OnePlus 6 Review


OnePlus is one company which concentrates only on flagships instead of launching several smartphones. The Chinese handset maker finally launched this year’s flagship — the OnePlus 6, six months after the launch of OnePlus 5T. This has seen a completely new design compared to the predecessor, has a large screen with a notch, comes with a glass body, and  brings several new features such as OIS, water-resistance and more. Even though the phone looks premium and has top-end feature that most flagships have, the company is still keeping the cost low compared to others. So, is the OnePlus 6 the company’s best smartphone yet? Let us dive into the review to find out.

Unboxing

We recently unboxed the OnePlus 6, check out the video below.

Box Contents

  • OnePlus 6 8GB RAM with 128GB storage Mirror Black
  • Screen Protector (pre-applied)
  • Clear protective case
  • Dash Type-C Cable
  • Dash Power Adapter (5V-4A)
  • SIM Tray Ejector
  • Quick Start Guide and Safety Information

Video Review

Display, Hardware and Design

OnePlus is still sticking with FHD+ Optic AMOLED display for the OnePlus 6 as the predecessor, but this has a large 6.28-inch screen with a resolution of 2280 × 1080 pixels, pixel density of about 401 PPI and 19:9 aspect ratio with a notch. It has rounded corners, and the bezels have been trimmed down to a bare minimum, just to make more space for the display, so it has about 84% screen-to-body ratio compared to 80% on the 5T. Blacks are perfectly black, thanks to the AMOLED panel, the color reproduction and viewing angles are good, it has perfectly readable display under bright sunlight too.

Even though it has a large display, the phone is 155.7mm tall, which is actually less than the height of 156.1mm on the OnePlus 5T, since it doesn’t have a bezel on the top. It has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection as well.

Just like its predecessor, the OnePlus 6 gets the DCI-P3 color profile, along with the standard sRGB, Adaptive mode, and a Custom color profile. It  retains Reading Mode, which completely changes the display to black and white, which gives you an impression of reading an e-reader/paper when using it. Depending on the ambient light condition, this mode will automatically adjust the color temperature and calibrate the settings to match the environment. You can add a specific app that can use it automatically.

It retains Night Mode, which is now default in stock Android from Android Oreo. This applies yellow tint, thereby reducing the emission of blue light, to help you fall asleep easier after using the phone. It comes with other system customization including Accent color, Font size, Display size and more. There is Ambient display, Lift up display toggle and more.

The OnePlus 6 houses a 16MP front camera, earpiece, customizable notification LED and the usual set of proximity and RGB ambient light sensors within the small notch. It has Gyroscope, Magnetic Sensor or Magnetometer and Electronic Compass. The earpiece has small holes, which attracts dust easily.

Since there is a notch in the middle, clock has been moved to the left, and it doesn’t display all the notification icons, if there are a lot of notifications. It doesn’t have an option to show battery percentage in the status bar. Looks like OnePlus might have removed the feature to save space. Hope it modifies it in future update to shows percentage inside the icon, like the system UI tuner tweak in stock Android. As promised, OnePlus is offering an option to hide the notch, and there is an option to select apps to display in full-screen utilising the area around the notch. This works in video apps like YouTube, but some might not like it.

Even though it uses on-screen buttons, it still has a chin below the display, which houses the display components, but this is slightly smaller compared to the one on the 5T.

The OnePlus 6 still retains the alert slider, which has been moved to the right side, above the power / lock button, so the volume rocker has been moved to the left side, below the Dual SIM slot (nano + nano) slot. Those who are used to volume rocker on the right might need time to get used to it since most hold the phone on the right hand. It still retains the 3.5mm audio jack, which is present on the bottom, which has the loudspeaker grill, USB Type-C port and the primary microphone. You can see the small antenna lines on the metal frame.

On the back there is a dual-camera setup, which now has been arranged vertically, compared to the predecessor, and there is a camera bump since the sensor is bigger. It has a new 16-megapixel Sony IMX 519 primary camera with f/1.7 aperture with support for OIS, in addition to EIS but the company has retained the 20-megapixel Sony IMX 376K secondary rear camera. Dual-LED flash is present below the camera, and the fingerprint sensor is oval-shaped, and is scratch-resistant.

The OnePlus 6 is the company’s first flagship with a glass back and it has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection to protect it from scratches and accidental drops or bumps. It has a subtle curvature that creates patterns and highlights when the light hits the back. The phone has a width of 75.35 mm and is 7.75mm thick, slightly wider and thicker compared to the 5T, but it hardly noticeable, however it weighs 177 grams, which is 15 grams heavier than the 5T.

In addition to Mirror Black, the phone comes in Midnight Black version, which has a glass back, but with matte finish. A distinctive S-shaped pattern curves off the back of the device as overhead lights hit it just right since it has jagged texture of film in the glass. There is a limited-edition Silk White 128GB version that uses pearl powder to create a subtle shimmering effect. There is a Marvel Edition with a 3D Kevelar-textured glass back, 256GB storage and some goodies as well for Marvel fans.

Since the Mirror Black edition is glossy, it attracts fingerprints and dust easily, so it is recommended to use the bundled clear protective cover. OnePlus is selling addition back covers as well, including a new Nylon bumper case that has finely woven texture on the back and a rubber grip to hold it comfortably. It costs Rs. 1490, and there are other cases and cover which starts from Rs. 990.

OnePlus has finally added water-resistance to its flagship with the OnePlus 6. The company says that the phone has a special type of foam between the screen and the battery cover gap to prevent water from seeping into the wiring, the headphone jack and fingerprint scanner have been covered by waterproofing materials, and the gaps around the buttons are sealed using silicone loops to prevent damage to key components, however the phone doesn’t have an IP rating. OnePlus says that it can survive a drop in the sink or a spilled glass of water, and even light rain, but it advises not to take it under water for a swim. It clearly mentions that exposure to liquid is not covered in warranty. In an AMA the company said that water damage is generally not covered by warranty by most companies, including phones certified with IP68.

Camera

The OnePlus 6 equips a 16-megapixel primary rear camera with f/1.7 aperture 1.22µm pixel Sony IMX519 sensor with Contrast Detection Auto-Focus, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) along with Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), compared to Sony IMX398 sensor on the 5T, which lacked OIS. The company has retained the same secondary 20-megapixel secondary camera with f/1.7 aperture 1.0 µm pixel Sony IMX371 sensor as the 5T to capture depth information in portrait shots. Even the front-facing 16-megapixel camera with Sony IMX371 sensor, f/2.0 aperture, and 1.0μm pixel size is same as the predecessor.

The Camera UI is simple with toggles for timer, HDR, aspect ratio (4:3 / 19:9 / 1:.1), Flash on one side and front or rear camera toggle, shutter button and image preview button on the other side. You can just swipe left or right to switch between video, photo and portrait, and there is 2x zoom.

It adds new bokeh effects, including hearts, circles and stars so that lights in the background of your portrait shots will change based on your selection. The company has promised to bring Potrait Mode to front camera as well in future via an update. This will use AI algorithm to apply depth effect to selfies.

OnePlus says that is has improved its Smart Capture software to offer better clarity depending on the environment and time of day. Smart Capture  selects which feature to use to optimize the photo for maximum clarity.
“With Advanced HDR, our improved High Dynamic Range algorithm,
the OnePlus 6 brings out shadows and enhances lighting in your photos,” says the company.

Talking about the camera performance, the OnePlus 6 takes good photos under daylight condition with very good details, color, and vibrancy, which is better compared to the 5T. Images taken in HDR mode is better with improved contrast and saturation, and brings out shadows and enhances lighting. Macro shots came out well. Dual camera has been improved, and edge-detection in portrait shots are better. It works a lot better with people and faces than with objects. Addition of new bokeh effects is good.

Low-light shots are decent and has seen a lot of improvement compared to the 5T, but the camera boosts the ISO to maximum (6400) so it has much more noise compared to Galaxy S9 or Pixel 2 that maintains ISO around 1000 even in low-light shots. Images with flash are good, and the flash is not overpowering. The company is still sticking to dual LED flash, instead of opting for dual-tone LED flash in most flagships. The front camera is good for selfies and video chats. It has beautify option in both front and rear cameras.

Check out the camera samples below (Click the image to view the full-resolution sample).

2X Zoom
Dual Camera Portrait
Dual Camera Portrait
Dual Camera Portrait Effect
HDR OFF
HDR ON

2X Zoom

Front Camera
Front Camera – Beauty mode

Check out the complete set of camera samples here. Also check out the comparison with the Pixel 2 XL here. It can record videos in 4k or 1080p resolution at 60 fps, but OIS works only in 60fps, while EIS in used in 30fps, as confirmed by OnePlus Camera Product Manager Jimmy Z in AMA last week. It has Slow motion video recording, which now has 480 fps option at 720p as well as 1080p at 240 fps, and slo-mo uses OIS as well. You can record slow-mo videos continuously for 1 minute and select trim down the slo-mo parts you need. The OnePlus 5T is restricted to 720p slow motion at 120fps and normal 4k recording at 30fps. The video quality is good with a lot of details. Thanks to OIS, videos are stable. Since it has dual microphones audio is crisp. Check out the video samples below.

Software, UI and Apps

Coming to the software, the OnePlus 6 runs OxygenOS 5.1.3 based on Android 8.1 (Oreo) with latest May Android security patch, support for project treble and seamless system (A/B) updates. The company has teamed up with Google to bring Android P beta, which is already available for download, and the stable version is expected later this year. It is pretty much stock with added features like Shelf that shows weather, recent contacts, recent apps, Dashboard (with data used, available storage and battery) and Membership card details that was introduced recently.

It has all the features that are already available on the 5T including Gestures, actions for Home, Recents and Back buttons, double tap to wake, Music control, flip to mute, three-finger screenshot, swipe fingerprint for notification, option to customise functions of the alert slider key by choosing what to keep active and what to silence in each mode. The three toggles are now – Ring, Vibrate, and Silent instead of Ring, Vibrate and Do Not Disturb mode on the OnePlus 3 and 5 series phones. The company in an AMA said that that change is made after feedback from users, and not only because DND is changing. It is planning to bring this to 5/5T as well.

There is Gaming Mode, Pocket Mode and Parallel Apps that lets you clone apps including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and more, which allows you to login to the same app two different accounts.

Our unit has 8GB LPDDR4x RAM with 128GB (UFS 2.1 ) storage. Out of 8GB RAM, you get 7.6GB of usable RAM, out of which about 5.6GB of RAM is free on boot with just the default apps running in the background. Out of 128GB of internal storage you get 116GB of usable storage . It  also comes in 6GB LPDDR4x RAM with 64GB storage (UFS 2.1 ).

Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google Apps, this comes with Amazon and Amazon Kindle apps and doesn’t have any other bloatware. There is quick search option to search apps based on category that are automatically tagged.

Fingerprint Sensor and Face unlock

The fingerprint scanner on the back of the smartphone is now in an oval shape, and it is pretty quick to unlock the phone in a fraction of a second when you place the finger on it. You can add up to five fingerprints. Just like other OnePlus devices, the fingerprint here is ceramic, which doesn’t get scratched easily. There is Face Unlock, which is fast that can unlock to unlock the phone in 0.4 seconds. Face unlocks works well in bright environment, for dark conditions there is assistive lighting that uses screen’s light to help the camera recognize you.

Music Player and Video Playback

Google Play Music is the default music player. Similar to most of the flagships, it doesn’t have FM Radio. Audio Tuner option in the sound settings let you set equalizer presents and select the type of headphones, if you have OnePlus headphones. Audio quality through third-party in-ear headphones is good. Loudspeaker output is good as well. Those were expecting dual speakers in the OnePlus 6 will be disappointed. It can play 4K videos smoothly, and supports several video codecs MKV, MOV, MP4, H.265(HEVC), AVI, WMV, TS, 3GP, FLV, WEBM. It supports WideVine L1 out of the box so you can play HD content on Netflix and other Google Widevine DRM-protected video streaming services.

Connectivity

The OnePlus 5T supports various connectivity options including 4G (4×4 MIMO) and VoLTE for Reliance Jio with support for Idea VoLTE coming soon. It also has Dual 4G VoLTE support so that you can use VoLTE on both the SIMs and also switch data between two Jio SIMs easily. It has WiFi 802.11ac dual-band (2×2 MU-MIMO ), Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, USB 2.0 Type-C with support for USB OTG, USB Type-C audio and NFC.

Performance and Benchmarks

The OnePlus 6 is powered by the latest Octa-Core Snapdragon 845 64-bit 10nm Mobile Platform clocked at 2.8GHz within AIE and Adreno 630 taking care of graphics department. The performance of the device is just excellent, and the gaming performance is good as well with good graphics even in graphics intensive games, giving no room for frame drops or hangs. Since this has a glass body, the phone gets a bit warm in hot environment and when gaming, similar to most other smartphones, but it doesn’t get too hot. Check out some of the synthetic benchmark scores below, in which it topped in most.

Check out the complete set of benchmark scores here.  Also check out the gaming review to know about the gaming performance of the OnePlus 6.

Battery life

The OnePlus 6 is powered by a 3300mAh battery with Dash Charging technology, which the company mentions as Fast Charging on its site. Even though the phone has the same battery capacity as the OnePlus 5T, the company says that it will offer 10% more battery life compared to the predecessor. In reality, the OnePlus 6 lasted more than a day with average use and should last for the whole day with heavy use. The company says that half an hour of charge using the fast charger will offer a day’s battery life, which is fine for casual use, but not for heavy users. It doesn’t have wireless charging. OnePlus CEO ahead of OnePlus 5T launch last year said that wireless charging brings several limitations, and 20W Dash Charge is superior and charges faster compared to 10W wireless charging.

In our One Charge rating, the OnePlus 6 achieved 16 hours and 44 minutes, which is slightly better that the OnePlus 5T’s charge rating of 16 hours and 28 minutes. It took just 27 minutes to charge for 0 to 50%, but it took 1 hour and 39 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%, slightly more compared to OnePlus 5T. It takes a lot of time to charge after it hits 95%. There is advanced optimization option which restricts background activity of apps aggressively to improve battery life. We will bring you the complete set of battery test results soon.

Conclusion

Overall, the OnePlus 6 is a solid upgrade to the OnePlus 5T in almost all the departments such as display, performance, design and camera. Even though there is a notch, which might not be preferred by everyone, the implementation of it good, and you have option to hide it or enable it for certain apps. The gorgeous glass body compliments the display. However, no phone is perfect. Even though the OnePlus 6 is water-resistant, it doesn’t have IP ratings and the phone misses out wireless charging, even though it has a glass body. It also doesn’t have dual speakers.

At a price of Rs. 34,999 for the 6GB RAM with 64GB storage version and Rs. 39,999 for the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage version, the phone gets Rs. 2000 costlier compared to the launch price of OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T. This can be justified with the upgrades to the screen, body and camera.

The OnePlus 6 will be available exclusively from Amazon India starting from May 21st for Prime users and experience store in Bangalore at 12:00 pm, and for everyone on May 22nd through Amazon India, OnePlus India Online Store. The limited-edition Silk White will be available on June 5th. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.

Pros

  • Large 6.28-inch 19:9 AMOLED screen
  • Smooth performance
  • Good design and build quality
  • Good dual rear cameras with OIS

Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • No IP rating for water resistance
  • Same old front camera

Photography by Siraj

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Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G4 Plus. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+