OnePlus has been a unique company in many ways. It was among the first to decide that its single mission would be to offer a smartphone that can take on the flagship devices, but at much lower price points. It has been very successful in this endeavour with the OnePlus One, maybe a bit less so with the OnePlus 2. Now, it’s time for its third marquee device, the OnePlus 3. Though ideally a one-device-a-year company, OnePlus had to buckle to market pressures and offer a mid-range OnePlus X last year. However, it seems the company has realised that its strength lies in offering a phone that pushes the limits for its price point and has the bigger brands second guessing themselves. Can the OnePlus 3 do this, again?
The OnePlus 3 is sure stylish. In fact, it can easily pass off as an HTC flagship, which I think has been the pinnacle of smartphone design. The metallic body of the phone offers sort of assurance a plastic body never can. It is also one of the thinner devices I have used recently.
What is good?
If you are the sort who likes to flaunt a phone, then the OnePlus 3 could be a really good option. It is stylish, but without being flashy. It is metallic, but without being blingy. This is a phone that understands the value of being subtle. And despite the resemblance to some other devices, it is also unique in more ways than one. That camera module, the notifications toggle, or just the curved edges… there is a lot you will love about this phone. The Full HD (480 dpi) display of the OnePlus 3 will keep you more than happy. The screen can be bright enough to work well even under the harsh Delhi sun.
I haven’t experienced any stalls or stutters. I have done most things a regular user would from multi-tab browsing to multitasking and the OnePlus 3 has been able to handle all of that well. There is a hint of heat at times, especially when you are working online, but the phone has not heated up. The 6 GB RAM on the phone also comes in handy when you are playing heavy duty games.
For me, the best feature of this phone has to be its camera. OnePlus has always excelled with its cameras, and the third edition takes it to a whole new level. The kind of detail available on this phone is incredible and puts it right there next to the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge or the LG G5. But given that this phone will cost half of its competitors, I am inclined to say this is the best Android camera around. The phone offers a lot of controls in the manual mode and for those who like to play with settings, especially shutter speeds and ISOs, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
The OnePlus 3 runs Oxygen OS version 3, which is pretty much stock Android. There are enough tweaks here and there that improve the user experience significantly. For instance, the physical notifications toggle that lets you filter only important messages is a great feature for those who are inundated by mails and notifications through the day.
What is not that good?
I don’t want to go around nitpicking and will tell you that in the time I have had the phone, I noticed no big issues. However, I want to make this statement with a caveat. The OnePlus 2 was a great phone till a software update made it lose whatever was helping it keep the thermal footprint of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. And the issues with overheating and the results drop in battery life started creeping in only after a month or so.
The 6 GB RAM is a great feature to flaunt on the box of a phone, but there is hardly any use for it at the moment. Thank God, you are not really paying a premium for the extra RAM at the moment.
The OnePlus 3, at the moment, appears to be a serious flagship killer as the brand has always intended its smartphones to be. It has at least one feature which even top flagships haven’t offered users at the moment; that is 6 GB RAM. Plus, in my books, it offers the best Android camera, comparable with the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. I would buy the phone just for its camera.
* Estimated street price: Rs 27,999