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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.

The OnePlus 3 also features a small alert switch. It makes it a cinch to switch between silent mode and “let-everyone-bother-me-at-all-times” mode without unlocking the phone. You can customize exactly what your alert modes do—and who they shut out—in the Settings panel.

The OnePlus 3’s 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display can be strikingly bright at night, so you’ll want to shield your eyes with the help of the phone’s Night mode, which lives in the Quick Settings. This setting skews the display color to a warmer hue so that it’s less stark, thus making it more comfortable to catch up on your Twitter feed before bed. The OnePlus 3 also offers an ambient display like the Nexus 6P; it lights up when you get a new notification or pick up your phone, but isn't lit all the time like that on the Galaxy S7 or LG G5..

A little more RAM goes a long way

The OnePlus 3 runs on the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor as its competition, though it packs more of a punch, thanks to 6GB of RAM. That much memory might seem like overkill, but not once did the RAM-intensive Snapchat app crash on me as I attempted to make silly videos of my weekend at home. That’s pretty impressive considering the app crashes constantly on my Nexus 6P, and even on the pristine Galaxy S7, which uses the same processor.

oneplus 3 benchmarks pcmark
The OnePlus 3 is a workhorse for multi-taskers thanks to its extra bit of RAM.

oneplus 3 benchmarks gfxbench
All four of these flagships run on the same SoC. It’s nice to see that OEMs didn’t have to choose between overheating or being underpowered, as was the case last year.

The OnePlus 3’s benchmark numbers reinforce my anecdotal experience. It handily outperformed the Galaxy S7 Edge in PCMark, and marginally in GFXBench. It was also on par with the rest of the year’s flagships across the board, including the HTC 10 and LG G5, all of which are also driven by the Snapdragon 820. I like that OnePlus shoved in the extra RAM, too, because it future-proofs the phone for whatever lies ahead. It’s like plopping in a few extra sticks of memory into your PC for performance posterity.

oneplus 3 benchmarks battery
The OnePlus 3 will get you through a day’s work, and then some.

The OnePlus 3 exhibited stellar battery life. The device’s 3,000mAh battery pack outlasted all three of this year’s marquee flagships in PCMark’s battery test, though it trailed behind them in Geekbench. For the most part, I had no problems getting through the day with the OnePlus 3 in tow, though it’s definitely a battery sucker if you have the screen set at a high brightness.

 

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