OnePlus 3 – The Review

A flagship phone always comes at a price. But not from OnePlus. The OnePlus 3 is an excellent, premium built flagship phone for a price almost half of other comparable phones such as the Samsung S7/Edge, LG G5 and iPhone 6s/Plus. It sells for USD 399 / EUR 399. In Thailand, you find it for around 16,000 Baht.

6 GB of Ram ensure that there is zero lag. No matter how many apps I opened, this beast not lagged a single time.

The Fingerprint Scanner is capacitive. One touch unlocks your phone and brings you right to your home screen. The Fingerprint scanner is the fastest I’ve seen so far.

The OP3 runs Oxygen, a customized version of Android. OnePlus gave it a lot of thoughts as it is very intuitive.

I’ve been an iPhone User for most of the smartphone era starting with the first iPhone in 2007. But every now and then i bought some Android phones just to see what the competition has to offer. Curious about the OnePlus 3 I ordered one for a quick review and the intention to sell it afterwards. But from day one it keeps growing on me with all the smart features and I realize no matter what I want to do, it’s always a tap or two faster on the OnePlus 3 than on my iPhone 6s.

Battery life is on par with the iPhone 6s Plus albeit I read other reports stating that it’s less durable. But in my experience as a heavy User, it always lasted me through an entire day. Taking it off the charger around 8am I usually end with an average of 40% left around midnight.. And boy, does it charge fast. The new proprietary “Dash Charger” results in the fastest charging of any phone. Just 30 minutes to get from 0 to 60%, 45 minutes brings it up to 90%. Very impressive.

The display is AMOLED with 1080p screen. Many complain that it is not QHD but come on … this is still more than 400 pixels per inch. Your battery will appreciate it and then please keep in mind that this is a $400 phone.

The camera is good, maybe very good but there is definitely room for improvement to compete with the likes of Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s/Plus. But I repeat once more, it’s a $400 phone.

The front facing camera however is insanely good. It beats the iPhone 6s/Plus hands down and is, in my opinion, also better than the S7 although the angle is much narrower.
My biggest complain about the S7 front cam is that photos look like paint brushed, just not realistic. So selfie junkies will be pleased with the OnePlus 3 front camera.

The OnePlus 3 feels great in hand albeit it’s a 5.5” device. And with a weight of only 158 g it’s rather a lightweight. But keep in mind, the aluminum frame makes it quite slippery.
OnePlus offers some nice cases. Myself, I don’t use cases. I have something else which you can get for 2 Dollars or so and once you get used to it, you’ll love it.
I admit it looks stupid but it is most helpful to handle larger phones.
Take a look.

Sling Grip

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Pretty much every day, a service gets out of control keeping the CPU awake and so far, only a restart could stop it. This seems to be a software glitch and unfortunately not the only one. The Oxygen experience is a bit inconsistent.
EDIT: This has been solved with the latest update.

The Ambient Light Sensor is quite a fail.
If you are somewhere with a mediocre light level, the sensor can’t apparently decide on the proper brightness level and hence switches between brighter and darker display continuously making it impossible to leave the auto brightness on. Very annoying but hopefully OnePlus fixes it with another update.
Edit 2016-07-27: Disabling the automatic brightness will solve the problem but you have to manually adjust when needed. What worked well for me was installing Lux Dash which does a much better job in auto adjusting the brightness.

The Fingerprint Scanner stops working once every day. After unlocking the phone with the Pin Code the Fingerprint Scanner works again. This is most likely a software issue and should be fixed in a later update.

I also found that the phone activates itself frequently when carrying it in my pants front pocket. Suddenly the flashlight is on, location services enabled or disabled and so on. A reason might be that the buttons don’t have much resistance and can be easily pressed.
An option to disable the notification center on the lockscreen could eliminate this problem.
Now for those wondering, I have all gestures disabled incl. “Double Tap to Wake”, so that’s not the culprit.

Edit 2016-07-28: The latest Oxygen 3.2.2 update solved this problem. The fingerprint scanner, which was the culprit, is now disabled when it is in the pocket. I am quite impressed how fast OnePlus responds to User complaints and brings out a fix. Well done guys.

The call quality is good at most and not a match for e.g. the iPhone 6s/Plus.
By the way, a hardware design flaw is that the phone will pull some hair every now and then when holding it to your ear. The first few iPhone iterations did that too but Apple got that sorted since then.

• Premium built quality, made from anodized aluminium.
• Much cheaper than comparable smartphones.
• Physical switch for silent and priority notifications.
• Dual Sim Support.
• extremely fast, zero lag.
• above average speaker (better than the distorted iPhone 6s(Plus) speaker, louder than Samsung S7 speaker.
• Insanely good sound through headphones.
• Very fast charging. 30 minutes will charge 60%. The Samsung S7’s fast charging just makes 32% in the same time.
• Fingerprint scanner is faster than S7 or iPhone 6s. And it’s capacitive.
• Switch between capacitive buttons or on screen buttons.
• USB Type-C charging.
• During Video recording, the OP3 does a great job in background noise filtering, outshining the Samsung S7.
• Raw photo support.
• Front Camera takes impressive shots / selfies.

• Camera focus is a bit on the slower side.
• Photos can loose details when taking shots with a bright background.
• Call quality could be a better.
• Some software glitches and the great question when OnePlus will deliver updates. They promised a quick Marshmallow update for the OP2 and just delivered a few days ago. That’s not a good indicator for timely updates.
• Requires a restart almost each morning I take it from the charger or else I have a battery drain due to a wakelock behaving weird. I am still trying to find out what the cause is and will update this review if I find it.
• No Headset included.

Key features
5.5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED screen
6GB dual-channel DDR4 RAM
64GB storage
Display resolution resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, resulting in pixel density of 401ppi
Back Camera 16MP and Front Camera 8MP
Android 6.0.1
Snapdragon 820 CPU
Manufacturer: OnePlus
Dimensions: 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm
Weight: 158 g / 5.57 oz
Price: THB 16,000, USD 399, EUR 399

(My) Verdict
Maybe not a flagship killer but a killer flagship. Could it become my daily driver? I am quite in the Apple Eco System with AppleTV and Airport Express connected Speakers through my entire house. Appel Photos shared with my family and the fact they are all on iOS. And I am a Mac User as well. So that’s my dilemma. Without that, it would be an easy decision.

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OnePlus 3

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2 Responses

  1. murugan says:


  2. Billy says:

    It would be great if you could run iOS on that phone. If the phones and operating systems were all interchangeable then you could end up with the best of both worlds. Given that you can’t, I wonder which one hits the sweet spot.

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