I have always wanted to use a OnePlus device since they started, but the closest I ever got to that was playing with a OnePlus One at their Beijing store. So when OnePlus Singapore reached out to me to review the OnePlus 6, I agreed immediately.
Photo with the forgotten OnePlus mascot
Summary – Beauty is the Beast
- Case included offers great protection
- Elegant glass back design that is comfortable to hold
- Very useful textured mute switch
- Large, eye-catching AMOLED display with Ambient Display
- Flagship-level performance
- Very capable rear camera setup
- Front camera takes Instagram-worthy selfies even in low light
- Pretty good bottom-firing speaker
- One of the best fast charging solutions available
- Feature-packed yet clean software
- No SD card support
- Awkward volume button position
- Battery lasts a full day on moderate usage
Unboxing – Quality Packaging!
Smartphone packaging has become pretty standard: remove the rectangular box’s lid and you will see the phone. sitting on a box containing the paperwork. Below that you will find the cable and wall adapter, and maybe a pair of earphones.
OnePlus 6’s packaging is just that, without the earphones. But what made this unboxing experience special for me was the paperwork box. Its top is made of plastic, molded with the OnePlus 6’s shape so the phone sits perfectly on it. Genius!
In the paperwork box, you will also find the SIM removal tool as well as a grayish translucent jelly case. This case feels more durable than the jelly cases that Xiaomi and even OPPO includes and it even provides extra protection in front.
Design – Sleek Glass Back
The first OnePlus device, the OnePlus One, shared a similar design with OPPO’s Find 7. OnePlus went for its own unique design with the OnePlus 2 and X, but all their devices after that resembled an OPPO R series device launched during the same period.
Hence, to predict how an upcoming OnePlus device would look like, you can refer to the latest OPPO R series device. Moving to R15, OPPO switched to a glass back design and unsurprisingly, the OnePlus 6, also has a glass back and metal frame.
In many ways, the OnePlus 6’s design is similar to the OPPO R15 I reviewed a while back. It has a super reflective metal frame, blending in with its glass back. It also has a large 6.28″ AMOLED display, with that notch on the front and a small bottom chin.
But it isn’t all the same. I complained about OPPO R15’s poor ergonomics in its review, blaming the lack of curve on the back. Thankfully, OnePlus 6 retained the curved back, so it feels thinner and more comfortable in the hand.
OnePlus 6’s dual rear camera setup is also positioned differently, in the middle instead of on side. The glass does not have OPPO R15’s gradient, but it is available in a variety of colors and finishing, including this mirror black one I received.
On the left side, we have the SIM tray and volume buttons. The SIM tray has 2 Nano SIM slots, but neither of them is a hybrid slot, so no SD card support. OnePlus 6 is available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB, but I recommend getting only the latter two.
Meanwhile, the right side is where you will find the power button, as well as a textured mute button. Unlike Apple’s mute button though, this one has three toggles: Ring, Vibrate and Silent.
Below, we have a single speaker grill, a USB Type C port, a microphone hole and a headphone jack. And on the top, we have a single microphone hole, nothing else.
Overall, the OnePlus 6 has one of the nicest looking and feeling glass-back design I have seen. However, one tiny complain I have about it is that the volume buttons are positioned a little too low and I often find myself fiddling for it.
Display – Not(c)hing to Complain About
OnePlus 6 is equipped with a 6.28″ FHD+ AMOLED panel, with a notch in the middle. Out of the box, the display is over-saturated and on the cold side, but that can be adjusted by going into the settings app and changing the screen calibration.
Like most AMOLED panels, this is a very nice display with great viewing angles, very deep blacks and vibrant colors. Visibility under sunlight is also very good as the display can get pretty bright. Overall, the OnePlus 6’s display doesn’t disappoint.
Thanks to the AMOLED display, OnePlus is able to implement a feature called Ambient Display. It is similar to always-on display on the OPPO R15, except that it only appears when you lift up the device. I wished it stayed on the entire time.
I do love being able to customize the design and layout of the ambient display though, so good job OnePlus!
Performance – Flagship Speed!
OnePlus 6 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, with 6GB or 8GB of RAM depending on which variant you got. As expected from a device with flagship processor, the OnePlus 6 scored really well in benchmarks.
In AnTuTu Benchmarks, OnePlus 6 scored a whopping 281519. Meanwhile, in GeekBench 4, OnePlus 6 did really well too, 2406 single-core and 8988 multi-core. What a beast!
Scrolling through the OnePlus 6’s UI is a breeze and it handles any basic tasks without a hitch. In light to moderate intensive games like Brawl Stars and Alto’s Odyssey, the OnePlus 6 did not stutter.
Playing heavier games, the OnePlus 6 did really well too. Running PUBG Mobile at HDR graphics and Ultra frame rate, the device heated up slightly, still at a comfortable temperature, but I did not notice any significant drop in frame rate.
Rear Camera – Impressive Photos, Great Videos!
OnePlus 6 sports a rear camera setup very similar to the OPPO R15 Pro, with a 16MP sensor in one camera and a 20MP sensor in the other , f/1.7 aperture for both cameras. Unlike the R15 Pro though, the OnePlus 6 has OIS in its main camera.
Under good lighting conditions, the OnePlus 6’s camera takes excellent photos, as expected. But what really impressed me are the night photos, which are well exposed and have great colors, yet has very little noise and plenty of details.
OnePlus 6’s dual rear camera setup focuses and captures photos really quickly, allowing for the following shots taken on a moving bus and an escalator respectively. A slower camera would have resulted in a blurry photo under such circumstances.
Using the secondary camera for depth perception, the OnePlus 6 can take beautiful bokeh shots, though like all bokeh mode on smartphones, it’s edge detection isn’t perfect. Nevertheless, it is still really fun to use. Here are some sample shots:
Videography on the OnePlus 6 is no slouch either. It can record videos up to 4K at 60fps, not something you often see on a phone in this price range. Image quality is awesome, but for image stabilization, you can only record up to 1080p 30fps.
Something even more awesome is the OnePlus 6’s ability to record slow-mo 240fps videos at 1080p or 480fps videos at 720p. Best used in good lighting conditions, slow-mo videos recorded at 1080p 240fps is sharp and looks super sick!
OnePlus’s camera app is very minimal, though it has a Pro mode that the more tech savvy will love. Google Lens is built into the camera app, though I do not find it to be very useful. It is quite primitive right now and feels gimmicky.
Front Camera – Superb Selfies!
Despite not being a selfie-oriented device, OnePlus did not neglect the front facing camera of the OnePlus 6. It is equipped with a 16MP sensor with very good dynamic range for a selfie camera. Night selfies are pretty good too!
Audio – Above Average
The single bottom-firing speaker on the OnePlus 6 isn’t quite as loud as my Redmi 5’s, but it is still audible as long as you are not in a very noisy environment. It sounds better than many of the smartphones in this price range though, so thumbs up.
Listening to music via headphones on the OnePlus 6 has been pretty pleasant too. Compared to my Redmi 5, bass doesn’t seem to be as deep, but its slight emphasis on the mids provides a magical, immersive listening experience. Nice!
Battery & Charging – Easily Gets Through the Day, Fast Charge if Need Be!
With a very average-sized 3300mAh battery, the OnePlus 6 isn’t exactly a battery beast, but it can easily get you through the day with light to moderate usage. On a regular day, I was only able to reach 9PM with 25% battery left, with screen-on time of 5.5h.
- Total duration = 14h 50min
- Screen-on time = 5h 30min
- 25min Brawl Stars
- 15min Alto’s Odyssey
- 45min Facebook
- 27min Chrome
- 1h 50min Notes (typing this review)
- 2h+ music playback
Playing heavier games like PUBG Mobile and running both benchmarks, I managed to drain it all the way down to 4% battery by 5:20PM, with a screen-on time of 5h 9min. Considering how small the battery is, the results I got is excellent.
- Total duration = 10h 40min
- Screen-on time = 5h 9min
- 2h PUBG Mobile
- 1 round of AnTuTu & GeekBench 4 tests
- 15min Facebook
- 50min YouTube
OnePlus 6 is capable of fast charging via a technology known as “Dash Charge”, OnePlus’s version of OPPO’s VOOC. But they are no longer allowed to use that name, so it is currently just called “Fast Charge”. Too lazy to come up with a proper name?
Just like VOOC, to use Fast Charge, you will need to use both the cable and adapter included in the box. Starting at 2% battery, I was able to charge the device to 55% in half an hour, 88% in an hour and a full charge takes about 1.5 hours.
One thing I really love about VOO… I mean Fast Charge, is that the device stays really cool during charging, so it feels really safe compared to other fast charging technologies.
Software – Feature-Packed Yet Clean
OnePlus 6 runs OxygenOS 5.1 on top of Android 8.1. Despite OnePlus’s origins, OxygenOS is a lot closer to stock Android than OPPO’s ColorOS. Unlike stock Android though, OxygenOS has a lot of additional features, with more options for customization.
One thing you will love about OxygenOS is the lack of unnecessary apps. If you can’t remove Google’s apps, then why not make them your default apps? That is exactly what OnePlus did, with Chrome and Play Music being the default browser and music apps.
OxygenOS has come a long way since its beginnings during the Cyanogen fiasco. It is now packed with a ton of features, most of which are things I could see myself using, like face unlock, shelf and ambient display, which I have covered above.
One feature I love is Hidden Space, accessed by swiping from the top left side of the app drawer. You can hide apps that you don’t want to see on the app drawer here. Some people use it to hide sensitive content, but I use it to hide useless apps.
You do also get a lot of options when it comes to customizing the software. You can set the navigation buttons to do different stuff whenever you double tap or hold on them, change icon pack and even modify the layout of your home screen.
Conclusion – Still the Flagship Killer!
Back when OnePlus started, the OnePlus One offered flagship specs at only a portion of the price of flagship devices of its time. Over the years, the price of OnePlus devices have climbed and it is now across the S$1000 mark. Is it still worth your money?
My answer to that would be: Yes! OnePlus isn’t the only one to increase the price of their phones. Comparing the 256GB version, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 costs S$1498 and an iPhone X costs S$1888, so at only S$1088, I would say that the OnePlus 6 is a steal.
There is little to dislike about the OnePlus 6. It may not be the best at everything, but it does an excellent job at most of them. I usually only recommend flagships to gamers, but OnePlus 6 is so well-rounded I would recommend it to anyone who can afford it.