OnePlus Three

The news about the OnePlus 3 has been all the rage the past couple of weeks. It’s true that OnePlus has generated compelling phones over the past couple of years, but is its latest OnePlus 3 truly a flagship killer priced at $399?

The original Oneplus One was without question a phone that got our attention with its incredible price tag at $349 (or $299 for the base model). It was loaded with high end hardware like the Snapdragon 801, 3GB of RAM, 3100mAh battery, 13MP rear camera, and a 1080p display.04

What made this phone so newsworthy at the time was its price that was half the cost of its competition, like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 4. The major downside to buying a phone from Oneplus was the goofy invite system that was a massive failure where it took users up to six months to get the device.

Come 2016 and OnePlus released its third iteration of the device that aimed to be a true flagship killer. The only issue is the price is now $399. Sure that is cheaper than a Samsung Galaxy S7 by $200, but the OnePlus 3 does not have specs that can justify its self proclaimed title as the “flagship killer”.

$399 is almost high enough to be considered flagship pricing. The Moto X Pure and Blackberry PRIV can be had for $299 right now, and the Galaxy S7 can be found for as cheap as $450. The NextBit Robin has been selling at $299, and the very popular Nexus 6P has been priced as low as $419. Even if the OP3 is better on paper, the day to day performance is so insignificant these days that most users will not know the difference unless they have all of the devices to test side by side.

If it truly wants to be a flagship killer it needs to be better than the S7 which it is not.

On paper, the OP3 has more RAM, 6GB vs 4GB but in real world tests performs slower than the S7. While the OP3 has a nice camera, it isn’t supplanting the S7 as the best picture snapper. The OP3 also isn’t displacing the S7 in terms of battery life, water resistance, and certainly isn’t going to take the crown over for the best display with its mediocre 1080p display. Lastly, while the OP3 metal build is nice, it does not match the S7 metal and glass build that has set the standard for all other phones.

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A real flagship killer would be compatible with the largest network in the US

The OP3 isn’t compatible with the largest network in the U.S., Verizon. If Oneplus truly wants to compete as a “flagship killer” it needs to create a Verizon compatible version. With 141M subscribers, in addition to Sprint’s 59M subscribers, OnePlus is missing out on half of the US market.

It also has issues with AT&T, the second largest carrier in the US. I guess if you want to take full advantage of LTE speeds, you better make sure you have T-Mobile as your carrier.

Is the OP3 better than the similarly priced Nexus 6P?

The Nexus 6P was released last year which makes it “old”. On paper the 6P lags behind the OP3 with half the RAM at 3GB, has a lesser processor with the Snapdragon 810 vs the 820, but it ends there. The 6P has an all metal body to match, a 2k AMOLED display vs the 1080p display found on the OP3, has USB type-C with fast charging, has a battery that can last all day, and can even be purchased for as low as $419 when it’s on sale. It’s $20 more for the 6P, but you’re guaranteed updates from Google with customer service that OP3 can only dream of matching.

Hardware wise, the only thing the OP3 has going for it is the 6GB of RAM which does not matter, especially when it has issues for many users. When the full 6GB is utilized, it simply puts more stress on the battery. If Oneplus was smart, it would have dialed back the RAM and saved its customers $50 off the MSRP.

Another phone that only appeals to enthusiasts

There are quite a few AndroidGuys writers who couldn’t resist the hype and picked up their own OP3s, but almost all of them are suffering from connection issues. Many are not getting LTE, and one of them has consistent WiFi connection problems which is makes the OP3 a pain to use at home. These issues would be addressed very quickly by Google on its Nexus devices, but OP3 isn’t nearly the size of Google, so it has to scramble to get a fix out. If you have a build defect with your OP3, you have to wait for the device to ship to China and back just to get it fixed. That’s a major problem for most people who only have one phone.

I’m clearly in the minority when it comes to the OP3. I expect to get many comments from readers telling me how inept I am, but that’s okay. 

The reality is the OP3 is no better than the S7 in any way. I’d rather pay the extra $200 for a Galaxy S7 that will keep me happy with its superior camera, display, expandable memory, water resistance and dust proofing, wireless charging, and endless third party accessories.

At $399 the OP3 matches up to the Nexus 6P almost head to head. For my money I would buy a Nexus 6P any day of the week over the OP3 because of better customer service from Google, global compatibility with networks including Verizon and Sprint, and quicker updates on Android. You can also use the Nexus 6P on Project Fi which can save you money in a different way.

The way I see it, the OP3 has timing on its side. It was released after all of the major flagships when there is a lull in activity. It bridges the gap between the first half flagship releases with the Galaxy S7, HTC 10, and LG G5 and the second half flagships like the Note, iPhone and Nexus. Other than that and the 6GB which seems cool on paper, the OP3 is a whole lot of hype that I am not settling for. #NeverSettle

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21 COMMENTS

  1. You are inept. Nice article based on comparing specs and vague references to problems “others” are supposedly having, with no specifics whatsoever. “Almost” flagship pricing is not flagship pricing. Are you supposed to be a writer or just some hack?

  2. He needs to do some research. The ram management is aggressive as to provide better battery life. But, put a custom ROM on and the phone matches the S7. Also, where is the LTE issue. I haven’t seen one problem. I’ve got the S7 and the builds are subjective. I’m not a fan of the weird coating on the S7. Prefer the all aluminum build and feel. They’re both nice looking.

    • I agree. I prefer the OP3 build to my S7 a hundred times over. That was my main qualm when I bought the S7. I hated the design and build. I get the same or more battery on my OP3 every single day. Also, no need for a different ROM just edit your prop file and you’re using all 6gbs. No battery hut for me in 3 days testing. Amazing phone amazing price. I’m selling my S7. It’s on eBay ATM ! Maybe this reviewer could buy it from me for his collection.

  3. Very biased review. I own the S7 original release and the OP3. So far I get 6 hours average daily if battery. Screen is as nice to me as my S7 (since it actually IS a Samsung display). Im utilizing all 6gbs also. This phone is hella fast. These reviewers I swear are paid by Samsung. They are obligated to post this. But that’s ok. I absolutely love my OP3. Best phone in all aspects I’ve ever used.

    • For the record, this wasn’t a review. It was an editorial.

      I am happy you enjoy your OP3 and can access all 6GB of RAM too.

  4. My antutu score is 143789 !!! Just a side note.. and the one point this Samsung rep has that’s solid to me is the S7 waterproofing. Id love that on my OP3. Everything else he’s said, is just his personal opinion and how he has his OP3 setup. I guess Android is more for someone wanting to experiment and modify anything they see fit to fuck with. Why does this guy have Samsung anyway, you’d think Apple was more his thing now that I think of it.

  5. Finally someone who isn’t a fanboy. It’s sad that people here can’t accept criticism or other point of views.

    I have a oneplus one, looking to replace it for either a Galaxy s7 or a OP3. As I can read a bit everywhere, price aside, the galaxy S7 is superior in all domain except the Ram. The OP3 screen isn’t optimzed for VR … Especially when OP released a VR set not long ago. I plan to keep my device for about 2 years, by the way innovation go now, the next big thing will be VR so I find totally incredible that OP3 isn’t “future” ready. As for the design, each their own, I’ll surely put a cover on it as many people, so i won’t really appreciate aluminium or glass more than 5 min. I would have loved to just jump in as I did with my OP1, but in term of value I find myself in a predicament. I find the price difference between the 2 devices pretty marginal as I plan to keep it for a few years. Once OP fixes the Ram management, OP3 will definitely be faster than the S7 but what if that causes it to heat up and discharge faster?

    I wish that OP3 was a no brainer but it is not.

  6. The whole world uses GSM standard. Only in the US Verizon and Sprint have their own proprietary and incompatible CDMA technique not following the worldwide standard. Just because some in the US are “special”, it doesn’t mean that they have to get a special cake, which would also have to be certified and verified by Verizon, before it can be used at all.
    If AT/T works only with a whitelist, this is also a special approach which isn’t a standard.
    OnePlus dropped the “flagship killer” marketing, it wasn’t used to promote OP3.

  7. Wow people, it’s an opinion piece – you don’t have to agree with it, you also don’t have to be abusive in response.

    I don’t happen to agree either – personally I think it’s written in a defensive tone which gives the impression of other brand alliance. However, it’s the writer’s job to attract readers – its not their job to take abuse from dickheads.

    I’m very tempted by the OP3, and I’d probably flash vanilla android if oxygen os didn’t agree with me. I’m still running vanilla nexus 5 and haven’t been tempted to upgrade yet. Maybe soon though..

  8. Yeah, agreed with most of the comments. The OP3 is much better than the Nexus 6P as well. Battery life and speed are much better on the OP3 compared to my Nexus 6P, and it’s not that close. You may want to give your OP3 a little more testing.

  9. I don’t understand this article. It sounds like an opinion piece with random “facts” strewn together to make the OnePlus 3 look like a terrible choice. However, many of the reviews I have seen previously state that the OnePlus 3 is a plenty capable phone at a great price.

  10. Carl Pei of OnePlus had his head handed to him on Reddit over the issues with this phone. OnePlus has yet to make a “Flagship Killer” and no one should hold their breath waiting. They make nice phones for the price. But nice for the price does not a flagship make. I had 2 OnePlus One’s and both suffered from multiple issues. I gave ’em a 2nd chance and bought a OnePlus 2 which also suffered multiple issues. Sure, other phones have issues as well. But I’ve never had to send my phone back to China with Samsung, Motorola, or HTC. I’ll gladly pay extra to those companies because of their infrastructure. Until OnePlus actually grows up as a company they’ll never see another dollar of my money.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/oneplus/comments/4oyi6o/anandtechs_oneplus_3_review/d4hrn6c

  11. OnePlus are crap. They produce some mediocre hardware but they don’t know how to run a company. Their marketing department is a joke, as is their customer care and support. The OnePlus 2 was released in 2015 and they called it a 2016 Flagship killer….I mean seriously? They had the arrogance to think the OP2 would be better than the best phones in 2016? It wasn’t even that great compared to the best phones of 2015. LG, Samsung, Huawei etc pissed all over the OP2 with offerings that came soon after. I think they realised their arrogance stance as now with the OP3 release, they’ve dropped the whole “flagship killer” label. While the phone does look good and the specs are great, I won’t be buying OnePlus as I prefer to buy my phones from a company that actually know how to take care of their consumers!

  12. “If it truly wants to be a flagship killer it needs to be better than the S7 which it is not.” – guy you really are out of touch with real world. Letting aside OnePlus 3, this very statement discredits the most basic judgements you emit. You can be a flagship killer being equally good and selling at half price (it’s just an example that any kid will easily understand). How can you put it in written words is beyond me. As I said, nothing to do with OnePlus 3 in particular, just tells all about the “reviewer”.

  13. Interesting article and i welcome everyone’s opinion equally.
    You have come up with the one negative review of the oneplus 3 is a sea of positive reviews, everyone is entitled to their opinion and this is yours.
    I have placed my order for the oneplus 3 as a much needed replacement for my galaxy S3, i like the specs of the OP3 and at a price tag of £309 compared to a galaxy S7 at £569 for not a great deal more spec wise that is £260 i can spend on other stuff.
    The ONLY criticism i have with your article is this one line,
    but the OnePlus 3 does not have specs that can justify its self proclaimed title as the “flagship killer”.
    You should definitely go and change that as this is completely false, no where on the oneplus website does it claim that the OP3 is a “flagship killer”, granted it does under the OP2 but you are just making false claims for a phone you clearly do not like at a bargain price.

  14. Bought a OnePlus3 and I am very displeased with the phone. Battery life for example is ridiculous.

    Instead of Never Settle a better saying would be Underwhelming

  15. I do agree oneplus 3 is not a flagship killer by specs and features, no water proofing, no 2k display, no stereo front facing speakers, no micro SD card, not the best low light snapper and etc. But one thing we have to see, it allows people to get the OP3 for how much it can offer instead of paying a chunk more just to get all those boxes ticked. Even if you managed to pull out another $300, it doesn’t guarantee you are able to get all those boxes ticked.

    Why no 2k display? 2k = throttling, despite how powerful phone processors are, it is 2k display combined with processes like gaming, camera, 4k recording will heat up the phone so much that even the snapdragon 820 or the best exynos are forced to throttle. Even OP3 throttles after very much longer as proven by XDA.

    Why no water proofing? Unless you can live with very muffled speakers, by all means, i say good trade off.

    Why no stereo speakers? yes, i would like that too. But it makes the phone too damn heavy and even the best speakers that we can fit on our phones currently are still garbage to audiophiles.

    No micro sd card slot? UFS2.0 internal the fastest, put in an SD card will defeat the purpose of having UFS2.0 internal storage cause it has slow read and write speed.

    Not the best low light snapper? Cost to have bigger sensor, bigger aperture and software correction to fix the distortion for having such big aperture is way too expensive. But results shown by techinsider that OP3 holds its own against the S7 until it comes to low light, surpassing even HTC 10’s or iPhone6s’s performance.

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