The OnePlus3 is here, and it's easily the best phone the company has ever made.
With great specs, nice features and a really attractive price, there are plenty of people who will be giving the OnePlus 3 a look. After reading the review, checking out the specs and comparing it to other flagship phones, you may have some deeper questions about the phone — and we hope to answer some of the biggest among them right here.
These are the 10 things you should know about the OnePlus 3.
1. Finally, you can buy the phone without an invite
This may not seem like a very big deal for those who are looking at a OnePlus phone for the first time, but it's a nice little milestone for the company — you don't have to acquire an "invite" to buy the OnePlus 3. You can just head to the OnePlus website and buy the phone, without any hoops to jump through.
This is how it should've been done a long time ago, and we're glad that OnePlus has finally figured out its logistics to sell these phones without any extra hassle now.
2. Radio bands are here for AT&T and T-Mobile
If you're buying the OnePlus 3 to use in the U.S., you can rest assured that it has all of the right radio bands to use on T-Mobile and AT&T, as well as their prepaid subsidiaries and MVNOs (think MetroPCS, Cricket, Straight Talk, etc.). Going a step further, there's support for enhanced network services, like Voice over LTE. If you're curious, here's the full band list for the North American model:
- GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
- HSPA: Band 1/2/4/5/8
- FDD-LTE: Band 1/2/4/5/7/8/12/17
Of course there isn't any CDMA support for Verizon and Sprint, but you could've expected that.
3. There are two SIM slots, if you want them
Though it may not be a super popular feature in the U.S., it's quite handy to have dual SIMs in the OnePlus 3. And for those who use a second SIM for travel or some other reason, the setup here is exactly what you want. You get full network access on both cards (one active at any given time), but also get dual standby support so you can receive calls from both SIMs, even when you just have one selected for data access.
Each SIM card gets its own settings in the phone, meaning you can manage roaming, enhanced LTE services, APNs and network operator choices independent of one another. And if you never need a second SIM in your phone, the primary SIM slot will work just fine!
4. Think twice before pulling off the screen protector
Unlike some phones that ship with a low-quality piece of protective film on the screen that's designed to be removed right away, the OnePlus 3 actually comes with a proper screen protector (correctly fitted, with cutouts for the camera and sensors) pre-installed on the phone. While it's not the highest quality screen protector out there, it's similar to an inexpensive one you may be aiming to put on the phone anyway.
If you're going to consider putting a screen protector on your OnePlus 3, maybe give it a test drive with the one that came pre-installed — you may like it more than you think, or at least be able to use it for a while before you go with a higher-end model. If you want to step things up a bit, you can buy a tempered glass screen protector from the OnePlus website, either at the time you buy the phone or later on when you decide what amount of protection you need.
5. Dash Charge fast charging has arrived
For the first time, OnePlus is including a fast charging system on the OnePlus 3. Rather than go with another standard like Qualcomm's Quick Charge, OnePlus made its own "Dash Charge" system. Dash Charge promises a 60% charge on your OnePlus 3 in just 30 minutes, which is just as fast as any other system — the only catch here is you'll have to use the Dash Charger in the box and the included cable.
Your OnePlus 3 will charge just fine off of other chargers — whether they're Quick Charge 3.0, Nexus Rapid Charge or something else — but you just won't get Dash Charge speeds. If you get addicted to the quick top-ups from the included Dash Charger, OnePlus also sells a Dash Charge car charger for $29, additional Dash Charge wall plugs for $19 and compatible USB-C cables for $15.
6. The Alert Slider is still wonderful
OnePlus has kept around its absolutely awesome Alert Slider, which is a three-stage hardware switch above the volume rocker that lets you quickly manage sounds and notifications on your phone without turning on the screen. The Alert Slider ties into Marshmallow's notification priority settings, meaning it toggles the phone between "all," "priority" and "none" notification states — so a quick flip of the switch to the top position silences your phone entirely.
What really makes this great is the customization options in the settings, where you can change what exactly happens when you hit each stage in the Alert Slider. For example on "priority" you can choose if alarms, media, reminders, events, messages and calls come through, and from which contacts. On "silent" you can choose to mute all sound out of the device, including alarms and media, if you want to make sure that your phone won't make a peep in certain situations. It's a fantastic little feature that we just don't see on other Android phones.
7. There's a full Dark Mode built in
A prime feature of most custom ROMs out there, OnePlus has continued to offer a proper Dark Mode for the OnePlus 3's software. Just head into Settings then Customization, and toggle the switch to Dark Mode. Everything on the phone that was previously white or light grey will go 100% black, with text switching to white and accent colors sticking with a dark turquoise color.
The changes are most notable in the settings and with system dialogues, but if you choose to use the OnePlus default launcher you'll also find that most of its interface goes dark as well. The Dark Mode looks really great on the AMOLED display, and at the end of the day may save you a few percentage points on your battery as well.
8. You can use manual camera controls and shoot in RAW
The OnePlus 3 is a solid performer when it comes to its camera, but if you want extra control you can switch over to a Manual mode. In Manual, you can tweak the ISO, white balance, focal distance and shutter speed — with shutter times up to 30 seconds, which is great.
If you want to go even further, pop into the camera's settings and turn on RAW image capture. The RAW images will be taken alongside a JPG, and only captured when in Manual mode, but for those who want to tweak after the fact on a computer it's awesome to see. Just be aware of the file sizes — each JPG is about 5MB, but the RAWs are over 30MB.
9. Don't worry about the screen being 'only' 1080p
Just about every flagship phone out today has a 2560x1440 display resolution, but the OnePlus 3 has stuck with a rather standard 1920x1080 resolution for its 5.5-inch display — and don't worry, that's not a problem. Just because it doesn't have the highest resolution out there doesn't mean that the OnePlus 3's screen isn't really good. The AMOLED screen is bright, displays colors well and performs well in sunlight — it's pretty much better than the OnePlus 2's screen in every way possible. And at 401 ppi, you still don't have to worry about seeing jagged lines on text or images.
Further, sticking with "just" 1080p resolution has other upsides: the processor doesn't have to work nearly as hard to push this resolution, leading to better performance in apps and therefore better battery life in the end.
All you really have to worry about with a 1080p display is using the OnePlus 3 in VR — this resolution isn't the best if you plan to pop it in a virtual reality headset a ton. But even if you use VR a lot, chances are you'll be willing to deal with the lower resolution in that case considering you use the phone without VR a vast majority of the time, where the screen works just fine.
10. The bootloader can be unlocked
Here's one that's important for the tinkerers out there: you can unlock the bootloader on your OnePlus 3 without any extra hassle. Whether that's to completely wipe out OxygenOS for your own ROM or just to sideload future updates from OnePlus if they become available, you have the freedom to do so just like on a Nexus phone.
Better yet, OnePlus won't void your device's warranty if you unlock your bootloader or root the phone, which isn't something that's always the case from other companies. So go on and tweak your phone to your needs!
- OnePlus 3 review: Finally, all grown up
- OnePlus 3 specs
- OnePlus 3 vs. the flagship competition
- Latest OnePlus 3 news
- Discuss OnePlus 3 in the forums