OnePlus are back in action, hoping the third time is the charm to crack international markets. We’ve loved the past OnePlus models and the third instalment looks set to steal our hearts again. So confident are Chinese manufacturers that this could take on the world, they have moved away from their usual invite scheme, making it easier for the average Joe to become owners. They, just like Huawei, want to take over the market and they are going the right way about it.
OnePlus arrived in the smartphone market in 2014, screaming their motto “never settle” while flashing around some serious specifications on their handset. The bar was set high with the maiden handset and the sequel had a lot to live up to. The OnePlus 2 was judged more on its predecessor than itself and thus was a relative failure. A shame if you ask us because the sandstone backing of the 2 was simply divine. If anything, OnePlus was a victim of its own success, as expectations for its second instalment went above and beyond what the still-small firm was capable of. Still they created what they described as a “flagship killer” was less than €400.
The flagship killer has really changed their design this year creating a slick premium, uni-metal body akin to that of HTC flagships: a huge leap from the previous two models poly-carbonate framework. While we did adore the back options on last years OnePlus 2, one cannot deny the sheer beauty of the uni-metal. Why have a Ferrari engine in a Nissan Micra body? Now the OnePlus looks every bit as premium as it performs and the result is rather pleasing as it shows an evolution of OnePlus into a real giant killer.
The rear of the handset has a gentle curved spine with the antenna band across the top and bottom, reminiscent of the HTC One M9 or the new Huawei P9. The squared camera housing hints at the design of the Samsung Galaxy S6. Borrowing the best bits from the main contenders to create a simple if not understated premium look. Thanks to the blatant inspiration seeking all manufacturers seem to partake in with each other these days, the OnePlus actually looks to be a unique design despite these borrowings.
The front of the OnePlus 3 is wonderfully understated to looks at but boasts Gorilla Glass 4 with a full HD screen and indented finger print/home button. OnePlus claims their fingerprint scanner unlocks the device 0.3 of a second faster than Samsung and Apple.
Along the left side of the handset sits the volume keys and the OnePlus’ very own and handy notification slider which again has its three position set up: all notifications, priority notifications and silent, enabling you to quickly adjust the setting without waking the screen. While there is a notable tipping of the cap to the mute switch seen on all Apple phones (more borrowing here) handy to mute the phone during business meetings or cinema dates.
On the other side is the power/lock key, which sits below the dual-SIM tray. Yes that’s right. The OnePlus 3 can handle two SIMs. On some other devices, such as the Huawei P9, the second SIM slot also doubles as a microSD slot. Strangely, in what is almost certainly a cost saving measure, the OnePlus 3 only comes in one memory option: a more than adequate 64GB model.
As with most handsets these days the top is fairly bare while the base is filled with all the extras: speaker grille, USB-C port and headphone jack. No ditching headphones like Apple appears to be considering. Here are some more numbers for you. The OnePlus 3 also contains a Snapdragon 820 processor, 6GB of RAM, 16MP rear camera, 8MP front snapper and 3,000mAh fast-charging battery. Remember what we said about it being a flagship killer?
Simple and effective and that’s the beauty of the beast, having done nothing particularly different, the team at OnePlus have managed to create something that wouldn’t look out of place at a party with the iPhone 6S, Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and LG G5, yet it’s almost half the price. Mission accomplished? We think so.