Android

The OnePlus 6 is finally here, but should you buy it?

Oneplus 6

The Oneplus 6 has finally arrived after months of avid speculation and rumours. It brings your typical performance improvements, a new design and perhaps more notably, a higher price tag.

OnePlus has long been the leader of the pack when it comes to the sub £500 smartphone. Build quality, software and performance have been the main qualities found in every OnePlus smartphone to date.

As the competition get’s stronger every year, with better and more affordable smartphones, does the OnePlus 6 still do enough to justify purchasing?

Do bear in mind that this is by no means a review of the OnePlus 6. Rather, it’s what you should know before picking one up for yourself. I talk about what marks it the superb smartphone that it is, but also it’s drawbacks as well.

OnePlus 6 Design

Starting with the most glaring change, the design. First and foremost, there’s a notch. OnePlus has followed the most popular 2018 trend by adding a notch to the top of their smartphone. Whether you love or hate the notch, the OnePlus 6 has one and to be honest, it doesn’t look too bad. It’s small enough to not really be noticeable and it can also be hidden using OnePlus’s software if you prefer.

The rest of the OnePlus 6 design is, however, gorgeous. It is by the far the best looking OnePlus smartphone to date and even gives the Samsung Galaxy S9 a run for its money. A metal frame wraps around the sides and is met by Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back. It has a small chin on the bottom, but besides from that, the 6 has thins bezels all around. It really does look stunning in all three colour variants.

On that subject, the OnePlus 5 comes in Mirror Black (glossy finish), Midnight Black (matt finish) and Silk White. You can also expect more colour variants in the coming months – if OnePlus does as it has with previous OnePlus smartphones.

All of the other OnePlus design staples are still here as well. The (much underrated) physical alert slider is now on the right side of the phone. The fingerprint sensor is on the back, much like on the OnePlus 5t. Face unlock has also transitioned over from the 5t, in case you prefer to unlock your phone using your face rather than your finger. Oh, and the 3.5mm headphone jack is still here!

OnePlus 6 Specifications and Screen

Once again, OnePlus has delivered when it comes to sheer power and performance. The OnePlus 6 rocks the best that 2018 has to offer; the Snapdragon 845 combined with either 6 or 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. These specifications, combined with OnePlus’s lightweight skin on Android 8.1 make for a blisteringly fast phone.

The display on the OnePlus 6 remains locked to 1080p, rather than making the jump to QuadHD. That doesn’t, however, make it a bad display by any stretch of the imagination. It’s an AMOLED panel with a 19 by 9 aspect ratio, and if the AMOLED display on the OnePlus 5t is anything to go by, this will be a superb display. Plus, having an “only” 1080p display will benefit the battery life significantly, which most consumers would prefer anyway.

As far as battery life is concerned, you can expect it to be very good. It’s the same 3300mAh battery from last years OnePlus 5t. Combined with a more power efficient processor, the OnePlus 6 should easily be able to last you through a whole day. On top of that, when you do need to charge, you can do so by using OnePlus’s Dash Charger which will charge your OnePlus 6 incredibly fast. It’s also included in the box along with a case which is a nice bonus.

OnePlus 6 Camera

The OnePlus 6 still utilizes a dual lens camera system with an (optically stabilised)16mp primary and a 20mp secondary sensor. Both have a large f/1.7 aperture. This year, the secondary lens will be used for increasing detail and also for depth detection in portraits photos.

If you take a look at early reviews of the OnePlus 6 camera, the general consensus is that it’s a great camera, but lacking compared to (more expensive) competition. Here are a few lines from various tech blogs which summarise the OnePlus 6’s camera pretty well:

Techadvisor.com
It’s certainly not the best phone camera but at the price, you’re getting much better quality than you would normally expect. 

Theverge.com
If you compare it to something like Google’s Pixel 2, a Samsung S9, or a Huawei P20 Pro, the OnePlus 6 images don’t hold up.

Techradar.com
It’s an all-round capable camera that does a good job in a variety of scenarios, delivering everything from nicely blurred backgrounds in Portrait mode to detailed close-up macros and sweeping landscape vistas.

OnePlus 6 price and potential drawbacks

Let’s get down to what is the deciding factor for many, the price. The OnePlus 6 prices are as follows:

Mirror Black with 64GB Storage / 6GB RAM: £469
Mirror Black with 128GB Storage / 8GB RAM: £519

Midnight Black with 128GB Storage / 8GB RAM: £519
Midnight Black with 256GB Storage / 8GB RAM: £569

Silk White with 128GB Storage / 8GB RAM: £519

There are a few more configurations to choose from this year, but more importantly, you can still get a OnePlus 6 for £469. That’s less than half the price of the iPhone X and almost £300 cheaper than the most affordable Samsung Galaxy S9.

There are, however, a few features that you don’t get with the OnePlus 6. Features that are included with higher priced smartphones. There’s no wireless charging, no MicroSD card slot and there’s no official IP rating for dust and water resistant.

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, the camera isn’t as good as the pricier rivals. If camera performance is important to you, the extra cost for the Galaxy S9 or Huawei P20 Pro might just be worth it.

Being realistic, none of the missing features are necessities, but rather niceties. Wireless charging is convenient, as is expandable storage, but a lot of consumers won’t even notice their absence. Plus, although there’s no official IP rating, OnePlus does say that the 6 is splashproof – so take that for what it’s worth. It does mean, however, that the phone will survive being used in the rain or potentially if dropped in a puddle.

So to conclude, if the missing features and perhaps an average camera doesn’t bother you, you should definitely pick up the OnePlus 6. It will perform as well, if not better, than any other 2018 smartphone. Not mention it will also receive software updates faster than almost all of the competition. I can still say, that despite the price increase, the OnePlus 6 is incredible value for money.