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OnePlus 3 review

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Is third time the charm for OnePlus? We crunch the numbers for our review.
oneplus 3 hero

Pros

  • Feels very 'premium'
  • Significantly cheaper than top-end Android phones
  • Impressive specifications

Cons

  • You can't expand storage with a microSD card
  • Screen is a little disappointing
  • Camera isn't quite as good as we'd hoped

First Impressions

  • Feels light in the hand, despite metal construction
  • Great if you feel like a change from Samsung and Apple
  • The price is right

oneplus 3 first impressions box

OnePlus has quickly made a name for itself as a company that makes highly affordable handsets with flagship specs.

While its first two handsets shook up the smartphone market, they suffered from a critical failing – they were sold through an invite-only system that left most people in the lurch.

Not the OnePlus 3. It's available from the OnePlus website, starting at the mid-range price of £329. Or you can pick it up on a monthly contact on O2 Refresh Plans.

Head to our dedicated page to compare OnePlus 3 deals.

Design

  • Fast charging mode comes in very handy
  • High quality metal construction
  • Fingerprint sensor adds an extra layer of security

oneplus 3 in hand

For an affordable phone, the OnePlus 3 certainly feels premium.

Its all-metal and glass construction really puts it up there with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 in terms of design.

It's slim and has a big screen, too. Full marks from us.

oneplus 3 side on-off

Build Metal and glass
Weight 158g
Dimensions 152.7x74.7x7.35mm

Screen

  • Sharp image quality
  • Colours feel a bit unnatural
  • Visibility is good from a range of angles

oneplus 3 front angled

At 5.5 inches, the screen is nice and big, and it's bright too. But for us the colours seem a little overdone.

Compared to a flagship like the Samsung Galaxy S7 – and the OnePlus 3 is touted as a "flagship phone killer", after all – the colours are a bit unnatural.

It's not a deal breaker. But it is worth knowing. The resolution is Full HD too, not 2K like some phones.

Again, it's not a huge deal – having a lower resolution never hurt the iPhone – but it will look a little underwhelming placed next to the likes of the Galaxy S7 and HTC 10.

All in all, though, the screen is nice and sharp and more than big enough for anyone's needs.

Size 5.5-inches
Resolution 1,920x1,080 pixels
Technology SuperAMOLED

Camera

  • Records pin-sharp 4K video
  • Slow to focus
  • Great results in good light conditions

With a 16-megapixel main camera and 8-megapixel front-facing camera, the OnePlus 3 certainly isn't lacking imaging prowess.

The camera app is simple and uncluttered, and the shutter is nice and fast (as is cycling through photos afterwards).

oneplus 3 camera app

It's not all good, though. For one thing, it can be a bit sluggish to focus, and the 'contrast' – which is the difference between the light and dark parts of a photo – has been bettered elsewhere.

It's great in good light, but after dark you might struggle to get photos of comparable quality.

Camera 16MP
Optical image stabilisation Yes
Unique features Dynamic Denoise

Performance and battery life

  • No microSD card slot
  • Decent battery life
  • Feels speedy

oneplus 3 fingerprint scanner detail

The OnePlus 3 is powered by an operating system called Oxygen OS. It's heavily based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and to be honest, you probably won't notice the difference.

It has some neat personalisation options, but if you're not interested in them, you can use it just like a standard Android phone.

The powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor keeps everything running smoothly, and combined with a staggering 6GB of RAM, the OnePlus 3 really is a powerhouse of a phone.

6GB may well be overkill, and it doesn't make it noticeably faster than the HTC 10, which has 4GB of RAM. But it's more than fast enough.

There is one bugbear, however. There's no microSD card slot.

oneplus three rear angled

A lot of people choose Android because it has expandable storage (so you can fit on more films, games, photos and whatnot). So for that option to be missing from the OnePlus 3 is a real shame.

Instead it comes in just one storage option: 64GB. You can't get it with any more, or any less, space.

The battery lasts a full day, but not much more. That's about standard for most phones, though some are now pushing the two-day mark.

It also comes with a Dash charger that charges up the phone from zero to 95 per cent battery life in under an hour. Very handy.

RAM 6GB
Battery capacity 3,000mAh
OS and version Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

Value for money

At £329 or £23 per month on O2, it's cheaper than a flagship phone, yet pricier than the likes of the Moto G4.

But if you're looking for a powerful Android phone and don't want to commit to a contract, we would say that price is about right.

Verdict

  • Good, but not great camera
  • Standard battery life
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • No expandable storage
  • Oxygen OS based on Android Marshmallow
  • Very powerful
  • Premium design
  • Big screen, but duller than some rivals
  • Keenly priced

oneplus three hero

The OnePlus 3 is not quite on a par with the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7. But given the price, it's a more than worthy substitute for anyone on a budget.

Category: Reviews
Tagged: oneplus

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