The OnePlus 6 is finally here, and despite all the rumors, leaks and reveals that gave away most of the details, we’re still left fairly impressed. The device has a lot going for it, and indeed one of the earliest confirmed reveals by the company was the notch. While the OnePlus 6 does of course sport the notch, there’s more to it as well.
We explore the aesthetics of the new OnePlus 6 in our first impressions. We’ve had a chance to go through the visual changes in the phone, and here’s a close look at everything that visually different in the new OnePlus 6.
You can’t ignore the notch
Whether you love it or hate it, the smartphone notch is here to stay for now. It’s existed in various forms for some time now, but the most famous iteration of it is the one on the Apple iPhone X. The notch on the OnePlus 6 is smaller in size, and more closely adheres to the kind of notch cutouts we’ve seen on recent Android phones.
On the notch are four components: the earpiece, front camera, proximity sensor and notification LED. While the latter three don’t quite occupy too much space, the earpiece has been reduced in size in order to fit on the rather small notch. On either side of the notch is screen space. On the home screen, it displays basic information, including the time, notification icons, connectivity status, battery and more. You can, of course, choose what icons are allowed to be displayed at the top of the screen as well.
WATCH: OnePlus 6 First Look
The phone’s screen is 6.28 inches on the diagonal, with a resolution of 2280×1080 pixels. As expected, it’s a 19:9 aspect ratio screen, similar to what we’ve seen on some recent smartphones that also sport a notch cutout. Of course, the notch means that it isn’t a rectangular screen, even if you disregard the curved corners. While a lot of people were expecting an increase in resolution to compensate for the increasing screen size, I’ll agree that full-HD is more than adequate and really doesn’t need to be exceeded for now.
Something that Android smartphone makers haven’t been able to do is offer a truly edge-to-edge design like the Apple iPhone X. While we’re not entirely sure why, it likely has something to do with display drivers needing space below the screen, along with the USB Type-C port, speaker and 3.5mm jack. That is the case on the OnePlus 6, which features a slim strip of non-screen space before the edge of the phone. It does take away a bit from the look of the phone, but as I mentioned, this is a standard grouse on all Android smartphones today.
Glass and shine
Recent OnePlus smartphones have stuck to metal for the rear build and pulled it off capably at that. I’ve always like the cold feel of metal, and the reassurance that with a metal unibody construction comes a certain level of durability. This is why I have mixed feelings when it comes to the OnePlus 6’s glass back – it looks fantastic, but glass has its own drawbacks.
For one, glass is more brittle than metal. For another thing, glass takes away the ability to have a clean one-piece unibody design. And finally, glass is also a fingerprint magnet, which means a lot of cleaning for those obsessed with keeping their smartphone clean. But on the positive side, it’s beautiful, and the mirror finish of our unit brings out the best in the phone.
Fortunately, the OnePlus 6 is available in a total of four color options, and two of those do away with the mirrored finish. The midnight black and silk white variants of the phone have glass backs just like the mirror black and Avengers edition devices, but the matte finish means it doesn’t show grime quite as clearly as the reflective finishes.
The sides of the phone stick to metal, which does admittedly add some durability to the device. The shiny finish goes well with the reflective back of the phone, and the distinctive angles have been maintained. It feels great in the hand, and at no point do you feel like you’re holding a phone that isn’t premium.
Most of the components are exactly where they were on the OnePlus 5T, but two significant changes are visible. The alert slider and dual-SIM tray have swapped places, with the former on the right and the latter on the left. I’m not sure why it was done, but it realistically doesn’t make too big a difference to the usability of the device. I did have to teach myself that the alert slider is now in a different place, but that wasn’t hard.
Some key changes at the back include the reposition dual-camera setup which is now vertically placed at the center-top position. The fingerprint sensor goes from being round to pill-shaped, and the OnePlus logo finds its iconic spot right below. At the bottom of the phone are three words: Designed by OnePlus. We’ve been seeing this in the teasers thus far, and it’s nice to see it in person as well.
It’s also indicative of one big thing that not too many people will have thought of: Pride. OnePlus has finally arrived, it’s phones generate serious attention, it’s built a loyal community and fanbase, and it takes serious pride in its latest creation.
Those three words are a message that goes out clearly, and also likely seeks to answer some of the criticism that OnePlus has faced for copying the designs of its parent company Oppo. Indeed, the OnePlus 6 looks nothing like any other smartphone today; it’s unique and designed independently.
The OnePlus 6 may not have changed a lot on the inside, but aesthetically it’s a different machine entirely. OnePlus has been changing things slowly and steadily, and the OnePlus 6 includes a couple of key changes to the overall design.
Whether you love or hate the notch, it’s here to stay, and it’s been done as well as it possibly could be on the OnePlus 6. The glass back may also be disappointing for some people, but it does look great. In our books, the OnePlus 6 is a winner when it comes to look and feel.