After much speculation around its flagship offering, countless leaks and a long wait, OnePlus has finally announced the OnePlus 6 in London and starts at $529. The device is expected to get its Indian price on 17 May at the India launch event happening in Mumbai. It has launched three variants —6 GB+64 GB, 8 GB+ 128 GB, and 8 GB +256 GB.
I have been using the OnePlus 6 for close to a week now and here are my first impressions of what could be the OnePlus’ response to flagships from Google, Samsung, Apple and Huawei.
Build and Design
The first thing that immediately comes across is that the OnePlus 6 is quite a handful. OnePlus wanted to get maximum display area, and to that effect it has employed a massive 6.28-inch FHD+ optic AMOLED display.
There used to be a time when this would almost go into the tablet or, more recently, Phablet category.
But considering most smartphones these days cross the 5.5-inch display size without batting an eyelid, that nomenclature of a Phablet has disappeared from our tech lexicology.
OnePlus has used Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both, the front and the back. And the back, well it's easily the most gorgeous looking device after the Huawei P20 Pro that we've seen in recent times. The choice to use Midnight Black reminds one of the now discontinued OnePlus X, the variant with the ceramic back. But unlike other devices, the glass back on the OnePlus 6 is not meant for wireless charging. And since it is a glass back, it also tends to collect a lot of fingerprints, so keeping a microfibre cloth handy to clean the smudges will be a given. The only solution is snapping on the silicon cover which comes bundled with the phone or snap on any custom cover of your choice. But with this gorgeous back, you'd want to show it off. But the glass back also means that you've to be very careful when using it, as a fall will shatter the rear glass.
OnePlus has retained the horizon line design which was seen in its previous phones as well. Even the base of the OnePlus 6 comes with a very gradual slope. It houses the mono speaker grille, a USB Type C charging and data transfer port, microphone and a 3.5mm audio jack. Kudos to OnePlus for retaining the headphone jack. But there's no bundled headphone - cost cutting can't be an excuse OnePlus.
The position of the alert slider has undergone a shift. You now have it just above the power/standby button on the right hand edge. It's functions remain the same. You still can't program it the way you want. But it still retains that textured finish and the sturdy mechanism. The volume rocker button is on the left hand edge and just above them, you have the dual SIM card slot. The top edge is clean and houses only the microphone. You do notice the antenna cut lines on the left and right hand edge.
The display does come with the Notch design that's also accompanied by a chin, but without any fingerprint sensor, as that's moved to the back now. The notch only houses the earpiece speaker and the front facing camera.
The rear side of the OnePlus 6 comes with the glass back which beautifully curves just around the edges to merge with the metal frame. There isn't any sharp edge here, and neither in the front where the frame meets the glass. You get a dual camera setup with the cameras arranged vertically - 16 MP primary camera with OIS on top and a 20 MP secondary camera below it. A dual LED flash unit is present below the cameras and this is followed by the curved rectangular fingerprint scanner. The OnePlus logo is aligned in the centre just below the fingerprint scanner.
In the design department, OnePlus 6 definitely ticks all the right boxes, except for one glaring omission - IP certification. OnePlus claims that the phone is resistant to water splashes.
Chipset, RAM, Storage
As is the case with most OnePlus devices, it has gone all out as far as specs are concerned. It doesn't use the moniker ‘Flagship Killer’ anymore though. So for starters you have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC which has an octa core processor along with Adreno 630 GPU. This is paired with either 6GB or 8 GB of RAM and the three storage variants are 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB. The Mirror Black edition I am testing comes with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, of which around 105 GB is usable. There's no microSD card though to expand the storage.
Software and OS
You get Android 8.1 OS support skinned with OxygenOS 5.1.2 out of the box. OnePlus has also announced support for Android P soon (we haven't been given an exact date) and was one of the many brands which Google promised it's working with to get the Android P on non-Pixel devices. The clean OxygenOS makes it very conducive to be upgraded to Android P. There's minimal bloatware and that's been one of the strong points of OnePlus. We will be getting more into the gestures and interactions with the OxygenOS in our full review.
Camera and Battery
The OnePlus 6 comes with a dual camera setup with the cameras arranged in a vertical alignment in the centre. There's a 16 MP primary camera up top and a 20 MP secondary camera below. Both the cameras come with an f/1.7 aperture lens along with it. The 16 MP camera has a Sony IMX 519 sensor which has a pixel size of 1.22 microns whereas the secondary camera houses the Sony IMX 376K sensor with a pixel size of 1 micron.
The camera interface is simple and carried forward from the previous generation. The OnePlus 6 supports a 480 fps slow motion mode which comes with 720p resolution. You also get a video editor to select the position where you want to slow down the action. It is capable of shooting 4K at 60 fps on the rear camera.
In terms of battery, you get the same 3,300mAh battery inside the OnePlus 6 that was seen on its predecessor. The phone supports Dash Charging and bundles a dash charger in the box.
The OnePlus 6, at least on paper, looks like it's got the goods to deliver a truly flagship experience. How all the internal specs come together to help with the overall real life usage of the device is something we will see in the full review which will be coming out shortly. Honor 10 which launched a day earlier, will surely be a competition to the OnePlus 6. We will find out over the next few weeks as to which phones among these two will win the consumers.
Disclosure: The correspondent was invited for the launch of the OnePlus 6 by OnePlus India, who took care of his travel, accomodation and lodging expenses.