It’s not uncommon for OnePlus phones (or perhaps all popular phones) to receive a mixed reaction from critics and fans at launch. After all, the expectations are always sky high and it usually takes some time before you can level with the brand’s decisions and estimate tradeoffs from a more pragmatic standpoint.

The OnePlus 5T set the bar very high last year. It’s successor, the OnePlus 6, brings in a few incremental and a few drastic changes to the table. It also leaves quite a lot unchanged for better or for worse.

We have now spent some quality time with the OnePlus 6 and have personally lived with all the choices OnePlus made for the year ahead. Is OnePlus 6 the best available option for its price? Let’s try and evaluate that in our full review.

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OnePlus 6 Specifications

Model OnePlus 6
Display 6.28-Inch, Optic AMOLED, Full HD+, 19:9 aspect ratio, Gorilla Glass 5
Processor Snapdragon 845 chipset, Adreno 630 GPU
RAM 6GB/8GB LPDDR4x
Internal Storage 64GB/128GB/256GB (UFS 2.1
Software Android 8.1 Oreo-based Oxygen OS, Compatible with Android P Preview
Primary Camera 16MP (f/1.7) + 20MP (f/1.7), EIS, OIS, 4K 60 fps
Secondary Camera 16MP with f/2.0 aperture
Battery 3300mAh with dash charging
Dimensions and weight 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm and 177 grams
Others 4G VoLTE, dual-band WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Fingerprint sensor, NFC, USB Type-C, Dash charging
Price Rs. 35,999/ Rs. 39,999/ Rs. 44,999

Also Read: 10 things to know before you buy OnePlus 6

OnePlus 6 Review: Design and Build

The first time we saw OnePlus 6 it felt like a generic glass body phone. After all, by now we are used to phones that have a glass back or glass-finish and also to phones that have a notch cut out on the front. Moreover, we moved in from Samsung Galaxy S8 and thus felt an intense craving for a more compact flagship killer.

However, we got enamored and began to appreciate subtle design elements only a day after we started using it as our daily driver. The OnePlus 6 is as big as the OnePlus 5T and has nearly the same heft.

The 6 is ergonomic to handle and the overall feel is premium. And unless you are specifically looking for compact phones, that’s what matters.

The matte-finish colors are better looking, but they are as of now available only for the 128GB RAM variant. We don’t have a high opinion of the Avenger special edition that we briefly examined at the launch.

  • OnePlus says the glass was the only material that made sense moving forward. We couldn’t agree more.
  • Even with a glass body, the 6 remains true to OnePlus design pedigree. The quality of glass and metal side frame is top notch.
  • The phone is solidly built, but glass can only take so much beating.
  • You don’t need to worry about minor splashes or being accidentally caught in the rain. There is no water resistant certification, though. For what it’s worth, we did wash the phone under running water and didn’t register any damage.
  • The matte finish color options – Midnight Black and Silk White – are unique and have that X-factor. They look like metal and feel like marble. The Mirror black version looks rather generic in comparison. Your opinion might differ.
  • The quality of the bundled case is excellent. It has raised corners to protect the display and flexible overlay button flaps.
  • We also appreciate the good quality factory installed screen protector that also has oleophobic coating.
  • The Alert slider is now on the right edge. It’s lot more accessible and a lot more useful.
  • The one size fits all approach has its limitations, and we like the idea of a more compact OnePlus phone. Hope OnePlus can accomplish that without a significant battery penalty next year.

Also Check: 10 Best OnePlus 6 Cases, Covers, and Tempered Glass

OnePlus 6 Review: Display

The OnePlus 6 has a full HD+ AMOLED screen and the best thing about the screen, in our opinion, is the option to choose between accurate sRGB and DCI-P3 color profiles. We initially expected the full HD+ resolution to be stretched thin on the 6.3-inch AMOLED screen but the display sharpness still seems fine.

Apart from characteristic AMOLED advantages (Deep blacks, high contrast, light on eyes, etc.), there are other perks like reading mode and Ambient display.

We felt perfectly at ease with the screen even after switching from a sharper Samsung Galaxy S8 display and that’s saying something.

And yes, the display has a notch. We will address that in the next section.

  • The full HD resolution feels fine on the on  the 6.28-inch screen. No worries.
  • We like the display quality. The best part is the option to choose between accurately calibrated color profiles. We personally prefer sRGB and DCI-P3.
  • The Ambient display lets you check time, notifications, battery percentage, etc. without waking the screen.
  • The reading mode is another perk that we appreciate. You can set it to automatically trigger in particular apps or toggle it on using quick settings tile.
  • Maximum brightness is high enough for outdoor usage. Minimum brightness is low enough for comfortable night time reading.

The simple explanation is that higher market forces make notch a compulsion. A simple solution to restore the natural order of the universe is to turn the notch off. But how well does that work?

The notch, when it is ‘On’, assumes a color matching the top section of an app. When you choose to turn the Notch Off, the top strip is always black and thus mostly inconspicuous.  This, however, doesn’t give you more space to fit in status bar icons.

Honestly, we have vacillated to and fro for a while deciding whether Notch is our thing or not. It’s not that big a deal, but we ended up hiding the notch. Once you have turned it off, you will find symmetrical bezel on top and bottom and that feels more natural.

Things are slightly different with Navigation gestures. That’s because gestures done right free up screen space and are even more convenient.  The gestures on OnePlus are fast, save for when you need to access recent apps or switch between apps.

I can see that navigation gestures make sense and are the way forward, but I have decided to resist the change for now. It’s quite likely that those of you with young blood might disagree. Or maybe OnePlus needs to make gestures more intuitive.

Update (11 June 2018): OnePlus has added an option to replace battery icon with battery percentage in a new update.

  • Things are pretty cramped up top. In fact, OnePlus has even removed option to enable battery percentage indicator from the status bar.
  • Hiding the notch assigns a permanent black color to the top status bar. If the notch isn’t your thing, this should help things appear more natural.
  • The left side is reserved for clock and App icons. There is room for 3 to 4 app icons.
  • The right side houses system icons like WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. The UI is smart enough to prioritize system icons you’d want to see up there. For instance, if your phone is on silent, the icon for the same shows up instead of VoLTE label.
  • Navigation gestures felt smooth, except for when you have to switch between two apps, or access recent apps. There is no gesture to access Google Assistant either.
  • With both gestures and notch turned on, the OnePlus 6 feels intimidatingly big. Long story short, we ended up turning both off.

OnePlus 6 Review: Performance and Software

OnePlus makes no compromises when it comes to performance hardware and that’s one of its biggest strengths.

The flawless performance is what predominantly entitles OnePlus 6 a flagship status. Even though most of you could probably make ends meet with half as potent hardware, the flagship hardware has discernible advantages.

It’s only when you start using the OnePlus 6 for a few days that you’ll appreciate this smooth sailing and even find it cathartic. Even people who are using 2 to 3 generation old OnePlus phones seem to be quite satisfied with the performance they are getting even today.

The Oxygen OS continues to be one of our favourite custom skins. OnePlus has managed to add features, big and small, that matter without hampering the stock-Android spirit. What else would we rather have?

  • The OnePlus 6 remains blazing fast. This is perhaps the fastest Android phone in India right now and is expected to retain top slot in the near future.
  • Apart from Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 845, OnePlus 6 also has generous helpings of best quality storage and RAM.
  • The Oxygen OS remains one of our favorite custom skins. It’s light, simple, and yet exciting.
  • This year, OnePlus has added a new Gaming mode with several useful options.
  • The OnePlus 6 can stream HD content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. out of the box.
  • The fingerprint reader and face unlock are remarkably fast. As per our testing, the smaller size of the fingerprint reader doesn’t make it any less accurate or slower.
  • The handset supports Dual SIM Dual VoLTE. You can hot-swap data SIM from a quick setting tile. Call quality is good.

OnePlus 6 Review: Camera

The OnePlus 6 camera is significantly better than the one on the 5T and most other phones we see under 40K. It still doesn’t count as a strong point, though. That’s because this year we have phones like Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy S8 with better camera performance retailing in the same budget.

Of course, it doesn’t matter much if the 6 can or cannot match up to the Galaxy S9, iPhone X or Huawei P20 Pro simply because those phones aren’t competing in the same league.

With the 6, you get bigger pixels and OIS for the main sensor and that improves low light photography. Which also means that OnePlus didn’t need software trickery (pixel binning) to enhance low light photos using the second sensor. As a result, the second 20MP sensor is underutilized and is used only for improving focus speed and for portrait mode (depth sensing doesn’t require high megapixel count, though).

The portrait mode is better than what we usually see in this budget, but it can’t hold a candle to what we usually see on 2018 flagships. The selfie camera performance is decent.

Video recording is very good. OnePlus 6 can shoot 4K videos at 60fps, but that’s more of a Snapdragon 845 thing.

Shots clicked outdoors look impressive. Shots clicked indoors look impressive too until you compare them to other flagships side by side. The OnePlus 6 gets the metering right more often than not.

If you are impressed with everything else OnePlus 6 has to offer, the camera won’t be a deal breaker. The camera isn’t bad by any yardstick, but it just that we can’t deny there are a few better camera options out there.

Update (11 June 2018): With its latest OxygenOS 5.1.6 update, OnePlus has adds Portrait Mode for the front camera.

  • Images clicked outdoor turn out impressive. These are indeed flagship grade.
  • Close up shots are also quite good and have ample details.
  • Low light performance is great too. There is a significant improvement over 5T.
  • The software sometimes  oversaturates colors in low light shots.
  • The portrait mode works well outdoors but the result is inconsistent indoors.
  • The selfie camera is decent. Indoor shots are noisy at times.
  • The slow motion videos work as expected. We don’t see ourselves shooting them very often.

OnePlus 6 Review: Battery and Audio

The 3300mAh battery is giving us more than 6 hours of screen-on-time. On a heavy usage day, we still had 15 to 20 percent remaining when we hit bedtime. Besides the dash charge provides exceptionally fast charging.

The audio quality is quite convincing but there isn’t an appreciable upgrade over 5T. We would have loved stereo speakers this time around.

  • The long-lasting battery and efficient dash charging will take a big load off your shoulders.
  • There is a mild battery saver mode on which you can fall back on in critical times.
  • The mono loudspeaker is reasonably loud. Audio quality is fairly good, though not impressive.
  • We were expecting stereo speakers with the new iteration, but that didn’t happen.

OnePlus 6 Review: Should you buy it?

The OnePlus 6 is one of the best available options in its class. Its uncompromised performance and excellent software remain to be its biggest strength. The camera might not match high standard set by 2018 flagships but it more than justifies the price increase.

Enhancements like Wireless charging, water resistance certification, and stereo speakers would have added more spark to it, but I guess we can look past these omissions till the competition catches up. We’d still want OnePlus to explore a compact phone option moving ahead, but I am quite sure most of you would feel perfectly at home with the size as is.

The more time we spent with the phone, the more we could appreciate it. At the end of the day, the OnePlus 6 experience proved to be thoroughly gratifying.

Pros 

  • Excellent performance
  • Excellent battery backup
  • Premium look and feel
  • Good quality display
  • Dual SIM Dual VoLTE

Cons

  • No water-resistance certification

 

Also Read: 8 Best OnePlus 6 Alternatives You Can Buy In India

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