OnePlus 6 in Mirror Black and Red
OnePlus, the Chinese smartphone maker has been on an upwards trajectory since the launch of the first OnePlus One smartphone. However, we feel that OnePlus upped the ante for other smartphone manufacturers with the launches of the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T back in 2016. The company has captivated the Indian masses by offering near flagship-grade devices at affordable prices. Capable hardware coupled with OxygenOS, which is an almost stock version of the Android operating system, has spelt success for the smartphone maker in the country.
Since the launch of the OnePlus 3, the company has been on a two device per year upgrade cycle. Both the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T have proved successful for the company in global markets including the sub-continent. Following which, the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T brought over further refinements which included the introduction of a full-screen display with 18:9 aspect ratio and dual cameras.
The OnePlus 6 was launched in May this year and has since been a complete upgrade over the previous models. The OnePlus 6 makes use of a glass build instead of metal, something which it had not done since the days of the OnePlus X.
The infamous display notch was adopted on the new OnePlus smartphone to increase the screen real estate but is comparatively smaller in size when compared to something like the iPhone X. The smartphone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform and for the first time, the company introduced the 256GB storage model on one of the models. We reviewed the OnePlus 6 a few months back when it was still new but with the OnePlus 6T launch set for October 29, here’s our long-term review.
In the Indian premium smartphone market, OnePlus has taken the lead for the second successive quarter by capturing 30 per cent of the market, according to a latest Counterpoint research report. The result is due to the strong performance of the OnePlus 6 in India, according to the same report. The OnePlus 6 has become the highest selling flagship model for the company and this is due to the positive word of mouth along with an effective social media strategy which has helped the company target a new user base altogether.
We have been using the OnePlus 6 for a few months and can easily talk about how the phone’s performance credentials have been in last few months especially considering there were some major updates rolled out in last few months including the Android Pie update. The OnePlus 6 has witnessed a price drop and will eventually stop production once the OnePlus 6T becomes available for purchase.
OnePlus 6 Design
In the three months of use, the OnePlus 6 has held up quite well although it has been inside the protective case supplied along with the smartphone. We did not intentionally try to get the phone to show wear and tear but used it as an average customer would.
The smartphone has suffered an unintentional drop from waist height and did cause a few scratches and dings on the frame. However, the display and glass body have remained intact. We advise our readers to purchase a high-quality case for the OnePlus 6 as the one provided is more convenience rather than protection.
The glass body is a fingerprint magnet and does tend to attract a lot of smudges if used without a case. Considering that it is made of glass, the Mirror Black OnePlus 6 is extremely slippery to hold in the hands. If you’re not in favour of bulky cases, you may consider installing a skin from makers such as dbrand for additional grip and better look and feel.
The smartphone doesn’t heat up when while charging although we recommend not performing intensive tasks on the phone while it is set to charge. As soon as we received our review unit, we peeled off the protective layer of covering that comes pre-applied. We’re glad that after months of use there are no noticeable scratches on the display and the phone has held up well. Although the oleophobic coating may wear off after a while.
The smartphone has not been officially IPXX certified but we’ve put it through minor spells of drizzle. There has been an accidental spill of a tiny amount of liquid but the smartphone has held up well. Since it is not officially water and dust resistance certified, users need not risk taking the phone along on a swim or an extremely dusty environment.
The power and volume rocker buttons have remained tactile after all these months and there is no issue of them becoming loose. The alert slider remains as rigid as the day we got the phone but we did not change use it as quite often. The OnePlus 6 receives an A for build quality and there are no apparent quality control issues in our opinion after months of use.
OnePlus 6 Display
The Mirror Black review unit that we based our original review on is currently having issues with the adaptive brightness feature. We noticed this after updating to OxygenOS 9.0 based on Android 9.0 Pie operating system. We’re not entirely sure if the fault lies with the review unit or the upgrade to the latest operating system.
We compared the Mirror Black review unit with the Avengers edition and also noticed that the display does not get as bright at maximum setting. We suspect the fault lies with our review unit. However, the second review unit running on Android 8.1 Oreo does not exhibit the issues listed above and we can safely assume that our first unit had some issues.
The display on the OnePlus 6 offers all the advantages of an AMOLED panel and has been tuned just right for vibrant colours without over saturation. The panel gets sufficiently bright for most surrounding lighting conditions and we did not face legibility issues.
One tends to get used to the display notch on the OnePlus 6 as it is non-intrusive and fades into the background depending on the app that is currently running. Users also have the option of disabling the notch via Settings and shouldn’t be an issue.
Those who are completely against the display notch might find comfort in knowing that the OnePlus 6T, the successor the OnePlus 6, will come with an even tinier display notch, resembling a teardrop as part of the waterdrop screen design.
The minimal side bezels and chin on the OnePlus 6 make for an enjoyable viewing experience and most app developers have optimised their apps to support the aspect ratio. Streaming apps like Netflix, Prime Video or even YouTube display content accordingly and make for a pleasant experience. Games such as PUBG Mobile or Modern Combat 5 offer an immersive gameplay thanks to the full-screen display and 19:9 aspect ratio.
OnePlus 6 Performance
Since unboxing, the OnePlus 6 has remained as fast thanks to the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform and a generous amount of RAM (8GB in our case). The smartphone shipped with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box and has now received the Android 9.0 Pie update. However, the review unit seemed more intuitive on Android 8.1 Oreo than Android 9.0 Pie. Read: OnePlus 6 Gaming Review
For comparison, we set up the Avengers Edition OnePlus 6 still running on the original firmware it was shipped with- OxygenOS 5.1.11 based on Android 8.1 Oreo operating system. The Mirror Black review unit was on OxygenOS 9.0 based on Android 9.0 Pie. While Android Pie does bring some noticeable visual and under the hood upgrades, we were left more satisfied with Android 8.1 Oreo on the Avengers edition as it seemed more familiar (Adaptive brightness issue earlier mentioned).
Android Pie brings a new UI along with adaptive battery support. There is now a new Android Pie gesture navigation as seen on the Google Pixel devices. The update also includes the latest security patch deployed by OnePlus. In addition, there is a new Do Not Disturb (DND) mode with adjustable settings and a new Gaming Mode 3.0. Those who upgrade to Pie will also be able to customise the accent colour to their liking.
While the intent is not to bash the software upgrade, as it is inevitable, sometimes old is better as it goes with the saying ‘Don’t fix what isn’t broken’. The redesigned UI has the menu elements more organised and users will notice that visually, it adheres to Google’s latest guidelines. Things are more rounded-off around the corners and users will notice this especially in the icons used in the notification shade. Users may select the new Pixel-style navigation bar or the older one apart from gestures. The settings menu, too, has been re-organised in the Pie update and additional settings have been tucked under broader categories.
While it is known that smartphone tends to experience slowdowns after filling them up with apps, the OnePlus 6 is better than others in this price category. We did not face any performance issues or slowdowns and apps behave the same as they did when we first installed them. However, we did notice that the phone takes a wee bit longer to charge and Dash charge doesn’t feel as rapid when we first reviewed the device.
We’re not entirely sure if this is because of the software upgrade or any other reason. This is a minor inconvenience and most users will not even notice the difference in charging speeds but it does warrant a mention in the copy nevertheless. With 90 per cent charge in the early morning, we were still able to get a full day of use and the smartphone does not disappoint on that end. Adaptive battery setting baked into Android Pie limits battery for infrequently used apps and does make a noticeable difference.
OnePlus 6 Cameras
Following the Android 9.0 Pie update that rolled-out to OnePlus 6 devices last month, camera performance has been more or less similar. There have been no major tweaks resulting in improved camera performance. While the smartphone has capable camera hardware, we’re not seeing that with the images captured it in outdoor conditions. Don’t get us wrong, the OnePlus 6 takes some decent shots in outdoor, daylight conditions. Moreover, the Pro mode on the phone helps tweak the image to your liking but the average consumer would rather want a capable point and shoot camera with Auto mode.
In our original review, we noticed that the OnePlus 6 camera was not up to the mark. In fact, it seemed like a bit of a downgrade from the OnePlus 5T. However, after using a second review unit (Avengers edition), we attribute the shoddy camera performance to a faulty review unit. The Avengers edition did take crisp photos in outdoor conditions. Colour reproduction is fairly accurate and is not blown out of proportion unlike the ‘AI’ mode found on competing devices.
However, the camera disappoints while shooting under artificial lighting. Images turned out to be a bit overexposed even with the Avengers edition and we’re not able to pinpoint what exactly the issue is. Loss of detail becomes pretty evident when zooming in on the captured photos and still has an oil painting like effect. We disabled the Beauty mode and while it is not as aggressive as other Chinese smartphones, it does tend to produce photos that do not seem natural.
OxygenOS Open Beta 2, which is the beta version of Android Pie for the OnePlus 6, claimed ‘optimised image quality for the front camera’. However, after by side comparison of photos taken on the OnePlus 6 on Android Oreo and Android Pie, we’re not noticing major improvements in selfie quality.
On OxygenOS 9.0 which is based on Android 9.0 Pie, the Camera UI has been changed slightly. The icon font and layout appear a bit different but are in the same position as in Android Oreo. Users will get used to the new layout and there aren’t new additions in the Camera app. When the OnePlus 6 first launched, we expected better camera results over successive software upgrades. However, from what we’re seeing there aren’t notice changes in the photo quality post and pre the Android Pie update.
OnePlus 6 is still a capable performer in October of 2018. The smartphone does not exhibit any slowdowns over extended use and the battery performance has been more or less the same since we first reviewed the device. As we mentioned earlier, the camera is the only limiting factor on the smartphone. Now that the OnePlus 6T is launching on October 30 in India, the OnePlus 6 has received a major price cut. In fact, the Silk White and Red versions of the OnePlus 6 were earlier listed at Rs. 34,999, which is a discount of nearly Rs. 5,000.
The OnePlus 6T with its under display fingerprint sensor, larger display with a smaller notch, improved selfie camera and larger capacity battery make for a compelling purchase. The smartphone will likely be priced upwards of Rs. 35,000 for the entry-level model.
The OnePlus 6T will ship with the latest version of Android 9.0 Pie operating system and receive faster OS upgrades. However, the OnePlus 6T is confirmed to not have the traditional 3.5-mm headphone jack. Instead, it will support USB Type-C headphone connectivity.
In our opinion, OnePlus 6 users can stick to their units with no need to upgrade for now while the OnePlus 5T users should definitely look to upgrade to the OnePlus 6T which brings plenty of changes.
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