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The OnePlus 3 is a very different device from the original OnePlus: where the first phone was a brave but flawed attempt to bring premium features to the budget market, the third version is a serious attempt to take on Android’s flagship phones. If you haven’t considered a OnePlus device before, this one could well change your mind. Here are 5 reasons to buy the OnePlus 3.

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A great phone at a great price. The OnePlus 3 is a winner. / © AndroidPIT

1. It’s really cheap

Let’s be clear about this: the OnePlus 3 isn’t the cheapest Android phone you can buy. There are plenty of really cheap handsets around, including some good ones such as the budget Motorolas. But the OnePlus 3 is cheap compared to its direct rivals, which are phones of the stature of the Samsung Galaxy S7. It doesn’t quite beat them, but it comes awfully close for considerably less money.

How much money? In the US it’s $399, in Canada it’s $519 and in the UK it’s £309, although that might change – we’re writing this as the UK pound has been freefalling against both the Dollar and the Euro after the UK’s decision to quit the EU. In Europe the phone is €399, in india it’s ₹27,999 and in China it’s 2,499 RMB.

Not only that, but the invite-based sales system is gone: if you want one, you just buy it like you would any other phone.

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It may be cheap, but it doesn't look or feel cheap. / © AndroidPIT

2. It doesn’t look or feel really cheap

Cheaper devices often look nasty, but not the OnePlus. It’s lighter than its two predecessors, just 7.35 mm thick and it utilizes an aluminum unibody that feels as good as it looks. The 5.5-inch display is impressive (if a bit big for modest pockets) and the whole thing feels well screwed together. The closest comparison is the HTC 10, which is considerably more expensive.

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There's something of the HTC 10 to the OnePlus 3's metallic design. / © AndroidPIT

3. You can use it in the sunshine

The OnePlus 3 gets the ultra-bright AMOLED displays of rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080p at a pixel density of 401 ppi. It’s protected by fourth-generation Gorilla Glass, sits very close to the glass and has a dual polarizing layer that makes it more readable in bright sunlight. The only real drawback of the lack of QHD resolution is if you plan to go down the VR route, as VR headsets really benefit from QHD.

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The OnePlus 3 runs a very slightly tweaked version of Marshmallow. / © AndroidPIT

4. Its Android is almost stock, and up to date

OnePlus no longer uses CyanogenMod for its OS: the OS is its own Oxygen OS 3.1.1, which is a skinned version of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Unlike some rivals the skinning is kept to a minimum, and it’s very, very similar to stock Android. That’s generally a good thing, and of course you can always customize the UI to suit.

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Battery life is great when you consider how fast it is.  / © AndroidPIT

5. It’s packed with power

The OnePlus 3 comes with not two, not four but a whopping six gigabytes of RAM, and while Android can’t really make full use of that just now – most recent flagships are 3 GB or 4 GB – it gives you bragging rights in the pub. The OnePlus 3 doesn’t just perform; it overperforms.

It’s one of the most powerful phones we’ve ever tested at AndroidPIT, with a  Snapdragon 820 processor running at 2.2 GHz / 1.6 GHz and backed with an Adreno 530 GPU. It even outperforms the Exynos version of the Galaxy S7.

Such power is overkill for everyday stuff like Spotify and WhatsApp, of course, but it’s nice to have even if you only use it occasionally – and the OnePlus 3 can embarrass many more expensive phones in the performance stakes.

It’s a bit like having a Skoda that’s faster than a BMW: you paid less and got more. And don’t expect it to run out of puff if you press the loud pedal, either: the 3,000 mAh battery combined with Android’s battery optimization should ensure it gets you through even the most demanding days.

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The camera isn't quite as good as some rivals, but they cost a lot more. / © AndroidPIT

Of all the OnePlus 3 specifications, the camera is probably the weakest point. But even then it’s a respectable 16 MP shooter with a Sony IMX 298 sensor and an aperture of f/2.0. It has optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, RAW support and 4K video. It’s not so much that the OnePlus camera is bad; it’s that camera technology is moving so quickly that what would have been impressive 18 months ago already seems a bit old hat.

Is the OnePlus 3 perfect? Nope, but then few phones are – and many of them cost considerably more money than the OnePlus does. If you’re looking for a lightning fast smartphone that won’t break the bank, you really ought to consider this one. It’s a bargain.

What do you think? Is the camera a deal-breaker or is the price the killer feature here? Let us know in the comments.

13 comments

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  • Screw the camera. you sold me on 6GB of Ram. I do a lot of searching and streaming. Just might buy one to give it a whirl.

  • Ram SIngh 5 months ago Link to comment

    I recently buy redmi note 3 and that's working great for me but after reason this review i should buy it.

  • tariq 5 months ago Link to comment

    I think its a good phone with a good price. The only thing that bothers me and not most people is that, it looks exactly like an HTC. There's practically no difference.

  • Mark 5 months ago Link to comment

    Sorry but I don't think 400 bucks is a cheap phone. It is a mid range but not cheap. I can get a good phone for P6,000.00 or about $125 here with decent specs.

  • The best reason to NOT buy it is their terrible customer service and warranty, and the fact that it's way over-priced for what you get.
    It should be less than $300 at most.

  • only reason to buy it is cheap

  • I was considering changing my habits and starting to use more the phone for entertainment. In that regard, speakers audio quality/volume and scratch-resistance of the screen are two main concerns.
    How do you judge those on the OnePlus 3?

    • With only one crappy speaker that is not front facing, I would not consider the OP3 at all.
      What you should do is wait a week, the ZTE Axon 7 will be out with dual front facing speakers.
      The Axon 7 crushes the pitiful OP3.

  • Alex R. 5 months ago Link to comment

    But What about the battery it comes with an 3000 MaH BATTERY??

    • Sanjai Joseph
      • Mod
      5 months ago Link to comment

      Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery

      • sanjai these all chinese phones are not for long run....these phone survive hardly one year.....people in india r mad for thek bcos these phones are cheap

      • Sanjai Joseph
        • Mod
        5 months ago Link to comment

        yes,that is the reason why people buy this. Think If you buy S7 you won't get any updates after 2 years and the S7 is expensive but oneplus phones are cheap but are stronger and have the latest update with good feature. right ?

      • Faizan 5 months ago Link to comment

        OnePlus is not your everyday Chinese company. it's a global company on the same terms as Samsung or Apple. They are available all over the world, popular, and make some great devices.

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