Do we have a good one for you today – and a very tough decision on the winner of this comparison. The Nexus 6P, which has to be one of the best Nexus devices made to date, goes up against the new OnePlus 3. Both devices are manufactured from all metal and have a real flagship look about them – the Nexus 6P jumps out a little more for its unusual design and large, bulge around the camera area. These two devices are owned by some of the more loyal users on the planet – I am sure your will notice this in the pursuing comments left by both ‘camps’ as they vigorously argue over which device is better. I must say that this is the most complete smartphone that OnePlus has developed to date – still no QHD display or expandable memory – but they finally included both an NFC chip and fingerprint sensor in one device. Let’s take a quick look at what these two flagships have in common and then look at each one in more depth.
The Nexus 6P and the OnePlus 3 have a few things in common – for starters, they are very close in size to one another, although the Nexus 6P is slightly larger and weighs 20 grams heavier. Both devices use the AMOLED display technology, are close in display size, but are different resolutions. Both use a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, but different models and both offer a 64GB variant, and neither model allows for memory expansion. They both have an 8MP front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies and video chatting. The 6P and OnePlus 3 both have a large, non-removable battery to power the device – and both offer a fast charge option. Both have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device as well as authorizing Android Pay mobile payments. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and a newer v2.0 Type-C reversible connector for charging and data transfer.
Please take a careful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Google did three smart things with their Nexus program – they made a decision to sell a mid-range and a high-end device this time around – they picked LG to do the mid-range device – and they selected Huawei to do the high-end Nexus 6P. It is well-built and comes with an all-metal unibody construction. Any one of the four colors – Aluminum, Graphite, Frost, or Matte Gold will give your Nexus 6P that premium look. Does this eight-month-old device have the specifications to give the new OnePlus 3 a good run for its money? Both devices look great, but what about the insides – the displays, processors, memory, batteries and other features?
The Nexus 6P sports 5.7-inch AMOLED display (made by Samsung) with a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 518 PPI. Huawei decided to go with the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor, v2.1. It has four cores clocked at 1.55 GHz and four cores clocked at 2.0 GHz – this v2.1 is supposed to fix the overheating issues with the 810. The Nexus 6P has 3GB of RAM and a choice of 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal memory and has no means for external expansion.
Huawei that designed the Nexus 6P and made sure its high-end Nexus smartphone could take great photos. It has a highly rated 12.3MP sensor, laser autofocus, f/2.0 aperture and dual-tone LED flash…but no OIS. The Nexus 6P also has a large 8MP FFC with an aperture of f/2.4 for selfies and video chatting – it can also take 1080p at 30fps. The Nexus 6P has a large, 3450mAh non-removable battery that includes a rapid charge feature via its Type-C reversible plug.
The Nexus 6P has a few things that the OnePlus 3 does not – it has a great Samsung-built AMOLED QHD display and comes with dual front-facing stereo speakers. It is running pure vanilla Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and will always get the fastest upgrades possible when new versions come out. Pricing is at only $550 for the 64GB model and offers an excellent value. Sold through Google as an unlocked device, the Nexus 6P is usable on all major US networks.
OnePlus is a company known for building a quality product at an exceptional price – however, some corners must be cut to reach a certain price level – but we are very happy to say the new OnePlus 3 is their closest model yet to knocking one out of the ballpark. The two glaring omissions are the lack of a Quad HD display and lack of ability to expand its internal memory. Many potential customers would love to see a QHD display and expandable memory with a modest increase in price. This new all-metal design is very similar to the rest of the OnePlus lineup – nice, clean, and solid, but nothing to get excited about.
OnePlus introduces a new and improved display – gone is the IPS LCD and in comes a new 5.5-inch FHD Optic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 401 PPI. There is still no QHD display, and one has to wonder if OnePlus will ever offer a model that uses that resolution. OnePlus did make a great decision to switch to an AMOLED display –offering much better color contrasts than the old LCD on the OnePlus 2. The OnePlus 3 uses the newest Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHz and another at 2.15GHz, with an Adreno 530 GPU providing the graphics. OnePlus then packed in a full 6GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal storage but allowed no means to expand.
OnePlus reworked the camera area with a new 16MP primary shooter, with fast PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus), LED Flash, a larger f/2.0 aperture, and both OIS and EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization). The FFC camera jumped from in size from 5MP to 8MP with a f/2.0 aperture for better selfies and video chatting. For some reason, OnePlus lowered the battery size from 3300mAh to 3000mAh in the OnePlus 3, but OnePlus did include rapid charging they call ‘Dash Charge’ that provides a 60-percent charge in only 30 minutes.
Observations on the OnePlus 3 – It runs mostly stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out-of-the-box with OnePlus’ OS called OxygenOS on top – however, it will not receive updates nearly as fast as the Nexus 6P. OnePlus finally included BOTH the fingerprint sensor and NFC on the same device, allowing for authorizing mobile or Android Pay purchases with a swipe of your finger. While it’s nice to see that OnePlus went to the AMOLED display, when is OnePlus going to add QHD resolution? The OnePlus 3 measures 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm and weighs in at 158 grams. It will cost you about $400 USD for the 6GB/64GB model. It will come in Graphite, with Soft Gold arriving later.
…And The Winner Is…
This decision is a tough call – on one hand, we have the Nexus 6P with a QHD display and running pure Android and on the other hand, we have the OnePlus 3 with the new Snapdragon 820 processor with 6GB of RAM. For a price comparison, the Nexus 6P with 3GB/64GB will cost you $550 while the 6GB/64GB OnePlus 3 will run you about $400. Does the newer processor, more RAM, and $150 savings make up for the QHD display, dual-facing stereo speakers, and faster updates – it's a hard one to call.
Both of these devices have their own unique features, and both are priced competitively. Because of the better processor, much better GPU, more RAM, and lower price – I am picking the OnePlus 3 as the winner of this comparison.
However, an excellent case could be made for the Nexus 6P – it is a proven commodity, has a QHD display, has a great camera, and will receive the faster updates. It is simply a matter of what your priorities are which one you select as your winner.