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OnePlus 3 review: Third time's the charm with this supercharged, unlocked flagship

Florence Ion | June 15, 2016
Premium specs with none of the carrier bloat: The OnePlus 3's 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a capable 16-megapixel camera make it a formidable contender.

OnePlus still hasn’t opted for wireless charging (that's tough to do with a metal body), but it does bundle in a new feature called DASH Charge, which places the charging chip inside the power adapter rather than inside the phone's port, as is the case with other devices. The upshot is the phone won’t throttle down performance when you’re using it while charging.

With the compatible charging cord and adapter, OnePlus advertises that the OnePlus 3 can replenish 60 percent of its battery life in just half an hour. I can confirm this: I sat and counted as the OnePlus 3’s battery meter went from nothing to 63 percent in 31 minutes. It’s like Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 on speed. The only bummer is that this is proprietary technology that only works with OnePlus’s devices, so you’ll have to turn to its online store to purchase DASH compatible car chargers and battery packs.

Reliable camera performance

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A sample of the OnePlus 3’s digital zoom capabilities. 

OnePlus’s camera capabilities have been pretty solid over the last two generations, and I’m happy to report that the OnePlus 3’s 16-megapixel rear-facing camera is on par with today’s competition. Though its aperture is set at f/2.0, I was impressed by the device’s ability to shoot low light scenes without the aid of a smartphone tripod or manual mode.

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The OnePlus 3 opts for a white balance that is slightly more red, and less green, than the Galaxy S7.

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I actually prefer the OnePlus 3’s low light result, despite the fact that the Galaxy S7 Edge is shooting at a larger aperture of f/1.7. The latter is a clearer picture, but I like the white balance on the OnePlus 3’s result a little more.

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BART and you’re there. If you zoom in, you can see the OnePlus 3’s attempt to keep the pixels intact as it shot in lower light.

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Zoom in to this photo to see how sharp the branches on the tree are—an impressive feat from a non-Samsung branded device. 

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I could work with the low light abilities of the OnePlus 3. I like that there’s some detail—albeit grainy—in this moody picture.  

At times, OnePlus' post-processing engine is prone to over-processing. Nonetheless, there’s a Manual mode available with RAW image support if you’re aching for more granular control. Also, the OnePlus 3 employs both optical image stabilization (OIS) and electronic image stabilization (EIS), which helps ensure that both photos and videos are clear and sharp.


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