OnePlus 3 Review

Introduction


OnePlus has never shied away from bold marketing: known for its “flagship killers” that “never settle”, and for throwing marketing cliches and ‘firsts’ at customers salivating at the prospect of a phone selling for half the price of Samsung Galaxies and Apple iPhones, yet with similar performance.

For a brand that was starting from (almost) zero, though, that kind of noise was necessary. Living through its rebellious teenage years, OnePlus had to deny everything and try it all before finally settling for a product that does away with a lot of the immaturity of earlier launches: the OnePlus 3.
OnePlus 3 Review

Gone is the extremely annoying invite system that resulted in weeks of waiting and a lot of broken hopes, gone are the bold, but also outrageous marketing claims. Is it time to start taking OnePlus seriously? With a massive launch on day one with availability in 31 countries across the globe and fast shipping, the OnePlus 3 means business. Let’s see what it’s all about.

In the box:

  • OnePlus 3
  • Wall charger (5V - 4A)
  • USB-C to USB cable
  • User manual
  • Sim ejector

Design

A grown-up, solid design with a comfortable, ergonomic in-hand feel.

The OnePlus 3 is a grown-up, solid design: with a body carved out of a single piece of aluminum, it has that substantial feel that you get from high-end devices. The design is not something new or original per se: the body looks a lot like that of an HTC phone, the camera hump seems to be very similar to that of many Huawei phones, but we don’t get a feel that OnePlus tried to clone a particular device, and it all comes together well.

OnePlus 3 Review

First, let’s talk physical size. The OnePlus 3 is a 5.5-inch phone, and while it’s not as thin and compact as a Galaxy S7 Edge, it still feels fairly thin and compact for its size. The OnePlus 3 sits in your palm very comfortably and ergonomically with its nicely curved back. The device is also remarkably thin at 7.3mm, and at 158 g (5.57oz) – it feels relatively lightweight for a phone this size.

It’s worth saying that the OnePlus 3 team spared no effort and even the buttons on this phone feel well made. The rather large physical keys (a power/lock key on the right and a volume rocker on the left) are easy to press and respond with a pleasant click. And yes, there is a mute switch! Located right above the volume keys on the left, the three-step mute switch is a great time saver and comes particularly handy when you need to quickly mute your phone. We wish more Android phone makers would incorporate such a handy switch in their phones.

OnePlus 3 Review
OnePlus 3 Review
OnePlus 3 Review
OnePlus 3 Review
OnePlus 3 Review

Up front, there is what appears like a physical home key. It’s not a button that you can press, though, but just a touch-sensitive area that you can tap on to go back to your home screen or to unlock the OnePlus 3 with your fingerprint. There are two invisible capacitive keys around the home key: you can actually customize them (you can set which of them to be the back and which - the multitasking key). We love that freedom of choice: we know plenty of people who are allergic to phones where the right key serves as a multitasking button, but we also know a ton of people who prefer it that way. Then, you can even disable those two keys completely and rely instead on on-screen buttons a la Nexus. The OnePlus 3 satisfies all those different tastes in a very elegant way.

There is no water resistance or any other protection from the elements, just in case you’re wondering.


OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3

Dimensions

6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29 inches

152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm

Weight

5.57 oz (158 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3

Dimensions

6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29 inches

152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm

Weight

5.57 oz (158 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

The 5.5” AMOLED display with a 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution could use some more accurate colors for a more natural look

The OnePlus 3 features a 5.5-inch “Optic” AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. From a pure numbers perspective, the OnePlus 3 screen is not quite as sharp as those of some other high-end Androids, however, we find this 1080 x 1920 resolution to be sufficient for this screen size, delivering a sharp and clean image that's easy to read.

OnePlus 3 Review

But what is this strange new Optic AMOLED screen technology, you might wonder? Don’t worry, you haven’t missed the next revolution in display manufacturing. Optic AMOLED seems to be no more than a marketing term that OnePlus uses to describe its specific calibrations and adjustments done for an otherwise regular AMOLED panel. The company says it performed some specific gamma corrections. However, we see nothing impressive on this front – just a boosted contrast level, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

This brings us to the actual colors. Put simply: this is one of the worst displays on a phone that has some serious ambitions.

Colors on the OnePlus 3 looks unnaturally bluish, and are way overblown, resulting in nearly neon-like nuances. Such bluish displays were often seen on cheaper Android phones a couple of years ago, but it’s quite a shock to see such poor color rendition on a modern, presumably high-end phone.

Getting a bit more technical, it seems that OnePlus is targeting the NTSC color gamut, which is a bad practice given that most (if not all) content on the web including photographs, video and the whole Android system is made for the sRGB color standard. OnePlus is now promising that it will introduce an sRGB color mode via a software update soon, so needless to say, we're looking forward to that.

The screen is also not very bright, and you might have a bit of a trouble making out what’s on it on a sunny day. Another notable issue we have is that auto-brightness works surprisingly slowly. We noticed this when starting the camera: it takes the screen a few long seconds to adjust to bright light, and those could result in a missed shot. But it’s also just plain annoying: while other phones adjust their brightness almost instantaneously, the OnePlus 3 always takes a few seconds for such a simple operation.

Interestingly, there is a pre-applied screen protector on the OnePlus 3, but while we do appreciate this, the protector itself seems to be a bit too narrow, not quite covering fully the screen, so that your finger - rather than gliding smoothly across the glass surface - constantly bumps against the edge of that screen protector.



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111 Comments

1. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Thanks PA for being bluntly honest about it This brings us to the actual colors. Put simply: this is one of the worst displays on a phone that has some serious ambitions." One thing i dont get how you manage to score this phone so high with literally worst display available on the marlet now :) High end phone with the worst display hmm. Damn it I am first :)

3. Victor.H

Posts: 1021; Member since: May 27, 2011

We feel that the price and other advantages of the phone make up for that, but we wanted to be extra clear about its downsides such as display color balance and battery life.

12. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

If you think most important thing on the phone is : Camera and display. All other features are secondary in my opinion. Of course they add up or take it away. Just think of it any command or interaction on the phones go through display. No matter what you do , you will go through display and one will always have to look at it. As you said someone aiming that big and neglecting most important thing on the phone, says a lot about seriousness of one intentions. Think again guys it's not about feeling it's about experience that will impact user every day unless one is surrounded by black and white television. Like anandtech said "amoled display from 2010"

57. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 959; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

A terrible display on a phone is equal to having a terrible display on a laptop or tablet. Take a photo, view it, adjust it, and then look a that photo on a calibrated (or even a decent uncalibrated display) and then the photo looks weird. Having a more accurate color representation on a phone is extremely important. iPhone rides the edge of being almost out-of-wack but close enough to work with, but the Samsung Note 4 & 5 and Galaxy S6 & S7 have extremely accurate colors under the "Basic" display setting. These calibrations are software-based, so OnePlus could have also implemented this.

66. rocketman1

Posts: 99; Member since: May 07, 2016

-display colors suck- whites appear blue -battery is BELOW expectations -bad memory management -slow adaptive brightness and outdoor use is crap -loudspeaker is weak and no clarity -call quality is above average but not great. sooo you wont hear them through the earpiece well and if you thought to run it in loudspeaker mode, youre screwed again as its weak with no clarity. -no micro sd slot -"we find that stabilization is lacking" our verdict: there are better $400 smartphone options. look elsewhere because these op3 flaws are critical flaws that will drive you nuts for day to day use im certain this will sell worse than the op2 and sales were bad for it. they lost the wow factor they had with the opo. they missed the opportunity to add a QHD screen to it and a bigger battery thats flush with the camera for an acceptable thickness. moto x style /xioami mi 5/ LG G4 BTW, fix the LG G4/5 specs. they are 16mp.

88. Shocky unregistered

Moto X style with Snapdragon 808? lulz Mi5 is okay, not that different LG G4 is also last gen. Display and Memory management fix incoming with new OTA for OnePlus, also battery life from users has been pretty good, 4-5 hours SoT. I'd still get the OnePlus 3, thanks though.

90. rocketman1

Posts: 99; Member since: May 07, 2016

yea lulz. x style has qhd, way better camera sd card slot lg g4 kills with camera, and screen is top notch. I go from 0-100% battery in 2 minutes with a thin battery in my pocket. I dont have to carry that huge charger and cable and be tied to a wall. I can be on the go. excellent phone that can be had for $300 and its a flagship. the op3 is no flagship. paying for the 6gb but using only 3. s**tty screen with bad brightness. bad call quality and speakerphone, be a sucker and get the op3. yep.

94. Shocky unregistered

QHD is not needed on a phone, unless your planning on using VR. Again, display calibration and multitasking they're said will be addressed in upcoming OTA update. Battery life of 4-5 hours SoT is pretty good, no reason anyone would tied to a wall. Camera's haven't been compared yet. Why the hate? You seem salty for some reason.

95. rocketman1

Posts: 99; Member since: May 07, 2016

QHD is night and day over fhd and I know you wouldnt say that if you experienced a QHD as a daily phone and I was like you saying you wont notice the difference, and you know what, you do, very easily. zooming in to a picture gives huge detail. video and images look crisp. could be but that PA article of the op3 Q/A said they rate the screen 3/10. thats pathetic. and for a screen you have to look at and use all day, thats not good. 4-5 hours and im sure the phone was brightness all the way down. thats not a full day, which means charging is needed. I use mine at 60% and get that and I just replace the battery and im good and I dont have anxiety to deplete the batter as everyone does, and u do too. you see the number going down and then you get nervous inside about it. I do it and we all do it. u may work in an office and then youre fine, but I dont. im outside. and many others as well. they made a huge mistake not going with a QHD screen and that ugly ass camera hump could have been fixed with a bit thicker battery. people will take thickness if it means great battery life. you cant go from a 3300 in the op2 to the 3000 in op3. thats a big red flag. milking 3 years the same FHD screen. and prices went up. actually, the op3 is a let down for me again. was looking for abackup phone for 2 years and see this crap. of course. theyre all just hype and never deliver as they did with the opo. they spoke of a 4gb 32gb version for $310 but its not to be seen, nothing to compare with cameras. its been compared with the Sg7 and it raped it hard and the gs7 g4 and x style all have fantastic cameras. though the x style has no manual controls and that sucks. I was looking to buy it but with s**tty overhyped nonsense, this phone wreaks of fail fumes. Instead of them learning from their garbage op2 and ghastly opx (which was a PR strategy for more eyes on op-and both phones failed) I thought they would learn from their mistakes and deliver something good. prices went up, flaws went up. go buy it sucker. your money

97. rocketman1

Posts: 99; Member since: May 07, 2016

did you see what they said regarding battery life? "OnePlus 3 will barely last a full day and that’s a disappointment".

100. Shocky unregistered

Their battery tests are a joke, you clearly haven't been here very long if you're not aware of that.

101. rocketman1

Posts: 99; Member since: May 07, 2016

have a good weekend Shocky! :)

99. Shocky unregistered

I use QHD with daily phone, it's a complete waste. You were talking about the Moto X Style, camera's of both phones have not been compared. Galaxy S7 camera is better than both and at double the price it should be.

30. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

Price? what about Mi5? lol..

33. Schmao

Posts: 365; Member since: Jul 05, 2009

The Mi5 is a great price, but it doesn't play well with US carriers.

69. rocketman1

Posts: 99; Member since: May 07, 2016

not everyone lives in the US. always remember, internet is intl.

93. michaelny2001

Posts: 311; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

True! But phonearena is a US based company, so technically it's all about US. If i were on vodafonerocks.com for example then i would need to talk about the bands and things that happen in Europe or Germany.

96. rocketman1

Posts: 99; Member since: May 07, 2016

"so technically it's all about US." no. it would seem more US folks than international and there youre assuming and look more silly. 340m US folks and billions of others around the world. I know for a fact that there are tons of indian folks (who are 1.250 billion by themselves) posting here. Gsmarena as well

43. rjohnson11

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 22, 2016

I was wondering if you have read Carl Pei's comments about this?

44. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Good guy Victor! Honestly I wish 1+ sticked with an IPS LCD screen or get something cool like IPS NEO then Amoled. I like amoled, but then a pentile display could easily go to 1440p with hardly any compromise to battery life. Plus I like sharper text.

50. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

I hate to say it, but the value of a object should not bring in such a high score.... I would think that it was better than all of the other reviews like @nd%@tech says..... That this has serious issues, that software may not fix screen wise

59. Rocky1978

Posts: 41; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

What I don't get is the fact that I've held this phone next to an HTC 10, GS7, iphone 6S and I really don't get how you can say that. I mean, the display looked JUST AS GOOD AS THOSE OTHER PHONES. This is why I always have trouble trusting reviews from this site. You all say crap that other sites don't AND what you say typically doesn't mesh with my own personal experiences. SMDH......

78. Victor.H

Posts: 1021; Member since: May 27, 2011

Rocky, once you see it, you can't unsee it, but I do agree that color balance is more of a priority to photographers and professionals, while for most folks it's not such a huge deal.

67. PeterJohansson

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 23, 2016

Victor.H Oneplus have announced that they are going to add an sRGB options in the settings in the next OTA-update. Would be great if you could do an display-test again on the phone.

77. Victor.H

Posts: 1021; Member since: May 27, 2011

Definitely will do!

6. nooi_c

Posts: 21; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

Another quote, "OnePlus 3 will barely last a full day and that’s a disappointment". So both display and battery life have little weight in PA's scoring.

14. Schmao

Posts: 365; Member since: Jul 05, 2009

I think they were a little too kind because of the price.

71. rocketman1

Posts: 99; Member since: May 07, 2016

"I think they were a little too kind because of the price." yes, the price oneplus paid them to get a good number. because when screen is crap and u have to use that all the time, you cannot get a good score. and when the earpiece and loudspeaker is bad , which u use all day, nothing says paid under the table more.

26. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Fast charging makes up for the bad battery life. The display will eventually get a more color accurate mode, so both of these cons can be mitigated. Be happy something other than Samsung or Apple get above an 8, people

17. PhoneFixer unregistered

Really don't understand motivation of these smartphne sites they only like one plus phones but when it comes to oppo or vivo always low scores.. And yet it is all same ppl... But truth bhind this is that usa ppl (most of em) or usa sites thought in the past that one plus is usa company so they been agreeing all on this phone. Bit naive /pathetic This phone defo don't deserve so much points

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

3
  • 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

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