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OnePlus 6: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

OnePlus 6 Good Bad Ugly
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The OnePlus 6 is now official and with it OnePlus has now entered the 2018 smartphone market alongside other flagships. While the phone isn’t a whole lot different on the design side of things compared to the OnePlus 5T it is different in some respects visually and it comes with all-new hardware on the inside, as well as new software in the way of the Android P beta that will be available for the device. Like every new top-end smartphone from a well-known and popular brand, the OnePlus 6 has lots to love about it, but there are also some things which could benefit from a change. There are always instances in which a device could be improved and the OnePlus 6 is no different in this regard. That said it might not be as easy as one might think to distinguish some of the bad and ugly things about the phone from the good things.

The Good

First things first, the design. The OnePlus 6 may not have a design which is completely different from the last phone that OnePlus put out, but it does come with a design that has a refined visual style and enough changes to set it apart from the previous handset. Whether you like the Midnight Black, the Mirror Black, or the White with Gold trim the most, the OnePlus 6 does have a stylish look about it that will make it an eye-catching product. It’s using materials like metal and glass (metal for the frame and glass for the back on all three color variants) which help to give the phone a premium look and feel, and though it does come with a notch which is not going to be to everyone’s liking, the display on the OnePlus 6 is big and bright, providing a lot of screen real estate for users to interact with the many features that are capable of being used on an Android device these days.

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The OnePlus 6 also comes with a dual camera setup on the back, comprised of a 20-megapixel main sensor and a 16-megapixel secondary sensor. The sensors used are no doubt going to allow the OnePlus 6 to produce some great shots, but perhaps the better part about the camera is the added ease of use for functions like the zoom. With the OnePlus 6, OnePlus moved the Alert Slider to the right-hand side of the phone, and part of the reasoning for this is that OnePlus designed the slider to have an additional function of providing the user with a way to zoom in and out on subjects when using the camera so they don’t have to touch the screen for this purpose. No matter how you look at it this is a pretty useful improvement especially if you hate having a dirty screen that’s been gunked up by fingerprints and smudges. Granted, the display will still get smudges from regular use, but less so by cutting out some interaction that has to be made with it, and as the camera is a main selling point of the phone it’s likely that many of the consumers who buy it will be using the camera quite a bit, which could have led to increased amounts of touching the screen for zooming in or out. OnePlus obviously had the foresight to counteract this by simply switching sides for the Alert Slider and adding a function to it, not to mention it’s probably easier to use the slider for a zoom function than pinching to zoom on the screen.

The phone also comes with options in the way of model variations beyond the three color choices. More specifically, there are options for three different amounts of storage, the first being 64GB which also comes with 6GB of RAM, and this is just the base model. There are also options for 128GB of storage and 256GB of storage, both of which come with 8GB of RAM, and to boot all of these models will cost less than $650. The 64GB version will be $529, the 128GB version will be $579, and the 256GB version will be $629, so for less than a Google Pixel 2 XL with 128GB of storage, or a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus with just 64GB of storage, you could pick up a OnePlus 6 with 256GB of storage and more RAM than either of those phones, with the same processor as the Galaxy S9 Plus and a very similar sized display, complete with a fingerprint sensor, the latest Android software, and quite a few other features. Whether or not you’re a fan of OnePlus there’s no denying that it’s offering up some pretty good value here with top-tier specs. Now, storage won’t be a huge importance for everyone, but if you tend to store a lot of apps, games, and media then you’ll want as much storage as you can get as it tends to fill up faster and faster these days, especially with the growing size of some app or game APKs and the increasing quality of images and video that smartphones are putting out. Then there’s the factor of the phone performance slowing down just a tad if you have loads of things installed on it, so the larger amount o RAM is definitely a benefit here too. Any way you look at it these are good options, and they’re points worth highlighting on OnePlus’ latest device.

The phone also continues with the use of Dash Charge to get “a day’s power in half an hour”  so users are going to be able to expect decent battery life out of the phone, and that’s always a good thing about any product that runs off of a battery. With smartphones battery life is probably the single biggest concern for the majority of smartphone owners, and while the technology of the battery itself hasn’t changed much through any of OnePlus’ devices or any from other manufacturers for that matter, the charging technology has steadily improved over the last few years and the OnePlus 6 sticks with this focus.

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The Bad

Just as the OnePlus 6 has quite a few good things about it, there are also some bad things which could have been improved upon. The notch is sure to be a pain point for many consumers. It won’t bother everyone and some will actually like it, but it has already received negative attention and this is something that OnePlus should have perhaps left out, opting instead to have a more minimal bezel on the top and bottom like Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. The inclusion of the notch is not only proof that OnePlus is following a trend that too many manufacturers are hopping on board with, but it also presents the problem of developers having to design their apps and games to fit the design of the displays with notches. Yes, you can “hide” the notch on the OnePlus 6 just like you can on other devices that have it, such as the LG G7 ThinQ and the ASUS ZenFone 5, but you aren’t “really” hiding it as the notch is still there physically, the software simply offers a feature which blacks out that extra space next to the notch to make it appear as if the phone has that slim bezel up top. This is better than nothing for those who don’t care for this design choice, but the phone would be better without it entirely. That said, this is one of the smallest notches of any of the devices that come with one, so perhaps that’s one silver lining.

Once again OnePlus has also chosen to leave out wireless charging. Despite the phone having a decent capacity battery and fast charging capabilities with Dash Charge, this system still requires the user to plug the phone in, and even though wireless charging may end up being a bit lower than this method, some users prefer to have the option of charging the phone without cables, yet it’s not an option here. OnePlus firmly believes that using the USB Type-C cable and its Dash Charge technology is a better method than wireless charging, and adding wireless charging may have caused OnePlus to have to add additional money onto the end cost of the phone, so the company has its reasons for leaving it out. However, it’s 2018 and numerous other manufacturers are adding it to their flagships without too much of a compromise. The OnePlus 6 should have it too.

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The Ugly

If there’s anything about the device that could be considered ugly it would have to be the time at which the device is coming to market, halfway through the year is only a couple of weeks away and the device launches officially on May 22, which is next week Tuesday. More to the point though is that OnePlus may very well release a revised version of the OnePlus 6 later in the year, with minimal upgrades and just a handful of small changes. Though there’s no evidence of this just yet, this has been OnePlus’ device release strategy for the last couple of years and there’s no reason to suggest that things will change until OnePlus itself confirms it’ll stick to one major flagship per year, which would give people more time to enjoy the device they’ve just purchased, without potentially alienating those who hopped on the initial version only to feel snubbed six months later when a slightly better version is launched. Other than this, there’s not too much to dislike.

Wrap Up

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Love it or hate it, OnePlus is a company that knows what it’s doing to some degree with its hardware. It’s fairly active on its own forums providing users with updated information about the status of new software, or fixing bugs or device issues, something which it has learned over the years, and you have to give OnePlus some credit for sticking with top-tier hardware through every iteration of its flagship smartphone, even if that hardware was also available in flagships from other brands. OnePlus has also been pretty decent with its design choices, and even with the notch the OnePlus 6 is a pretty good looking phone, particularly in the Silk White model with the Gold trim, though the notch still could have been left out. On top of all that the storage and RAM options are certainly enticing and they’ll be available at some pretty decent prices for the available amounts of space and memory, and that shouldn’t be overlooked. Are they more expensive than OnePlus’ first and second phones which were both available for around $450 or less? Of course they are, but they’re also using better hardware and giving users more room to store things, and by comparison, the 256GB model at $629 is hard to ignore when you consider the Galaxy S9 Plus at its price for less than half that amount of storage. It’s not a perfect phone, but then what phone is? There aren’t any, not on a whole for every single customer. That said the OnePlus 6 is surely perfect for some, and in that sense OnePlus has delivered here.