OnePlus 3 review: Confidence booster

Confidence booster

GSMArena team, 24 June 2016.

Display

The OnePlus 3 is equipped with a 5.5-inch screen, which still seems to be right in the sweet spot by current standards. The 1080p resolution has been among the most controversial aspects of said display and frankly the whole phone. This is actually a debate that we have had before on quite a few occasions, so we won't go into the whole QHD vs FullHD debate yet again. What we'll say, however, is that having a more power-friendly lower-res panel was definitely a conscious decision and like Carl Pei has said on several occasions, not one dictated by cost. Sure, the diamond pentile pixel arrangement probably wasn't the best choice, but you really have to be nitpicking to go so far as to criticize it.

Oneplus 3 review

The AMOLED panel in question comes courtesy of Samsung and is specifically made for the OnePlus 3, hence the Optic AMOLED moniker. Still, it looks just as gorgeous as any other Samsung Super AMOLED panel and unless you place it next to a QHD phone, the difference between the two is hardly noticeable.

Just to try and address the whole resolution issue in its entirety as best we can, yes, 1080p is a notable drawback when it comes to VR and that is truly ironic, considering the recent release of the OnePlus VR headset. However, the company has made it clear that from its standpoint, strapping a phone to your forehead is more of a gimmick than a viable approach to VR in its current form, and as such is not considered a priority.

Anyway, back to the Optic AMOLED panel. It offers a quite respectable 401ppi and at 433 nits at full blast, it is bright enough for most scenarios. As expected, blacks are deep and contrast is infinite.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
OnePlus One 0.75 598 799
OnePlus Two 0.30 399 1334
OnePlus X 0.00 340
OnePlus 3 0.00 433
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek) 0.42 403 953
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) 0.00 338
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) 0.00 353
Samsung Galaxy S7 0.00 391
Lenovo Vibe K4 Note 0.47 442 940
Oppo F1 Plus 0.00 351
ZUK Z1 by Lenovo 0.39 396 1021
Xiaomi Mi 4c 0.28 452 1609
Xiaomi Mi 5 0.51 628 1227
LG G4 0.43 532 1238
Sony Xperia Z3+ 0.68 789 1158
LeEco Le Max 2 0.30 426 1444
Samsung Galaxy S6 0.00 363
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 0.00 421
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) 0.00 425

Sunlight legibility is superb. The panel on the OnePlus 3 surpasses most of Samsung's 2015 offers and is up to par with its current models.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    3.24
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Sony Xperia Z3+
    2.824
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    2.378
  • LG G4
    2.317
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

As for colors and accuracy, there are quite a few points to be made. Just like with resolution, the OnePlus 3 has already received quite a bit of criticism for not offering tuning to sRGB. This is yet another point Carl Pei had to weigh in on, by saying that sRGB is another thing OnePlus consciously decided not to gun for, due to its limited appeal to a broader user base. The company co-founder has also promised that the feature will be added as an option within the setting in a future OTA, but overall, the OnePlus 3 exhibits the same rich colors as we have grown used to seeing on AMOLED screens.

There is also a color tone slider present in the phone's display settings. It actually changes the screen's behavior quite a bit. In its default setting, the display is actually a bit dimmer with a maximum brightness of 404 nits and all the colors are a lot punchier. If, however, you are after a more color-accurate setting, pulling the slider all the way to the right produces the best results with an average deltaE of 6.0. This also brings the brightness up to the aforementioned 433 nits.

Update:

Now that Oxygen OS 3.2 is officially out, OnePlus has made good on its promise to bring an sRGB calibration mode to the OnePlus 3. The results are definitely not perfect, but are pretty close to what is achievable through software alone, without actually tuning on a per-panel basis. On our testing unit, toggling sRGB mode brought the average deltaE down to only 2.9. Even more impressively, the maximum deltaE is just 4.9, instead of 13.2. Another point worth making is that under sRGB mode, colors become a lot less vivid than usual, quite similar to the Basic AMOLED mode on most Samsung panels.

Connectivity

The OnePlus 3 is a Dual-SIM device, just like its predecessor. It takes two nano SIM cards, neither of which is a hybrid slot. As mentioned, a microSD is not an option.

There is LTE on board as well. It comes courtesy of Qualcomm's current flagship chip, the Snapdragon 820, which means Cat.6 speeds of up to 300 Mbps downstream and a rich combination of HSPDA and LTE bands, making the OnePlus 3 a truly global device. Currently Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE support are unconfirmed.

There's a full set of a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi standards on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot and DLNA media sharing on supported TVs and PCs.

There is also Bluetooth 4.2 added to the mix, which is a small upgrade from the v4.1 in the OnePlus 2. Actually, the OnePlus 3 shares most of its communication capabilities with its predecessor with just minor upgrades like this.

Likewise, it also uses a USB Type-C port for charging, data and also USB host scenarios. Overall, USB Type-C is a safer choice now than it was last year, when the standard was still a rarity among devices. However, one thing that does already feel out of date is the USB 2.0 speed of the port. Still, it is not a massive drawback in most cases.

Battery

The OnePlus 3 is equipped with a sealed-in 3,000mAh battery. This is a fair amount of juice, but again, there could have been a little extra to go around, if OnePlus had stuck to their original flat back design approach. However, then we wouldn't have a device that is quite so thin and light.

Oneplus 3 review

The OnePlus 3 managed to clock in a respectable 66 hours of endurance rating. This actually falls in line pretty well with what we have seen from previous OnePlus phones - 61 hours total on the OnePlus 2 and exactly 66 hours on the original OnePlus One as well. This is an achievement, as the OnePlus 3 does have the smallest battery of the bunch.

It is great to see that the traditionally excellent call time has now become even better at almost 32 hours. Video playback has also received a major improvement. The weakest link seems to be browsing time.

As for charging, we already mentioned the excellent Dash charging technology that has become available via related Oppo and its industry-leading VOOC. OnePlus was also kind enough to include the necessary Dash adapter in the retail package. It is surprisingly compact and can pump out a whopping 4A / 5V, which adds up to 20W.

The technology also rules out drawbacks like overheating, which one could naturally expect at such a massive output. In fact, the Dash system is so efficient that it practically eliminated the need for overnight charging while we tested the device. 30 minutes on the socket consistently got us up to 60% from a dead phone.

The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

You can change it in settings

  • walid

the worst thing of one plus 3 is the back touch on the left side

  • Roman

I am confusing which mobile I want to buy either mi a1 or one pluse 3 pls say something anyone