In an otherwise crowded android phone market, the OnePlus 3 without doubt stands out. It is by far the best offering from the Chinese phonemaker’s stable so far, and leagues ahead of most ‘flagship killer’ smartphones released every few weeks. I have been using the OnePlus 3 as my primary phone for nearly two weeks now, and I am pretty damn impressed by the Shenzen-headquartered phone’s performance, look, and feel.
(There is a video review at the bottom of this post. Also watch our OnePlus 3 unboxing video.)
A beautiful Beast
One of the first things you’ll notice about the OnePlus 3 is its all-metal unibody design. It looks sleek and fits nicely in the hand. The signature sandstone back of the OnePlus 2 is gone. However, for fans of the sandstone look, OnePlus has back cases with that finish. Back cases are also available in finishes such as bamboo, black apricot, rosewood and karbon. They look good and have a nice solid grip with a snug fit.
The OnePlus 3 is available in graphite for now, but there’s a gold version coming soon. The phone comes with a 5.5 inch display with a resolution of 1080 pixels. This may seem less in comparison to some rivals who offer sharper 1440 pixel screens, but the OnePlus 3’s display is quite sharp nonetheless.
On the front is a fingerprint sensor that, claims OnePlus, unlocks the phone at a lightning fast 0.2 seconds — and it’s true (I tested).
On the left is an alert slider, which allows you to easily toggle between getting every notification or just the important ones — a feature that’s usually missing in most Android phones. On the bottom are the speakers, microphone and a headphone jack (no headphones in the box though).
The Snapdragon 820 processor ensures the OnePlus 3 is lightning fast. In my two weeks of usage, the phone never hung, and all the apps ran smoothly, without any glitches or delays.
With many Android phones, I have experienced that apps suddenly stop responding, no such problem in this one though.
The phone runs Oxygen OS 3.1, which is based on the latest version of Android, Marshmallow.
The OnePlus 3 has 6 GB RAM, 64 GB storage and dual nano-SIM support (no microSD card slot, unfortunately).
6GB RAM is massive, and I not sure you need that much in a phone. There are laptops with less RAM for crying out loud.
However, to put the RAM to test, I ran multiple applications at the same time and they all functioned smoothly without any hiccups.
It has a 16 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front camera for razor-sharp selfies. The camera is one of my most favourite features of this phone. It not only clicks great pictures in regular lighting, even in dim lighting it clicks impressive pictures.
With most phone cameras, it’s difficult the capture decent images of the night sky. But the OnePlus 3 was almost unbelievably good at capturing such images.
Here’s the juice
I really have no complaints about the phone, except I wish it had a bigger battery. While the charge does last you a full day, the phone I was using just before I started testing the OnePlus 3 was the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, which comes with a massive 4,000 mAh battery. You could say that sort of spoiled me.
It’s not an apples to apples comparison, in all honesty, because these are two phones from entirely different segments. Most android offerings in the OnePlus 3’s segment that come with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor have a 3,000-3,100 mAh battery.
It’s actually difficult to find fault with the device, and I am just being really picky here. Another minor issue, since I am nitpicking, is with the USB Type-C charging. Till the world of Android phones moves to Type-C charging, which it is slowly, you will always have to ensure that you carry your charger. Because if you run out of charge, it’s still difficult to get your hands on a Type-C charger, because most phones still have the micro-USB charging.
However, while I am on the charging, I must mention that the OnePlus 3’s proprietary charging technology called ‘Dash Charge’ is absolutely fantastic.
OnePlus claims that its 3,000 mAh battery can be charged over 60% in 30 minutes, and my tests showed that in around 45-50 minutes, you can almost get a full charge on the phone.
OnePlus 3 is available via its exclusive retail partner Amazon, for Rs 27,999. Unlike its predecessors, you can buy the OnePlus 3 without an invitation.
Watch my video review here.