OnePlus, the self-proclaimed flagship killer, recently unveiled the latest of this series – the OnePlus 3. Like the rest of the family, the phone packs the best hardware specs and features available in 2016 flagships but comes at almost half the price.
If you are after a device that offers the greatest value for your money, there is no better choice in the current smartphone market than the OnePlus 3. But what makes it any different from last year’s OnePlus 2 and the mid-range OnePlus X? Let’s find out…
Design and display
Last year’s flagship – OnePlus 2 – is still a go-to option when it comes to premium handsets that offer the best value for money. It has dimensions of 151.8 by 74.9 by 9.85 mm and a weight of 175g. The phone is offered in Sandstone Black, but the company offers four more covers for changing the look of the phone. The great build of this handset is crowned by the addition of a fingerprint scanner and USB Type-C port, something that has begun gaining traction this year.
The OnePlus X is the smallest of the three, coming in with dimensions of 140 by 69 by 6.9 mm and a weight of 138g. It is available in Ceramic, Champagne, and Onyx, but the Ceramic version weighs more at 160g. Unlike the flagship OnePlus 2, the mid-range OnePlus X has no room for a fingerprint scanner and USB Type-C connectivity, but the glass and metal finish it offers makes it a great choice.
As for the big boy OnePlus 3, you get a full metal body with rounded edges. The rear snapper is slightly larger than the OnePlus 2, but it gets significant changes when it comes to dimensions and weight. The 158g OnePlus 3 measures 152.7 by 74.7 by 7.35 mm, surprisingly, this hasn’t had any effect on the size of the display screen as compared to its predecessor. You get two color options of Soft Gold and Graphite, but there are rumors that a Red variant might hit the market soon.
The OnePlus 3 also comes with USB Type-C on board, which makes the OnePlus X the only one with a microUSB port.
As far as display is concerned, you get the same 5.5-inch Full HD screen on the two flagships, but the OnePlus X gets a smaller 5-inch screen. Where the OnePlus 2 uses an LCD panel, the OnePlus X, and OnePlus 3 are equipped with AMOLED panels. However, the smaller OnePlus X has a better pixel density of 441ppi as opposed to the 401ppi found on the other two handsets.
The three screens are protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass technology, but the 2015 versions use Glass 3 while the 2016 version has Glass 4.
Hardware and software
As mentioned earlier, OnePlus is known for coming in with handsets that pack premium hardware but are priced at more affordable prices than their flagship counterparts from the likes of Samsung, HTC, LG, Apple, and Google, among others.
Last year’s OnePlus 2 packs the 2015 flagship chipset – Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. This is paired with an Adreno 430 GPU and a decent RAM of either 3GB or 4GB, depending on the amount of storage available. The 3GB RAM variant comes with 16GB of onboard storage while the 4GB RAM variant packs 64GB, but there is no room for microSD cards on either variant. The phone has a huge 3300mAh battery unit, which is great for a device of its display size.
The mid-range OnePlus X has mid-range hardware that includes a Snapdragon 801 SoC, which is basically a 2014 flagship chipset, an Adreno 330 GPU and a decent RAM of 3GB. There is 16GB of onboard storage, but unlike the flagship OnePlus 3, it gets a microSD card slot that can accommodate up to 128GB. Due to its size, it also gets a slightly smaller battery capacity of 2525mAh.
This year’s flagship killer – OnePlus 3 – packs the latest hardware. These include a Snapdragon 820 SoC, an Adreno 530 GPU, a RAM of 4GB, and a decent storage of 64GB. As usual, there is no room for microSD cards, but 64GB of storage should be enough for almost every smartphone user. Despite keeping the same screen size as the OnePlus 2, the new flagship has a smaller battery of 3000mAh, but this shouldn’t be a problem when it comes to using the phone throughout the day.
The OnePlus 3 adds support for dual nano-SIM and NFC, something that was missing on both OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X. In terms of software, you get a modified version of Android Lollipop on the two handsets from 2015. However, this year’s variant has a modified version of Android 6.0.1 Lollipop.
Camera and price
OnePlus 2 has a 13MP rear snapper with an aperture of f/2.0 and a front camera of 5MP. There is OIS and LED flash at the back of the phone to improve on image quality when in poor lighting conditions. Things get a little better with the OnePlus X, which has the same 13MP snapper on the back, but with a slightly smaller aperture of f/2.2. The front camera, however, gets an even better 8MP sensor as opposed to the 5MP used on the OnePlus 2 but keep in mind that having more megapixels in a camera lens doesn’t guarantee the best shots. Where the OnePlus 2 snapper can record up to 4K videos, the OnePlus X only manages 1080p.
Things have been taken to the next level with the OnePlus 3. The phone has a 16MP sensor on the back but keeps the same aperture as the OnePlus 2. There is LED flash, PDAF as well as OIS on board. The snapper can record 4K videos and it also offers support for RAW image files. The front part has a decent 8MP snapper that delivers greater photography than both the 5MP and 8MP sensors found on the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X respectively.
Despite the volumes of great specs and features that these handsets pack, you’ll be surprised at what they cost. Last year’s OnePlus 2 can now be bought for $299 while this year’s OnePlus 3 will set you back an extra $100. As for the mid-range OnePlus X, you only need $199.