- Finicky camera
- No microSD support
- Non-removeable battery
- Concerns about memory availability
- Proprietary cable/charger required for quick charging
With their first few releases, OnePlus attempted to disrupt the mobile flagship dynamic--proving you don’t have to pay top-tier prices for a top-tier experience. While results were questionable, there’s no doubting that they’ve earned a bit of a following. With their latest device, the OnePlus 3, they’re trying again to defy standards.
Does the phone live up to the hype? We’ve dug deep into the best reviews on the Internet to bring you this summary!
One the outside, the OnePlus 3 is polished yet unassuming. Many reviews noted that the design shares many of the visual elements of HTC’s latest phones. It’s aluminum unibody chassis features a slim fit for pocketability while the side buttons offer easy access to phone features without having to stretch your hand across the rather large facade. Alphr spend some time with the phone and declared, “The OnePlus feels robust and refined in all the right ways.” The Verge echoes this sentiment, calling it “an incredibly well-built device.”
The only complaint amongst reviews on the design, comes from the camera. While many other flagships feature flush or near-flush cameras, the 16+ MP rear-lens on the OnePlus 3 creates an obvious bump. It’s not enough to cause instability when laid flat or risk damaging the camera, but it was enough for several reviews to point it out.
Heading around to the front of the phone, you’ll find the 5.5-inch 1080p Optic LED display, a capacitive home key with fingerprint scanner and two capacitive buttons--both of which can be programmed to do other things or disabled entirely in the settings. Alphr noted that the fingerprint scanner is “as responsive and reliable as you’d hope it to be.”
Reviews on the screen were mostly positive. The Verge put it to the test and described it as “bright, vibrant, easy to see outdoors, and at 401ppi, plenty sharp enough for human eyes.” While reviews generally applauded the brightness, clarity and detail, they were all quick to point out that it falls prey to the color issues typical of OLED screen. Alphr noted, “Certain graphics and icons take on a strangely candy-color, neon quality.”
To help you make the most of the screen, OnePlus went with a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor. As with most of 2016 flagships using this processor, reviews noted no issues with performance. Unlike most of flagships, the phone sports an unheard of 6GB of RAM--though there’s a bit of controversy over how much the phone actually uses. CNet put their test model through the paces and came out with nothing but praise, saying, “Tasks like launching Google Now, calling up the keyboard and opening the app drawer were noticeably swift.” Alphr was equally positive, saying, “The phone feels ultra-responsive, and there’s pretty much nothing I’ve found that fazes it.”
Also like most flagships this year, the OnePlus 3 is running Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 alongside their Oxygen OS. Unlike many of the interfaces on offer currently, reviewers appear to love the changes made by OnePlus. SlashGear says, “Customization should be key, here, from a company that says they're all about the absence of compromise in all things. And they are, for the most part - they certainly make a good effort of making a best-in-class device, that's for sure. OnePlus has created a nice set of very basic modifications for Google's Android.” Better still, no reviews mentioned the UI bogging down or cluttering up the phone.
One downside to those looking to store their movies, music or a large collection of games on the phone is that is doesn’t support microSD cards. However, with 64GB of internal storage, there should be plenty of room to stay entertained or productive--even on lengthy commutes or flights.
While the 3,000mAh battery might seem average at best on paper, reviews on the overall battery life are positive. Perhaps this is a benefit to the 1080p OLED display compared to the 2K+ displays on many recent flagships. Every review we found a runtime of at least a full day, even under heavy use.
OnePlus also uses proprietary DASH Charging quick charging. Alphr hooked up their demo phone to the wall and found, “Using the charger supplied in the box, the OnePlus 3 reached 50% in 23 minutes, 75% in 35 minutes and 100% in 1hr 14mins.” However, the way that DASH works requires both the cable and charger from OnePlus to work. So expect to spend a little more on replacements or car adapters--both available direct through OnePlus--if you want to take advantage of that speed.
If you’re looking for a great camera, the OnePlus offers a 16+ MP rear camera with optical image stabilization and phase-detect autofocus. The front-facing camera is a beefy 8+MP. Reviews on the cameras are mixed. There were few faults found in image quality, with CNet saying, “In well-lit situations, colors were true-to-life (especially the white hues), and objects were sharp and in focus. In dimmer settings or environments with tricky lighting, photos still turned out clear and evenly exposed.” Same goes with the front camera. Alphr noted that it “captures a truly scary level of facial detail in selfies.”
However, many found that shutter delay was a problem. Especially for low-light shots. Also, color was inconsistent across shots. Reviews seem to agree that when it takes great pictures, they’re on par with the best on the market. Unfortunately, getting consistent results is a bit tricky.
On-the-go buyers will find the inclusion of NFC and dual SIM support convenient additions. There’s also USB Type-C connectivity for hassle-free hook ups--though the DASH Charging means you’re stuck carrying an extra charger and cable to take advantage of speedy top offs.
Overall, it appears that OnePlus is finding its stride with their latest release. For the price, compromised are virtually non-existent. The Verge agreed, saying, “The OnePlus 3 might be the first affordable phone that truly makes good on the promise to be as great as the high-priced flagships. It hits all the marks for what an Android phone should offer in 2016, and it does so at a price that’s significantly less than the competition.”
Prices (Where to Buy)
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the OnePlus 3 user manual here.
OnePlus backs up the 3 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your 3 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact OnePlus support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find OnePlus's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.