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OnePlus and its products need no introduction. The latest from the house of OnePlus- the OnePlus 6 comes just after six months of its predecessor-OnePlus 5T and brings some noteworthy improvements. The new OnePlus 6 offers better hardware, improved design, latest software support and some worthy upgrades in the camera department. It is crazy fast, more appealing to look at and comes at a starting price of Rs 35,000. There's also a special edition OnePlus 6 for Marvel Avengers fans which is priced at Rs. 45,000 but is out-of-stock at the time of writing this review.
OnePlus has also added a new product to its portfolio this time. Priced at Rs. 3,999, OnePlus Bullet Wireless earphones look promising and interesting. Sadly, we don't have a unit handy with us and cannot inform you about the audio performance. But we have the 8GB RAM Mirror Black variant of OnePlus 6 which is our topic of discussion. So, without wasting any time, let's get to the review of the most anticipated smartphone of the first half of the year 2018- the one and only OnePlus 6.
OnePlus 6 feels premium as a Galaxy S9/S9+
OnePlus 6 is beautifully crafted. The company has unveiled four different variants this time and all have a different appeal to them. OnePlus 6 will be available in Mirror Black, Silk White, Midnight Black and the Marvel Avengers edition with carbon fiber finish. I would recommend interesting buyers to visit the OnePlus store once to zero down on one as images and words on the internet won't help you much. You should, in fact, feel the texture in hands to make a final decision as all variants look and feel different.
The most common one is the Mirror Black variant that starts at Rs. 34,999 for the 6GB RAM variant and costs Rs. 39,999 for the 8GB RAM variant. The glass rear panel gives the device a premium and sophisticated look and feel. But as it goes with glass as a material, the handset is fingerprint hungry and can easily develop scratches. The Mirror Black variant feels fragile in hands, just like the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ and iPhone X does; however, OnePlus has used Corning Gorilla Glass 5 at both front and rear, which should offer some level of protection.
Improved Alert Slider
Some important design changes include the new Alert slider. It now sits at the right side and allows you to switch between Silent, Vibrate and General profile. The beloved 3.5mm headphone jack is still available and is placed at the bottom alongside microphone and Type C port. There are no stereo speakers on OnePlus 6 but just one down firing speaker adjacent to charging port. OnePlus 6 is slightly thicker and heavier than the OnePlus 5T and it's tricky to use the handset with one hand as it feels big and slippery.
Overall, the attention to detail is impressive and the smartphone feels rock solid in hands. I only wish that OnePlus 6 has a smaller variant, probably with a 5.8-inch screen with the same hardware and features for better one-hand usage. Nevertheless, the handset will please consumers who prefer big-screen smartphones.
Keep it away from Water and Dust
As I have mentioned in my first impressions of OnePlus 6, the smartphone only ships with a very low degree of protection from elements. It can handle occasional splashes but don't even think about an underwater shot. The next OnePlus smartphone will be water-dust resistant. Maybe, maybe not.
The Best thing about OnePlus 6 is its Fluid Software
OnePlus always gets the software right. The company does not make any compromises when it comes to software performance and this is something you can easily experience while using the OnePlus devices. The software on the latest OnePlus 6 is extremely smooth and lag free. There are no glitches and no unwanted bloatware. OnePlus has also provided subtle customization features that let you make the most out of Android.
ALSO READ: How to disable the notch on OnePlus 6
The OxygenOS is near identical to stock Android but is a bit smarter. The settings menu is full of features in every department be it display, gestures, buttons, notifications, battery, etc. The sections are neatly presented and you would not find yourself struggling with any particular feature. OnePlus 6 also supports face unlock and is insanely fast. There's a dedicated gaming mode for uninterrupted gaming, iPhone X like gestures, a dark theme and a lot more to explore for a seamless Android user experience.Surprisingly, OnePlus has removed the option to add battery percentage in the status bar, which is annoying to me as I prefer keeping a check on my handset's battery performance throughout the day. You can swipe down the notification panel or install third party apps to solve this issue.
In simple words, OxygenOS is smart, thoughtful and easy on eyes. It is my favorite Android skin without a shadow of doubt and you will also love it.
Display and Audio Performance
OnePlus 6 is a good multimedia device. The smartphone features a massive 6.28-inch AMOLED screen which is vivid and has impressive viewing angles. The notch at the center houses earpiece, front camera, notification light, and proximity sensor. The gameplay and videos look lively as the screen punches vibrant colors and good contrast ratio. OnePlus 6 also allows you to calibrate display color profile and offer five color modes to suit your preference. You can choose between Default, sRGB, DCI-P3, and Adaptive modes. The Custom mode let you decide the display's color tone between warmer and cooler color hues. The screen also feels slightly brighter at max levels as compared to OnePlus' previous handsets; however, it still does not get as bright as the screen on Galaxy S9/S9+ and iPhone X.
For audio, OnePlus 6 offers everyone's favorite 3.5 mm headphone jack. But on the downside, the smartphone does not offer stereo speakers. Instead, you only get one down-firing speaker that can get pretty loud but the audio delivery can be easily blocked when while playing games and streaming videos in landscape mode. For wireless streaming, OnePlus offers support for Bluetooth 5 and AptX and AptX HD audio streaming formats.
Gaming, Multitasking, and Computing: More Power than ever
Like software, OnePlus also ensures top-of-the-line hardware performance. OnePlus 6 is technically the first smartphone in the Indian market to ship with the best-in-class Snapdragon 845 CPU. The smartphone gets up to 8 gigabytes of RAM and up to 256GB of onboard storage. I would recommend interested buyers to focus on their storage requirement as the 6GB RAM variant of OnePlus 6 feels as fast as the 8GB RAM variant.
You can run n number of apps without any performance slowdown. Apps open up in microseconds and you might miss the animation part as the smartphone is insanely fast and fluid.
The Snapdragon 845 is also a graphics powerhouse as it is supported by Adreno 630 GPU, which is 30 % faster and battery efficient. This is a winning combination and like previous OnePlus smartphones; there's probably any game in the Play store that can't be played on this handset.
Camera: The disappointing part
There was too much hype about the OnePlus 6 camera and I was really looking forward to seeing some amazing real-world results. Sadly, the camera on OnePlus 6 is not revolutionary and the images fail to make an impact. It's not a bad camera but it's not going to win any awards in my list. Contrary, Honor 10 which is priced at Rs. 32,000 offers better overall camera performance.
Camera Specifications and features
On paper, OnePlus 6 still works on the same set of sensors (16MP f/1.7+20MP f/1.7), which we have tested on OnePlus 5T; however, there are some noteworthy camera upgrades. The pixel size for the primary 16MP sensor has been increased to 1.22 um, which brings in more light and makes OnePlus 6 slightly better for night photography. There's OIS in the primary camera along with EIS, which improves video performance.
The new OnePlus 6 is also capable of shooting videos in the 4K format at 60 FPS, which looks really crisp. The smartphone can also record super slow-mo videos; however, it maxes out at 480 frames per second, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ and Sony's flagship handsets that pushes the limits at 240 fps. But the fact that OnePlus allows you to record the video for 60 seconds on a stretch is definitely a plus point. For selfies, OnePlus 6 comes with a 16MP front-facing camera. For now, the front camera doesn't offer portrait shots but might be able to do it with an upgrade in the coming months. OnePlus 6 will offer software driven bokeh shots from selfie camera.
Daylight camera performance
The intuitive camera app is easy to use and offers no-lag performance. The camera captures good detailing in daylight and pictures show good dynamic range, for instance, the sky shots during a sunny day look crisp and colorful. The color tones are mostly on a warmer side and you might want to tweak the images in third-party apps before posting them on Instagram or Facebook. The HDR mode is not very effective and results are often hard to differentiate from standard shots.
Even though OnePlus 6 uses a bigger sensor that allows for more light to enter the camera module, the low-light images showed noise and loss of details. Surprisingly, Vivo X21 with its 12+5MP rear camera setup that works on Dual-Pixel sensor technology offered better low-light shots with controlled noise levels and better color reproduction. On the brighter side, OnePlus 6 shows a slight improvement in the portrait mode implementation. The camera has become slightly better at locking subject while taking a portrait shot. The overall output is somewhat better but the speed has improved.
There's no major performance improvement in the battery department. OnePlus 6 still uses the same old 3,300 mAh battery unit that supplied power to OnePlus 5T. The smartphone can last for a day if you don't stream a lot of videos and indulge in long gaming sessions. Dash charging is at your rescue and it's my second favorite feature of OnePlus after fluid software performance.
OnePlus can do a lot more with new technology
OnePlus produce some amazing smartphones and is mostly an early adopter when it comes to latest hardware and software. However, I feel the brand is playing very safe and is not experimenting with new technology. The young brand can do so much more but is holding itself back to focus only on reliable performance. Don't get me wrong here, reliable performance is paramount, but as a young technology brand, you have to take bold steps and adopt new technologies simultaneously without compromising on another performance aspect. For instance, OnePlus hasn't utilized the power of ‘Machine Learning' yet whereas the parent company's (BBK) other subsidiaries- OPPO and Vivo are making very good use of AI in their affordable and value flagship devices.
OnePlus is absolutely right about the new OnePlus 6. It provides the best-in-class speed and performance when it comes to multitasking, computing, and gaming. It is also the most advanced OnePlus smartphone that has the mettle to compete with the big names like Galaxy S9/S9+, Google Pixel handsets, and even iPhone X.
Comparisons are evident but not always fair. For a price-spec ratio, OnePlus 6 is a great buy and is by far the easiest Android smartphone to recommend even with its flaws. You are bound to experience flagship class performance with the new OnePlus 6, but at the same time, you will also have to compromise on certain useful features such as expandable memory, a better camera, and durability (IP rating). If these features do not bother you and all you care about is user experience and solid everyday performance, there's no better option than the OnePlus 6.
For the next OnePlus device, I would love to see OnePlus following a slightly different approach. The brand has proved itself to be capable enough to offer the ‘Speed we want'. It's time OnePlus works to offer the ‘Durability, Flexibility, and Futuristic technology' we millennial deserve. After all, OnePlus loves its young fans and fans love OnePlus products.