Let’s see, a 1080p display, 64 gigs of storage, 6 gigs of RAM, Snapdragon 820, a 16 mega-pixel camera and a 5.5-inch AMOLED display at $399! Forget the S7 Edge, give me the OnePlus 3!
And this time there’s no invite necessary. That’s right, the budget phone that was out of everyone’s reach unless they scored an invite is now available for everyone. I admit I haven’t been waiting for this phone. But then again I was so enamoured by the S7 and S7 Edge as well as the recent Moto Z that it slipped my mind that there was another player coming up to bat. And he may have come cheap but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t pack a punch.
The lack luster performance of its predecessor had left me and a lot of others wondering whether the original OnePlus One was a one-off (pun not intended) and that they couldn’t possibly keep up this almost magical stint of producing premium smartphones at almost half the price of the giants like Apple and Samsung. And their slogan ‘Never Settle’ was beginning to sound more like a marketing gimmick than an actual statement. The OnePlus 3 puts all that to rest.
The sandstone polycarbonate casing has been ditched in favour of ‘space-grade aluminum’ and the design feels comfortable to hold as the waistline measures a slim 7.35 mm. However, if you’re feeling old school, you can purchase a sandstone case or a bamboo case or a Kevlar case or a variety of other cases. The back does look a little too much like an HTC and the front does remind you of an iPhone 6S but the phone doesn’t come off as a cheap knock-off. Instead, the refined look and Oxygen OS inside gives the impression of a niche product that you won’t find anywhere else.
The phone has space for two nano SIM cards which is uncommon in the US but that’s hardly going to repel consumers. The one concern consumers may have is the 1080p display. Most flagship phones have 2K screens by now. Yet co-founder Carl Pei says that this was a conscious choice for better heat management. Hey, you gotta compromise somewhere when you’re delivering all that for half the price.
Since the phone has only one storage option, it might be a little discouraging for people who want more choice but really, how can you go wrong with a phone that has 64 GB of space? People have started maxing out their 32 GB phones pretty easily.
Inside is a 3000 mAh battery and atop the front sits an 8-megapixel camera for selfies and video chat. There’s also NFC for mobile payments and something called the Dash charger that can take the phone from nothing to 60% in half an hour. Also included is a fingerprint sensor that doubles as a home button.
The verdict seems to be that OnePlus has its thunder back. And without that pesky invite system, getting one is easier than ever. I for one will be taking full advantage of that.