The OnePlus 6 is built for immense speed. OnePlus brand has the history of being a flagship killer with top of the line hardware in a normal price range. The OnePlus 6 is just as fast as its ancestors and competitively priced with such lucrative configuration down the hood, it makes it not possible to buy it over any other expensive flagship smartphones.
OnePlus 6 In Depth Review
The OnePlus brand has a simple philosophy, give people what they want at such a price that’s ought to put flagship phone makers to shame. The all new OnePlus 6 is no different this time. The phone comes with turbo powered performance backed by the Qualcomm snapdragon 845 chipset coupled with 8GB RAM and 256 GB of storage. It’s made for the speed and ultimate sophistication. It has the best touch latency and the display feels like feather responsive.
The OnePlus comes bundled with all the features that are in trends of any smartphone in 2018, notched display, glass design, vertically aligned dual cameras, portrait selfies and what not! However, it has its own set of flaws making less durable and not in line with future forward compatibility. But, the flaws don’t make it any less loveable, thanks to the value for the money, probably the most important aspect in Indian market. This is the most anticipated device of the year and it stood against all the expectations with all fervour and mettle.
OnePlus 6, Let’s Talk Design
OnePlus always bring what the premium phone makers offer at a much shallow price. That way OnePlus 6 takes both iPhone X and the Galaxy S9 head to head. From the front , OnePlus 6 looks very similar to iPhone X because of the note. At the back it looks something similar to S9+. However it’s not all inspired. It has the signature OnePlus curve where the back panel curves gently to meet the edges. This feature add value to the gripping factor of the smartphone, and it stays in hand with ease. Also, the meticulous attention to details also makes it feel and look like any other premium smart phone at not so premium price range.
Glass is in trend these days will all the new smart phones. OnePlus 6 is no different. The OnePlus 6 comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 which has reputation of being drop survivor and taking scratches with all happiness and laughter. The glass sandwich panel has added to the weight of the unit, however it doesn’t affect the ergonomics of the device in any way possible.
OnePlus 6 is also thicker than its ancestors. The screen takes most of the real estate on the front and bezels are minimalistic in design. OnePlus 6 is designed to functional. The alert slider has been shifted to the right side and now it sits right above the power button while the volume rocker is on the left. The finger print sensor is very near to the camera on the back panel.
Overall the OnePlus 6 sports a minimalist design with a smart functional design and when paired up with glassy finish it adds them flares of of the premium smart phones.
Display : Top NOTCH
The OnePlus 6 has the biggest display seen on any OnePlus device earlier. This doesn’t mean the size of the phone has increased, it’s the same size of that of the OnePlus 5T, thanks to the Notch display. The screen real estate clocks at 6.28 inches with screen to body ratio of 84 percent. The notch space house the status bar with clock and notification icons. It might feel a bit new kind of experience in the beginning but you will get used to it very quickly and don’t even feel like the notch is there. So, till the time someone figures out how to make complete edge to edge panels, I think notch display is here to stay for a while.
The display is much brighter than before. The pixel density has increased as well which adds sharpness to the content. The adaptive brightness works like charm. You might observe some colour loss at peak brightness. The OnePlus 6 retains the reading mode which was introduced in the OnePlus 5. Overall, the display is quite functional and looks dazzling!
Performance And UI
The OnePlus 6 is the first phone in India to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. Needless to say, it’s the fastest mobile platform available for Android devices right now. The chipset rocks eight custom Kryo cores that can hit a max speed of a whopping 2.8GHz. Since Samsung’s Exynos chipset maxes out a 2.2GHz on the Galaxy S9, the OnePlus 6 is officially the fastest phone in India right now. At least on paper. Although, benchmark reports will peg the Galaxy S9 slightly higher than the OnePlus 6. The AnTuTu 7.0 score was 244517 while the OnePlus 6 scores 2372 and 8502 on Geekbench Single Core and Multi-core CPU test respectively. The Adreno 630 GPU on the phone is also quite powerful in simulating graphics. The 3DMark Slingshot score it received was higher than even the Galaxy S9 at 5702. How does all this convert to real life?
Well, it’s certainly fast and if you’re thinking of upgrading from the OnePlus 5T, you’re likely to not feel the difference at all. The phone can switch between apps in a snap, open apps in an instant and while gaming, there’s never a frame drop. The Game Mode that was a hit among users in the 5T has been improved by allowing users to take calls from the speaker while in a game, apart from limiting other apps from accessing the network to allow online games like PubG mobile to have lower latencies. The phone also switches between WiFi and mobile data in an instant.
Perhaps it’s the lack of heavy animations in OxegenOS which powers the OnePlus 5T that makes operations feel super smooth and super fast. The notification shade and the app drawer are accessed in milliseconds while the scrolling down long lists has no stutters whatsoever. It’s amazing how a well-optimised device can work so smoothly. Even the Galaxy S9, over a period of use tends to stumble and stutter at odd times, but the OnePlus 6 has so far proven to be flawless over a week or so of use. I loaded the phone with all sorts of apps, but nothing deters this beast.
A significant portion of the smooth operation can be attributed to the 8GB LPDDR4X RAM that turbo-chargers the performance by always keeping extra resources available on demand. During my time of use, I saw around 2GB of RAM free most of the time, even when a graphics-intensive game, Chrome browser (with 20 tabs), and four-five other odd apps were open. The OnePlus 6 offers up to 256GB of storage. The base variant has 64GB of storage. The choice of including UFS 2.1 storage also helps with improving the speed.
The OxygenOS interface, OnePlus claims now opens apps 11 times faster. Considering how fast it anyway was, the difference is hardly noticeable. The interface is still as near to stock Android I’ve seen yet housing a lot of optimisations and tweaks. A quick glance through the Settings App will tell you the plethora of features the OnePlus 6 brings to the table. There’s some India-centric features as well — Long pressing the fingerprint scanner opens the Paytm QR scanning page instantly. Swiping right from the home screen brings up the dashboard which shows the amount of data used, storage available, recent apps opened, favourite contacts and more.
What’s new in the OxygenOS is the new gestures support. It’s works more similar to that of iPhone X’s than Android P. Swiping up from below takes you back, swiping up and holding brings up the recent apps while swiping up from the centre brings up the homescreen. It does have a learning curve but once you’re used to it, it feels intuitive. However, what needs time to get used to is the typing experience. Because of the gestures, the navigation buttons are no longer needed, which brings the keyboard a level down. This screws with the muscle memory and causes a lot of typos while typing. Apple tackles this with a white bar below the keyboard to maintain the older position.
There’s also no machine-learning mumbo-jumbo in the phone, or at least the company won’t admit using any. OnePlus skipped any mention of the AI buzzword during the launch keynote and by the looks of it, the phone allows superfast operation regardless of whether it’s the first time you’re opening an app or for the hundredth time.
Camera, Oh Camera
The camera(s) at the back of the phone is now one of the most important aspect of choosing a smartphone. And that’s where the OnePlus 6 falters. The phone uses a 16-megapixel + 20-megapixel dual camera stack at the back. That’s the same resolution as the OnePlus 5T but few things have changed inside. The OnePlus 6 now uses a newer Sony IMX 519 sensor along with a larger pixel pitch of 1.22um. It’s dual camera implementation has also changed. The secondary 20-megapixel camera is now used to simulate the depth of field for portrait shots and for faster autofocus. That’s different from last time when the second camera was first used to get 2X hybrid zoom on the OnePlus 5 and then to shoot in low light in the OnePlus 5T.
The newer upgrades, truth be told, doesn’t convert to ‘better’ images. It’s just as good as its predecessor, which isn’t in line with the philosophy of OnePlus phones. Users look forward to the upgrade when they put in money to buy a OnePlus device. Moreover, the company likes to position itself as a flagship under an affordable price. But it’s mostly the cameras on phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 that justifies the extra cost. When it comes to the imaging prowess on the OnePlus 6, you get what you pay for, which isn’t much.
But that doesn’t mean the photos are all that bad. The OnePlus 6 takes well-lit, bright and sharp photos in daylight. It’s HDR algorithm is quite adept at bringing out details in the shadows while the image itself isn’t overexposed. The colours are actually quite close to neutral. Indoors, the phone balances the lights and shadows quite well and the details are sharp enough. OnePlus once again avoided any mention of using AI to improve photos, so I’m presuming there’s nothing of that sort.
The weakness is in the low light imaging. Photos taken under poor lighting tend to lose out on the details. The dynamic range is low and sharpness is lacking. There’s also an ugly glare from the source of light which didn’t go even after cleaning the lens. Safe to say, it isn’t going to dethrone the Pixel 2 or the Galaxy S9 anytime soon in low light photography.
The Portrait Mode is quite adept at subject separation. The subject is separated from the background consistently without overly softening the background. The depth of field actually feels a lot more natural than before, which many might interpret as underwhelming, but it’s not. Furthermore, OnePlus now gives the options to tweak the shape of the bokeh. You can switch between heart-shaped, circle and star-shaped bokehs. The depth of field effect by OnePlus produces creamy bokehs which is perhaps the best part about the camera.
What’s irksome is that OnePlus had a perfectly good solution for providing 2X hybrid zoom in the OnePlus 5, but they walked away from it on the OnePlus 5T and now the OnePlus 6. The zoom in the OnePlus 6 is completely digital, and no matter how much OnePlus claims they use multi-frame processing to get a clean zoom, there’s a significant and noticeable loss in detail with a lack of sharpness.
Battery : Nice Try, Better Luck Next Time
The OnePlus 6 is powered by a 3,300mAh battery that feels palty in comparison to what the power banks-disguised-as-phones like the Huawei P20 PRo provide. And that shows when you’re using the phone. Because of the high-end hardware, the battery drains quite fast, so much so, that you are left with around 5-6 percent of battery after a typical work day. It does need a top up in the evening if you decide to head out after work. That topup is provided by the Dash Charger that can fully charge the battery under an hour. The Dash Charger remains an integral part of the OnePlus experience. It’s the reason why OnePlus can get away with putting a smaller battery on its phones every time. In the PCMark Work 2.0 Battery Test, the phone lasted 5 hours 46 minutes which isn’t up to the standards at all. Interestingly, the benchmark test revealed the discharge is consistent till 20 percent after which it drops drastically. So, when you see the phone’s battery drop below 20 percent, understand that it’s time to plug the charger in.
Should you Buy It
Over the time the flagship killer status enjoyed by OnePlus has been eroded by other players in the market, but it’s quite evident that when it comes market loyalty, OnePlus is still leading the race by many laps! Considering, the hardware configuration and features, the price looks quite minuscule, if you have the budget and want to have the ultimate smartphone experience, close your eyes and just go for OnePlus 6 .