Hands On with the OnePlus 6
May 22, 2018, 6:00 AM by Eric M. Zeman
updated May 22, 2018, 9:00 AM
The OnePlus 6 is here to convince you that no one needs a $700, $800, $900, or $1,000 smartphone. Heck, you don't even need a $600 smartphone. The OnePlus 6 is a metal-and-glass beauty that checks most of the right boxes in terms of features and capabilities. Moreover, this two-SIM phone is a rarity in the U.S. market, and is sold unlocked with excellent support for U.S carriers. Here is Phone Scoop's first look at the latest from OnePlus.
The OnePlus 6 sees the pugnacious Chinese phone maker stepping up its game. It moves beyond the all-metal chassis of the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T, trading its metal skin for glass. This high-end piece of hardware goes toe-to-toe with today's best device in many respects. Can it hold its own against the Samsung Galaxy S9, LG G7 ThinQ, and others? It's closer than you'd think.
I'm really happy with the changes OnePlus made to the design. Though I liked the metal build of its predecessors, the metal-and-glass design of the OnePlus 6 is sultry. A metal frame wraps all the way around the outer edges and it is sandwiched between two curved panes of glass. OnePlus paid attention to the details: the shape of the glass panels is pleasing to look at, particularly where the metal and glass meet.
The 6 is being offered in white with pearl powder, matte black, and glossy black, all with unique finishes on the curved Gorilla Glass 5 surfaces. We were able to put our hands on the matte and glossy black versions. The matte has a fantastic texture that almost resembles metal. I really like it. The glossy is just ridiculous, a piano-black phone that gleams with inky darkness and reflectivity all at the same time. OnePlus says the 6 can withstand splashes and similar exposure to water, though the phone stops short of being waterproof. Both pieces of glass may be Corning's Gorilla Glass 5, but you'll still need to take care not to drop the phone. Thankfully OnePlus offers a wide assortment of its own cases to protect the phone.
6 v 5T
The phone is a little above average in terms of size for a modern handset. It's a bit bigger than the iPhone X and LG G7, for example, though it's about the same size as a Galaxy S9+. My guess is that some people will struggle to use it one-handed. It may be a hair too much phone for some people, but anyone looking for an all-screen phone has to expect a device about this size. The weight is nice. The OnePlus 6 is very slim (just 7.7mm!), so it fits in pockets with ease.
As far as materials and build quality as concerned, the 6 competes well with devices from Huawei / Honor and LG. The 6 is way above what you'll see from other Chinese phone makers, such as Blu, Coolpad, or even Nokia. There's no question the curved Gorilla Glass 5 is excellent, and the aluminum frame feels strong and sturdy. The pieces are fitted together perfectly. It's an elegant, exacting design.
The 6 has a relatively plain black face with no branding. The phone adopts the notch, which means the company did what it could to stuff as much display onto the face as possible. The forehead and chin above and below the screen are significantly reduced compared even to the 5T. OnePlus moved the fingerprint reader from below the screen to the rear. There are no capacitive keys, as all controls are found on the display.
The display looks really nice. The 6.3-inch display packs 2,280 by 1,080 pixels and relies on AMOLED technology. It's taller than the screen of the 5T to accommodate the notch. In my short time evaluating the phone, the display came across and clean and bright. Blacks looked black, and colors popped brightly. It can't say that it's all that different from the screen on the 5T, other than its new shape. This isn't a bad thing.
Surprisingly, OnePlus moved the ringer switch from the left side of the phone — where it has been since the first OnePlus device — to the right side of the phone. The three-position switch lets you control the phone's sound (on, vibrate, silent). This continues to be a great feature, and something that sets OnePlus apart. The switch has a ribbed texture that makes it easy to find, and the action is practically perfect. The screen lock button its below the switch on the right side. It has a good profile and fine travel and feedback. The volume toggle is on the left edge by itself. It also has a good profile and fine travel and feedback. The SIM card tray is tucked above the volume toggle on the left. The metal tray supports up to two SIM cards, but it doesn't accommodate memory cards.
A USB-C port is positioned on the bottom edge. It is flanked by the 3.5mm headphone jack on the right and the speakerphone on the left. Surely some will be happy about the headphone jack, a feature that's becoming rare on high-end devices. The top edge of the phone is smooth.
The glass rear panel curves just as it reaches the side edges of the phone. It's simple almost to a fault. As mentioned, I really like the new textures. The 1+ logo is painted on about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom. The fingerprint reader, now a bit of a smushed circle, is just above the logo. It is indented just a tiny bit. It could be slightly easier to find. The dual camera array is directly above the fingerprint reader. I'm glad it has a raised edge, which helps set it apart by feel, meaning you're less apt to touch it with your fingers and get grease on the lens. The main sensor captures 16-megapixel images at f/1.7 and it is aided by a secondary 20-megapixel sensor also at f/1.7. The main camera includes OIS/EIS, super slow-motion capture, time-lapse, portrait shooting, and a dual-LED flash. The selfie camera has a 16-megapixel sensor at f/2.0. OnePlus says a software update will bring software-based portrait shooting to the selfie cam after launch.
Under the hood, the phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. It comes in several memory and storage variants, including 6 GB or 8 GB of ROM and 64 GB or 128 GB of storage. Other core specs include a 3,300mAh battery with rapid charging, face unlock, dual-band wifi, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD, and GPS. The phone boasts CAT 16 LTE with 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM. Support for U.S. LTE bands is excellent, as the OnePlus 6 includes Band 29 for AT&T and Bands 66 and 71 for T-Mobile.
Things that are missing? Wireless charging. That's a big one.
One the software front, the OnePlus 6 offers the latest version of OxygenOS, which is based on Android 8 Oreo. Unique features include a new swipe-based navigation user interface, app locker for secured apps, multi-finger gestures, dark theme, scrolling screenshots, and reading mode. Otherwise, the UI looks and behaves much like it does on the OnePlus 5T. OnePlus keeps bloat to a minimum and many of the UI elements look and run like stock Android. The phones on hand ran smoothly.
The OnePlus 6 will go on sale in the U.S. and other countries on May 22. The mirror black and matte black 6 GB / 64 GB models costs $529, while the 8 GB / 128 GB models costs $579. The silk white model is a limited edition and will go on sale June 5 with 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of storage.
The OnePlus 6 is the company's latest attempt to convince you that ultra-pricey flagships are unnecessary; why spend $800 to $1000 on a phone when you can get one that's nearly as good for just over $500? The 6 is an attractive metal-and-glass device that has the latest design from OnePlus, the latest specs from Qualcomm and others, and the latest Android software from Google.
Sep 4, 2018
OnePlus has made the first Open Beta build of OxygenOS based on Android 9 Pie available to the OnePlus 6. OnePlus had previously been testing the beta with a closed group.
Jul 2, 2018
OnePlus today announced a new red color option for its OnePlus 6 phone. This red special edition also features a new six-layer glass back to enhance the color, including an ”anti-reflective layer to create a sense of depth” and a translucent orange layer.
Jun 11, 2018
OnePlus has begun pushing OxygenOS 5.1.6 to its OnePlus 6 phone. The update contains a few new features, including Portrait Mode for the front camera, which enables bokeh-style selfies.
Jun 6, 2018
Google today made Android P Beta 2 available to developers. Importantly, Google says this beta includes the final Android P APIs (level 28) and the official SDK, which means developers have what they need to customize their apps for the new features in Android P.
Sounds perfect but no adding RAM?