Gone are the days you had to wait for a flash sale to get your hands on a brand new budget phone that was the total definition of “bang for your buck”. With its 3rd iteration in the budget top dog segment Oneplus, the company that showed up with a one of a kind flagship killer in 2014 is back to make you want you justify spending 600+ USD on that shiny new Galaxy or iPhone.
Let me put it in the simplest layman terms. This is a metal beast you’d love to play around with. With a 5.5” FHD (73.1% screen) AMOLED display, 6 GB RAM and the high end Snapdragon 820/821 chipset (both differ in a mere 0.20 GHz with a slight performance upgrade for the 3T that you probably won’t notice) you’d be getting nothing better even if you decide to spend the extra $250 for the regular joe’s Sammy. The screen’s protected by Gorilla Glass 4 and our unit hasn’t suffered any damages in all of our testing the device.
For the review period of our device which stretched north of 6 months ( OP3 ), we tested it along with the Samsung Gear S3 without any problems. The battery lasted a full day easily and even more on numerous occasions. Even on days that it drained out fast, a quick refuel was easy with the provided DASH CHARGE power brick included in the box.
The camera is a solid upgrade from the previous two iterations of the phone and comes in at 16MP with an f/2.0 lens. Well lit shots looked fabulous on the budget and the night shots were what you’d expect from a camera in this range. The camera is capable of shooting in RAW for the times you need to along with a manual mode for those moments you feel like a pro. It can shoot at 4K with OIS though you should probably use a stabilizer handle as well as the edges seem to be shakier than the centre frame. All in all, for that price we wouldn’t complain much as this might be the best camera in the segment.
While testing this unit as our daily driver for 6 months, we came across a lot of things that pricked our interest. First of all, the software experience is spot on! The near to stock android experience given by the Oxygen OS is pretty hard to resist. The UI is seamless. The small additions to software is what makes it even better. For instance, take the Shelf. Shelf provides home to all the recent apps, widgets, contacts, weather and lot more with just a swipe to the left from the home screen. It is really handy when time is of the essence. Another thing that stands out is the feature that allows us to swap between on-screen and off-screen navigation buttons. To add to it, t
here is also a feature that permits the user to give specific functions to those buttons when long pressed or double tapped. Coming to the home button/ fingerprint scanner, it is just as fast as any flagship out there and pretty accurate too. There have been times when one might find bugs in the OS, but that is not a concern since OnePlus does fix them with regular OTA updates.
But, this does not mean that everything is perfect about the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 3/3T is the “flagship killer” at this time. In the near future, the OnePlus 5 shall arrive to kill even more flagships, and if you have the older version of the flagship killer, you may not receive the OTA updates regularly. Being the former owners of the OnePlus One and the OnePlus 2, we say it with experience that the focus on maintaining it’s older flagships will become drastically less.
Under vigorous testing of the limits, we found that the battery will drain quite faster if you have a more than average usage. But the dash charge does live upto its name, so its never been a huge problem.
Overall, this is all we have found out by spending 6 months with this device as out daily driver and we are happy to say that it still lives up to its name. And, for a price like this, there can be no better alternative if you want to have a flagship experience and feel that premium build. By no means is this perfect, but to offer this much in about half the price of the premium phones out there, we can surely expect a lot more to come from this company. If you are looking for a new phone and do not want to spend a lot, perhaps, OnePlus is definitely worth checking out. Tech Men approves it.