OnePlus 3 hands-on at NYC pop-up event

What makes a smartphone company a success? Raw sales? Well, that's an obvious metric, sure, but the market's large enough that even a smaller player with a comfortably sized share can do quite well for itself. Maybe the more appropriate measure of a manufacturer's worth is the degree to which it's willing to learn and adapt. OnePlus has never been a company afraid to do things a little differently, but this year, with the launch of the new OnePlus 3, it's not only continuing to stand out from the pack, but it's also rethinking its priorities in terms of hardware and retail sales. That evolving focus is now responsible for bringing us what looks like it could be the company's most compelling handset to date.

If you thought the OnePlus One was a noble experiment, and that the OnePlus 2 was a solid sophomore effort (albeit one that maybe missed the mark a little), the OnePlus 3 shows what happens when a company takes a good long look at what's working, what isn't, and comes up with a thoughtful response. The mysteriously absent hardware like NFC on the OnePlus 2? OnePlus has heard your complaints, and designed the OP3 to address them.

Don't get us wrong – it's still a budget-minded handset that doesn't splurge on niceties like an ultra high-res display – but OnePlus says it's been listening to users where they've been saying “these features matter.”

One place it looks like OnePlus has been paying particular attention to user feedback has been in terms of design, and the OnePlus 3 feels premium to its core. The metal handset's aesthetics hold their own favorably against even high-profile flagships like the HTC 10, and while OnePlus is back again with an array of multi-textured cases to dress the phone up with a new look, it almost feels like a shame to to cover up this attractive metal body.

The build quality feels remarkably high, especially for a handset of this price (just about $400), and a close look reveals all sorts of elements that scream attention to detail: even the holes for the speaker grille have beveled edges.

Now it's just up to OnePlus to convince smartphone users to take a chance on its hardware. At last night's NYC pop-up event, a crowd of eager OnePlus fans stretched around the block, but passers-by seemed both unfamiliar with the brand, as well as a bit clueless as to just how much they were paying for their own big-name phones. The OnePlus 3 sure looks like it's doing a lot right, but it's still going to take a major effort to get the smartphone-buying public to pay attention.

Related phones

  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3000 mAh



1. Ironboned

Posts: 77; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

Really even 99$ is way to much for this phone. OnePlus devices are really junk

2. antmiu2

Posts: 550; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

why? no valid reasons makes you a hatter.

3. Jevon5

Posts: 60; Member since: Feb 15, 2016

I know a troll when I see one

6. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Troll better please. If your trolling isn't good enough it won't start an argument that's fun to watch.

4. emmawilliam834

Posts: 241; Member since: Feb 09, 2016

It's very good, it's just not great. But that's the tagline of this generation. Phones have plateaued.

5. kevin007in

Posts: 327; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

woo!!! iphone like bottom and top, back like an HTC, camera looks like samsung galaxy s6, back covers like motorola . thats called A HYBRID !!!

7. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Design is better than htc, meizu, or huawei flagship imo. Neat, clean, symmetrical, thin but with enough battery capacity. And I'd rather have FHD amoled than QHD LCD.

8. Eclectech

Posts: 351; Member since: May 01, 2013

I think OnePlus made a lot of smart choices, including the screen, but I don't think it's better designed than the HTC 10. That's kind of blasphemous when you consider OnePlus basically borrowed HTC's design cues...typical Chinese

9. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

It looks and specs like a $400 phone. Not sufficient for my needs due to back not flat, no stereo speakers, low resolution screen and it looks like an HTC. If I truly could only spend $400 I would probably buy a Nexus 6 refurbished and have a few nice meals with the money left..

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