In 2014, at a time when the Galaxy S5 had just come out and the iPhone 6 was imminent, a little-known Chinese company introduced a device called the OnePlus One, also referred to as the “Flagship Killer.” At the time, the claim seemed like blind hubris from a company unproven on a big stage. But when the company’s flagship hit in April, it quickly became clear that the OnePlus One was a force to be reckoned with; it won us over and became our favorite phone of that year.
A year later, and the OnePlus Two offered a similarly high-end experience and affordable entry price, but ultimately fell short of expectations. Now, with Samsung at its peak and Apple on the verge of introducing a major iPhone refresh this fall, OnePlus is back with yet another Flagship Killer. And—surprise, surprise—it’s the company’s best smartphone by a country mile. The best part? As you already heard, you can purchase one without an invite for just $399. Oh, and NFC is back!
In the lead up to the OnePlus 3’s announcement, there were several conflicting rumors about the device’s specs and how many versions we’d see, so let’s clear things up right up front: There’s only one version and the price is still shockingly affordable. For just a few hundred bucks, this 6GB monster is going to be hard to ignore when other big-name devices retail for upwards of $700.
The OnePlus 3 comes in a gorgeous anodized aluminum unibody that’s carved from a single slab. It’s light at just 5.57 ounces (158 g), and slim at just 7.35 mm; not as slim as the recently announced Moto Z, but the rounded body leaves plenty of room for some incredible specs, including a Snapdragon 820 processor, 64GB of internal storage (non-expandable), 3,000 battery, fingerprint sensor, and 13-megapixel camera, which supports both OIS and EIS. The device is also equipped with a 5.5-inch Full HD Optic AMOLED display, which sports incredibly slim side bezels, and the latest version of OxygenOS based on Android 6.0.1; for all you super geeks, the bootloader is unlocked out of the box.
The device also has a USB-C port on the bottom, along with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and support for Dash Charge, which OnePlus says will fill up the battery to 60 percent in just 30 minutes; the feature will even work when you’re playing games and streaming video. You have to specifically use the Dash-enabled wall wart that comes with the OnePlus 3 to take advantage of the feature but it should provide for the fastest, safest charging experience on the market. OnePlus says Dash Charge employs five safety measures to safeguard the adapter, cable, and the phone itself, which means your phone won’t overheat as it’s charging up.
Unfortunately, the device doesn’t support expandable storage despite having a slot for two SIM cards, but you do get 64GB of storage right out of the box, which should be more than enough for most people. So far as I can see, that’s the only major knock against what is clearly a very capable and beautiful device. It pretty much checks off all of the boxes without complicating matters but we’ll have to see how it holds up after extended use. With a Snapdragon 820 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a bloat-free OxygenOS based on Android Marshmallow, we’re expecting great things from the OnePlus 3.
The OnePlus 3 is available through OnePlus’ website for just $399, or you can visit a pop-up shop in New York, London, Paris, and Berlin to pick up a unit in person. We’ll have impressions on the OnePlus 3 soon.