OnePlus is back with bang by launching their latest flagship OnePlus3 worldwide on 15th June 2016 and it priced at Rs. 27999/- in India. OnePlus 3 is powered by a latest Snapdragon 820 processor and backed with massive 6 GB LPDDR3 RAM and 64 GB internal storage on the same. The storage is non-expandable as there are no Micro-SD slot available in the device. The device comes with a 5.5" Optic Amoled Full HD display protected with Gorilla Glass 4 and the devie comes with a 3000 mAH battery to stay ON for the day. OnePlus 3 comes with a 16 MP rear camera with PDAF, OIS/EIS support and a 8 MP front camera and the devices houses a super fast finger print scanner. And not to forget the dash charging technology using which one can charge the mobile to give upto 60% battery juice in just under 30 minutes of charging. We had an opportunity to play around with the device for some days and here is our comprehensive review on the same.
Design and Build: At the first look of OnePlus3, one will say 'Wow!', that's the premium look of the device with shining display on top of it. This time, OnePlus has chucked their classic sandstone finish devices and switched over to fully metallic body device and slimmer device. The device is just 7.35 mm in thickness and the metal used to build is top notch which is a premium space-grade aluminium alloy. The curves around the device gives a premium and beautiful look. The device comes with a dedicated alert slider switch on the right side of it and a volume rocker beneath that, the alert slider is pretty useful for turning ON/OFF the notifications or set priority notifications. On the left side there is a SIM tray which can take in Two 4G nano-SIM cards and there is a power/unlock button. At the bottom, there are many things cramped like 3.5 MM audio port, a noise cancellation mic, USB Type C charging/data port, Speaker grill and there are 2 industrial screws also visible at the both ends. On top, there is nothing and blank space. I wish they could've housed the 3.5 mm audio port there instead of placing it at bottom which is pretty uncomfortable when one wants to watch, listen to music while plugged in their earphones or headphones and in parallel want to browse through their social media and internet while lying on bed. That's kind of annoying to keep holding the phone above a inch or two from their body. At the back, there is a 16 MP camera with LED Flash, below that there is a OnePlus branding. The camera module looks like its little bumped up, but the design absolutely makes sense since that levels it once a OnePlus user puts on a lovely back panels which OnePlus and others offers for the device. On the front there is a 5 MP camera and the proximity/light sensors along with a speaker grill for calls. Pretty simplistic design and build without much fancy on the same which makes it a premium device to hold. Thought its light weight and slim, the device has a pretty good grip and not slippery in hands. Many existing users may be in total love with the signature Sandstone finish on the OnePlus devices, but fret not, OnePlus has covered it by selling a back panel with Sandstone finish which gives the exact feel of holding their previous devices. The fingerprint placement is perfect and there are two capacitive touch buttons alongside with back-light enabled. The fingerprint sensor is made of a premium ceramic for increased durability and better accuracy. If anyone doesn't want use the capacitive buttons, there is an option to enable onscreen navigation bar which has the back, home and recent buttons. The fingerprint sensor works 99.99% of time and works accurately without any issues, its so sensitive to touch that, while in pockets accidentally if you hover or at a slight touch also, it tries to unlock the phone and ends up with 'too many failed attempts' error which is kinda disturbing. Overall, we are totally happy with the build and design which OnePlus 3 offers and we give full marks to the same.
Display: The OnePlus 3 comes with a 5.5" Optic Amoled Full HD display and it does look gorgeous on the Phone. It comes with one of the thinnest bezels with just 0.75 mm. The color reproduction and viewing angles are great and it adapts to different environments brilliantly. There is a clear visibility of the characters and pictures even in bright sun light which makes it commendable. Also, watching multimedia content and playing High definition games on this device is seamless and gives wonderful experience. The touch responsiveness is really good and one don't have to press hard for operating any thing on this device. The UI and display settings also gives many options to tune the display according to one's wish like the Adaptive brightness, adjusting color balance, Night Mode which reduces stress on your eyes, different daydream options like clock, colors and photos, there is an option called Ambient display which wakes up the screen when your receive notifications and another setting is called Proximity wake which wakes up the device when you wave your hand over the device which are pretty good additions to the device's functionality. The dark mode feature is another addition which I want to highlight here for the dark background lovers. One can enable the same by going to settings - Customization option and toggle the setting called 'Dark Mode' and choose any accent color as per their wish. Those accent colors reminds me of Nokia Lumia's colors. The display is a 2.5D screen which is protected with a layer of Gorilla Glass 4 which makes it a scratch resistant and one don't have put an additional screen guard to protect it from scratches. We tried some casual tests like putting inside the pocket with keys, ID card and coins and the display is intact and also while trying to scratch with not so sharp pin like the sim ejector pin, it did fare well. Anyway, overall, we have no complaints in display department of OnePlus 3 and we give full marks about the same.
Hardware and Performance: OnePlus 3 is powered by a latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Quad-core processor (upto 2.2 GHz) backed with massive 6 GB LPDDR RAM under the hood. It comprises a 64 GB internal storage and its not expandable using Micro SD card. Hardware specs wise, the device has all the latest and greatest stuff inside that and no wonder the performance is also really great and its kinda future ready phone which can handle multitasking and resource hogging applications with ease without any lag or degradation of performance. The OnePlus3 handled the multitasking at ease and without any doubt played multimedia and games at ease without any stutters or sweat. We didn't observe any kind of slowness or heating problems while playing multimedia or playing games, of course, this being a full metallic body, the device warms up a little after playing games continuously for more than 30 minutes to 60 minutes which is normal in the phones of these days. 6 GB memory is massive as we said, and we could hardly hit a 4 GB peak even when tried to open more than 25 applications at one shot and it seems there is a bit limitation set by the company itself due to which the device cannot utilize to full capability, but with little tuning in the parameters after rooting the device, one can utilize the memory to full extent. Well, that's for advanced users and for a normal user with their regular day to day usage, they don't have to fiddle around this and enjoy the exceptional performance without any hassles. The games which we played like Nova 3, Dead Trigger, Angry birds, Temple Run and Asphalt 8 performed great and we didn't see any frame drops or lag. Even with Asphalt's visual setting to high, the device handled it beautifully. The call quality is great, connects to different networks perfectly and a the audio quality in loud speaker as well as earphones is also really good. Along with all these, the device supports NFC also for everyday tasks as well as for mobile payments. The Antutu benchmark results gives a top numbers in the current market. Overall, in all aspects, the device's hardware and performance is top notch and we are not finding anything wrong to report.
Camera: The OnePlus 3 comes with a 16 MP rear camera which uses a 16 MP Sony PDAF sensor with f/2.0 aperture that's capable of processing 4K video and a 8 MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture which provides capability of shooting a 1080p video. The camera uses a Smart capture technology which provides Dynamic De-noise which automatically works in the background to reduce noise in post-processing, HD Mode, Auto HDR mode and Smile Capture which allows users to take selfies by just smiling at the front-facing camera. Added to these, the camera also provides a Manual mode for expert photographers to tune the white balance, ISO, focus shutter speed to meet their specific needs. In addition to that, the camera has a RAW Image support also so that the one can control every aspect of an image during the post-shot editing. The PDAF (phase detection AutoFocus) allows one to capture clear shots in just under 0.2 seconds, also the device supports Optical Image stabilization (OIS) and Electronic Image stabilization (EIS) for additional stability. The pictures comes bright and vivid, captures true colors in natural and well lit conditions. The low light pictures also captures some pretty neat details. The time-lapse and slow motion features are welcome additions for the users to create some amazing videos. Both works absolutely fine and the slow-motion video in dark or low light gives some flickering in the video output which is pretty common observation in the slow-motions videos which shot using mobile cameras in low lit conditions. OnePlus 3 fared well when compared to the other slow motion videos outputs. Overall, we are pretty happy with the camera performance and the features which it offers. Below are some sample pictures clicked using OnePlus 3. Click on thumbnails for full resolution pictures.
Software and Features: OnePlus 3 is powered by a latest Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 topped with their own OS called OxygenOS which is a fast, clean and customizable operating system. The UI is pretty simplistic and gives you a stock android experience with goodness features from OnePlus itself. The UI is absolutely bloat free and one don't have to worry about uninstalling them later by trying out different rooting methods. The key features of Marshmallow like Doze is also included which minimizes the power consumption when you are not using the device. And, some additional cool features include Home screen and screen-off gesture controls, custom Icon pack, app permissions, Accent color customization, Night Mode, dark mode, excellent keyboard like Swiftkey, all these makes the device pretty comprehensive in features front. Also, the UI offers some of the awesome customization like 'Custom LED notifications' where in you can choose from eight LED notification colors when new notifications come, custom notification menu and status bar using which one can rearrange or hide the unwanted icons and shortcuts from quick notification and status bar, one can customize the look of google search bar also or completely get rid of it. The UI settings also allows to swap the hardware/software buttons between the back and recent app functionalities. One more excellent addition is the Shelf which has a weather widget, quick memos and a widget which gives the row of most used applications. The widgets and shelf itself can be removed by long pressing and swiping to right. OnePlus has utilized the proximity sensor to its fullest capability by giving feature like waving your hand to wake up the phone. The UI gives many more customization using which one can restrict applications to access your personal data, network, camera access etc., We liked the simplicity of the UI and OS. It would be great if OnePlus can give customization to Icon sizes also in their future updates. Currently, the Icons look big and there is no way one can reduce their sizes. Overall, we are pretty happy with the UI and the features which the OS offers to normal users as well as power users. To top that, OnePlus gives a unlocked boot-loader which allows the users to root the device and flash any other firmware on the device and that too without worrying about losing the warranty on the device which is pretty amazing.
Battery: The OnePlus 3 is powered by a moderate 3000 mAH battery and one of the first device in OnePlus models to support quick charge and without settling to an average quick charge solution, OnePlus has come up with their own quick charging mechanism called 'Dash Charge'. Some of the important highlights in Dash charging method is that the device gets charged upto 60% in just under 30 minutes which is enough to stay on for a whole day, the dash charge shifts most of the power management processes from the phone itself to the dash charge adapter so that majority of the heat generated while charging never reaches the phone. Most of the quick charge solutions out there have to throttle down the power during intensive usage like playing HD games, videos etc., but, since Dash charge keeps the device cooler, the battery continues to charge during these situations. We tested the quick charge and it indeed charges upto to 60% in just 30 minutes of charging and charges to 100% in just under an hour of charging which is pretty amazing for this fast moving lives of ours. The device could stay on for around 18 hours while being on cellular network, wi-fi and all the social media accounts in sync and display in Adaptive brightness mode. We had to recharge our test device daily atleast once for an hour to stay on for a day. In this 18 hours of standby mode, the device gives a decent 5 to 6 hours of SOT (Screen On-Time) on an average which I think is a pretty good deal. However, we still think, it would have been great if the device had little high capacity for the great performing hardware carry.
Price: With all these latest specs, features and goodness, the device is priced competitively at Rs. 27999/- in India which we think this device deserves to be purchased at that price when we see the trend of the high pricing of other devices which comparatively inferior hardware, specs, design and build.
Verdict: If you are a power user, and if you are hungry for a high performing device without compromising on the quality of the hardware and build, and/or if you are a normal user who wants to flaunt a premium build quality device and looking for a moderately priced device, this is the device to pick up without second guess. We give a pass marks with distinction to this device .