After a slew of leaks that outed most of the device details and an interestingly implemented VR launch event, the OnePlus 3 is finally here for customers to buy. But before you pull the trigger and get yourself one, we’ve rounded up some of the important things to know about the phone.
1. Goodbye invites
OnePlus have never shied away from ambitious marketing campaigns. While needing an invite to purchase the phone was in many ways a necessity for the small company to sustain itself, it did put off a lot of potential customers. With the 3, OnePlus has done away with the invite system, and the company claims it will never make a return in future.
2. Design differences
The famed sandstone texture the last two flagships were known for has been abandoned with the 3, for better or worse. After toying with glass as the build material for the OnePlus X, the all-metal formula has been employed this time around. The phone also has a super slim-profile, which is pleasing to the eye but makes the camera protrude a fair bit.
3. Performance aplenty
The OnePlus 2 was among many phones last year that had to work around Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor, which gained notoriety for overheating and reduced performance. This year, with the Snapdragon 820, Qualcomm is back in form, and the OnePlus 3 benefits from having the best silicon on the market.
4. The RAM war is won, for now
Just as the tech community began to come to terms with the idea of smartphones with 4GB of RAM, LeEco and now OnePlus have moved up a tier, and the 3 is equipped with 6GB LP DDR4 memory. The company itself admits that this is overkill at the moment, but as any power user would attest, there is no such thing as too much RAM. There have been some reports circulating online about the phone not being able to make the most of all the memory, but this is likely fixable with software updates. The RAM figure is also more about bragging rights, and rumours of 8GB RAM phones have already begun.
5. Resolution stays at FullHD; AMOLED makes an appearance
In an unconventional move for a phone with a reputation as a ‘flagship killer’ (a tag that has been wisely toned down in marketing for the 3), the display resolution is still 1080p, while every other flagship has graduated to a QuadHD display. However, OnePlus has moved on to AMOLED technology, which has become the standard of choice among mainstream manufacturers, resulting in a vibrant and more importantly, energy-efficient display.
6. Battery takes a cut, storage stays the same
The 3 sports a 3,000mAh battery, down from 3,100 on the OnePlus One and 3,300 on the 2. This is a result of the much slimmer 7.3 inch body, and a point that may put off some of the more demanding users out there. The lower-res screen and battery optimisations from Android Marshmallow (the device runs Android 6.0.1) do help, but a larger battery would have been welcome.
Storage is also limited to 64GB, with no memory card functionality available.
7. Fast charging, with a twist
Like many other super slim phones with smaller batteries, the OnePlus 3 supports fast charging to help top up at rapid speeds. The company uses a proprietary technology called ‘Dash Charge’, which builds in the fast charging tech into the adapter and cable instead of into the phone itself. The advantage is that the phone is less likely to heat up and slow down the charging process even if it is used while plugged in. The big downside however, is that the fast charging feature will only work by using the same adapter and cable that OnePlus provides. Using a different charger will not provide fast charging benefits.
8. Oxygen rich
After starting off in partnership with Cyanogen for their software, OnePlus deviated and made their own version of Android, dubbed OxygenOS (HydrogenOS in China) last year. This year, they have polished and fine tuned it and brought it back, and it stays close to stock Android with a few added features, such as gesture controls and a dark mode.
9. NFC and alert slider return
OnePlus has been listening to its customers, and after being panned for omitting NFC, an as yet little-used feature that is now set to drive the mobile payments ecosystem, it has incorporated it into the 3. This means that the phone can interact with NFC tags to perform actions, pair with supported devices and make payments via Android Pay, wherever it is available. The little slider on the OnePlus 2 that allowed for control of notifications, including muting them without turning on the screen, has also been brought back by popular demand.
10. Accessorise this
It may have traded away sandstone for sleek metal, but lovers of the textured finish can still have it in their palms by purchasing one of the cases the company has made for the device. Since the phone sports a unibody design, these are snap-on cases and not replaceable back covers. Other accessories OnePlus sells for the phone include a Dash Charge capable car charger.
These are a few things to consider if you’re looking to be one of the first to get the OnePlus 3. For more info, look out for our full review coming soon.