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OnePlus 6 Review: Carves a niche for itself

The OnePlus 6 packs in the latest and optimal hardware in an elegant design, at a price that usually hits a sweet spot with many.

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal   New Delhi     Last Updated: May 28, 2018  | 16:31 IST
OnePlus 6 Review: Carves a niche for itself

Flagship smartphones need not be priced over-the-top--this philosophy has brought OnePlus success in the past. The OnePlus 6 is no different. It's packed in the latest and optimal hardware in an elegant design, at a price that usually hits a sweet spot with many. It has a starting price of Rs 34,999 for 6GB RAM with the 64GB storage variant. Here's our experience with the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage variant priced at Rs 39,999.

Design: Dressed in an all-glass design, the OnePlus 6 looks stunning. Well rounded at the corners, a curved back, the deep dark black colour christened as 'mirror-black', the ergonomically placed fingerprint sensor, the dual camera set-up that looks like staring in the face of a vertical double-barrel, and the proprietary alert slider button, all add up to this incredible design that feels like holding a cloud in your hands. It is slippery but thankfully the glass body is protected by one of the toughest in the business, the Corning Gorilla Glass 5. One big noticeable change in the OnePlus 6 is the alert notification sider, which has now been moved to the right, just above the power button. The left side of panel houses the volume button and the dual SIM tray and at the bottom rest the speaker, Type-C charging port along with a 3.5mm audio port. The vertical dual camera setup sits prominently towards the top centre of the rear, followed by the fingerprint sensor and OnePlus logo. OnePlus claims it to be water resistant as well.

Display: The curved design perfectly shows-off the 6.28-inch 2280X1080 resolution display with 19:9 aspect ratio, that makes the screen one of my favourites for playing video games and watching videos, especially animated videos. Even though OnePlus hasn't used an OLED screen, the AMOLED display with 2280x1080p resolution feels bright, punchy and offers great colour reproduction.  It also crowns a smaller notch on the top centre of the display, offering a slightly bigger screen than most of the devices bitten by the notch-fever, which works perfectly fine with most of the apps and games. Most of the apps have default screen settings and can be switched to the fullscreen mode from 'app display in fullscreen' setting. If you are not a notch fan, you can hide it from phone's display settings.

Operating System: OnePlus adopted Cyanogen for its first phone but soon the partnership came to an end. Since then, OnePlus has been working on its Oxygen OS built on Android. The OnePlus 6 running Oxygen OS 5.1.5, built on Android 8.1.0, is polished with a neat user interface, which is very close to stock Android. All the apps are neatly placed in the app drawer and it doesn't have any bloatware either. The Smart Folders feature automatically assigns the name to the folder when moving apps and Smart Tags shows relevant tags such as recent searches, tourism, social, etc. when tapped on the search bar of the app drawer. Software updates on the OnePlus 6 are pushed quickly - we have already received three updates in the past ten days.

Gesture Navigation: Reaching out to navigation buttons on a big display can be challenging but OnePlus has addressed this concern perfectly. Navigation gestures take over from navigation buttons - swipe up from bottom to go to home screen, swipe up and hold to see recent apps and a swipe up from either side to go to the previous screen - are intuitive, addictive and is one of my favourite features of OnePlus 6.
Screenshots can be captured using gestures by swiping three fingers on the screen, and tapping on the rectangular icon that appears below the screenshot continues to scroll down for taking an expanded screenshot.

Gaming Mode: Hidden under the advanced settings, gaming mode is a kind of do-not-disturb mode, where I was able to add games and customised settings such as answer calls via speaker, block notifications except calls and alarms, gaming battery saver, disable automatic brightness, and network boost. The customised settings automatically kicked in while playing the games. While the mode worked fine in most of the games, Battle Warship often crashed in gaming mode.
Security: Having a fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone is a must but at the same time is increasingly becoming passe. The next hot trend is to trigger front camera for face unlock. OnePlus has managed to squeeze in both, which unlocks the device in less than a second. Face unlock is easy to setup using the front camera but at the same time is not at secure as the Apple's Face ID.

Camera: OnePlus had embedded some praise-worthy camera set-ups in the earlier versions and expectations run high, and rightly so, from this vertical dual-camera setup. It has a 16-megapixel Sony IMX 519 sensor, f/1.7 aperture, OIS+EIS main, and a 20-megapixel Sony IMX 376K sensor, f/1.7 aperture secondary camera at the rear. The images shot on the OnePlus 6 retain fine details with great colour reproduction. The Portrait mode for bokeh images works smoothly- focusing the subject and blurring the background perfectly. Swiping up from the bottom displays more camera options, which includes Pro Mode, slow motion, time-lapse and panorama. The Pro mode comes to rescue for low-light photography as the images shot in auto-mode at night had some noise. OnePlus plans to add a new artificial algorithm for capturing Portrait selfies using the front camera with a software update. There will be some new bokeh effects including hearts, circles and starts for customising portraits, which are yet to be introduced. The slow-motion videos shot at the 720p resolution at 480 frames per second came out well.

Performance: Expectations run high and the OnePlus 6 managed to live up to them. OnePlus 6 is the first smartphone on Qualcomm 845 to launch in India. Our review unit with 8GB RAM was able to handle gaming, streaming videos with multiple apps running in the background with ease. While there wasn't any lag while playing games or using the phone, it heats up while playing certain games. Overall, the performance is top notch and it manages to beat big brands. OnePlus 6 secured the top stop with 267403 score on Antutu Benchmark, beating Samsung Galaxy S9+. The phone comes with 128GB of internal storage, of which 116GB was user accessible. 
Battery: Even with a rear glass, OnePlus hasn't incorporated wireless charging but this isn't a deal-breaker. However, OnePlus' supports the proprietary Dash Charge technology, which recharges 50 per cent of the battery in 30 minutes. The 3300mAh battery lasted me a day with a couple of hours of gaming, calling, camera clicks, with notifications for two emails accounts, social networking apps on a full charge.
Verdict: From all that I have experienced till now, the OnePlus 6 will carve a niche for itself, further cementing the company's presence and its fan-base in India. For the price it comes, calling OnePlus 6 a flagship killer would be placing it in a category of flagship killers, which is an understatement by a mile. It isn't just a flagship killer but is a category creator.
Rs 37,999 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage


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