OnePlus 6 review: new phone, same compromises

For several years, OnePlus has been launching phones with a variation of the same promise: get the best features of flagship smartphone without paying the most important prices. Combined with smart marketing, the strategy has created a cadre of devoted fans. And those fans are not only amazed: OnePlus phones have always done a great job overcoming their price, both in quality and functionality.

The last chapter of that story is the new OnePlus 6, which is available for order starting on May 22 and starts at $ 529. It is without a doubt the best OnePlus phone ever released. And yet, every time we hear this story, I end up having some variation of the same conversation. This time it was with Dieter Bohn, but I honestly could have (and has) been with a lot of people:

Me: OnePlus has a new phone that comes out. It's even prettier than the latest model.

Dieter: Ah yes, how's the camera?

M: It has the latest processor, a bigger screen and a nicer design. Good software, too.

D: Tell me about the camera.

M: The design and battery life have improved.

D: Has the image quality improved?

M: Well, it's much cheaper than a Google, Apple or Samsung phone.

D: I see you dodging the question of the camera. Good. Well, can I use it on Verizon?

M: No.

D: Good.

And on the way back and forth we go.

This is what OnePlus 6 has in its favor: a larger screen, a redesigned and modernized design, the latest Qualcomm processor, improved cellular capabilities, an improved camera system and the best version of Android outside of one's own Google's Pixel line, all for $ 529. But there are still commitments, and they are the same commitments that we are still talking about. It still can not compete with Samsung, Google, Apple or even Huawei when it comes to cameras, it does not have adequate water resistance, it does not work in half of the operators in the US. UU., And it only comes in one size: quite large.

The OnePlus 6 still has a great value, maybe even more now that all the other flagship phones have skyrocketed in price.

But it does not change the conversation.

Verge Score

Good Stuff

  • Large and vibrant screen
  • Great software experience
  • Very fast performance
  • Battery life

Bad Stuff

  • Normal camera
  • Without support for Verizon or Sprint
  • Not really water resistant
  • It is large and slippery, with no option for a smaller model

] The most striking of the OnePlus 6 is its new design, which exchanges a complete aluminum chassis for the glass panels in the front and back. That makes the phone look basically like any other high-end phone launched in 2018, but it's an attractive design without strange quirks.

OnePlus states that the switch to a fully glass design allows for better wireless reception and the durability of the phone is as good as previous models with metal bodies. But the glass is made of glass, and although the OnePlus 6 has glass toughened like any other phone (it uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides), it is still prone to scratches and if you let it fall many times, it will break. In the two weeks that I have been using the OnePlus 6, it has detected annoying scratches on both the front and back. (OnePlus sends the 6 with a pre-installed screensaver, but I deleted it because it is rough.)

The 6 is available in two finishes: glossy and matte The glossy version is impressive to look at … until you touch it and instantly it is covered with fingerprints. The matte model is much better at repelling those fingerprints (and it has a very good iridescent glow in the light), but its shot-peened surface is so soft that it practically slips out of my hand of its own accord. The finish on the matte phone, which OnePlus calls "Midnight Black", reminds me of the surface of the glass trackpad on a MacBook Pro, so you can imagine how little friction there is.

The other important update here is a new 6.3-inch screen that is even larger than the 6-inch screen that was found in the OnePlus 5T last year. Operating the OnePlus 6 is very similar to operating other large telephones, mainly glass. I often find it too cumbersome to use when I'm on the move and I only have one free hand. The slippery glass finish, which is surprisingly worse for the matte model, only makes things worse. Many other premium phones, such as Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone 8 or Google Pixel 2, come in small or large sizes, so you can choose between having a larger screen or a phone that is easier to hold. The OnePlus 6 comes in one size.

But OnePlus is doing the same thing as everyone else to get a bigger screen without making the phone even bigger than it already is. That's right, it has a notch for the headset, the front camera, the notification light and the proximity sensor.

The notches may be the most striking peculiarity of smartphone design in 2018, but I do not think they are a problem. The larger screen gives me more vertical space to read emails, articles, tweets and messages, or multitasking on split screen or whatever you want to do. The clock and notification icons are pressed to the right and to the outside. A cutout for a notch in the middle of the top is an offset that you would make to get more screen in the same phone size any day of the week.

There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind with the notch, but none of them is problematic enough to go back to the previous design . I have not yet found any application that did not work as expected due to the notch that is there, and the notch does not cut on the side of the video as on the iPhone X, but the percentage of the battery is hidden until the end shadow of notification is reveals Also, if you have many icons for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, NFC or whatever, you can get pretty full there quickly. But OnePlus allows you to toggle many of these if you do not want them to show up.

If you really hate the appearance of full bleed, you can choose to "hide" the sides next to the notch so that all of your applications just complete below. (The clock and the status bar icons will remain in the "notch" area). I think this mode looks worse and I have never felt the need to hide the existence of the notch.

In addition to its larger size, the OnePlus 6 display is not very different from last year's model: it is a 1080 pixel wide OLED panel with vibrant colors and deep blacks. It does not get as bright and does not have as many pixels as a Galaxy S9 screen, but it is still easy to read outdoors and does not have the main color change problems or problems that plagued Google Pixel 2 XL. [19659040] When it comes to performance, the OnePlus 6 is very fast, which is not a big surprise given its processor and the large amount of RAM. But OnePlus does a lot of things for to feel even faster than other Android phones, like speeding up animations so everything happens a millisecond or two faster. It seems that OnePlus has adjusted its setting from previous years, because the animations of the 6 do not seem as reckless as before, and I feel less as if I were using the phone in the "fast forward mode". That could be just my perception. , but it is a great experience.

The OnePlus 6 is the first phone in the company that supports Gigabit LTE speeds, and supports 25 different LTE bands (in the North American model), including the new band 71 from T-Mobile and AT & T Band 30. In my testing with the T-Mobile network, the OnePlus 6 has had a solid reception, in line with what I have experienced from other high-end modern smartphones. It also supports Wi-Fi and VoLTE calls on T-Mobile. But it does not support CDMA-based networks at all, and it will not work on Verizon or Sprint at all. That means that half of the wireless clients in the US. UU You can not even consider the OnePlus 6 as your next phone.

For endurance, the 3,300 mAh battery OnePlus 6 keeps it running all day without problem. It has no wireless charge, although now it has the glass again, but the OnePlus Dash Charger is the fastest cable charging option available, which makes the battery very easy, provided you are using the cable and the charger. that come in the box.

There are also other hardware features that are worth mentioning. The OnePlus 6 has something you will not find in any other Android phone: a physical switch to move between ring, vibration and completely silent modes. If you used a OnePlus phone in the past, you will see that it now has a different behavior. Instead of controlling the Do Not Disturb modes, it only switches the volume output, which makes much more sense in use. Interestingly, OnePlus is not yet giving users options to automatically activate the DND mode at night or in meetings.

The OnePlus 6 has two ways to unlock it: your finger or your face. Face unlocking is not as secure as Face ID on the iPhone X, but it is super convenient and fast. For some reason, OnePlus eliminated the sliding gestures in the fingerprint scanner to reveal the notification tone, which seems like a minor thing, but it has bothered me all the time I've used the phone. It is one of those things that make managing a very large phone easier and eliminating it is confusing and frustrating.

The OnePlus 6 also has a headphone jack, which is great if you do not want to deal with wireless or Bluetooth headsets in your car If you want to connect wirelessly, Bluetooth 5 audio streaming and AptX and AptX HD are supported. For the speakers, the 6 has a single loud and clear speaker at the bottom, but it does not have the even better dual speaker configurations that many other phones offer at this time.

And although OnePlus claims that the 6 is splash resistant, it does not have adequate water resistance ratings, so it's not safe to dive or really soak. It's okay in the rain, but do not drop it in the pool.

The OnePlus 6 has a dual camera system on the back, basically the standard now. It uses a main sensor of 16 megapixels for most heavy loads, and a secondary sensor of 20 megapixels to add more details and enable the blurry effects of portrait mode. The main sensor has been updated with larger pixels and optical image stabilization for better performance in low light conditions and is now capable of recording 4K video at 60 frames per second and slow motion video at 240 frames per second (1080p resolution) ) or 480 frames per second (720p resolution).

Compared with OnePlus 5 or 5T last year, the OnePlus 6 camera is a step forward: the images are sharper and have more details, especially in low light conditions. The camera application opens quickly and has a logical and easy to follow interface. But the portrait mode is as gimmicky as before, and while the new slow-motion video modes are nice, I really do not see myself ever using them.

But if you compare it with something similar to Google's Pixel 2, a Samsung S9 or a Huawei P20 Pro, the OnePlus 6 images do not hold up. The colors are nice and the exposure is usually accurate, but the images look gritty and excessively sharp, especially when approaching. Although the OnePlus 6 has automatic and manual HDR modes, it does not serve as a good work that takes out details of the shadows or reproduces what my eye can see as Google Pixel, and can not touch the Huawei to capture images in low light . The images lack the "wow" factor that the best smartphone cameras have.

The 16-megapixel front camera is similar: it's good in terms of exposure and color, but it surpasses images in an unpleasant way. There is a "beautification" mode slider that will turn your face into a watercolor painting if you want, but I left it. The front camera does not have the portrait mode effects that the rear camera has, but OnePlus tells me that it plans to add them in a future software update.

None of this is to say that the camera is bad, it is actually quite good, especially for the OnePlus 6 price, but it is where you will see the biggest gap between the OnePlus 6 and the more expensive smartphones.

For the software, OnePlus 6 is running Oxygen OS, which is the OnePlus version on Android – 8.1 Oreo (including the security patches of May 1, at the time of the revision), in this case. For the most part, it looks very similar to what is found on a Google Pixel phone: it's clean and easy to use without a lot of deranged things that get in the way.

There are a couple of unique things that are worth highlighting in OnePlus & # 39; software.

First, there is a gesture control system that you can choose to use instead of the standard buttons on the Android screen. I really like the idea of ​​this, because it allows the content to make full use of the OnePlus 6 expansive screen and complete it to the end. Unfortunately, the gestures are not yet as smooth or easy to use as the iPhone X. As things are now, there is no way to open the Google Assistant from the interface of gestures and lacks the ability to quickly return to the The last application I was using, which are possible if you have the standard Back, Home and Recent application buttons enabled. I hope that OnePlus continues working on this. (When I asked if OnePlus would be adopting the new gesture control system that Google has announced for the next version of Android, the company said it still did not have an official position, but noted that the Android P gestures are still in beta and subject to changes).

The second one is a "Reading Mode", which changes the screen to a monochromatic appearance that imitates an e-reader. It makes the reading of long articles or electronic books much more pleasant, and can even be turned on and off automatically according to the application you are using.

OnePlus 6 is an evolution of what OnePlus has been doing since its inception, without really breaking that mold. Certainly, there is much to be desired here: attractive design, large screen, reliable battery life, fast performance and excellent software, and no silly, trend-seeking things like smart AI features, dedicated hardware buttons for virtual assistants , or strange squeezed interfaces that simply get in the way. There are even a couple of legitimate things that can not be found on any other smartphone. The OnePlus 6 hit per dollar is still the best you can get in the world of smartphones.

But for the most part, all the criticisms that could have been applied to OnePlus phones in 2016 and 2017 will remain valid here. The OnePlus 6 does not have the best camera, it does not work on Verizon, it's not really waterproof, and it's big, with no option for a smaller version. Those things matter to a lot of people, and no amount of discount compared to a device from Samsung, Apple or Google can solve those problems.

Many of the improvements over the company's previous phones are also predictable. The faster processor aligns with Qualcomm's launch cycle, the enhanced camera is a standard update year after year, and the larger screen, complete with a notch, is in line with the smartphone trends of 2018. I do not think that the OnePlus 6 back in no way, is a better phone than the OnePlus 5T in every way, but some may regret the change from a full metal body to a glass sandwich design.

The OnePlus 6 will surely make many of the OnePlus fans happy, and is likely to continue to drive the company's steady growth. But next time, I would like to see OnePlus address those headend complaints and produce a device that appeals to a wider audience, not just smartphone enthusiasts looking to save a dollar.

Congratulations to Ernesto Alonso, who won the presentation contest wallpaper that we recently ran on Instagram! You can follow it on Instagram here and download the wallpaper you see on the phone in this review here .

Vox Media has affiliated associations. These do not influence the editorial content, although Vox Media can earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy .

Leave a Reply