OnePlus 6 Review: Better Than Apple’s iPhone X (And Half The Price)

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OnePlus is one of the mobile space’s great success stories of recent years. While longer-standing names such as Sony and HTC struggle to compete with the big players – Apple and Samsung – OnePlus came at the industry as a fresh, new company a few years back and did things quite differently.

The different approach has worked wonders.

Rather than try to compete with the industry giants on their level, OnePlus decided to offer a true value proposition – as high as specs possible for a comparatively low and thus competetive price point.

It also didn’t bother with big bucks advertising campaigns or product placement, and instead engaged in viral marketing and direct, open communication with its fans via social media and its own forum website.

I’ve reviewed tons of smartphones over the years and only a handful really stand out and grab my attention. These handsets are truly memorable as something very special. OnePlus has been doing a great job for a while, but the OnePlus 6 is really the first phone it has made that is on this spectacular level.

Of course there is a massive pull in the lower cost from other contemporary flagships. The OnePlus 6 starts at $579 for the 64GB entry model and goes up to £569 for the 256GB model.

But it also stands on its own merit too. It has a gorgeous and lush design aesthetic and a high quality build. It packs amazing display technology, and the camera is one of the best on the market. Then you have fast performance on a very slick, tailored, and optimised Android experience, and decent battery life to boot.

OnePlus has officially confirmed its plans to update the OnePlus 6 to the new edition of Android – Android 9.0, aka Android Pie. Google has now officially launched Android Pie and has updated its existing Pixel handset portfolio. It is yet to launch the new Pixel 3 series, however.

The OnePlus 6 will be updated in the near future, according to a statement from OnePlus itself. The firm also said it would then update the OnePlus 5/5T, and then the OnePlus 3/3T as well.

“OnePlus is committed to giving users the best possible experience, consistently delivering software updates for two years after the launch of a device, and security updates for an additional year after that,” the firm said, in a statement.

“Over the past few months, we have been working closely with Google on the Android P Beta program. Thanks to everyone’s participation and continued feedback, the progress we have made together has been greatly accelerated. The Android P update will be available on the OnePlus 6, OnePlus 5/T and OnePlus 3/3T, in this order. We will keep you all updated in the coming months.”

We’re fully expecting the OnePlus 6 to be updated inside 2018, probably in the next few months.

The OnePlus 6 has been getting rave reviews across the web from professionals and consumers alike and, what’s more OnePlus has just revealed that sales of the handset have utterly smashed its previous sales records.

Yup, the OnePlus 6 may in fact be one of the best-selling handsets the company has ever produced – at least as far as opening sales are concerned. In less than a month – 22 days to be exact – OnePlus has sold more than a million units.

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau revealed the news.

“Since before OnePlus launched, we’ve always taken care to listen closely to our users and deliver smartphones which combine design and power,” he said. “The OnePlus 6 is our most balanced handset yet, combining style and speed for a unique experience. Our approach has been rewarded by returning users and new customers alike, and we’re grateful to the OnePlus community as the OnePlus 6 has become our fastest selling handset ever.”

Sure, it’s not Apple sales figures, but the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T reached one million units sold in three months from launch, so it shows a massive upsurge in OnePlus interest. OnePlus also said that consumers seem to prefer the 256GB storage model, which has outperformed other variants, although the firm did not reveal specific sales breakdown stats.

I spent a couple of weeks testing the OnePlus 6. Read on to find out why I love this handset so much.

Latest OnePlus 6 contract and SIM-free deals

OnePlus is now running a couple of value bundles for the OnePlus 6, for a limited time. The deals are “Back-To-School” offers for students.

First up is a 64GB storage and 6GB RAM Mirror Black version bundled with a pair of OnePlus Bullets V2 earphones, a Fast Charge Power Adapter, and a metre-long Fast Charge Cable. This package is $529.

The second option is a Mirror Black 128GB model with 8GB of RAM for $579 with a free Karbon or Sandstone phone case.

OnePlus 6 Design – Stylish Glass & All-Display Frontage

I’ve always been a fan of OnePlus’ phones. They always looked nice and presentable, packing in decent specs and solid hardware.

But the OnePlus 6 is a different beast entirely.

Like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9, it features an ALL-DISPLAY front, as well as a notch, and the overall effect is, well… very appealing.

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A defining feature of the OnePlus 6 is the display, which much of the design is built around.

The screen is a 6.28in AMOLED with a 19:9 aspect ratio and a 2280 x 1080p resolution at 402ppi.

It’s a gorgeous screen to behold, with all the plus points of AMOLED including robust, punchy colour, pinpoint sharpness, strong black depth and contrast, clear white hues and plenty of brightness.

It’s also massive, but the footprint of the bodywork is the same as the OnePlus 5T.

I love the way this phone looks. I also really like the way it’s built and how it feels in my hand.

It’s smooth, perfectly styled, slim, and very, very stylish.

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And it’s cheap, way cheaper than Apple, Samsung, and LG’s latest offerings which means if you’re after solid value for money, there really is only one game in town: OnePlus.

You also get useful things like a headphone jack (well done, OnePlus), a well-placed fingerprint scanner on the rear, and a notch that houses OnePlus’ version of FACE ID.

It works flawlessly too; I’ve been wowing people with it all week.

Any issues with the overall design of the handset? Not from me, no. If I had to nitpick, I’d probably go with:

  • The speakers; they’re a bit tinny
  • It’s a very big handset
  • There’s no MicroSD support

But that’s literally about it when it comes to hardware grumbles, and most of them are subjective, anyway.

OnePlus 6 Silk White Limited Edition Available From June 5 2018

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We previously detailed the Limited Edition Silk White coloured OnePlus 6 during our hands-on preview and it is now hitting retail as of June 5.

OnePlus has featured Limited Edition colour variants with virtually every OnePlus release since day one, and the Silk White model continues the tradition. The firm revealed the Limited Edition variant during its launch of the OnePlus 6, but promised it would be released later.

As with all Limited Edition’s, there’s only a set number of units being produced globally, and when they’re gone, that’s it – no more for you or anyone else to buy. So if you’re interested, you better get your shopping fingers ready.

The Silk White OnePlus 6 features the same majority glass construction with a metal bezel holding it all together. The glass is a matte finish with a layer of crushed pearls inside to give a shimmering visual effect. As if that wasn’t decadent and luxurious enough, the metal accents are finished in a gold colour.

“The OnePlus 6 is the company’s boldest design to date,” the firm said. “The glass of the OnePlus 6 undergoes a number of intricate techniques to produce the stunning Silk White finish, reminiscent of the OnePlus One. Pearl powder has been mixed into the coating, resulting in a subtle shimmering effect when the phone is reflected in the light. Six layers of coating are applied to achieve the OnePlus 6 Silk White’s smooth frosted texture.”

 “Crafted with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and the back of the device, the OnePlus 6 is both exquisite and durable.”

The Silk White OnePlus 6 isn’t just about the fancy exterior though, as it also has some pretty robust specs. Naturally it has the Snapdragon 845 processor, but the RAM is 8GB and you get 128GB of onboard storage.

The RRP of the OnePlus 6 Silk White is $579 in the US, €569 in Europe, or £519 in the UK.

OnePlus 6 Specs

Ah, the specs. Again, the OnePlus 6 does not disappoint in this regard with 8GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 845 CPU, and either 64GB or 128GB of storage.

Bottomline: this thing packs a MASSIVE punch. Performance is insane; everything flies along at a rapid pace. It doesn’t even stop for a breath.

It is easily as fast as Samsung’s latest handsets, and it wipes the floor with Apple’s iPhone 8 (the handset I was using before I got this one to test).

The fact that Apple’s iPhone 8 is similarly priced feels like a joke; the difference between these phones is like night and day (in every conceivable context).

OnePlus 6 Performance

I also haven’t encountered a single issue with this phone since turning it on. Everything has just worked, seamlessly.

The Face Unlock thing is brilliant, much to my surprise, and the rest of the handset follows a similar pattern.

Nothing has been left on the table here: the phone delivers solid, reliable, consistent performance across the board.

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I’ve tried to find some issues with this handset, but I really struggled. The software is great, the camera is great, and the overall performance is stellar.

It wipes the floor with my Pixel 2 XL, with respect to overall stability, and it never misses a beat.

In fact, in my almost-10-years of writing about tech, I’d probably go as far as saying this is the best phone I have ever owned.

I know, that’s a big statement. But it really is true; I honestly cannot pick or find any faults with this phone.

It has performed solidly and reliably since I took it out the box.

The Pixel 2 XL’s camera is probably a little better, but not by much – and certainly not enough to put you off this handset.

Basically, if you’re after a big-hitter in the performance department, but you don’t want to pay £900/£1000, the OnePlus 6 should be high on your list.

I knew within hours of using this phone that I would be using it for the coming 12 months. It really is that good.

OnePlus 6 Camera

On paper, the OnePlus 6’s camera seems rather similar to what we had inside the OnePlus 5T.

But it’s not; no, there are quite a few key differences in play here, and they all make a significant difference to the camera’s performance.

The primary is a dual-sensor setup with the main sensor being 19% larger than the OnePlus 5T’s, meaning larger pixel sizes and more detail captured.

All the sensors on the OnePlus 6 are made by Sony.

The primary setup combines a 16MP f/1.7 with a 20MP sensor capable of advanced Portrait and bokeh modes.

The front-facing 16MP sensor pairs with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 and its built-in AI capabilities for selfies.

OnePlus has also added some pretty interesting video capture capabilities, in particular slow-motion for either 480fps at 720p or 240fps at 1080p.

In either case, however, longer-than-usual slo-mo capture is allowed for up to a minute, which when played back takes about six minutes at slo-mo speed.

To make things as easy as possible, there’s also a built-in video and photo editor which will let you loop, crop, or reverse slo-mo footage.

As you can see below, the results are very good.

The OnePlus 6’s camera, for my money, is one of the best around right now.

I had a blast testing it and the results it produces are brilliant. I also love how it automatically switches to Macro Mode when you get up close to an object.

The whole experience of using the camera just feels so well thought out, everything is just so intuitive. Very impressed. This is a lot better than I was expecting.

OnePlus 6 Software Update To Improve Camera Performance

OnePlus has officially revealed it will be issuing a software update for the OnePlus 6 specifically aimed at improving the camera performance. The update will be bundled in with OxygenOS  5.1.9 and, according to OnePlus, will improve the clarity, dynamic range, edge detection, and improve focus speed and accuracy.

Here’s the full Changelog:

System

  • Updated Android security patch to 2018.7
  • Fixed issues with accidental touches triggering gestures ( Draw V)
  • Supported Telia Finland VoLTE (Default On) and VoWifi (Default Off)
  • General bug fixes and improvements

Camera

  • Improved image quality
  • Integrated Google Lens mode

    • Now you can access Google lens from your camera with a tap and Google Lens will tell you what’s in the image, giving you information about things like books, buildings, and works of art etc.
  • Added beauty mode for Selfie Portrait

Messages

  • Added Group MMS

Wireless & networks

  • Optimized stability for Wi-Fi connection
  • Fixed stability issue with the Bluetooth connection for cars

The OnePlus 6 has also achieved the company’s highest ever score in DxOMark, the independent camera performance ranking organisation. The handset hit a score of 96.

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We know the OnePlus 6 is going to be updated to Android Pie fairly soon, as OnePlus already confirmed on its website. However, we don’t know exactly when this will occur – it seems pretty likely to be before the close of 2018, but apart from that there are no clues.

Incidentally, the OnePlus 5/5T and OnePlus 3/3T are also going to get Android Pie, as confirmed by OnePlus, but they’ll have to wait their turn.

However, in the meantime OnePlus has pushed an update over-the-air (OTA) for the OnePlus 6 bringing it up to OxygenOS 5.1.11. This update fixes a known issue with flickering display problems, doses the usual lot of bugfixes and optimisations, and also improves the HDR camera mode.

Other changes:

  • Optimized network connection
  • Optimized stability for Wi-Fi connection
  • General bug fixes and improvements
  • Confirm pin without tapping ✓(Setting > Security & lock > PIN)

As usual with OnePlus software updates, it’ll hit a limited number of devices first, then a broader rollout will follow, so if you don’t get a notification right away then give it time.

OnePlus 6 Battery

The OnePlus 6 runs a 3000mAh battery inside it; it’s non-removable too.

Battery life is decent; I consistently get a full day out of it with heavy usage.

Chuck in fast-charge, whereby you can get a full day’s battery charge in 30 minutes, and you’re on to a winner in the battery department.

It’s as good as the Pixel 2 XL and Galaxy S9+ in this context. Again, once again, no complaints in this regard.

OnePlus 6 Software – Does OxygenOS Impress?

In a word: yes – it is bloody impressive, very smooth, and it appears to be incredibly stable.

Naturally, a big part of the ultra-optimised performance comes from extensive tweaks to the latest version of the Android and OxygenOS platform.

OnePlus has also added an extensive suite of gesture controls, many of which are dedicated to working alongside a new full-screen mode which hides the on-screen Android keys to maximise your view of films, games, and the like.

There’s also a new gaming-specific “do-not-disturb” mode which will ferret away notifications and interruption that could compromise your game – no-one wants to be playing a racing game only to crash into a wall because of a text message forcing its way into your view.

There are other optimizations with gaming in mind too; a toggleable gaming mode will also optimize application load-speed, tweak the resolution and frame-rate for best performance, and enable a gaming-orientated battery saver mode.

OnePlus 6 Verdict

Simple, really: this is one of the best Android phones on the planet right now. It looks amazing and it runs brilliantly. But best of all is the price: it’s significantly cheaper than ALL of its peers.

I’d take one of these handsets over the iPhone X every day of the week and twice on a Sunday. It’s that good.

It’s been a few months since I published my review of the OnePlus 6, and in that time I’ve been using it solidly, all day, every day.

In this time, it STILL hasn’t missed a beat. Not one. The camera consistently impresses me (and my friends), and the battery life is utterly superb.

I get through quite a few phones, working this job. And usually this is a lot of fun. But for the last few months, I usually cannot wait to get back to the OnePlus 6.

Nothing else comes even remotely close to this phone right now, in my opinion – for the price, for the design. For everything.

If you’re on the fence about what phone to get next, get this phone.

I promise you will not be disappointed.

So do yourself a favour and check it out.

O2 is the ONLY place you can pick up the OnePlus 6 on contract in the UK; Check out ALL the deals right here. 

Or… you can buy it directly from OnePlus right HERE! 

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