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Review: OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3 is an Exceptional Device!

The Breakdown

OnePlus 3 is a really good device, exceptional considering the price!
Solid Build, Great Display, Dash Charging
Faulty RAM Management, Low Battery Capacity

Our Team member Aakash was the first person in India to unbox the OnePlus 3 at their Delhi launch. After spending a week with it, here’s our review!

The OnePlus One has arguably been the most disruptive smartphone of recent years. It directly challenged the heavy hitters like Samsung, Sony and HTC, and pretty much succeeded, at almost half the cost. In fact, it did so well that people didn’t appreciate its successor, the OnePlus 2 that much, which is still a very good phone. So let’s find out is the OnePlus 3 the device to finally bring back fame to this family.



Starting with the design, this phone does not look like  a successor to the OnePlus 1, or the OnePlus 2 , but something a lot more premium. Gone are the days of plasticky sandstone and now we have a beautiful unibody design made out of a single slab of aluminium. It is perfectly curved to fit nicely in the hand and feel easier to maneuver. It’s so comfy that it makes the OnePlus 2 feel boxy. The camera protrudes out a little, but very little. Even a very slim case will take care of it. I use a sandstone case with my 3, for much needed grip. the button placement has been shuffled, with the volume rocker going to the left and the alert slider moving higher. This is a welcome step because pressing the wrong buttons on the OnePlus 2 was a common fare. overall the phone feels very sturdy and confidence inspiring. very important for a butter fingers like me.



Booting on the phone,the first thing you will notice is the display. Yeah, we are still at 1080p at 5.5″, but now it’s a beautiful AMOLED. I am still not sold on QHD and hence this display suffices me. So we have a display with true dark blacks and nice vibrant colours. The colors are not oversaturated though, which is a good thing. it’s got a 2.5D curved glass on the front which adds to the premium feel. It gets plenty bright but not very dim, so all you teens will be a little disappointed.
Below the screen is an oval shaped ceramic fingerprint scanner, which i think is one of the fastest ones out there. Feels like a tap to unlock, though its just a capacitive button. And yes, NFC makes the cut this time, so everyone can try out Android Pay! the other thing the OnePlus 2 was criticised for, was Fast Charging, or the lack of it. So OnePlus’s answer to that was ‘Dash charging’ which is their take on Quick Charging. You can go from 0 to 100% in around 45 minutes, making this one of the faster oness out there. But, it only works with the provided adapter and type-C cable. The cable is a thick cord now, unlike the flat both-sides-reversible one of the OnePlus 2. Good stuff!


At the time of writing, this is the only phone available with an Snapdragon 820 and 6GB of RAM! Yeah there is some controversy about the phone not using all of it unless you are rooted and change some lines of code. But what you need to know for now is that it is very unlikely  that you even use 4GB of RAM. I know this isn’t a valid excuse but this is what we get. The performance has been extremely smooth. Still yet to have a single stutter. there were a few G Hangouts crashes, but a reboot solved that. I used to think that my other phones were pretty fast, but this just blows them away! So long story short, Performance isn’t something you will need to worry about.



This brings us to the software. This phone runs Android Marshmallow with OxygenOS 3 on top. Its a very light skin, mainly stock, with a few additions and customisations like a system wide Dark Mode to take advantage of the AMOLED and being able to choose the accent colour. The alert slider makes a come back, and its nice and juicy and is textured. It stops on the right places and is much more user friendly now. And of course, it can customized. The main addition to OxygenOS is having Shelf which sits on the left most screen, providing quick access to frequent apps and contacts, memos and widgets, with more features coming soon. It’s pretty useful and simple. Apart from that, most other things are stock.
Audio via the 3.5mm jack is pretty good and the loud speaker is much louder than its ancestor with distorttion only at the highest of settings. No complaints here


The OnePlus 3 has a 16mp sensor by Sony , with a 1.12micron pixel size. it shoots in 4:3 natively and 16:9 is at 13MP. there’s PDAF (Phase Detection Auto-Focus) and OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) to help you get better and more stable shots.  Aakash had a small conversation with the Product Manager of OnePlus 3 Mr. Steve Wang, and according to him Laser Auto-Focus can only be useful for a distance of 3-4 metres. So if you are a person who shoots images and videos of things pretty far away, you will appreciate it. Macros are pretty good too. This works very well in good daylight, and is above average in dimmer situations. A larger aperture and a bigger pixel size could help.
The camera app is pretty straight forward with the useful toggles right there on the screen. This can also record in 4K at 30fps and the footage is better than any other OnePlus device. The beefy processor probably has something to do with it. This camera is pretty good and simple and i totally like it.


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OnePlus went with a thinner phone for a better feel in the hand and skimped on the battery size. So now this boy has a 3,00o mAH battery (the same as the S7 and the HTC 10) and it does better than I had accepted. On my use, I usually get 3.5 hours of SOT (Screen On Time) on other phones, whereas here i got around 4.5 hours. Just in case you wanna push this to the limit, you can get 8 hours of SOT by turning on Airplane mode and battery saver, reducing the brightness to minimum and streaming YouTube over wifi. It is unnatural,but possible.


Well that leads us well into the conclusion: this is already a pretty good phone and has a lot of potential left. If you are looking to update from the OnePlus 1, then i can easily recommend this. For anyone who plans on using this for a longer term, the decision is even easier. Go for it. OxygenOS is going to make this phone amazing over time . It might not be as cheap as any other OnePlus device, but it sure is worth it if you have the budget.
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