OnePlus revealed its latest smartphone – the OnePlus 6 – on Wednesday during an event in London.
With the new model, you’re getting the latest specs for 2018 and some new design elements, but overall, the OnePlus 6 is a minor update from its predecessor, the OnePlus 5T.
OnePlus has consistently offered top Android specs and performance for significantly lower price tags than the competition from big names like Samsung, Apple, and LG. It appears to be the same for the OnePlus 6, but the company has slowly been raising the price after every new release over the last few years.
The OnePlus 6 starts at $US530 in the US, and it will become available to buy starting on May 22.
We spent some hands-on time with the new phone – check out our first impressions of the OnePlus 6:
Here it is, the OnePlus 6.
Inside the OnePlus 6 are all the specs you’d expect and find in a premium, high-end Android smartphone in 2018. That includes:
– The latest Snapdragon 845 processor from chipmaker Qualcomm for speedy performance.
– 6GB to 8GB of RAM for running lots of apps in the background and keeping performance smooth.
– A large 6.28-inch display.
– A premium design with narrow bezels around the display.
– A dual-camera system.
– Facial recognition to unlock the phone.
– Quick charging.
– A decently large 3,300mAh battery.
There might be a couple specs that could put you off, but they really shouldn’t.
Eagle-eyed readers might notice that OnePlus is sticking to a 1080p resolution for its displays compared to the 1440p resolution you’ll find on most high-end Android phones. That means the OnePlus 6 doesn’t match other high-end Android phones in screen resolution, but it was never a problem during my short time with the device so far. In fact, I never even noticed that it was a lower resolution than the 1440p Galaxy S9 Plus I’ve been using recently.
You might also notice that OnePlus still hasn’t obtained official water resistance ratings for the OnePlus 6. However, the company is confident that the OnePlus 6 can resist common water splashes, like rain.
And yes, it has a notch.
The notch was confirmed before the OnePlus 6’s announcement by the company’s co-founders. So anyone who was interested in buying the new OnePlus phone had some time to get used to the idea if they don’t like the notch on other devices, like the iPhone X.
It also has a “chin,” where the bottom bezel is thicker than the top bezel, and it can make the OnePlus 6’s front look unevenly lopsided.
But it’s OK, you can turn the notch ‘off’ if you want.
If you think the notch and the chin make for an uneven lop-sided look on the OnePlus 6, the good news is that you can turn the notch off in the OnePlus 6 settings.
And suddenly, the notch isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s better than not having a notch (let me explain).
By turning the notch off, you simply turn off the colour wallpaper and apps spilling over into the areas on either side of the notch. The areas around the notch turn black and look like a traditional Android notification bar. It also help even out the OnePlus 6’s front, as the blacked-out notch looks like a bezel and matches the chin’s width at the bottom of the phone for a more even look overall.
This led me to conclude that the notch is undoubtedly a good thing – if you have the option to turn it off. It lets you move the notification bar above the display, which gives you more room for apps, and it’s not as obvious as when it’s turned on.
The back of the OnePlus 6 is glass compared to the metal from previous models. The matte glass looks and feels very similar to the OnePlus 5T’s metal back.
Believe it or not, the OnePlus 6 model pictured above has a glass back. It looks and feels nearly identical to the metal back from the OnePlus 5T.
I should also note that the matte glass model comes exclusively with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and it costs $US580.
There’s also a glossy glass-backed model.
The glossy glass model comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and it costs $US530.
There’s also a white version of the matte glass with champagne gold accents, which looks stunning, but it won’t be available at launch.
Giving the OnePlus 6 a glass back doesn’t mean it’s getting wireless charging.
However, it does allow for faster network speeds than a metal back, but that depends on how much speed your carrier can deliver.
You get the usual OnePlus ports at the bottom: a headphone jack, USB-C port, and a speaker grill.
Toward the back, you get a dual-camera system and the fingerprint scanner.
The main camera lens is 16 megapixels, and the secondary lens is 20 megapixels. The selfie camera is also 16 megapixels.
One of the main improvements over the previous OnePlus 5T is a wider f/1.7 aperture and a larger sensor for the main camera for better low-light performance.
The second camera is designed for the OnePlus 6’s portrait mode
The selfie camera will also feature portrait mode, but it will use software trickery to achieve the effect rather than using a secondary lens.
OnePlus also added a 2X zoom button in its camera app.
But neither camera is a zoom lens, so it’s just a shortcut for easier zooming.
Since neither camera lens is a zoom lens, the 2X zoom in the OnePlus 6 camera app is simply a shortcut for digital zoom, which doesn’t keep as much detail or sharpness as a dedicated zoom lens like you’d find on the Galaxy S9 or iPhone X.
And if you don’t feel like using the fingerprint scanner, you can use facial recognition.
One of the differentiating features on OnePlus devices is the Notifications Silent switch. It’s still the only Android device with a dedicated switch to mute your notifications.
OnePlus switched the location of its signature Notifications Silent switch from the left of the phone to the right.
The OnePlus 6 comes with the company’s Dash charger, which is one of the best fast chargers on any smartphone.
The best way to charge the OnePlus 6’s 3,300mAh battery will be with the included Dash charger. The company’s Dash charger keeps all the parts that get hot during charging inside the charging brick itself, which means the charging speed is never throttled. Other phones with regular fast chargers will get hot if you use them while charging, and they will often slow down the charging speed to prevent the phone from overheating.
One of the best things about OnePlus phones is the clean version of Android they run.
I’ll always prefer the look and feel of the clean, stock Android above the overly tweaked versions of Android you’ll find on most Android smartphones. Thankfully, OnePlus has kept Android 8.1 as clean as possible while also incorporating its own lightweight software layer called OxygenOS.
OxygenOS lets OnePlus add more features without cluttering up the clean experience of stock Android. Some of the features you get with OxygenOS include a ton of customisable gestures to open apps. For example, you can draw on “O” on the screen to open the camera app. It also let OnePlus add its own speedy Face Unlock feature and Reading Mode, which filters out harsh blue light and turns the screen to grey-scale – a sort of black and white.
A new Gaming Mode can stop notifications from appearing while playing a game. Gaming Mode will also boost the OnePlus 6’s responsiveness and prioritise data for the game you’re playing over other apps.
Like previous models, the OnePlus 6 doesn’t come with much bloatware at all.
The only non-Google apps you’ll find on the OnePlus 6 is the OnePlus community app, the Notes app, the photo gallery app, a file manager app, a voice recorder, and the OnePlus camera app.
Overall, the OnePlus looks to be a great phone, but the final verdict is yet to come.
I’ll be diving into the camera performance as well as my overall experience with the OnePlus 6 in my upcoming full review – stay tuned.
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