OnePlus entered the competitive market of smartphones with the aim of getting ahead of the market leaders, and by releasing OnePlus 1 it showed that can compete with the best of the best in the market. Having released three generations of smartphones, this time the company has presented OnePlus 3 to enter the battle with the giants of the smartphones market. Stay with us to explore one of the best Mid Priced smartphones.
OnePlus is a company that started its work with the goal to defeat the leading companies in the market. From the very beginning the company took the right steps to show the users that it pays attention to details and is reliable. Although the price of the latest flagship smartphone of this company is more expensive than previous generations, its $400 price is still tempting compared to Samsung Galaxies and Apple iPhones. Continue reading the review of OnePlus 3, one of the first smart phones with 6GB of RAM.
OnePlus 3 is a new smartphone of Chinese company OnePlus which this time has entered the competition not as a flagship killer, but as a highly competitive flagship. The $400 price, Snapdragon 820 processor, 6GB of RAM and all-metal body – all are very attractive and tempting on paper, and it costs half the price of some other flagships such as iPhone S6 Plus or Galaxy S7 edge. But did OnePlus use some cheap and low quality accessories in some parts of the phone to keep the price low? Continue reading to find the answer of this question…
OnePlus 3 is pretty good smartphone and a highly competitive flagship on paper. Very powerful processor, high RAM memory and, of course, an excellent build quality – all look great on the surface.
CPU: 4GHz quad-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Display: 5 inch display with resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and AMOLED panel with 401 ppi density
GPU: Adreno 530
Camera: 16-megapixel rear camera with single LED flash and 8-megapixel front camera
OS: Built on Android 6.1
Dimensions: 7 x 74.7 x 7.4mm
Weight: 158 grams
Battery: 3000mAh lithium-ion
- 3G/4G network support and Bluetooth 4.2
- Dual SIM card support
- Equipped with a fingerprint scanner and OxygenOS
Price: ~$474 (See the Lowest Price at Amazon)
Metal slim body of OnePlus 3 attracts everyone at the first glance. Its design is very simple and stylish, and there is no variety of big brand names or logos like Duos which means it’s a dual-SIM phone. Of course, there are some similarities between OnePlus 3 and other Android phones like HTC 10, especially when it comes to the back panel of the phone. Metal frame design is a kind of combination of HTC 10 and Huawei Mate S; but it is not a bad thing, because in addition to beautiful appearance, it conveys a pleasant feeling to users.
Something that can be seen on the back panel of the phone and perhaps can be considered as one of the drawbacks is its camera bump. Although this bump is not high, but maybe, if OnePlus slightly increased thickness and put a larger battery, most users would be more satisfied. However, the thickness of the phone is very low, and this slimness has added beauty to the phone and, of course, the camera bump is not as annoying as in Galaxy S6.
Of course, the reason for the low price of the phone is not lack of attention to details or inexpensive materials. The frame of this phone is very high quality and it has been carefully crafted to details. Antenna also has a dark color to match the color of the phone, and this attention to details led OnePlus 3 to top place in design.
Frame around the phone is integrated with the back panel and it’s made of metal. Power button and Dual SIM slot are located on the right side of the frame. Of course, there is no slot for memory card; however, the high speed 64GB UFS 2.0 memory is enough for many users. The power button’s quality is very high and pressing it conveys a good feeling to the user as well. The top frame of the phone is simple and there is nothing wrong with it, but the bottom frame is very similar to Apple iPhones where the speaker is located beside USB C and 3.5mm headphone jack.
Volume adjustment buttons are also located in the left frame of this phone. An interesting and innovative point is using a useful slider – it’s Alert Slider. This slider has 3 modes: at the lowest level you will receive all notifications; you will receive only important notifications at the middle level and, finally, you will not receive any notifications at the top level.
The front panel of the phone that is covered with the 2.5D Gorilla Glass has a very simple design and there is no any brand name or sign of dual SIM except of fingerprint scanner and selfie camera. This simple design makes the phone more beautiful. In addition, very small side margins of display add up to the nice appearance of the phone.
In general, it must be said that the design of OnePlus 3 is very attractive, and the device is extremely well-built and is the same quality as other expensive flagships. The quality of materials used in the phone is excellent, too. Taking OnePlus 3 in your hand, you will certainly put it among iPhone 6S, Galaxy S7 and other flagship smartphones in the market.
OnePlus 3’s fingerprint sensor is located under the display and on the front panel of the phone. The sensor is also covered with a ceramic coating to protect it from scratches, because, for example, on Galaxy S7, marks can be left even without pushing Home button that shows that using plastic or other inappropriate materials as the cover will cause serious consequences.
OnePlus 3 fingerprint sensor, unlike Galaxy S7, is located under the touch button. The button also has other functions such as Home or Shortcut.
As for the performance of the fingerprint sensor, it must be said that in OnePlus 3 you will experience one of the best fingerprint sensors. The sensor adjustment will be done very quickly and unlocking the phone with this sensor will be done extremely fast and accurate – you just need to touch the sensor to unlock the phone. The good thing about this sensor is that it’s always activated, which means that you do not need to exit from sleep mode to activate the sensor and it will unlock the phone faster.
OnePlus 3’s fingerprint sensor should be considered as one of best in smartphones market; it’s even on the same level as iPhone 6S Apple.
OnePlus has used single speaker at the bottom frame of the phone in its flagship device. The speaker’s quality is normal and it’s a little better than in Galaxy S7. The maximum volume is also OK on this phone. However, dual front speakers are always the best option, and OnePlus 3 is not able to compete with dual front speaker phones such as HTC 10 or Nexus 6p.
The thing that many smartphone makers ignore, is the output sound’s quality of 3.5mm jack. But OnePlus 3 with its $399 price paid extra attention to this issue. The output sound’s quality of 3.5 mm jack of the headphones is excellent and it must be said that it’s even on the same level as HTC 10. This is quite an advantage, especially for a phone in this price range, because most people who listen to music or watch videos a lot are likely to use headphones.
OnePlus in its flagship smartphone instead of high-resolution panels has confined to a FULL HD resolution. OnePlus believes that you will not need a resolution more than Full HD in your daily use and you may only notice a difference using virtual reality content.
The company says that the number of people who use their phone for virtual reality content is already very low, although it must be said that OnePlus was right in this case. Using a lower-resolution panel in addition to enhancing the performance of the phone results in less battery consumption as well.
OnePlus 3 5.5-inch display is Optic AMOLED with FULL HD resolution. In fact, Optic AMOLED is the same as AMOLED panel and leads to no space between touch and panel and results in no gap air between them. Diamond-shaped pixels of this panel have made its resolution seem less like an IPS panel with the same resolution. However, if you take a look more carefully, you will see the pixels, but you might not notice any difference between this panel and QHD panels in daily use.
Of course, the maximum display brightness is not desirable and its reflection is high which makes reading content on the smartphone in a good light a little trickier than can be expected from a flagship device. However, perhaps, one of the reasons that make the price around $400 is the use of a panel with the same quality as other flagships in the past year.
As we expected of AMOLED panels, colors on the display are slightly saturated and black color depth is very high. Some people may not be interested in unreal and saturated colors, and because of that, OnePlus included sRGB mode in its new update which makes the colors more natural.
Using older panels for the display in OnePlus 3 is, perhaps, the only part that OnePlus has used to reduce the final price. Of course, the display’s performance is very good and it certainly can` t be considered as a disadvantage of the smartphone.
The software plays a significant part in the user`s experience that is often overlooked by companies; but that’s not true for OnePlus. The company paid attention to what buyers and users said and kept Android in its UI, known as Oxygen OS. Of course, the interface of OnePlus reminds Android only in appearance; OnePlus tried to add features to its UI that Android doesn`t have.
These are some of them: double touching the display to turn the phone on, supporting gestures like swiping O to run the camera app in Sleep mode, enabling camera’s flash by swiping V and using it as a flashlight.
Of course, there are more of them. OnePlus UI has features like dark theme or Dark Mode to switch white areas such as Settings menu, App menu and notification bar to black mode. So, in addition to overall change of UI background color, you can also benefit from AMOLED panel and lower battery consumption while dark theme is run.
Another interesting feature is called Shelf and works like Google Now. It’s essential for users who are not able to use Google Now service. In this section, you can find both frequently used apps and people you are in touch with more. You can also add up all your widgets to this section which let you view all your widgets in a specific section.
Generally, OnePlus 3 User Interface is one of the best UIs that have been developed based on Android. All nice and simple parts of Android`s appearance have been included in this UI. Of course, OnePlus has fixed some shortcomings of Google operating system and added more attractive features. Certainly, Oxygen OS UI is one of the best UIs that we’ve ever had the opportunity to work with till now.
OnePlus 3 is equipped with a 16-megapixel camera on the back and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The main camera sensor is made by Sony. Usually, smartphone manufacturers use weaker sensors to reduce final price, but it`s different with OnePlus 3.
Images take in good light are excellent, details and colors are shown accurately. Also images are not too sharp to lose its deepness. The camera works well in exposure control as well, and you can take good pictures even with front or insufficient light. Generally, however, images taken in good light are not the best, but they are on the same level as last year`s flagship phone cameras such as Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6, which are certainly good.
When the amount of light is reduced, image quality is reduced consequently. And here the difference from other flagships released this year becomes visible. The noise is a little too high in low light, but details are captured well in these images, so high level of noise can be justified.
Also, the amount of light absorbed from the environment by the camera is relatively low. Here the difference between One Plus 3 and Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6S becomes apparent, however, it does not mean that images are useless, and the quality of the images is still at the same level as last year`s flagships.
The phone`s front-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with a very good quality. Although the sensor is not on the same level as Galaxy S7 wide-angle lens, but its images are better than Samsung flagship`s ones and details are well captured. Without a doubt, OnePlus 3 front-facing camera is one of the best front cameras in smartphones.
Sample images taken by OnePlus 3:
One of the most attractive parts of the OnePlus 3, despite its price (half the price of its rivals), is benefiting not only from the Snapdragon 820 processor, but 6 GB of RAM as well.
We’ve compared this device according to different benchmarks and here are the results:
Benchmark results also show that it’s a full-fledged phone and perhaps the most powerful Android phone till now. Of course, the display with 1080P resolution had its say in the device performance. We also have not seen any bugs in everyday use.
Perhaps, it can be said that OnePlus 3 gives us one of the smoothest and fastest experiences in switching between different sections and running apps in.
It also has 6GB of RAM which is the highest amount among smartphones.
Many are convinced that RAM management in OnePlus 3 is not very good. Of course, the company will fix this problem to a large extent during the update. RAM management has become much better after updating, although it was not that annoying even before update – it is still better than its rivals like Galaxy S7.
The important thing here is large capacity of RAM. It means that if you want to take pictures and listen to music at the same time, OnePlus 3 will make it happen. Moreover, if you run three complicated games one after the other, you can easily switch between them without loading.
Instead of increasing the thickness of the phone and, of course, loss of the camera bump, OnePlus preferred to keep the thickness very low and put a relatively small 3000mAh battery on it. However, due to the use of AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution, that can be enough.
As usual, we’ve set brightness of the display on the 50%, turned off Wi-Fi and played an HD video until the battery ran from 100 to zero. It took OnePlus 12 hours and 15 minutes to run out of charge, which is a good result. In addition, OnePlus 3 can guarantee 10 hours and 20 minutes of surfing the web.
For many it’s important to know not only if the phone battery was responsive during the day, but also for how many hours the display was on and in what way it was used.
Screen On Time in Battery Settings is the most important factor for counting how much the display was on. Note that it does not mean how long the battery works – it shows that how many hours display on while the battery was getting from 100%-charge to zero.
We’ll share Screen On Time so you could have a better sense of it. However, this time depends largely on how the phone is used, but we will describe how we’ve used it and show you a standard test for comparing the actual experience to give you a better view of smartphone batteries.
In our test on this phone, SOT in the OnePlus 3 was about 4 hours on a regular basis. During these four hours, we watched a video for about 1 hour. We spent 2 hours surfing the web, checking social networks and instant messaging; the last hour was spent for playing game and photography.
It was our total use in a working day and it shows that a single charge of OnePlus 3 is enough only for semi-heavy use in one day. Note that half of this time we were connected to the mobile Internet and the other half to Wi-Fi. If you use mobile Internet continuously, this time may be shorter.
For the battery of the smartphone OnePlus has developed a technology under OPPO license with the help of which you can fully charge (from 0% to 100%) your phone in less than 55 minutes. Of course, this cable has a USB Type-C port that is not widely used now, and to use fast charging technology, you should use the charger in the box of your phone, because other USB Type-C port chargers will not charge OnePlus 3 fast.
In general, battery charge of OnePlus 3 is good, but not great. Certainly, we would prefer to have a thicker phone, but with an increased battery; we have no issue with the camera bump, though.
In general, OnePlus 3 is a true flagship with such a reasonable price that you may not believe it if you take it in your hand. Excellent build quality, good display, fingerprint scanner and, of course, a very fast performance makes the OnePlus 3 a full-blown flagship.
- Excellent Build Quality
- Very High Quality Compared to the Price
- Very High Speed in Running Applications
- Fingerprint Scanner with Excellent Quality
- Low Display Brightness
- Fast Charging is only available by cable and adapter in the phone box
Images courtesy of Zoomit
What a great review and very detailed. I am not very technically minded when it comes to smartphones, but do have an iPhone 6 which serves the purpose for what I need. One issue I do have with my iPhone is the battery life. I read in your review that the OnePlus 3 didn’t perform too well when it was put under test conditions.
However, as the phone seems to have everything else going for it, I would be interested to know how the battery life would compare with my iPhone 6 if it was not used for long periods of watching video and web surfing and was just left in my pocket all day, as my phone often is.
Thanks for your comment.
Battery of iPhone 6 is a small 1810 mAh battery and it’s a 3000mAh for OnePlus 3, so you may think that OnePlus 3 can run at least twice better than iPhone 6, but in test, it didn’t. As I’ve mentioned in review, among all positive points of OnePlus 3, the battery can be one of its disadvantages, but it’s good enough for your daily tasks and you won’t have any problem if you don’t perform heavy tasks.
I could be wrong, but in the past I had the impressions you couldn’t buy this phone unless you had some kind of invitation on their website. I’d be curious what kind of warranty you have with this phone and how well the battery preserves itself after a year of use. When I’m up for a new phone I will definitaly check it out.
Thanks for your comment.
To purchase recommended version of this phone, you don’t need any invitation since it’s available through Amazon. I also don’t think that it’s needed when you buy it from official OnePlus website too. You can check it here: https://oneplus.net/global/3
Since recommended one at digitalworldguru.com is an international version, it may not include a U.S. warranty.
To read more about International Versions of products, you can check here: http://amzn.to/2gx4z4S
There’re some some common tips for all smartphone batteries and which show you how to take care of your smartphone battery and OnePlus 3’s battery isn’t an exception so if you apply them, your smartphone battery can work for a long time properly.
This smartphone looks great and the price is reasonable, but the front camera only just 8 megapixels, seems like not great enough. Compare to Oppo selfie expert F1s should still lose a bit behind. But It seems like very cool in other equipments. Do you think that this phone is worth to get?
Thanks for your comment.
Yes you’re right, 8MP camera isn’t very high these days but we need to note that it’s for a front camera and its rear camera is 16MP which can covers the front one well. Yes it’s worth to get it in my opinion since the reasonable price as well as other powerful specs makes it a valuable choice compared to other competitors at the same price range.