- Despite having access to numerous expensive flagship smartphones, like those from Apple and Samsung, my SIM card usually ends up in phones from a little-known smartphone maker to the US – OnePlus.
- OnePlus phones have consistently proven to be excellent devices for nearly half the price of their competitors.
- They’re popular around the world, but not in the US because Americans typically buy their phones from carriers, which don’t feature OnePlus phones.
- Check out why I recommend OnePlus phones to friends and family before recommending Apple’s iPhones or Samsung’s Galaxy S phones.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
You may be thinking, “Shouldn’t mega-phones from the biggest names in tech get the top spot on the list?” No! Not at all! Apple and Samsung are just names to me. What matters most are the phones themselves and what they propose for their price tags.
And at the end of the day, it’s always OnePlus phones that come out on top.
OnePlus phones aren’t that well known in the US because they’re not typically sold in carrier stores, which happens to be where most Americans buy their smartphones (usually, people in the US will have to buy OnePlus phones from the company’s website). But hopefully, more Americans will get to see that OnePlus phones actually exist, since now you can find them in T-Mobile stores.
Here’s what makes OnePlus phones so great:
OnePlus phones are cheaper than other flagships from Samsung, LG, and Apple. Some may take that as a bad sign, but it’s not bad at all.
OnePlus has marketed its phones as “flagship killers,” and unlike other catchy marketing phrases, the company’s claim actually holds water.
OnePlus phones are typically hundreds of dollars less than the competition while sporting the same or similar specs, performance, and premium design.
Despite their lower price tags, OnePlus phones run on the same chips and other specs as the more expensive devices.
Each OnePlus phone so far has included the top mobile chip of any given year – the same chip used in more expensive flagship phones.
OnePlus phones even outperform most of the more expensive models.
While testing and actively using OnePlus phones, I’ve found they perform as well or better than most high-end Android flagships. That can partly be attributed to the extra RAM that OnePlus phones have compared to most other smartphones. It’s only recently that phones from Samsung have started to catch up with OnePlus, a comparatively tiny smartphone maker.
RAM is a type of memory that stores apps you’ve recently opened, and it lets you return to that app without the app having to open from scratch. The more RAM a device has, the more things you’ve recently done on your phone it can store.
As a result, switching between apps and swiping around OnePlus devices feels fast and fluid, sometimes even more so than more expensive flagships.
OnePlus phones are beautifully designed.
OnePlus phones, especially the OnePlus 3 and those that came after it, have always been graced with beautiful designs made out of premium materials, including metal and glass.
When you hold a OnePlus phone, it’s hard to imagine that it costs hundreds less than the competition.
They also run on a clean and simple version of Android that’s not cluttered with extra “stuff.”
There’s very little bloatware on OnePlus devices, apart from a couple of the company’s own apps. There aren’t duplicate versions of Google’s own apps, too, which are still too common in many Android flagships. And you won’t find the awful apps that carriers force onto the devices they sell, either, because OnePlus phones haven’t typically been sold in carrier stores.
The company only started selling its phones with T-Mobile in 2018, starting with the OnePlus 6T. Even then, the OnePlus 6T phones you can buy from T-Mobile only come with a couple T-Mobile apps that aren’t offensive.
OnePlus phones might not come with some of the features you’d find on more expensive flagships, but it’s worth thinking to yourself if you really need those features.
So far, OnePlus hasn’t adopted certain features like wireless charging, nor has it obtained an official “IP” water-resistance rating.
For wireless charging, the company said it didn’t get enough feedback from its community to add the feature.
And as for obtaining an official IP rating, it costs money get the certification, which the company chooses not to invest in. As a result, it can pass down the savings to its customers, too. Still, the company says its phones are resistant to splashes and light water contact.
Whether or not these features matter enough is totally up to you. And if they do matter, I’d also consider the extra few hundred dollars you’d be spending on other Android devices to have access to those features.
OnePlus does have two things that other Android flagships don’t.
OnePlus phones are the only Android smartphones that come with an iPhone-style silent switch, making it easy to quickly switch the phone to silent and vibrate-only.
OnePlus phones also come with their own charging brick technology that keeps the heat that usually comes with charging in the brick itself. That way, OnePlus phones don’t slow down their charging speeds while you’re using them, which most phones need to do to prevent overheating.
OnePlus cameras weren’t always fantastic, but the company has clearly made big strides in recent models.
OnePlus’ earlier models didn’t impress too much on the camera front, but the recent few models have.
In fact, I recently took the OnePlus 6T on vacation and compared photos I took with the Pixel 3 XL, and dare I say it, the OnePlus 6T took better photos. For those who may not be aware, the Pixel 3 phones are often touted as having the best cameras on smartphones.
The main thing where OnePlus can improve is updates, especially with older devices. But very few Android phone makers have this right.
OnePlus does a pretty good job of updating its devices with the latest version of Android. Older devices like the OnePlus 3 and 3T from 2016 have still yet to get the latest version of Android, but the same can be said about most older models from most Android phone makers.
OnePlus is also pretty decent at delivering security updates to its more recent devices, but older devices aren’t as well supported. Again, the same goes for most Android devices.
The only Android smartphones that get the latest versions of Android and security updates are Google’s own Pixel phones and the Essential Phone. The Essential Phone was a great phone a few years back, but the company has stopped making smartphones.
All in all, OnePlus phones have been delivering the best of expensive flagship devices for almost half the price, and they’re simply unbeatable value.
Due to my job, I receive nearly all the latest flagship smartphones for review and coverage. And yet, despite having access to expensive flagships that I can use at will, I tend to keep my SIM card in OnePlus smartphones for my daily drivers.
I love the way they work, I love the way they’re designed, and I love that the company doesn’t add specs and features for the sake of adding them. Wrap all of that neatly with a tidy, reasonable price tag, and you have yourself a clear winner, in my mind. If I were to buy a smartphone with my own money today, it would absolutely be a OnePlus.
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