OnePlus 6 hands-on: the affordable flagship returns



Four years, that time certainly doesn't seem all too long ago when you think about it. For Chinese smartphone manufacturer, OnePlus, it undoubtedly feels substantially longer when you think about the amount of flagship smartphones the company has produced during the company's history. It was just back in 2014 when we all feasted our eyes on the so-called flagship killer, the OnePlus One, which was only the start of a storied history.

And now, the company that continues to follow its strategy of never settling, is about to unleash its latest flagship model – the OnePlus 6. During the last year alone, we've seen many trends come to fruition that many companies adopted, but OnePlus is notable for not following one particular one. And that, folks, was its decision to deliver a promising, high-end smartphone without being attached with an exorbitant price point. With all eyes on the OnePlus 6, the timing is just right for the company, who has seen what the competition has brought to the table, and they intend to capitalize on that.

Design


OnePlus 6 hands-on: the affordable flagship returns
OnePlus 6 hands-on: the affordable flagship returns
OnePlus 6 hands-on: the affordable flagship returns
The biggest surprise about the OnePlus 6 that we didn't realize initially is that it no longer leverages the signature all-metal construction we've seen in the series, but it's been replaced by an all-glass one instead featuring Gorilla Glass 5. Honestly, the silk white and midnight black variants of the OnePlus 6 can be mistaken for donning an all-metal design, mainly because the surfaces don't appear glossy at all – unlike the mirror black version, which as its name implies, does exude a mirrored finish. On one hand, we're a bit bummed by the decision to move to an all-glass construction, but we're even more impressed OnePlus is able to emulate the look of its signature metal designs with an all-glass one here.

While the general footprint of the phone follows the OnePlus 5T before it, much like its all-screen appearance on the front and subtle sloping edges around the back, there's more of a symmetrical look with the OnePlus 6 – evident in how the camera is now centered on the back of the phone. Unlike some other phones employing glass designs, the OnePlus 6 doesn't feel as fragile for some reason. Maybe because of the serious weight behind it? Who knows, but it feels incredibly well-built. Between the three color options that will be made available, we're particularly fond of the midnight black, especially how its rear back panel shimmers in this "S" shaped pattern when light hits it at different angles.

You could argue that the design has followed through with the trends we've been accustomed to seeing recently, like its minimal bezel appearance with its display, but we're stoked to see that they've managed to retain the headphone jack. And yes, the new glass construction imbues the phone with some water-resistant qualities.

Display


The AMOLED panel features elegantly rounded corners.

The AMOLED panel features elegantly rounded corners.


Before we get into the nitty-gritty regarding the notch with its display, let's talk about the specs first. With the OnePlus 6, it's accompanied with a 6.28-inch 1080 x 2280 Full Optic OLED display – one that's very pleasing to the eyes with its vibrant colors and wide viewing angles. Sure, it doesn't have match the QHD+ resolutions we find in other flagships, but in all fairness, the OnePlus 6's display is more than detailed when looking at it from a normal distance. In terms of its brightness output, it seems a bit dimmer under direct sunlight during our testing, but it could be just that they're pre-production models.

Going back to the notch below the earpiece, its width is narrower than what's found with the iPhone X – and very similar in width to the recent LG G7 ThinQ. Initially, we're told that there won't be an option to mask the notch when it's released, but a future update will allow users to do it eventually. By now, this notch has become a pervasive aesthetic amongst the flagship range, so we're not terribly annoyed to find it here. Strangely enough, though, the display actually features a 19:9 screen aspect ratio, which is slightly off from the 21:9 we've been seeing.

User Interface


Besides stock Android, there are a few custom experiences that are praised by critics and consumers. Lucky for OnePlus, its OxygenOS has been largely favorable, as it doesn't try to overwhelm the traditional experience with unnecessary or redundant stuff. And with the most up-to-date iteration running here on the OnePlus 6, we can safely say that it continues with the same tasteful strategy. It's running Android 8.0 Oreo, and for the most part, anyone familiar with the skin will be acquainted with what's here.

There are now new gestures in play that replace the function of the usual Android menu buttons, such as swiping up from the bottom of the display to get back to the home screen, holding the aforementioned swipe up gesture to access the recent apps menu, and swiping up from either the bottom left or right to perform a back function. It's definitely a change that requires just a little bit of practice, but it allows the interface to use more of the display.

Oxygen OS is one of the more responsive Android skins out there, second to only stock. Therefore, it's no surprise that the OnePlus 6 exhibits tight responses with all basic functions, such as navigating around the interface. The processing prowess is attributed to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC it's leveraging. Naturally, the RAM and storage capacities will differ, but it offers the following combinations – 6GB/64GB, 8GB/128GB, and 8GB/256GB. Even with the base option, it's more than generous than what you'd find in other Android smartphones. However, it still lacks expansion via microSD.

Camera


OnePlus 6 hands-on: the affordable flagship returns

We've previously seen OnePlus leverage a dual-camera system with the OnePlus 5T in the fall, bringing the bokeh effect to portrait shots, but we're getting refinements here with the OnePlus 6. In particular, it's sporting a 16MP f/1.7 main camera and a secondary 20MP one, which now features OIS and a 19% larger sensor to let in more light under dim situations. You could say that the OnePlus 5T struggled in low light areas, so we're hopeful that it's been remedied here. Beyond that, it' doesn't necessarily break any new grounds, especially when we have other phones with variable apertures and triple camera systems. Nevertheless, if it can deliver sharp looking photos, including its low light performance, it may stand a chance.

With the front-facing, they've added the ability to capture portrait shots, which is achieved with the aid of "AI." Since it's able to distinguish a face from the background, you can apply the usual bokeh effect, or other effects to enhance the composition. Naturally, the camera experience is supplemented with a Pro mode for those users that require more control. Over on the video side, they've added image stabilization with 4K capture and a new slow-motion mode that captures footage in HD quality.

Battery


Silk White

Silk White

Mirror Black

Mirror Black

Midnight Black

Midnight Black


The battery capacity remains the same as its predecessor, so that's a 3,300 mAh cell, which should hopefully deliver longer results considering the optimizations with the software and newer Snapdragon 845 processor. Now that they've ditched the all-metal construction, one would be led to believe that wireless charging would finally be available, but that's not the case here. It's been left out, probably to help with maintaining the phone's targeted cost, but OnePlus is more confident in how its Dash Charge technology is superior enough to get users enough of a charge to last them close to the entire day with only a half-hour of charging the phone.

Expectations


The OnePlus lineage

The OnePlus lineage


Bold new steps were taken here with the OnePlus 6, evident in its entirely brand-new all-glass design, which does nicely to almost emulate the metal look and feel with a couple of the color options. Even better, it continues to be a flagship killer of sorts, not only for the fact that it's pack to the brim with all of the latest cutting-edge hardware out there, like a dual-camera system, the Snapdragon 845, and a polarizing nearly bezel-less display, but it continues to undercut the competition with its price.

The OnePlus 6 carries a starting price of $529 with the base model of the mirror black version. That's an increase of $30 over the OnePlus 5T. Nitpickers might see this slight increase as an alarming move, given how it's been increasing in price – moving farther away from the $299 cost of the original model. Despite that, when we consider what it's competing in the space right now, one that's occupied by flagships easily in the $700+ range, the $529 cost of the OnePlus 6 is still a substantial amount of savings.

If it can really deliver solid results primarily with its camera, this redesigned smartphone may very offer the most bang for the buck we've seen so far this year! Pre-orders for the OnePlus 6 will be available shortly, with an anticipated general availability date of June 5th attached to it. Those interested may want to snag pre-orders, just because there may be some wait involved before its stock levels are replenished.

Related phones

6
  • Display 6.3" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 16 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 3300 mAh

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22 Comments

1. Joosty

Posts: 459; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

G7 seems better, No IP6X , No Wireless Charging, No upgrade to audio speakers. Seems like a 5TS

3. naveenstuns

Posts: 184; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

G7 is 60k in india while oneplus 6 is rumored to start at 34-36k

6. AbhiD

Posts: 517; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Better AMOLED display than G7, better video recording, more RAM, no rating but still splash resistant, better charging tech, smaller bezels than G7, way better software with P beta software support at launch and significantly faster and longer updates, better camera with much larger sensor size. All this for considerably lower price. Now justify your G7 preference again. Instead of this feeling like a 5TS, your G7 feels like a V30(-) Edit - Free OnePlus Wireless Earbuds

9. Cat97

Posts: 1677; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

G7 has a smaller battery and look at the G7 battery life tests...it's awful.

14. NateDiaz

Posts: 1082; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

Bought my mom S8 last weekend for €500. Both G7 and OnePlus 6 are fucking ugly.

22. Cat97

Posts: 1677; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Actually the OP6 is comparable to S9+, not S8. The S8 has smaller screen, smaller battery, one less camera, last-gen chipset and buying a curved full-adhesive tempered glass screen protector for the S8 costs you around 50 EUR. It probably does have a better camera (it remains to be seen), but that's it.

2. Sparkxster

Posts: 1119; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

I'll wait for the 6T version which will hopefully have wireless charging and at least ip67 water resistance.

15. Fred3

Posts: 306; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

I feel the same the 6T with wireless charging but as for ip67 water resistance the Oneplus 6 has it but just not with the certification ratings. If it was certified with the ip67 then the price would be alot higher so it's basicly smart on Oneplus to not have got the certified ratings.

4. redmd

Posts: 1872; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I don't know why they'd consider 529 dollars affordable.

23. Cat97

Posts: 1677; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Because the other manufacturers are now charging crazy prices for similar devices. Apple is at fault for this, unfortunately.

5. Jrod99

Posts: 678; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

No wireless charging? Thought that was a big advantage of glass backs?

7. Junito

Posts: 143; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

An affordable $529 device, it can't fully support Verizon, ok then.

11. Stappy3

Posts: 108; Member since: Dec 09, 2015

I'm not sure why there is a glass back if wireless charging isn't onboard.

12. Farcaster

Posts: 138; Member since: Apr 16, 2018

Looking at their lineup, it's obvious that they're lacking a consistent design language. I guess never settle?

18. worldpeace

Posts: 3077; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Still trying to find their identity.. Or probably they just copy, what's hot on market right now. (just like oppo and vivo)

19. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1497; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

They just settle for other manufacturers design. From front : iPhone X From back : Galaxy S9+

13. AmashAziz

Posts: 2869; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Do not implement a glass construction if you won't include wireless charging.

17. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Glass back allows for better cell reception as well, so there are advantages other than wireless charging. Personally, I'd never use wireless charging when I have dash charging.

20. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1497; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

What if you get dash charge+wirless charging?

21. AmashAziz

Posts: 2869; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Yeah, sure, if you wanna trade slightly better cell reception for a brittle chassis, then go ahead. Coz I won't. I don't wanna put thick cases on my phone to protect it. Especially because the phone will get very hot when I play Rules of Survival on it.

16. ebilcake

Posts: 1193; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

So basically it's OP5T with a notch, better camera and updated SOC. Oh wait and the glass back as well.

24. p51d007

Posts: 697; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Just a "SLIGHT" upgrade from the 5T...if you have an older phone, maybe it's worth updating, but if you have a one year old phone that works well, why bother? Especially given their track record of having phones that have a LOT of bugs out the door. if you really want one, let the eager beavers be the beta testers, wait a month. Shoot, by that time the 6T will be out anyway.

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