GB RAM when you can’t use the full potential? Because of customer demands this issue was FIXED by an OTA update from OnePlus. Even the heavy games like Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat 5 can be switched in between without any lag and not just these, it also applies to a bunch of other apps also.
Talking about the storage, OnePlus 3 has only a single 64GB variant with no expandable storage whatsoever. Out of 64GB users get 52.66GB (approx). Although there is no dedicated microSD card slot but for majority of people 64GB might be enough. UFS 2.0 technology moves data three times faster than the eMMC5.1.
OnePlus claims that OnePlus 3 performs 35% faster and features a 40% boost in graphical power over the previous flagship OnePlus 2. And its true OnePlus3 is much more powerful than the OnePlus 2 because of the latest top in class Snapdragon 820 and 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM.
OnePlus has their own custom OS namely OxygenOS running on top of Android Marshmallow 6.0.1. OOS and is praised for its near stock experience and its customizations. Its pretty light weight and will give you the near stock feel unlike the MiUi or TouchWiz Ui which are heavily themed with added bloatwares. Since OOS is light it provides efficient performance without utilizing much RAM.
Customizations features includes:
- Changing Google search bar.
- Changing icon pack directly from OnePlus launcher.
- Dark Mode which turns some of the UI areas black and looks awesome because of the AMOLED display.
- Choose between On-screen navigation bar or capacitive buttons.
- Gesture control like Double Tap to wake, O for camera, V for flash light etc.
- Night Mode.
- Key Customizations etc.
OnePlus 3 has a shelf which can be accessed by swiping left on the home screen where you can find frequently used apps, contacts, add widgets and quick memo can be added which is a nifty feature as you can store your ideas, some quick reminders or some other stuff. It also has a auto refreshing weather widget and also greets according to time.
Within this one month time period Oxygen OS received two updates. First one Oxygen Os v3.2.1 fixed RAM management issue, Increased Camera quality, provided sRGB mode, improved GPS performance and more. While the latest OOS v3.2.2 fixed Fingerprint sensor bug, Updated 4K recording Codec, Added NFC toggle to notification bar and various other optimizations. OnePlus is really working hard to fix everything and even improving OP3 through regular updates while the latest Android software updates are still a question. How soon will OnePlus 3 receive Android N update? Seeing OnePlus working so hard we might hope for getting the update soon enough after the release.
GAMING AND PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKS
Well since Op3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip which is currently the best in the market, the gaming performance is just great after all the testing. The 6 Gigs of RAM helps to switch between heavy games and many other apps flawlessly. And unlike its predecessor OnePlus 2, the OP3 shows pristine endurance. The Games like Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 5, Real Racing 3 which were termed as “Heavy Games” before isn’t that “Heavy” anymore, Playing all the games show no lags what so ever. The benchmark results prove the fact that either way there has been no compromise in terms of performance. The 3DMark mobile benchmark shows a score of 2356 which is a great score for the GPU.
Device tends to get warm on heavy usage but there is nothing to worry about. Its normal for a device to get warm on heavy usage. Hence the device is powerful enough to handle everything what you throw at it making the OP3 a complete package.
OnePlus 3 comes with a primary 16Megapixel Sony IMX298 sensor with an 1.12 µm pixel size, PDAF(Phase Detection Auto Focus), Dynamic Denoise and f/2.0 aperture. It comes with both Optical Image Stabilisation(OIS), Electronic Image Stabilisation(EIS) and a Single LED flash. Device performs great in natural light, shots are not over saturated, sharp but kind of little overexposed. However for the low light shots enough amount of noise can be seen which leaves the OP3 a step behind the Samsung Galaxy S7. Overall, when it comes to daylight shots, it turns to a whole new level. HDR works well with pretty quick processing and there is an unusual HQ mode for clicking high quality images. Manual mode is present allowing you to play with Shutter Speed, ISO, Focus etc which produces much better images than auto mode as long as you know what you are getting into.
Upto 4K videos @30fps can be recorded from the primary camera however initially everyone criticised the quality and OIS but later the quality was improved via OTA update OxygenOS 3.2.2 which improved 4K codec. Slow Motion videos can also be recorded in 720p @30fps. Colors are true to life and are not over exposed which we personally liked.
Front facing camera is a 8Megapixel Sony IMX179 sensors with 1.4 µm pixel size, Electronic Image Stabilisation, Fixed focus and f/2.0 aperture. It comes with features like smile capture, beauty mode and is able to record 1080p videos @30fps. High pixel count leads to sharp images with great colors. While indoors the camera performs well with a little amount of blur which can be seen when you zoom in but still its great. Low light shots are also pretty good. Overall the front camera is great enough for selfie enthusiastic.
CONNECTIVITY AND SENSORS
One Plus 3 comes with a dual sim tray both supporting LTE sim. Signal reception is good, no call drops and clear sound. Overall Call experience is great.
Other connectivity features include NFC providing features like Android Pay which was absent in OnePlus 2, Wi-fi and Bluetooth v4.2. IR blaster is still absent which is a nifty feature but most people dont mind. Sensors include Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity and compass.
OnePlus 3 is packed with a 3000mAh Li-ion non-removable battery and with moderate usage it can easily last for a full day with a single charge. Although the battery capacity is smaller then previous OnePlus2, OP3 performs well but what makes OP3 special? The answer to this question is Dash Charging, OnePlus’s own kind of Fast Charging solution which charges Op3 from 0% to 64% in just 30minutes and also doesn’t slow down even while using the device. Sounds amazing right? because it is. Overall the small battery may provide low power but Dash Charge provides enough juice in 30min to keep Op3 going for long.
Right now OnePlus 3 is one of the most powerful phone in the market with an amazing price tag. Premium design, great camera, fast fingerprint scanner and Snapdragon 820 with 6GB RAM can out match any device within this price tag and gives strong competition to latest flagships. A little compromise on storage but 64GB is enough to store whatever you like. Stereo speakers are absent but mono speakers does the job well. Dash charging is another level which provides 60% above juice in just 30min. OnePlus moulded a complete package this time. If you can settle with non-expandable 64GB storage and a 1080p display OnePlus 3 might be your next device.