OnePlus is back again with yet another reasonably priced smart phone, the OnePlus 6. I have to say I am excited to be reviewing this because ever since OnePlus became something outside of China, their phones have always interested me, yet I have never used one or come close to one, until now. Here in the U.K OnePlus phones are a rarity unless you’re an O2 customer or have used the OnePlus website. The device I am reviewing is my partner’s and it was chosen as an upgrade for her old Galaxy S7 on the O2 network.
OnePlus 6 Review: Design
I cannot deny that the OnePlus 6 is a rather visually pleasing device. The most noticeable thing about the design is that the phone has a glass body that spans both the back and the front of it. The glass is Gorilla Glass 5 complete with toughened to protection to ensure the device won’t break if dropped within reasonable limits. While a whole glass body may sound like bad news to accident-prone people, OnePlus has rather nicely included a decent silicone cover in the package.
According to OnePlus they have improved the water resistance on this device compared to previous OnePlus devices. Unfortunately, there’s no IP rating that has been awarded to the 6, so simply this means while OnePlus claims to have improved water resistance, this is most likely to protect the phone if it’s being used outside on a rainy day, so sorry, but no selfies during swimming with this device.
On the right-hand side of the phone sits the power/lock key and sitting right above this key is the OnePlus Alert slider, which is a popular feature that allows the user to quickly switch between loud, silent and vibration modes without having to wake the screen.
The volume rocker sits on the left-hand side of the device about a quarter of the way down. Closer to the top is the SIM tray, which supports two nano SIM, even here in the U.K OnePlus ships its devices with dual SIM capabilities.
At the bottom of the OnePlus 6 is a USB-C port for charging and data transfer purposes, a microphone, a rather welcome 3.5mm audio jack for using your normal wired earphones and in a slightly disappointing move from OnePlus the speaker is also present here. This location for the speaker opens it up for a few problems such as the fact it’s easy to cover with your hand when using the device in landscape mode and the more obvious fact the audio is playing towards the floor and not the user.
Head to the top of the phone and all you see is the shine from the glass as well as another microphone. So nothing of any major importance as all of that is located on the bottom of the device instead.
Around the rear of the OnePlus 6, you’ll come across its dual camera setup complete with flash which sits just above an oval-shaped fingerprint scanner. OnePlus state that this scanner can unlock the device in 0.2 seconds. I have to admit that I am finding the fingerprint unlocking to be very rapid. I have only used a few phones with fingerprint scanners, but so far this one has been the most reliable and most rapid to date.
Now for the most beautiful looking part of the device, in my opinion, the front. At the front, OnePlus has equipped the 6 with a 6.28-inch display, a 16MP front camera, an LED notification light and an ambient light sensor. What you’ll notice about the camera, speaker, LED notification light and sensor is that they all sit together neatly in a notch that takes a small area of the screen. At first I was a bit unsure about this notch, but after a while, I have really come to like it and in all honesty, it’s so satisfying to see just how neatly the notification bar sits at each side of it.
Bezel haters should rejoice at the sight of the OnePlus 6 as there’s hardly any bezel to be seen, in fact, the device boasts an amazing 84% screen-to-body ratio. Of course, this did mean including the above-mentioned notch, which you’ll either love or hate.
OnePlus 6 Review: Performance and Interface
If you want powerful, at a fraction of the price that companies like Samsung want you to pay for it, then you’ll be happy to know the OnePlus 6 is one incredibly powerful device. With 6GB or 8GB of RAM (depending on which version you buy) the phone handles multitasking with ease.
Working alongside this RAM setup is the Snapdragon 845 chipset, which features an Octa-core CPU with 4 x 2.8GHz Kyro 385 Gold cores and 4 x 1.7GHz Kyro 385 Silver cores. It also features an Adreno 630 GPU for graphics processing. OnePlus have worked hard to ensure that lag and slowdowns are a thing of the past by optimizing both the CPU and GPU by up to 30%. I have to honestly say it shows quite well. So far I have experienced no lag or slowdowns while using the device for a variety of different things from gaming, listening to music while gaming and browsing the web just to name a few.
Gaming on the OnePlus 6 is brilliant. The phone is powerful enough to allow max settings on any game that has them. This makes it great for powering through your favorite mobile games without worrying about lag or other issues. So far I have used it to play Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and have not been disappointed once.
The results of a Geekbench 4 test are quite good. The multi-core score is an impressive 9159, which is better than devices such as the Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Very impressive considering this phone cost a fraction of what those phones did upon release.
On the software side of things, the OnePlus 6 is up to date out of the box with the latest Android version, 8.1 Oreo. OnePlus has skinned over 8.1 using their in-house Oxygen OS skin, which on the surface isn’t too far away from the stock Android version. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is stock Android. The U.I is clean and crisp with a few subtle difference such as the drag up app drawer as opposed to a button based shortcut.
Another place this U.I differs greatly to the stock Android experience is the setting area. Which on the OnePlus 6 offers loads of different customization options to enable the user to set the handset up to their own preferred standard.
OnePlus 6 Review: Choices
If you like the freedom of choice, you’ll be happy to know the OnePlus 6 is available in a choice of colors. However, the color you choose will also have an effect on the price as the phone comes in several iterations all of which feature different onboard memory/RAM combinations.
The version my partner has is the Mirror black one. This comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, which makes it the entry-level version of the device. To buy this here on O2 in the U.K will cost you £469.00 upfront, which isn’t bad when you see that the Samsung Galaxy S9 costs £739.00 upfront. If you want to get this version of the OnePlus 6 on contract with O2 it costs from £9.99 upfront with tariffs starting from £50 a month. If purchased directly from the OnePlus site, you are able to get this color with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage for £569.99 or the 6GB version with 64GB of onboard storage for £469.00.
If you want something with more storage and more RAM, then the Midnight black version is for you. If purchased through O2 you can get this device with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. If you purchase it directly from OnePlus you can also get it with 256GB of onboard storage. Purchasing this outright from O2 will cost you £519.00 or if you prefer a contract, the upfront prices start from £9.99 with tariffs starting from £52.00 a month. Buying the 256GB version from OnePlus will set you back £569.00, whereas the 128GB version costs £519.00.
Lastly, there is a Silk white version which at the time of this review is not yet released but available for pre-order through both O2 and the OnePlus website. This version will be available in a setup consisting of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Through O2 it will cost £519.00 upfront or from £9.99 on contract with tariffs starting from £52.00 a month. If bought directly from OnePlus it costs £519.00.
Choose your storage capacity wisely as unfortunately, OnePlus has opted to not include MicroSD support with the 6. This is a letdown, given that MicroSD card compatibility is still used by many high-end phone manufacturers. That said OnePlus has never used MicroSD slots in any of devices, citing that they would cause performance issues.
OnePlus 6 Review: Display
Coming in at 6.28-inches this is the biggest display to date that OnePlus has used, in comparison their previous device the OnePlus 5T had a 6.1-inch display. The 6 has a Full Optic AMOLED display. To make the most of that screen real estate OnePlus has gone with the popular 16:9 aspect ratio, which will ensure you get more on screen when scrolling through things like Twitter or Facebook.
OnePlus has gone with the 2280 X 1080 resolution, which means this is a Full HD device. There are 402 pixels per inch, just as there are on other OnePlus flagship devices. The choice to go with Full HD over the more popular QHD shows that this one area OnePlus found a way in which they could keep the over device cost down.
The display isn’t bad overall. It is bright and vibrant with details that are as rich as they are important. While it may not be rocking the same resolution screen as phones like the Galaxy S9, it certainly doesn’t seem to be a million miles off in comparison, although the S9 screen offers a greater level of detail. Unfortunately, the OnePlus6 display lacks HDR support.
OnePlus 6 Review: Battery
Powering the OnePlus6 is a 3,300mAh battery, which is the same size as the battery in their last two phones, the 5 and 5T. Just like the 5 and 5T as well as other OnePlus devices before them, the 6 features Dash Charge technology. This technology allows the user to charge the phone from 0% to 60% in as little as 35 minutes as the best part about it is that it doesn’t overheat the phone. This feature works flawlessly and the quicker times are certainly favorable.
While Dash Charge itself is quite good, it’s slightly disappointing that the 6 doesn’t support wireless charging, which means my partner has got to get used to using the cable again as her old Galaxy S7 had wireless charging. This has obviously been left out as a cost restriction as glass bodies are ideal for phones with wireless charging.
As is the case with most phones, the battery lasts a full day when the phone is used moderately. In this case, I put the battery to the test by playing a few games, listening to music, watching some videos and browsing the web over the period of a day. By late on in the evening the battery level was at 9%.
Using the phone as little possible enabled me to get a full two days of use, but this meant only using the phone for the odd thing such as browsing, phone calls and text messages with the phone spending a lot of time in standby.
During a test in which a Full HD video of over 1 and a half hours in length was played the battery lost around about 12% of its battery, which isn’t a bad result and puts it in line nicely with other flagship devices.
OnePlus 6 Review: Cameras
The rear camera setup of the OnePlus 6 is rocking a dual setup consisting of a 16MP shooter and a 20MP shooter, both of which are Sony sensors featuring f/1.7 apertures. This setup is capable of recording videos at 4K/60fps. Just below this setup is the LED flash.
It has to be said that the camera setup on the rear performs really well, especially for a phone this competitively priced. Details are rich, colors are fine while exposure and white balance are right on cue, even when taking shots in low light situations. Just check out the photos below to get a real taste of the quality.
The front camera is a 16MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture and the capability of recording videos at 1080p/30fps. The quality is fantastic and if you love taking good clear selfies for your social media profiles, then this will definitely please you. Of course, it’s also great for video calling applications such as Skype.
Videos recorded with the 6 are a delight to view. OIS is present and ensures your videos are as smooth as possible for an end result you can be proud of and share freely with the world without being laughed at for recording a video with a potato.
A clean and simple to use camera application makes using the cameras on the OnePlus 6 even more of a delight. The application is easy to navigate around and there are plenty of settings options to play with.
OnePlus 6 Review: Overall
With most modern-day flagship mobile devices costing between £800 to £1000, the OnePlus 6 is a delightful reminder that you don’t have to pay these sort of prices to get a premium well made powerful mobile phone.
Of course, some sacrifices have had to be made to keep prices down. Sacrifices such as the lack of wireless charging and the choice to use a Full HD display over a QHD display, which is found in most modern flagship devices.
So if you’re looking to move on to something just as good but at a fraction of the price, the OnePlus 6 is well worth the thought. I’d actually encourage anyone in the U.k thinking about this phone to pop into their local O2 shops to play with a display device, to see just why this phone is being widely praised throughout the tech world.
- Costs a fraction of the price of other flagship phones
- Gorgeous design
- Almost stock-like Android experience
- Great cameras
- No wireless charging
- Full HD display instead of QHD
- No expandable memory