OnePlus 3 review: Confidence booster

Confidence booster

GSMArena team, 24 June 2016.

Powerful Snapdragon 820 SoC and 6GB of RAM

Performance has always played a vital part of the signature OnePlus mix. The original "flagship" killer rose to popularity with the promise of high-end specs at a reasonable price tag and that core principle still holds true with the OnePlus 3.

However, there is one important note to be made here. Building an excellent hardware platform doesn't necessarily mean putting in only the most powerful and consequently most expensive parts you can find. This might leave you with quite a lot of big numbers for marketing, but it doesn't automatically make for a good device or good performance.

Oneplus 3 review

There is a lot more to it and OnePlus has always been cautious of that fact. Hence, as with the physical aspects of the device, its specs are carefully arranged to be the most reasonable choice to meet OnePlus' vision for a perfect device. The OnePlus 3 has already fallen victim to a lot of criticism for its 1080p panel, as well as seemingly excessive 6GB of RAM, but there is a good reason behind both, which we will mention in a bit. But most-importantly, they were conscious decisions made towards creating a phone to cater primarily to fans of the brand and its signature ideology.

Now, with that rant out of the way, we will start of by stating the undoubtedly subjective, but also undeniable fact that the OnePlus 3 is fast. In fact, we could even go as far as to say it offers the most fluent and snappy Android experience we have seen to date. A lot of this has to do with the powerful Snapdragon 820 SoC, which along with the Adreno 530 is often used to power high-end QHD mobile devices, while on the OnePlus 3, it is left with a lot of breathing room thanks to the FullHD resolution. Of course, software plays a major mart in the mix and OnePlus has definitely lived up to its great reputation in this area as well.

But enough with subjective opinions. If it's synthetic benchmarks you're after, we have plenty of those as well and, spoiler alert, the OnePlus 3 is a true powerhouse all around.

We start of with pure CPU performance and GeekBench 3. There were really no surprises here, as there are currently only a few chips out there that can even come close to the raw compute power of the Snapdragon 820 and its Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo setup. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Huawei Mate 8 seem to be enjoying better multi-core optimization with their respective custom chipset solutions. However, as far as Snapdragon 820 devices go, we can clearly see the OnePlus 3 blows away contenders like the Qualcomm-powered Galaxy S7 and the Xiaomi Mi 5.

GeekBench 3 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    6360
  • Huawei Mate 8
    6323
  • OnePlus 3
    5520
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    5420
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    5358
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    5215
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    5026
  • OnePlus 2
    4429
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    4140
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    3570
  • LG G4 (final)
    3522
  • Sony Xperia Z3+ final
    3402
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    3321
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3242
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3061
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3039
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2745
  • OnePlus One
    2663
  • ZUK Z1
    2341
  • OnePlus X
    2297
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    1437

Single core reveals the very same situation, which really means OnePlus has managed to squeeze every last bit of power from the chip and has really created the perfect benching environment with the almost stock Oxygen OS.

GeekBench 3 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    2383
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    2345
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    2305
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    2170
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2118
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    1573
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    857
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    745
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    628
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    471

Moving on to something a little bit more compound, there is AnTuTu 6. It also take into account things like storage performance and RAM and the OnePlus 3 has a lot of the latter. It is one of the first phones to employ a whopping 6GB of RAM and, as already mentioned, has been criticized quite a bit for the bold choice.

Overall, criticism seems to fall into two arguments. The first claims that 6GB of RAM is just overkill and unnecessary, while the second attacks OnePlus's memory management of choice more directly, as users have been discovering that the phone doesn't tend to keep too many open apps in memory and rather drops them quickly.

Without going into too much detail, we will say that Carl Pei of OnePlus has already responded to both and the provided reasoning does sound perfectly fair. As per the latter, it was a conscious decision to limit the maximum number off apps in memory, in order to stop background tasks from piling up and draining battery. The setting can be easily changed and considering the Oxygen OS sources are already out, third-party ROMs with alternative RAM approaches are sure to follow as well.

And, before you criticize us in the comment section, let us note that we are aware how RAM works and that using more of it does not affect power usage. It is the apps that use it that eat at the power source through other things like CPU or network communications. And this naturally leads us to part of the reason why having 6GB of RAM is justified. It does not damage battery life, but does allow for future-proofing and even in the current state of Android and Oxygen OS, OnePlus claims certain apps like the Camera are already designed to take full advantage of the extra memory. So, it is all to benefit the end user and the experience.

Back to AnTuTu, considering all this, the OnePlus 3 unsurprisingly managed to top the chart.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    141764
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    132849
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    132084
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    131758
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    129461
  • Huawei Mate 8
    91609
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    79038
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    75051
  • ZUK Z1
    54884
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    51299
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    49094
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    38359
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    35689
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    35134
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    27487

Basemark OS II and Basemark OS 2.0 scores further cement the OnePlus 3's stellar overall performance.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    2677
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2494
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    2444
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    2045
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2033
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    2004
  • OnePlus 2
    1942
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    1769
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    1464
  • Sony Xperia Z3+ final
    1410
  • OnePlus X
    1290
  • ZUK Z1
    1285
  • OnePlus One
    1196
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    1114
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    999
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    576

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    2365
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    2352
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    2180
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    2128
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2063
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2017
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    1674
  • OnePlus 2
    1622
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    1537
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    1233
  • OnePlus One
    1230
  • Sony Xperia Z3+ final
    1226
  • OnePlus X
    1213
  • ZUK Z1
    1178
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    1092
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    1007
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    833
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    729

Moving on to graphics, it is hardly surprising to see that the Adreno 530 copes a lot better when tasked to only push pixels in 1080p resolution, as opposed to QHD. Consequently, the OnePlus 3 mostly matches each and every one of its Snapdragon 820 rivals at off-screen rendering performance and blows them away on screen.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    49
  • OnePlus 3
    46
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    45
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    44
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    38
  • ZUK Z1
    28
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    24
  • OnePlus 2
    22
  • Sony Xperia Z3+ final
    21
  • Huawei Mate 8
    18
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    15
  • LG G4 (final)
    15
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    14
  • OnePlus One
    12.1
  • OnePlus X
    9.9
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    7
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    5.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    5.7
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    4.9
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    4.2
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    1.8

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    45
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    29
  • ZUK Z1
    28
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    28
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    27
  • OnePlus 2
    22
  • Sony Xperia Z3+ final
    21
  • Huawei Mate 8
    18
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    15
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    14
  • OnePlus One
    12.9
  • OnePlus X
    10
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    9.5
  • LG G4 (final)
    9.4
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    7
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    5.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    5.7
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    4.2
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.8

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    32
  • OnePlus 3
    31
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    30
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    28
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    28
  • OnePlus 2
    16
  • Sony Xperia Z3+ final
    16
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    10
  • Huawei Mate 8
    10
  • LG G4 (final)
    9.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    9.1
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    7.2
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.3
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.6

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    30
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    29
  • Sony Xperia Z3+ final
    17
  • OnePlus 2
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    15
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    15
  • Huawei Mate 8
    11
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    9.7
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    9.1
  • LG G4 (final)
    5.6
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.3
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.2
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.1

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • LeEco Le Max 2
    33874
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    33110
  • OnePlus 3
    32715
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    32345
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    32160
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    27169
  • OnePlus 2
    21937
  • Sony Xperia Z3+ final
    20767
  • Huawei Mate 8
    15593
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    14732
  • ZUK Z1
    13596
  • OnePlus One
    13129
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    12096
  • OnePlus X
    10572
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    6204
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    5383
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    5210
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    4947
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    4072
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    2180

But, it is the OpenGL ES 3.1 test that really let the OnePlus 3 shine. The frame rates look almost playable.

GFX 3.1 Car scene (offscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    18
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    17
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    15

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    18
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    10
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    8.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    7.9

Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    732
  • OnePlus 3
    625
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (SD)
    624
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    580
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    517
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    311
  • Huawei Mate 8
    311
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    248

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