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OnePlus 3 Review: All The Phone You'll Ever Need in 2016

Is it the OnePlus 3T or 5?

Is it the OnePlus 3T or 5?

If you are looking to buy a flasgship device and are not keen on spending in excess of Rs 30,000 on a phone then the OnePlus 3 is a no-brainer and still a flagship killer.

OnePlus is a company that’s known for making "flagship killers." They have been doing it for three years in a row and their latest is the OnePlus 3. It’s one of the few phones in the market that come with a massive 6 GB RAM and all the processing power that you’ll ever need. We got our hands on the OnePlus 3 and here’s our review.

What’s Cool?

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The OnePlus 3 is a phone made to compete with the flagship phones from Samsung, HTC and LG. The Android Marshmallow powered device runs Oxygen OS bloatware by OnePlus that is otherwise very non-intruding to the Android phone experience. Some interesting customisation options include a 'dark mode' which changes the colour of the menus to dark shades, custom LED notification light colours for different functions, and button customisation controls.

At Rs 27,999 this is the most expensive OnePlus device to ever come to India.

The company has let go of its unique sandstone finish on the OnePlus 3 and used a unibody metal design instead. The phone's design elements look derived from the HTC and iPhone but if you look close enough it has its distinct OnePlus design lines. For sandstone finish lovers OnePlus also give you an option to buy five optional plastic cases that you can buy along with different looks and finishes: Karbon, Bamboo, Apricot, Rosewood and Sandstone.

The OnePlus 3 retains the notification setting physical button on the left side of the phone that helps you control all or priority notifications.

Another cool thing about the OnePlus 3 is that now you don’t need the invite system to buy one. The fingerprint sensor on the OnePlus 3 now works way better than on the OnePlus 2. It is way more responsive and the accuracy rate has also improved.

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The OnePlus 3 is a dual-SIM smartphone, that many fancy in India, and comes with on-board storage of 64 GB. The phone runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC that’s clocked at 2.2 GHz for two cores and 1.6 GHz for the other two cores. All this is backed by 6 GB of LPDDR4 RAM. That’s all the firepower you’ll ever need on a phone at least in the year 2016 with apps and games getting more power hungry.

In our usage the phone did get warm, but a metal body along with a powerful chipset is a cocktail for heating. The device does not overheat though and performs every task with ease. The gaming performance on the OnePlus 3 is also great, considering the phone is priced under Rs 30,000.

The device has 4G connectivity with support for both FDD-Band 3 and TDD-Band 40 that are widely used in India. You also get WiFi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC on the OnePlus 3.

OnePlus has reduced the battery size on the OnePlus 3 to 3000 mAh as compared to the 3300 mAh battery seen on the OnePlus 2. Nonetheless, the phone lasts easily a day and a half. The phone comes with fast charging too on the USB Type-C and can charge from 0-60% in just 30 minutes.

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The camera on the OnePlus 3 is a huge improvement over the previous generation. The 16-megapixel Sony IMX 298 sensor primary camera delivers a good picture quality and features optical image stabilisation, phase detection autofocus and RAW image format support. You can also shoot 4K videos and slow motion at 120 fps. This is pretty much the standard on flagship phones these days.

The image quality is better than what you might find on the Motorola Moto X and Moto X Style which is in the same price bracket as the OnePlus 3. For selfie lovers the 8-megapixel sensor with 1.4-micron pixels does the job with ease and it can also shoot videos at 1080p @ 30fps.


 

 
The Google camera app on the OnePlus 3 is a bit of a downer as it gives you only standard options to shoot videos.

What’s Not So Cool?

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Even in the year 2016 where flagship smartphones come with 2K and QHD displays, OnePlus decided to go with the same 5.5 inch display on the OnePlus 3 which is carried forward from the OnePlus 2. It sports a 1080x1920-pixel screen that has a pixel density of 401ppi and is not as bright as an IPS LCD display. It’s merely an acceptable display.

The other concerning factor is the price. At Rs 27,990 the OnePlus 3 is not that affordable anymore. With a similar operating system experience it is bound to be cannibalised by its predecessor the OnePlus 2. Yes, it is an incremental upgrade over the previous phone but mostly in terms of hardware and design.

Verdict

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The OnePlus 3 boasts of some supercool hardware that makes it a steal at the price that it’s sold at. The phones has no issues when it comes to the performance and battery back-up. The only downside is the display on the OnePlus 3 and a similar Android Marshmallow experience that you get on the OnePlus 2.

If you are looking to buy a flagship device and are not keen on spending in excess of Rs 30,000 on a phone then the OnePlus 3 is a no-brainer and it's still a flagship killer. OnePlus 3 is all the phone you’ll ever need in 2016.
first published:June 20, 2016, 14:47 IST