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OnePlus 3 review: Third time's the charm with this supercharged, unlocked flagship

Florence Ion | June 15, 2016
Premium specs with none of the carrier bloat: The OnePlus 3's 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a capable 16-megapixel camera make it a formidable contender.

OnePlus has officially grown up. Whereas a year ago we might have had to endure a series of callow online advertisements telling us to “Never Settle,” this year we’re seeing a bit more humility from the smartphone startup. It’s especially apparent with the launch of the OnePlus 3, which is hands-down the best smartphone OnePlus has ever produced.

Granted, this isn’t a particularly major feat for OnePlus, since it’s only manufactured three other smartphones. But it’s nice to see the company put less emphasis on excessive buzz-building and instead focus on delivering a premium product that’s worth its $400 price tag, and doesn’t skimp on essential features—unlike last year’s release.

Third time’s the charm

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The OnePlus 3’s chassis design might look a little familiar to you. Credit: Florence Ion

It might have taken three hardware releases to get here, but the OnePlus 3 is a stunning phone. It’s got a stylish aluminum and glass chassis that’s a little Apple and a little HTC, but OnePlus’s unique flair is all there—right down to the barely-there bezel. 

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The OnePlus 3 is one of the most comfortable phones I’ve held in a while. Credit: Florence Ion

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Looking for a thinner phone than the Nexus 6P? The OnePlus 3 is it, albeit marginally. Credit: Florence Ion

The OnePlus 3 is also one of the thinnest phones I’ve held in a while (though not as thin as the upcoming Moto Z). It somehow makes even the Nexus 6P look bulky, despite the fact that both phones measure in at 7.3 mm thick. I especially appreciate that the official OnePlus back covers don’t add much bulk the way that the 6P’s cases do. Indeed, the OnePlus 3 will stay svelte as long as you don’t mind leaving it a little exposed. 

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The OnePlus 3’s back cover comes in five different varieties. This is the bamboo model. Credit: Florence Ion

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The fastest fingerprint scanner I’ve used since the Nexus 6P. Credit: Florence Ion

As featured on its predecessor, OnePlus brought back the recessed fingerprint scanner that doubles as a Home button. It’s just as responsive as the rear-facing scanner on the Nexus 6P, and all it takes is one quick thumb-press to load up the Home screen.

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The alert switch is my saving grace when I’m trying to avoid phone calls. Credit: Florence Ion

 

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