It’s too early to pass full judgment on the OnePlus 6, so we’ll save that for our full review. From our limited time with the handset so far, we can say this appears to be a really good phone. On the other hand, there are a few extras we can’t help but wish for.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes OnePlus shine, as well as a few extras we’d like to have seen.
Where the OnePlus 6 excels
OnePlus’ core philosophy hasn’t changed
OnePlus has been a fan favorite for years due to its philosophy of offering a lot of bang for your buck. The OnePlus 6 doesn’t mess with this formula much, though its price has crept up around $30. Despite the price increase to $529 for the base model, the OnePlus 6 is still hundreds less than rival devices from Samsung, Huawei, and others. It’s arguably the best phone you’ll find in the $500 range.
The OnePlus 6 is not only powered by the Snapdragon 845 with up to 8GB of RAM, it also offers storage options as high as 256GB. Of course, these higher storage options come at a premium, but even the base model offers a respectable 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. For more on the OnePlus 6’s specs, head here.
Oxygen is the closest thing to Google’s vision of pure Android outside the Pixel.
A pure, clean experience few can best
OxygenOS continues to be a highlight feature. While the overall experience hasn’t changed much with the OnePlus 6, this is actually part of what makes it great. Oxygen is the closest thing to Google’s vision of pure Android you’ll find outside of a Pixel. With the new Android Beta coming to the OnePlus 6, it’s clear OnePlus is committed to being on the leading-edge in software.
Refinement is the name of the game
OnePlus didn’t bring a lot of changes to the game with the OnePlus 6. It has a brand new Gorilla Glass 5 design and it made some cosmetic changes like adopting a larger notched display on the front and moving the camera around on the back. These changes are just skin deep, however.
The software and overall day-to-day experience remain pretty much of the same, which isn’t bad. OnePlus focused on further refining its craft instead of adding a bunch of unnecessary gimmicks, and we can certainly appreciate the sentiment.
OnePlus focused on refinements, not gimmicks.
In the switch to glass, the notification alert slider also was moved to a more ergonomic position on the right. The design switch also changed the weight and feel of the phone, which feels fantastic.
The OnePlus 6 camera now offers optical image stabilization (OIS) and 4K shooting at 60fps, as well as a few other tweaks to the camera package. There are even a few software tricks coming a bit later, like a Selfie Portrait mode.
Even the software and apps pre-installed feel very purposeful. OnePlus included only the apps it really felt users would appreciate, and nothing more. The lack of bloatware is great, but at the same time OnePlus didn’t go too lean. Things like Google Play installed out of the box make this a phone most users can just pick up and start using.
A few missing features?
For all the many things OnePlus gets right, there’s a lot of common flagship features that didn’t make the cut. Here are just three extras we feel would have made nice additions to the OnePlus 6.
Android Authority‘s own David Imel recently asked OnePlus why the OnePlus 6 doesn’t offer wireless charging. The official reason is Dash charging is so far ahead of wireless that they want to maintain a positive experience with consumers. While Dash is really fast and honestly the better option, consumers like choice. The added convenience of dropping a phone onto a mat to charge appeals to many. It’s also quickly becoming a staple for other glass flagships.
True waterproofing certification
OnePlus did in-house testing with the OnePlus 6 to ensure it could handle some rain, a puddle, and splashes. That’s all well and good, but we’d like to see some actual certification here! This is probably a cost-cutting measure, but having a truly waterproof experience is something OnePlus really should have delivered.
Outside of OnePlus, one of the last major flagships to hold out on waterproofing was Google. Even it got on board with the trend with last year’s Pixel 2 phones.
An extra special something
These days all flagships have shrinking bezels, dual-cameras, and the latest Snapdragon processors. In order to standout, all of 2018’s major flagships offer at least one special new feature to give them a certain wow factor. Samsung has mechanical aperture control, LG has it’s new BoomBox speaker, and Huawei has a stunning new design and a triple Leica camera with hybrid zoom. The OnePlus 6 has a notch and a new glass design similar to other glass designs on the market… and that’s it.
We aren’t saying OnePlus should resort to a gimmick, but at least one major stand-out feature you simply couldn’t get anywhere else would have been nice. Then again, maybe it’s low pricing is that wow factor. Still, considering the LG G7 is only a little more money, this seems like less of a standout than it did back when the price gap between OnePlus and the competition was a bit wider.
The OnePlus 6 is still a great buy
Many of those things would help the OnePlus 6 stand out against its rivals. At the same time, we understand implementing them would likely drive up the costs. It’s debatable whether the additional cost would be much more, but a few small concessions have to be made to keep pricing in the $500 to $600 range.
For the price and features, the OnePlus 6 is a great phone and offers all the core specs you’d expect from a $1000 flagship. You just don’t get as much in the way of bells and whistles.
The fact that OnePlus had little new to offer could be a testament to just how well they’ve refined their craft.
If you’re a OnePlus fan who can overlook the notch, there’s a lot to love here. The same goes if you are a budget-conscious buyer and want a powerful phone but don’t mind losing a few features in the process. Then again, we have to remember changes like the notch and the glass design aren’t necessarily for the OnePlus faithful. It’s pretty clear OnePlus is interested in expanding into the mainstream. Unfortunately, without these bells and whistles, the phone might be a harder sell for this crowd.
The fact that OnePlus had little new to offer could be a testament to just how well they’ve refined their craft over the last year. There’s just nowhere to go from here unless they want to jump up to similar pricing that you’d find from Samsung and others.
We have no doubt the OnePlus 6 will sell well, but some folks will expect a little more. Are you one of these people, or are you totally sold? Let us know in the comments.