What is it consumers want out of a phone in 2016? Modular components? A curved display? Dual cameras? How about just a smart, solidly engineered phone? For OnePlus, that’s exactly what the OnePlus 3 is all about.
The OnePlus 3 doesn’t jump at you with any market-shifting innovations; it can’t map an indoor mall or support magnetic accessories. It doesn’t even come with expandable storage, which some of today’s biggest devices support. But even without these features, the OnePlus 3 is one of the market’s most compelling propositions, no question. And it’s only $399.
I’ve been using the device since Sunday, not quite long enough to get a definitive sense of how the OnePlus 3 behaves under pressure or holds up over time. But I will say that I’m incredibly impressed with the phone’s quality so far. Not only is it beautiful (yeah, it looks like it was made by HTC), but the software is buttery smooth, too. It all makes for an enjoyable, well-rounded experience that I don’t want to put down.
The OnePlus 3 design is among the best I’ve used, with a gorgeous aluminum frame that features a subtle curve, making it easy to grip and pick up off tables. It’s thin, too, at just 7.35 mm, and fairly light at 5.57 ounces (158 g). Because of its size and the materials used, however, there were a few occasions when I had to consciously hold tight for fear it would slip out of my fingers. But, overall, the design is immaculate and beautiful.
As for hardware, the Snapdragon 820 chip and 6GB of RAM have no issue zipping through the software and powering intensive apps. I’ve watched videos, played games, and swiped through the software without encountering any noticeable hiccups. OnePlus’ OxygenOS has always felt sleek and light on its feet, and it’s even better atop Android Marshmallow.
I haven’t paid much attention to battery life yet, but I don’t think I’ve noticed it even dip below 50 percent, so it hasn’t been an issue. Granted, I did charge once in the late afternoon on Sunday, but that lasted me all the way through Monday and into Tuesday without a problem. I’ve always said I’m not the most rigorous smartphone user, but I’ll try and keep an eye out for how the battery holds up under more strenuous tests.
I was most concerned with how the device’s 16-megapixel camera would perform and whether or not it would produce quality images. I won’t go too in-depth here—we’ll have a post on the camera soon—but I will say that the camera app is incredibly quick and focuses without hesitation. Too often you run into issues when a phone’s camera hunts for subjects to focus on only for the moment to pass. That’s not the case with the OnePlus 3. It also launches in an instant, which is great to see.
We’re just getting acquainted with the OnePlus 3 but we’ll have much more coverage in the coming days. I love the 5.5-inch screen despite it only being 1080p, and the Alert Slider is still a fun and convenient way to quickly change your volume profile. At $399, there’s a lot to like about OnePlus’ new device, especially now that you can buy one without an invite. Pretty good for a device with 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Snapdragon 820 processor.