OnePlus 3 has premium build and specs, but costs significantly less than class leaders from Samsung, LG, HTC, and others.
OnePlus is a Chinese company that has been pushing into the U.S. slowly over the last few years. The OnePlus 3 — its third-generation flagship handset — is the company's most attractive and powerful offering yet. The 3 is also the most "available" handset from OnePlus, as U.S. consumers can buy it easily online if they wish.Design:I'm not going to say OnePlus copied the design of the iPhone 6 Plus or HTC 10, but the 3 strongly resembles both these phones. It has a simple, direct, metal-and-glass appearance. It was milled from a single block of aluminum and has antenna lines that run side-to-side across the back. The metal chassis forms the rear and side surfaces of the phone, with 2.5D glass on front. The 3 comes in graphite or gold. I could write these same sentences about the 6 Plus and 10. It's a good design, but far from an original one.Screen:The display is one spec where the OnePlus 3 trails the Alcatel Idol 4S and ZTE Axon 7. It measures 5.5 inches across the diagonal and sticks with 1080p full HD, rather than quad HD. If you're not interested in using your phone for VR, the OnePlus 3 still manages to hold its own. The 3 has plenty of pixels for browsing the web, watching videos, and viewing Instagram imagery. I found everything was sharp enough. The phone uses what OnePlus calls Optic AMOLED screen technology, which is in turn protected by a slab of Gorilla Glass 4. The display is plenty bright, offers rich colors and contrast, and puts out enough light for easy outdoor use. Viewing angles are quite good; there's a bit of brightness drop, but no blue shift. The OnePlus 3 may not have as many pixels as its competitors, but the experience isn't lacking.The OnePlus 3 suffices as a voice phone. Call quality is acceptable through the earpiece with little-to-no distortion, but the phone doesn't pump out enough volume. I was able to hear calls in my quiet home, a stationary car, and an empty mall with no issue, but it's nearly impossible to hold a conversation in a noisy coffee shop, moving car, or any other space with lots of background noise. Clarity could be better; The speakerphone delivers clarity that's on par with the earpiece. It also comes up weak as far as volume is concerned.Battery:OnePlus gave the 3 what has become the standard-size battery for a device in this class: 3,000 mAh. If you need all-day power, the OnePlus 3 has you covered in spades. I found the battery consistently pushed through 1.5 days without breaking a sweat.The 3 includes what OnePlus calls Dash Power. It is a variant of Qualcomm's QuickCharge technology. OnePlus claims a 30-minute charge will replenish over 60% of the 3's battery, allowing for more than 7 hours of HD video playback. It recharges very quickly. The phone doesn't support wireless charging.The OnePlus 3 delivers a lot of bang for the buck and deserves your consideration.