We tried to find the flaws in its design, its hardware and its software. But it amazed us with the incredible classic performance, comfortable design and simple UI. The flagship android smartphone that deserves the money you spent on it.
Yes, we are talking about OnePlus 3, the most talked about flagship android smartphone. Delivering maximum in all sectors from its classic metal unibody design, massive 6GB RAM packed in the top-notch Snapdragon 820 processor, great camera performance and no bloatware android experience.
Best of all everything what we said above comes at a price tag that’s twice or thrice or lower than the comparing flagship smartphones in the market.
OnePlus 3 is the third iteration from the young Chinese company OnePlus. When compared to not that hit OnePlus 2 and the first true flagship killer OnePlus One, the OnePlus 3 has already set its high bar.
The OnePlus 3 is priced just right for your pockets at Rs 27,999 and available exclusively via Amazon India.
Do the price tag and all the buzz surrounding it worth the credit? I have been using the OnePlus 3 for over two months now and put it through every possible daily usage scenario. So, let’s dig into the in-depth review of OnePlus 3.
Build and Design
Well, you can’t ignore how lightweightthe OnePlus 3 is when you first hold it in your hands. The mobile has metal unibody build with space-grade aluminium alloy (yet, I miss the sandstone finish) that get gently curved on the sides. On the way, we can’t miss the design resemblance with HTC.
The front is almost covered with the 5.5-inch display which uses 2.5D curved glass around the edges leaving a very thin bezel. Just below the display we got a fingerprint sensor with a ceramic finish.
Coming to back, OnePlus 3 got a dominant camera module with its LED flash unit placed just below. The projected lens part seems to cut the metal smoothness on the back and it’s actually attracting some scratches (the camera lens seems to be well resistant to scratches). The antenna lines are visible on the top and the bottom, but still, it adds up quite nicely with the design.
I would suggest going for a back cover that fully covers the back and projected camera sides from scratch.
On the left side first we got the alert slider that you can use to quick set – all notifications, priority notifications and silent mode. Below it there is the volume rocker. On the right side, we have the power button and below it, we got the dual nano SIM slot.
On the bottom portion we got the 3.5mm audio jack (yes OnePlus 3 support your 3.5mm headphone jack), USB Type-C charging/ data transfer port and speaker grille, all placed neat and clean. Well, the top part is perfectly smooth and clean with no holes or buttons.
- It got a premium touch with the metal finish.
- Good and comfortable to hold in one hand.
- The quick toggle ‘Alert Slider’ just sits perfectly on the side, taking full control of your notifications.
You can actually get the Oneplus 3 in two colour variants – Graphite colour and the Soft Gold colour.
You won’t see the Quad HD or 2K or even 4 K display in OnePlus 3, but it flaunts a gorgeous 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED full HD display. The OnePlus team custom engineered the AMOLED display which offers bright whites, fairly well-balanced colours, almost perfect viewing angle and minimal over saturation.
Thanks to the OxygenOS 3.2 update, the Oneplus team added up the sRGB mode. Using it you can get better colour accuracy and reduce the overblown colours.
The display uses dual-polarized layer which offers great screen visibility under bright sunlight. The night mode, allows the mobile to cut down the blue light emitted from the display and gives you a warmer display, reducing eyestrain.
- The highly customised AMOLED display.
- Colours look more natural and comfortable.
- Great visibility over direct sunlight.
- Perfect viewing angle.
Lastly, to protect the screen the mobile comes with the Corning Gorilla Glass 4. So, overall OnePlus 3 comes with a great display that produces gorgeous colours and takes only a fraction of the power consumption.
Hardware and Performance
First, what’s under the hood? the OnePlus 3 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor clocked at dual 2.2 GHz and dual 1.6 GHz speeds. It’s not ending there, the processor is coupled with 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM. For storage, the smartphone carries 64GB internal storage that’s based on UFS 2.0 technology offering faster data transfer.
It can run any (any number) of applications and games at a time and you will ever come across a delay or lag when using this smartphone.
Well actually, OnePlus 3 memory management is little awkward as in real life scenario there is hardly much use of 6GB RAM. On the other hand, OnePlus has optimised the device for better battery performance. At time-to-time, you will notice that the mobile removing things from memory to save battery life.
The recent OS update has further optimised the memory management in OnePlus 3. The apps are now not frequently being unnecessarily killed off in the background to save battery. Switching between apps are quick and overall the mobile has become much smoother.
To test the performance, I tried out the Asphalt 8 – Airborne and Modern Combat 5 (on extreme settings). Well, guess what there were absolute zero frame drops and it was buttery smooth. Actually, I was able to quick multitask between different apps while in the middle on intense gaming.
It does heat up a bit while on playing games, but its understandable due to the metal back. Still, the heat seems to be dissipating faster while on usage.
- 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED full HD display (1920 x 1080 pixel)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with Adreno 530 GPU
- 6GB RAM
- OxygenOS based Android 6.0.1
- 64GB internal storage (UFS 2.0)
- dual nano SIM (4G+ 4G)
- 4G LTE, VoLTE, 3G, 2G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, USB Type-C port
- 3,000 mAh battery (non-removable) with Dash Charge (5V 4A)
For added security OnePlus 3 got the ceramic finished fingerprint sensor on the front. As advertised you can unlock the device instantly (they say in 0.2 seconds). During my daily usage, I never encountered a hiccup in unlocking. The device actively learns and progressively improves on your fingerprint scan, so it becomes more accurate time-by-time.
Talking about the benchmarks, AnTuTu benchmark gives a score of 142816. Wheres in Geekbench the phone in single-core marked a score of 1984, which is higher than LG G5 and on multi-core the device hit a score of 5200, lying just behind Galaxy S7. On 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited GPU benchmark the OnePlus 3 scored 29912.
Continuing through the benchmarks, the Quadrant benchmark gives a score of 39732 for OnePlus 3. Whereas on CF benchmark (Chainfire), the smartphone hit an overall score of 40880.
Analysing the scores you can be double sure that you don’t need to spent a lot of money for a powerful device.
Connectivity and Audio
Coming to the connectivity side, the OnePlus 3 support dual nano SIM cards, which is almost rare in flagship devices. The device comes with high-speed 4G LTE network that almost covers all Indian 4G bands (band 3, band 5 and band 40) and supports VoLTE for HD voice calling. Along with this the mobile support 3G and 2G networks. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC and USB Type-C port.
While in my area, the network strength (Idea 4G) was good and so the voice calling quality was excellent. There was no call drops or noise disturbance during the call. The data connectivity was consistent while on the 4G network as well as on WiFi.
- Dual SIM option.
- High-speed 4G LTE with VoLTE for HD voice and video calls.
- Excellent voice calling with no noise disturbance.
For music lovers, the OnePlus 3 only comes with one speaker at the bottom. The sounds are sharp and clear, but a little bit on the lower side. It would be better to get a pair of good headphones or portable speakers as it includes the 3.5mm headphone jack (if you missed it in Apple).
Camera and Photography
Well, we all use our smartphones as the primary camera for photography and want every picture to be like taken from a DSLR. OnePlus 3 has not let you down, the device packs a 16-megapixel camera on the back with a Sony IMX298 sensor and a maximum aperture of f/2.0.
The camera is exceptionally good during the day time. The camera does capture great sort of details with pretty accurate natural colour and just right saturation. Outdoor shots are up to par, while indoor shots are average.
On low-light condition, the camera struggles a bit, but still way better than smartphones under/over the price range. The Dynamic De-noise feature actually helps a lot during low-light condition to reduce noise and improve clarity.
The smartphone comes with support for both electronic (EIS) and optical (OIS) stabilisation for both photos and videos. So it mechanically and digitally cancels out the unwanted movements, jolts and handshakes.
The HDR mode vastly enhances the image sharpness and adds in lots more details. The auto-HDR mode kicks in automatically sensing the ambient light conditions. One thing I noticed is during Macro photo shooting, where you need to be somewhat farther away to get a focus of the object.
Just like a professional grade DSLR you can dig into the manual mode and fine-tune exposure, ISO, focus and shutter speed. It can also save the image in RAW format. The camera can capture 4K videos, as well as time-lapse and slow-motion videos.
On the front, the OnePlus 3 got an 8-megapixel camera with Sony IMX179 sensor, aperture of f/2.0 and can support full HD videos. The selfies I took with it is exceptionally good. It’s just you need somewhat enough lighting to get the perfect shot.
The OnePlus 3 runs on Oxygen OS that almost keeps the stock experience of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system. Well, the recent updates are adding up a little bit of UI changes borrowed from its own Hydrogen OS (use by OnePlus in china).
There is hardly any bloatware that’s fill up your memory. The OS is fast and extremely smooth to use, but still, retain a great level of customisation. The OS comes with certain useful features like ‘Gesture’ which lets you do certain specific tasks like double tap to wake, drawing an ‘O’ shape on the screen open ups the camera and so on.
There is a custom screen on the left of your main home screen called ‘Shelf’, that you can use to add widgets, take quick notes, a quick look at recent apps etc.
The Oxygen OS is updated regularly to boost up its performance and resolve bugs. Actually, OnePlus is one of the few companies pushing the monthly android security updates from Google to its users.
The OnePlus 3 comes with a 3,000 mAh battery which is sadly non-removable. OnePlus has efficiently used their memory management module to bring down the battery drain.
On my daily heavy usage, I would normally charge up the battery twice a day. The phone with 100 percent charge at 6AM would run out by 3-4PM. Do note that my usage includes four-five hours of Internet browsing, emails and watching videos, two-three hours of listening to music and almost one-hour of gaming.
To run down on the battery, I have used the PCMark’s battery test which almost reflects the real life scenario. The OnePlus 3 got an average score of 7 hours during the ‘Work battery life benchmark’.
Thanks to Dash Charger, you can fill up around 60 percent of battery in 30 minutes charging. I would suggest to always carry around the Dash Charger as it’s also your power management system and you can’t get the quick charging from any normal chargers.
Should you buy?
Well, here we are with the final verdict and the billion dollar question, should i buy it? OnePlus 3 packs everything you dreamed of a flagship smartphone. It got the best processor, lots of RAM, best-in-class camera, super premium look and feel and non-bloated software.
It lacks in offering a Quad HD or 2K display, which is now a norm for every flagship device. But the customised Optic AMOLED display is just brilliant in every angle. You will never miss the 2K display in real life situation, which actually comes into play only when using on VR.
Other negative marks are in the non-expandable storage option, as you are locked in for 64GB storage. It’s also not water or dust resistant like other premium smartphones in the market.
Additionally, the Dash Charging is both good and bad, as it allows quick charging of your smartphone. But you need to carry the Dash Charging adapter always with you, as you can’t charge the OnePlus 3 that quickly and efficiently with a normal charged.
Should you buy it? Yes, I would suggest going for it with 100 percent assurance that you won’t regret the decision. The only hiccup you will see is the battery life, but in all other departments, OnePlus 3 offers an excellent performance.
OnePlus 3 offers the right value for money and comes with a premium overall experience. So it’s the flagship smartphone that deserves the money you spent on it.