OnePlus 6 Review

OnePlus 6 Mobile

The OnePlus 6 is here, in all its glory, and although it looks and feels like a premium smart phone that can rival the likes of the iPhone X and Samsung S9, it still suffers from some minor features that keeps this handset very much the underdog of flagship mobiles. They’re not a huge hinderence to most users, but it makes me wonder why a superior manufacturer like OnePlus, who have seemingly stormed their way through the competition will miss out on these seemingly obvious features.

Take IP ratings for example. It doesn’t have one. OnePlus do extensive tests on their handsets before shipping to ensure they’re perfect for consumers, and leaving the OnePlus 6 on the side blasting your favourite shower karaoke tunes certainly won’t harm the device, but to outright leave out any kind of water resistance is a missed trick if you ask me.

The other is the fact that this phone only sports a 1080p display. I know that this is a definite trade off in terms of price, but it seems strange that if they’re really wanting to rival other brands for that top spot, why not just up that to a quad-HD or something. It’s still 2280 x 1080p FHD+ OLED screen which is extremely colourful and vivid and an absolute joy to look at. Plus we all know that larger resolutions evidently decrease usage time when batteries are concerned.

But if there is one area that OnePlus excels, that’s with the design of the OnePlus 6. This handset is absolutely beautiful, and good looking enough to rival the likes of Apple and Samsung. For the most part the phone is covered in Gorilla Glass 5 which promises optimal protection from drops. It comes in a number of colours like white, red and a couple of black finishes, one matte one gloss. The gloss black is an absolute fingerprint magnet, but the white which we have here is wonderful. The included clear plastic case that came inside the box too is a God send. Not just for protection from drops, but dirt on that sexy white back.

I would say around 90% of the front is covered by its 6.3″ screen, with a bit of flexibility in the chin to house some tech like the USB Type-C charging port, a speaker and headphone jack. The top is pretty bezeless with the exception of a small notch which houses the front facing camera and a speaker for calls. It’s small, and will become invisible after a short amount of time. Down the left you will see the sim card slot as well as volume buttons, a strange feeling getting used to as pretty much all other phones have their volume rocker on the right. However, there is good reason for that.

Down the left hand side of the phone you can find the standard power/lock button and a switch. The switch is physical, meaning you  physically click it into position, and that determines whether the phone is in silent, vibrate or loud. A wonderful feature if you ask me, and saves you unlocking your device and physically turning down your ringtone with the volume rocker. Why more phones don’t do this I have no idea. But it’s a nice touch none the less.

On the back you will find a fingerprint sensor just below the dual camera. The sensor works extremely fast too, unlocking your phone in well under a second. Coming from a mid-range Honor 7X, it definitely feels great to have that kind of reaction time to my fingerprint again.

As stated above, the OLED screen is incredibly bright and vivid and can display a wonderful range of colours. A nice feature is the seemingly endless settings that you can make to the display. There are a number of colour options to choose  from including sRGB and DCI-P3 with  the latter being the clear winner here. There’s an adaptive mode which changes the colours depending on what you’re doing on the phone and also a custom tool to change your phone to a warmer or colder tone. I’m using the dark theme as I find it easier to read on-screen text, but you can use light as well which looks a little cleaner and new.

Inside the phone is a Snapdragon 845 processor and either 6GB or 8GB RAM depending on which model you choose. Choice of RAM? Odd one. Usually it’s storage space. Oh wait, there is a choice of storage too, up to 256GB in fact. To be honest with you, I would very much doubt there would be too much difference between the 6GB and 8GB RAM models, but as there is no expandable storage, choose carefully which one you would need. Prices of course increase the bigger the numbers.

I never had a single issue during my time with the OnePlus 6. All apps opened near instantaneous, games ran extremely smoothly and multitasking was a flawless venture. I was extremely impressed with this handset. Unlocking the phone with the figerprint sensor was so quick, and even facial recognition feature worked quickly too, even in the dark which was surprising. I don’t really know what to say about this phone other than yes, in this area, it definitely keeps up with rival flagships from Samsung, Apple and LG.

But I think that can be down to the very well optimised Oxygen OS that OnePlus have developed for the OnePlus 6. It acts as an overlay for Android, but retains so much of the vanilla Android look and feel that it just works. I’ve mentioned tweaks you can make above like changing the colour scheme to light or dark and turning on reading mode rendering the screen black and white when in apps like Kindle. But the little things like clicking the unlock button while staring at your handset will launch you into your home screen rather than Apple’s FaceID requiring that extra swipe. OnePlus also allows you to install Android P, although not a finished version. You can even turn off the bottom three navigation buttons to rely on swipes and flicks to get you around, very similar to the way iOS works. Call me old skool, but I do like my nav buttons at the bottom.

Now, to the part you’re inevitably been waiting for, the camera. While the OnePlus 6 competes in pretty much all aspects with flagship handsets, the camera is where you can really see the difference in quality between this and the likes of the Samsung S9, iPhone X or Google Pixel 2 Plus. There are two cameras on the back. The first is a 16 megapixel f/1.7 snapper that’ll be your main camera. The secondary camera has a 20 megapixel sensor which aids photos like portraits. There’s also some optical image stabilisation here which is a nice addition considering OnePlus has ignored it for some time now.

For the most part, day time photos come out pretty well exposed. Everything is aided by the Auto HDR feature that I personally choose to keep on. It just helps with things like the sky blowing out too often causing a white blanket above your subject’s head. Low light performance has also seen vast improvement over older OnePlus models. The biggest issue I had here compared to flagship performance was with the portrait mode and subjects having soft edges, especially long hair in the wind. There’s some camera modes you can switch to like slowmo which gives you a minute of 480fps slow motion footage and timelapse too. The video can record in 4K at 60FPS if that’s your thing and you’re aiming for that YouTube slowmo dramatic shot.

Regarding battery life, I’ve had no issue here, and have managed to get a full day’s use out of this handset with moderate usage. You know, social media browsing throughout the day, listening to music on my commute to work and some light gaming. Nothing out of the ordinary of smartphone use. If I had a heavy day of use, then maybe around the evening time I would be reaching for my charger. Thanks to the dash charge capability, I’m back up to full battery in no time. There’s no wireless charging here which is a shame because the phone has a glass back, but again, OnePlus wanted to keep the cost down.

With all that said and done, I must say that the OnePlus 6 is definitely a phone not to be missed. Okay, you do lose out on some minor flagship handset stuff, but the pros here definitely outweigh the cons. I just wish it had a better camera on there that could rival that of the LG ThinQ G7. Now that would be some next level stuff right there. But in terms of the price, we’ve seen it for as little as £449 online from some online retailers, and its also exclusive to O2 at the moment for those of you looking for a contract. And for that kind of money, you’re not going to get better on the current market. And damn, the OnePlus 6 looks good too.

 

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