The OnePlus 6 is the second flagship smartphone to be released by the company this, following an almost immediate roll-out of the OnePlus 5T.
With the OnePlus 6, the company made some slightly significant changes in the design and layout of the handset. It’s not much but based on OnePlus’ track record, that’s already pretty significant.
In a time when all other phone vendors are announcing newer flagship smartphones with skyrocketing price tags, OnePlus continues its promise to offer theirs at a much more affordable price point that makes you wonder how much margins the others are making.
Check out our full review of the OnePlus 6 below and learn why it’s still one of the best bang-for-the-buck smartphones this year.
Design and Construction
OnePlus has a habit of creating simple and subdued design executions and we’ve seen that in their smartphones since the very beginning. Even the choice of colors are on the conservative side where they tend to go monochromatic. Although in some instances, they would release special edition colors like red or something but nothing radical or in alignment with the season’s pantone theme.
The OnePlus 6 is just like that – simple and straightforward but with attention to detail. The Midnight Black model is very polished, has a pitch dark tone and glossy finish both in front and the back due to the Gorilla Glass 5 exterior.
The Power button is on the right side with the Alert Slider just above it, a OnePlus signature design element. One the left is the volume rocker with the SIM slot alongside it.
At the bottom end are the speaker grille, the USB Type-C port, the primary mic and, thankfully, the 3.5mm audio port. The fingerprint scanner is placed at the back, just below the camera module in the middle. The OnePlus logo is etched just below them. The curved back is actually very slippery and such a fingerprint magnet that we strongly recommend a protective case.
There’s also water-resistance for up to 1.5 meters and under 30 minutes (IP68 Rating) so you’ll never worry about getting it wet or jumping into the pool with you.
Display and Multimedia
At 6.28 inches, the OnePlus 6 is actually huge, among the biggest flagship smartphones in terms of display size. Despite that, we are still able to handle the device with one hand just fine. It also uses Gorilla Glass 5 for protection against scratches, bumps, and drops.
OnePlus uses an Optic AMOLED display which is a technology not commonly heard of in smartphones. This is basically a tweaked out version of Samsung’s Super AMOLED panels with the company changing the saturation to show more natural, life-like colors in addition to having a bright display so light glares don’t impede the text or pictures when using the phone outdoors.
There were some sacrifices to cut cost, and these are intentional, of course – like the use of a full HD resolution instead of a quad HD or 4K screen. Frankly, we don’t see any difference between a full HD or a quad HD on a 6-inch display so we don’t really feel shortchanged here. Huawei had the same reason with their P20 Pro and the benefit of having longer battery life is well worth it.?
The 19:9 aspect ratio means the display is taller than wider than usual. The screen resolution is not impressive at 1080 x 2280 pixels but it’s good enough. The Full Optic AMOLED Screen is very bright, crisp and rich in colors with high contrast. It’s viewable in the outdoors and even under direct sunlight.
The other more obvious design treatment is the notch. OnePlus figured everyone is doing it so why not with the OnePlus 6. Good thing they added an option in the settings to hide this.?
With the last display, the OnePlus 6 is also ideal for watching movies and playing long games, giving you the option to change the color tone of the screen to reduce eye fatigue from prolonged use especially at night.
The single speaker at the bottom end produces good music that’s loud and crisp, does not have enough bass but you can accidentally cover it when holding horizontally while playing or watching movies.
The OnePlus 6 uses a similar dual camera system in the back, much like it predecessors. The two sensors, 16MP + 20MP Sony IMX 519/376K, comes with optical image stabilization (OIS) and electronic image stabilization (EIS) to reduce shakes and blurs in still shots as well as a smoother, less shaky video recording.
Video recording can go up to 4K at 60 fps, a feat that very few smartphones can muster (the iPhone X was the first one we tried that can do the same). If you want some dramatic slow motion, you can record it at 1080p for up to 240 frames per second or 480fps at 720p.
We’re not quite fond of the OnePlus camera before but the OnePlus 6 has changed our mind. It produces one of the best and most accurate photos we’ve ever tested in recent months.
We like that the camera is snappy and we hardly get any blurry shots even under low-light. With the main 16MP camera having an aperture of f/1.7, it’s fast and accurate with nice colors and deep contrast. We also like the idea that you can zoom in at 2x so you can get a good macro-like effect on some of our photos.
Like the setup int he OnePlus 5T, the OnePlus 6 employs the same odd combo. None of the wide-angle or telephoto or monochrome+RGB. These two RGB sensors combine the image that they take to get more accurate shots, especially in low-light conditions and this is evident is some of the night shots we took in Paris.
We wish OnePlus would have opted for a wide-angle or telephoto as a second camera but if this setup means better-looking photos, we’re also good with it.
OS, Apps and UI
OnePlus customizes their own operating system called OxygenOS 5.1 that is based on the latest Android Oreo 8.1. It’s a more simplified version, clean and with less clutter though additional features are based on OnePlus’ own modifications to extend the functionality of the phone and differentiate itself from the rest.
OnePlus is fond of gestures and shortcuts so there’s a lot of options for that here. From unlocking the device to instantaneously launching a specific app, you can activate each one or customize to your liking.
Aside front the fingerprint scanner at the back, you can use Face Unlock for security. It’s easy to register and very quick to recognize the registered face and unlock the device almost instantaneously.
The fingerprint scanner itself is easy to access from the back especially while holding the device with one hand. It’s fast and accurate and you can register up to 5 unique fingerprints.
Performance and Benchmarks
The OnePlus 6 sports the latest Snapdragon 845 chipset from Qualcomm with a top clock speed of 2.8GHz for the 4-core high-performance processor. There’s the new Adreno 630 GPU which is about 30% better than its predecessor according to Qualcomm.
This is paired with 6GB or 8GB RAM, depending on the variant with either 64GB, 128GB or 256GB internal storage. Our review unit is the base 6GB/64GB combo.
OnePlus was among the first one to use the Snapdragon 845 and this chipset has managed to surpass expectation in terms of raw performance and graphics. The processor is blazing fast, runs everything we threw at it effortlessly and performs smoothly even with the most extensive tasks and heavy games.
Synthetic benchmarks showed the OnePlus 6 topping the charts with a score of 266,563 in Antutu.
Here are the rest of the benchmark scores we got:
|3D Mark||4,650 (SSE – OpenGL ES 3.1)
3,797 (SSE – Vulkan)
|Geekbench 4.2||2,464 (Single-Core)
|PC Mark||9,673 (Work 1.0)
5,189 (Compute Vision)
|AndroBench||723 MB/s (Sequential Read)
197 MB/s (Sequential Write)
Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life
The device has all the required connectivity options you will need. From hi-speed WiFi with 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, Cat. 16 4G LTE and GPS with aGPS support and GLONASS.
The dual nano-SIM both supports 4G LTE connectivity but there’s no additional slot for a microSD card expansion (an approach OnePlus has employed on their devices, opting for higher internal storage capacities instead).
The OnePlus 6 comes with a measly 3,300mAh battery which is quite low for its size. On moderate use, it can last you the entire day but once you get into a lot of mobile gaming and internet time, you’ll need to recharge it every 5 hours or so.
In our PC Mark Battery Test, the phone clocked in at 8 hours and 18 minutes on a full charge at 50% brightness, zero volume and in airplane mode. Using our standard video loop test, the phone manages to run a movie in loop for 13.5 hours to 14 hours continuously at 50% brightness, zero volume and in airplane mode.
What’s missing here is wireless charging but that’s not a deal-breaker in our books. Fast-charging is available with the 5V/4A fast charger that came with it. We can easily top up the phone from zero to 100% in about 70 to 75 minutes.
|Display||6.28-inch Full Optic AMOLED Screen @ 1080 x 2280, 19:9, sRGB and DCI-P3|
|Glass||Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front and back)|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 2.8GHz octa-core CPU|
|GPU||Adreno 630 GPU|
|Storage||64GB/128GB/256GB UFS 2.1|
|Rear Camera||16MP IMX 519 + 20MP Sony 376K with OIS + EIS rear cameras, dual LED flash|
|Front Camera||16MP Sony IMX 371 front camera|
|SIM Slot||Dual Nano SIM|
|Connectivity||LTE Cat. 16/13 4CA, 40 Global Bands|
|Wi-Fi||WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4×4 MIMO|
|Sensors||NFC, Fingerprint scanner|
|GPS||GPS/A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS|
|Features||Face Unlock, Gesture control, Water Resistance|
|Audio||3.5mm audio port|
|OS||OxygenOS 5.1 (Android 8.1 Oreo)|
|Battery||3,300mAh battery w/ 5V4A Fast Charge|
|Color||Mirror Black, Midnight Black, Silk White (Limited Edition)|
|Price||(6GB + 64GB — $238), (8GB+128GB — $278), (8GB+256GB — $298)|
What we liked about it:
* Great performance
* Impressive camera
* Nice display
* Simple yet beautiful design
* Fast charging
* Very affordable for a flagship
What we did not like:
* Average battery life