A lot can be inferred from the Tweet that Carl Pei, the CEO of OnePlus, wrote stating that while they coined the term Flagship Killer for OnePlus One and have not used it since tons of brands have gone about using it and chasing the bar. With the OnePlus 3, without promising it to be a flagship killer, OnePlus seems to have at least reached, if not surpassed the standard they set themselves with their first device. It is therefore not surprising that the OnePlus 3 is one of the big hits as far as smartphones in 2016 go.
In order to catch, understand and perhaps glorify or vilify the hype, we picked up a OnePlus 3 yesterday and vouch for the fact that its a phone you have to use to know how good it is. It is a pity that unless you have a friend who owns it or is using it, you cannot check one out given that OnePlus 3 is exclusively available on Amazon and not in retail outlets. So with just over 12 hours of using the phone, here are the first five thoughts that have formulated in our minds around the phone. Treat this as first impressions or just generally the most obvious sticking points of the phone, we leave that to you.
Table of Contents
OnePlus has upped the game when it comes to build quality
Both, the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 suffered from QC issues. There were hairline gaps, bumps or back bruises on the device thanks to largely a plastic build quality with sandstone back on the devices. This time, though, the device features a metallic unibody construction. In fact, the OnePlus 3 looks like a lovechild when Apple and HTC decided to turn off the lights and get under quilts. It is that good. We did tap the metallic back a few times to see for any softness, but surprisingly, this is a well-built product. The 2.5D glass on the front makes the whole device look like one solid solution and that only adds to the physical appeal of the device. Even details like the speaker grille at the bottom or the earphone grille at the top are very neatly done and do not have cutouts that collect dust.
The fingerprint scanner is fast
We have been using the iPhone 6s Plus regularly as our go to phone, and the Touch ID 2.0 screams speed. But the scanner on the OnePlus 3 is just as good if not faster. Also the fact that the Home button on the device is not clickable is something that will grow on you. If you have used phones like iPhones or even the Galaxy S series, you will agree that everytime you press the home button, you are that bit careful of not spoiling it or pressing too hard. Lesser the mechanical moving parts the better and with OnePlus 3, you can configure the home button to act like a proper home button, without clicking. It is something that you most likely will appreciate and actually like it, we know we did after having reservations.
Dash Charger is rapid
When we unboxed the OnePlus 3, it came with about 65% battery out of the box. First charges are obviously never the perfect indication to make conclusions, but in about fifty minutes of time, we had the phone at 100%. With OnePlus claiming that the first 60% of the battery can be charged in about 30 minutes, you are looking at roughly an hour and twenty minutes or about 80 minutes to your phone at full charge. This is excellent and really impressive. Since the OnePlus 3 comes with a 3000 mAh non-removable battery, if you are a very heavy user, you will not make through the day with its battery, especially if you are on data and not WiFi. This is where you really appreciate the Dash Charger. Once you have gotten hang of using one, highly likely that you would not want to use any other charger including several of Turbo Chargers that are doing the rounds.
The Alert Slider is something more OEMs should do
When you are spending good nine to ten hours of your day in an office your phone is inevitably on silent or vibrate mode more often than on loud. Having to adjust the sound profile with just the volume rocker can be confusing especially if you have another media playing. iPhone has always had a dedicated slider for profile switching and OnePlus has done the same. You have a three-way switch that puts your phone to silent, take only priority calls and then on loud. This is useful when you do not want to turn your phone on and still want to put it on silent, places like movie theatres really make you appreciate the slider. In fact, the grooves on top of the slider makes siding it that bit more convenient as it is easy to grip. It may be an understated feature, but one you will appreciate once you start using the phone.
The Phone is super fast
While it would not be right to comment on the performance without really pushing the phone to its full limits, the initial thoughts are that the device can handle pretty much everything you can throw at it. Even at the time of setting up the device, we were syncing three Google accounts, pretty much everything social media and IM and still could move between apps without a hitch. Scrolling on web browser was smooth, videos played without a drop of a frame. We are yet to run benchmark tests or even do some serious gaming on the device, but that should not be much of a challenge to the prowess. We used the phone even when it was plugged into the charger and we did not feel the phone getting much hot either. While the charger was a fair bit hot, the device itself could stand the temperatures well and performances did not suffer one bit, on charging either.
We will come back with a more detailed take on the OnePlus 3, in our final review, where we will be in a better position to comment on things like battery life, camera performances, and network connectivity on the phone as those need the phone to be tested thoroughly. So stay tuned for the same.