K E Y P O I N T S
This the 6th flagship smartphone from Chinese-brand OnePlus.
OnePlus has always prized itself on competing with Samsung, LG and Apple while maintaining a price-tag that’s more than affordable.
The OnePlus 6 is no different boasting a stunning OLED screen that yes, does include a ‘notch’ in the same way that the iPhone does.
It looks and feels incredibly expensive, far more expensive than its £469 price tag.
This is an extremely big phone, which means it’s not exactly easy to use one-handed. Combine this with the glossy glass coating and it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Normally a weakness on OnePlus smartphones, the camera is excellent.
Runs one of the best versions of Google’s Android operating system we’ve seen yet. There’s no unnecessary features or apps.ADVERTISEMENT
V E R D I C T
OnePlus has always tried to maintain the image that it is somehow the underdog in the race to create the best smartphone.
Compare company sizes and revenue sheets and this would certainly be true, however I can confidently say that in the week or so that I’ve been using the OnePlus 6 this smartphone feels every bit the rival to both the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the iPhone X.
In keeping with the current trend to make everything glossy, the OnePlus 6′s design is an evolution on previous models and now includes a polished metal frame with a huge ocean of strengthened glass on the back.
It looks incredible for all of the first five minutes and then quickly becomes a greasy smudged mess, as is so often the case when humans get involved. I am not a fan of glossy smartphones, I don’t think it makes them look any more expensive and instead all it does is serve to give you a complex about keeping them clean.
Thankfully you can get the OnePlus 6 in a matte version called Midnight Black. I infinitely prefer it, not only because it’s less prone to marks but also because the frosted glass just looks better.
Frosted glass or not, there’s no getting around the size as well. This is a really big smartphone. Is the OnePlus 6 too big? For me, yes, based purely on the fact that there’s just no way I can use this phone comfortably with one hand and in a rush.
I do have one more small complaint about the size and that’s the fingerprint sensor. OnePlus has placed it below the camera on the back. This would normally be fine but not only is it placed just a little too out of reach but they’ve actually made it smaller as well. All of this means you never feel like you’re making good contact with the sensor.
Where that size finally starts to pay off is with 6.28-inch AMOLED screen that covers almost all of the front of the phone. There’s no getting around it, it’s a stunner. Colours are sumptuously rich with clear crisp whites and deep blacks. It’s not quite as good as say the iPhone X or Samsung’s S9 but considering the cost, it’s a remarkable display.
Running on that display is OnePlus’ version of Google Android called Oxygen OS. It’s a very minimal affair that looks and feels very similar to bog-standard Android but with a few little tweaks here and there.
I really like Oxygen OS, not least because it keeps things simple but mostly because OnePlus have made a real effort to only add features that they feel Android was missing. Even little changes like being able to switch between the light and dark mode make a difference, while almost all the buttons on the phone can be programmed to perform any action you want. It’s a level of customisation that’s there if you want it.
Next up is the camera and it’s here that the price difference could have really started to show itself. In keeping with current trends, there is 16MP + 20MP dual camera system, but unlike current trends it’s not so you can zoom further. Instead the two lenses are used simply to enhance the detail in the photos and to let you take ‘Portrait Mode’ pictures.
The results? The OnePlus 6 takes really nice pictures although I do think it has a tendency to slightly oversaturate highlighting colours. Portrait Mode pictures look equally good but actually taking them is surprisingly difficult. The live view is not representative of the finished picture at all, showing what looks to be a blurry mess. It’s really odd because when you see the finished picture it has actually done a really impressive job.
Video is slightly less impressive. The OnePlus 6 will shoot in 4K at 60fps and will even shoot in slow-motion at 480fps but in both cases the resulting footage was OK. The biggest issue I found was the camera’s almost constant and aggressive need to refocus the image, especially if you move the phone at anything other than a slow speed. It’s not a deal breaker and it feels like this can be improved over time with software updates, but it’s something to consider.
Battery life on the OnePlus 6 is admirable and I never struggled getting through an entire day with it. You also get OnePlus’ excellent Fast Charge feature, which means that if you do start running low you can easily get your phone back up to over 50% in just 15mins.
Last but not least, and this is something I wouldn’t normally mention but the OnePlus 6 actually comes with a case free of charge and comes with a screen protector already installed on the phone. Considering the amount of cracked screens and dented phones I see on my daily commute, this is the kind of small gesture that actually earns them a lot of points in my book.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
Display: 6.28-inch Optic AMOLED
Processor: Snapdragon 845
Camera: Rear-facing 20MP with OIS + 16MP, front-facing 16MP
Connectivity: WiFi, Cellular, Bluetooth and NFC
Software: Android 8.1 Oreo
Price: £469 SIM-Free
T A K E H O M E M E S S A G E
OnePlus have achieved something remarkable with this phone. It looks fantastic, the screen is a triumph and once again they’ve shown that you can improve Android without losing its simplicity and functionality.
The camera is a big improvement over previous generations, it’s still not perfect but many of the issues I have feel like software problems that can be ironed out.
Minus the wireless charging and true water-resistance OnePlus have made a smartphone that feels every bit the equal of the iPhone X and the Galaxy S9 but costs £500 less.