OnePlus 3 is practically the perfect Android smartphone

The OnePlus 3’s design draws inspiration from many rival phones .
Image: brittany herbert/ mashable

It’s always way more fun to root for the underdogs. The little guys with fewer resources. They’re the guys who fight the hardest to keep the illuminations on because it’s truly shoot for the moon or go bust.

OnePlus has been fighting an uphill battle against Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC, Xiaomi pretty much every smartphone maker as the company’s grown since 2013.

Learning lessons is a necessary part of growing. For OnePlus, it would appear they’ve learned a lot of lessons in the last year.

The company’s new flagship OnePlus 3 is mighty impressive on paper and even more incredible in your hand. This is Nexus-, Galaxy- and iPhone-level excellence, but with a price that destroys all of them.

The biggest lesson OnePlus learned and has ultimately done away with is its invite-to-buy system. That’s right, you’ll actually be able a OnePlus 3 without needing to receive an invite. Not merely that, but it’ll also be available on Amazon( in India ) in addition to OnePlus’s website.

Like Xiaomi, OnePlus rose to the global stage selling phones with competitive specs at a fraction of the cost of premium devices. The OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 were successes driven by their low pricing as much as they were for their excellent build quality.

This year, OnePlus has distilled its flagship telephone back down to a single 64 GB model that costs $399 and launches on June 14 in the U.S. and Europe( 399 Euros ), and on June 15 in India( 27,999 INR) and China( 3,098 HKD ). The price is a far cry from the $299 days of the OnePlus One, but it’s still less the Google Nexus 6P, which expenses $549 for a 64 GB model.

Besides, if you don’t need the latest performance, OnePlus also sells the fantastic OnePlus X for $199( It’s great.I bought two for my mothers last year to replace their old Nexus 4 phones ).

Influences from everyone

The OnePlus 3 has a 5.5 -inch full HD screen.

Image: brittany herbert/ mashable

Online leaks exposed the OnePlus 3’s design from every angle weeks before the phone arrived in order to be allowed to test. 3D renders give you a good notion of what a phone will look like, but not how it feels. And telling you, the OnePlus 3 feels amazing.

The OnePlus 3’s smooth unibody metal design borrows from the HTC One M8, iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S7 that all went before it. Every phone is a lookalike. Everyone copies. Even Apple.

The antenna lines aren’t nearly as ugly as the iPhone 6’Ss, the buttons are perfectly tactile and I don’t even mind the camera hump on the back.

Gorgeous all around

Perfectly tactile buttons( Click to enlarge)

Image: BRITTANY HERBERT // MASHABLE

Speaker, USB-C port and headphone jack( Click to enlarge)

Image: Brittany herbert // mashable

The glass on the 5.5 -inch display melts right into a thin chamfer before spilling into the metal body. The cutouts for all the ports are all located on the bottom. The fingerprint sensor is rounder this time and still unlocks the phone speedily with just a touch( no press required) of the thumb. It’s faster than the iPhone 6’Ss Touch ID sensor, too.

Rival phones all sport a sharper and denser Quad HD-resolution screen, but to be honest, the OnePlus 3’s 1080 p AMOLED screen still looks great. While it’s not the brightest screen, I could still assure the screen fine with the brightness set to 50% to 75% outdoors.

Classic OnePlus finishes via cases

( Click to enlarge)

Image: brittany herbert/ mashable

( Click to enlarge)

Image: BRITTANY HERBERT/ MASHABLE

I’m a fan of OnePlus’s signature sandstone back and it’s a sad to not assure such a striking texture return. OnePlus sort of builds up for it with its official OnePlus 3 cases, though, which come in sandstone ($ 19.95) and several timber finishes ($ 24.95 ), but those will obviously expensed extra.

Pure performance

If you’ve read any of my flagship Android phone reviews this year( Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, LG G5, HTC 10, Xiaomi Mi 5, etc .) you’re already aware of the unstoppable performance duo: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor paired with 4GB of RAM.

This winning combo is what every high-end Android phone has in common. OnePlus didn’t want the OnePlus 3 to be another phone in the 820 -4GB RAM club, so it went one further and included 6GB of RAM.

I opened 50 apps and the phone just handled it all like it was NBD.

Apple’s -Anumbered processors and iOS are well known for their ability to handle powerful undertakings without requiring a boatload of RAM; it’s why the iPhone 6S only has 2GB of RAM. Android not so much the software and apps just eat memory like there’s no tomorrow.

I never got any slowdown while testing phones with 4GB of RAM and I sure as hell didn’t get any performance issues with the OnePlus 3’s 6GB of RAM. I opened 50 apps and the phone just handled it all like it was NBD. Even while playing games with high-resolution 3D graphics, the OnePlus 3 never choked up. It actually doesnt get better than that.

OnePluss approach to Android has always been to augment it with useful features. But at the same time give users the option to disable anything they dont want. The OnePlus 3 operates OxygenOS on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The OnePlus 3 operates OxygenOS, which is essentially stock Android with got a couple of customizations( can be disabled) like this “Shelf” board.

Image: brittany herbert/ mashable

As with previous versions of OxygenOS, Android remains fairly stock theres no bloatware anywhere in sight and no duplication apps and features like the Shelf notification board, gestures for activating features like the flashlight( draw a “v” on the screen) and camera( draw an “o” ), darknes mode and proximity sensor( wave hand over the screen or take telephone out of your pocket) to check for the time and notifications are useful, but can be disabled at any time.

On top of all this power, you get battery life that lasts a day and half from its 3,000 milliamp-hour( mAh) battery and Dash Charging, which charges up your telephone from 0% to about 60% in 30 minutes.

Sharp pictures

The OnePlus 3 has a 16 -megapixel back camera with f/ 2.0 aperture.

Image: brittany herbert/ mashable

It’s get harder and harder to find a flagship telephone with a camera that sucks these days. Every major flagship Android phone has a pretty great camera and low-light performance. The Galaxy S7/ S7 Edge, LG G5, HTC 10 I’ve tried them all and they’re all outstanding compared to a year ago.

The OnePlus 3’s 16 -megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front-facing camera won’t topple any of its Android competitors if you compare their apertures( low f-stop number, which is key to better low-light performance ), but that doesn’t mean they’re inferior.

Super crispy outdoors

You can see it tells “Bryant Park” on one of the chairs in the front.( Click to enlarge)

Image: raymond wong/ mashable

( Click to enlarge)

Image: Raymond Wong/ mashable

Through a combination of Sony image sensors with phase-detection autofocus( that’s the tech that allows for super-quick autofocusing in about 0.2 seconds) and OnePlus’s own software( “Dynamic De-noise” for image noise reduction and “HD Mode” for sharper details and “HDR” a.k.a. High Dynamic Range for better uncovered images ), I was pleasantly astonished at how good the photos were, even in low-light situations.

The cameras, while better than previous OnePlus phones, aren’t best-in-class many photos came out blurry because the autofocus missed a bunch of days and it’s not great at freezing moving objects but it’s still pretty good if you know good photography practices. Even if you don’t, the cameras still do a good job, especially if you’re merely looking at them on your phone’s screen.

All in the details

Can you assure the little fibers on each strand?( Click to enlarge)

Image: Raymond wong/ mashable

( Click to enlarge)

Image: raymond wong/ mashable

Pretty good in dim places .( Click to enlarge)

Image: raymond wong/ mashable

Shines in low-light

The New York State Pavilion observation towers illuminated up for the first time in 50 years on June 9, 2016.( Click to enlarge)

Image: raymond wong/ mashable

Look at how sharp the clay is in the sun from the go kart .( Click to enlarge)

Image: raymond wong/ mashable

Not bad for a selfie .( Click to enlarge)

Image: Raymond wong/ mashable

The back camera can take pretty crisp photos thanks to the optical image stabilization. For shooting video, the electronic image stabilization helps smooth out shaky footage.

Manual controls are nice!

Image: brittany herbert/ mashable

More serious photographers will also love the manual controls and RAW image support.

Practically perfect

OnePlus 2( left) and OnePlus 3( right ).

Image: BRITTANY HERBERT // MASHABLE

I liked the OnePlus 2, but I didn’t love it the way I do the Nexus 6P and Galaxy S7/ S7 Edge. But I can now tell I love the OnePlus 3, too.

As a phonethe OnePlus 3 is off-the-charts spectacular.

It’s arguable the screen isn’t on par with the those two phones, which means utilizing it for VR isn’t quite as crispy, but as a telephone the OnePlus 3 is off-the-charts spectacular for its price.

Whereas the OnePlus 2 wasn’t very future-proof, the OnePlus 3 is. The powerful processor and insane quantity of RAM ensures it won’t be obsolete by next year, the second nano SIM card slot is useful if you travel a lot and NFC means you can use Android Pay and connect with NFC-compatible speakers and other devices.

Including a microSD card slot for adding more storage would have attained the OnePlus 3 even closer to perfect.

The OnePlus 3 is practically perfect, save for expandable storage, waterproofing, fast wireless charge and a QuadHD display. To be honest, I could live without any of these.

OnePlus has really outperformed itself and its challengers this year. I dare you to find a better Android phone for $400.

OnePlus 3

The Good

Polished, premium design Ridiculous performance Excellent cameras First-class fingerprint sensor Fantastic software Priced to kill

The Bad

No expandable storage slot

The Bottom Line

The OnePlus 3 is a remarkable smartphone that crushes more expensive phones with style, power and price.

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