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OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 1 comparison: born identity

The OnePlus One seemed too good to be true: a premium handset for a bargain price. It wasn’t, but it wasn’t quite perfect either – and the excitingly named successor, the OnePlus 2, wasn’t quite there either. Is third time the charm for OnePlus? Find out if the OnePlus 3 has the magic touch in our OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 1 comparison.

oneplus one screen
The OnePlus One stood out from the crowd and looks more expensive than it is. / © ANDROIDPIT

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 1: design and build quality

The OnePlus One brought some interesting design ideas to the table. It's back looked like sandstone and felt like sandpaper – not something you can say about many phones – and while the front is dominated by the screen, that screen is slightly elevated above the case. It’s a big phone but it’s perfectly comfortable to hold – although don’t expect easy one-handed operation unless you have really, really huge hands.

The OnePlus 3 looks less individual – from some angles it looks like an iPhone 6 Plus – but it’s still much better-looking and better engineered than you’d expect from a product aimed at cash-conscious customers.

OnePlus3 1
Leaked images of the 3 suggest a cross between an iPhone 6 and a recent HTC. / © Phonearena

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 1: display

The older OnePlus has a 5.5-inch LCD delivering 1920 x 1080 pixels at 401 ppi. Some users reported a slight yellow cast to the display, but that hasn’t been the case with the Ones we’ve used. It’s a decent enough display with good brightness and viewing angles, but the screen is very reflective and that makes it hard to read in direct sunlight.

If you were hoping to see an AMOLED in the new OnePlus you’re out of luck: OnePlus has stuck with LCD for the OnePlus 3, although the pixels have been increased to deliver QHD resolution.

oneplus 2 vs oneplus 1 camera
The OnePlus One (right) and the OnePlus 2. / © ANDROIDPIT

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 1: processor and storage

The OnePlus One has a quad-core Snapdragon 801 clocked up to 2.5 GHz and backed with 3 GB of RAM and either 16 GB or 64 GB of internal storage. Unlike many rivals that storage isn’t expandable via microSD cards.

We’re expecting to see a Snapdragon 820 with 4 GB of RAM, although it’s unclear what storage options will be available: we’re thinking 32 GB and 64 GB. That should deliver similarly speedy performance to Samsung’s Galaxy S7 range. Several reports say there will also be versions with 6 GB of RAM.

qc snapdragon 820
How do they get that enormous chip into a phone? It's a mystery. / © Qualcomm

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 1: camera

It’s safe to say that the best feature of the OnePlus One wasn’t its camera: despite being a 13 megapixel job with a good Sony sensor, picture quality was often mediocre. The 5 MP selfie shooter on the front was okay but not stunning either.

We’re expecting to see a better camera in the OnePlus 3 – we’re hearing 16 MP on the back and 8 MP on the front – but budget pricing and great camera components don’t go well together, so we’d expect the quality to fall short of more premium devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7. Then again, if the camera isn’t truly awful then it’ll probably be a big improvement over previous OnePlus models.

Oneplus one camera teste 3
We weren't blown away by the first OnePlus's camera. / © ANDROIDPIT

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 1: software

The first OnePlus handset shipped with Android KitKat 4.4.2 and the CyanogenMod user interface. The Cyanogen friendship didn’t last, however, and OnePlus devices now ship with the OxygenOS. It’s very, very close to stock Android, although it can take a little longer to get Android updates. The version of Android underneath should be Marshmallow, with an upgrade to N later in the year.

oneplusx interface
OxygenOS is very close to stock Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 1: battery

The OnePlus One had a 3,100 mAh battery which was more than up to the job of all-day work. The OnePlus 3 should have a similar unit, and given Android’s battery optimization and energy efficiency improvements since KitKat – and Qualcomm’s improvements to energy efficiency in its Snapdragon chips – it should last just as long as or even longer than the One, even though it’s driving a faster processor and more pixels.

oneplus 3
Is this the – ahem – OnePlus for you? / © Evan Blass

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 1: early verdict

The real killer feature of the OnePlus range is price: the OnePlus One sold at just $329 and outperformed many rivals that cost twice the price.

You can’t have everything and a low price too – as with the original OnePlus One, the OnePlus 3 camera isn’t likely to outperform the top dogs of Android – but with the range expecting to start at $349 for the 4 GB RAM / 32 GB storage model and topping out at $425 for 6 GB RAM / 64 GB storage, you’ll save so much money you probably won’t mind too much.

The OnePlus 3 improves upon the original in lots of ways, hopefully its price hasn’t been hiked accordingly.

What do you think? Is the OnePlus 3 the OnePlus for you? Let us know in the comments.


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  • This article is wrong with so many mistakes, makes you wonder why it was even published on this blogger site.
    Very small comparison, but more of an advertisement of the OP3. There's even an AD to click on to buy the silly OP2 for cripes sake. Another proof that Oneplus paid to have this article put out. Bribery is rampant on this site, it would seem.

  • Awesome P 4 months ago Link to comment

    People,people! Read the article properly. The phones not even available yet, not even for reviewers so this review is based solely on speculation and rumours. It's a what if.

    • Matthew 4 months ago Link to comment

      The specs were already leaked through various sources. There are no speculations and rumors anymore on the main technical specifications. This article is not "a what if".

      "If you were hoping to see an AMOLED in the new OnePlus you’re out of luck: OnePlus has stuck with LCD"

      Does this sound like speculation? It written like a fact. Plus it's a wrong fact. The screen will be an AMOLED.

  • Matthew 4 months ago Link to comment

    On what are you basing the claim the OnePlus 3 won't have an AMOLED screen? The phone will have an AMOLED. That is stated by TENAA, a Chinese certification authority.

    And the screen is 1080p, not QHD. Again specified by TENAA. Dude, were did you get your intel?

  • storm 4 months ago Link to comment

    This article exemplifies my issues with how a phone's "quality" is assessed and portrayed. This is why people say the iPhone is high quality with no clue what that might really mean or entail.

    "The OnePlus 3 looks less individual – from some angles it looks like an iPhone 6 Plus – but it’s still much better-looking and better engineered than you’d expect from a product aimed at cash-conscious customers."

    There is nothing qualitative or quantitative about this statement to support any claim of quality. This is how we end up with poor materials like aluminum and glass on phones. It feels dense for it's size, that's quality. NO!

    A quality assessment of the phone needs to consider phone heating up and heat dissipation, how it handles quick charging and heat, how it handles load and heat. Is it stable? Does it throttle? Does the screen become unresponsive when hot and stressed. Does the skin eat and leak memory? How much impact does the skin make on storage, updates, and integration with regular Google services. How much bloatware. Those are all design and quality issues you can assess and judge.

    Is the phone's engineering rigid enough. robust enough for the actual drops and dings of life. Or am I going to have to live with scratches, cracks, dents forever because the designer made a bad materials choice based on crap reviews as was given above.

    Quality can include fit and finish, gaps, feel of buttons and such, but those are lesser aspects.

    Quality is not about how a phone feels in the grip. That's an ergonomic claim. Quality is not about appearance or heft. Quality is not about how much you like glass or aluminium. Nor the assumptions you make because those materials are present.

    Quality is about analysis and testing for defects and performance issues. If you can't make those sorts of tests, don't make a claim about phone quality. You didn't assess it.

    • Anurag G 4 months ago Link to comment

      I like donuts

    • thank you sir. I feel like aluminium is one of the worst choices of materials for a phone besides glass (yeah, even if a gorilla sat on it). I learned that the hard way with my htc one m7. Now I'm using a oneplus one and it seems to be built much better and with more thought. Plastic is such an underrated material.
      Another thing that pisses me off about reviewers is their stupid love for specs. It only tells part of the story and stating specs alone says absolutely nothing about performance. That's why on the android side we have stupid almost 3ghz quad core phones with a gazillion ddr2400thousand ram, QHD 5" displays and barely average battery life. Because you know, bigger numbers are better. Some of you may have noticed that increasing the mahs hasn't actually gotten us better battery life, have you wondered why?
      The worst thing is when reviewers praise low end devices with average sized batteries for their great battery life (i.e. moto g) after having complained about the low pixel density of the display that no real person I know ever complained about.
      No wonder the Industry has gotten so boring, to me it seems they have no clue what real people need in their phone, because when it comes to the most important characteristics of a phone (apart from camera), nothing has changed in the past 4 years. Phones still break, lag, and battery dies after ~4h SOT.

  • Anurag G 4 months ago Link to comment

    Hope the price is kept within 425$ max. Wouldnt like to see their best varient priced more than that. 124gb of storage is rumoured with 6gb but that shouldnt cost more than 425 if oneplus want to keep its identity as a #flagshipkiller and not a "flagship"

  • It won't have an LCD we ARE in luck it WILL be an AMOLED and it will not have a 2k display they went with a 1080p panel.

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