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Review

OnePlus 6 Long-Term Review: Consistent performer

Even though the OnePlus 6T is mere weeks away, the OnePlus 6 remains a capable option.

oneplus-6-rear-camera

OnePlus 6 4.5 5
BGR Rating :
4.5/5

Highlights

  • Even four months later, the OnePlus 6 still comes out on top when it comes to performance.

  • If you're on the Open Beta program, you'll already have Android Pie running on the OnePlus 6.

  • Competition has increased, and OnePlus doesn't quite win on price anymore. But it does have the advantage of easy availability.

If you’re here reading about the OnePlus 6, you likely know that its successor is close to launch. The OnePlus 6T already has a teaser live on Amazon India, ads starring Amitabh Bachchan on air, and much in the form of rumors and leaks already out and about. But it’s still at least a month away from launch, if not more. Therefore, the go-to OnePlus device for the time being remains the OnePlus 6.

I’ve been using the OnePlus 6 since it launched in India, and it’s been my primary driver for the last four months. While the smartphone is largely the same on the outside save for minor signs of use, things have changed on the software front. And additionally, the OnePlus 6 has shown consistency in the way it works. Here’s my long-term review of the OnePlus 6.

Software triumph

Although OnePlus may have dropped the ball with its devices prior to the OnePlus 3, it’s shown significant improvement since then. The company took a few months to get the OnePlus 3, 3T, 5 and 5T onto Android Oreo, but was still among the early manufacturers to pull off the feat. With the OnePlus 6, the company has outdone itself. I’m on the OxygenOS Open Beta program for the OnePlus 6, and already have Android 9.0 Pie running on the phone.

And speaking of the Open Beta program, it’s only been getting better with time. Although theoretically less stable than the general release versions, it’s proven to be rather safe and usable in the long run. I had even used the developer preview version of Android P before the general release and ‘Pie’ christening, and the Open Beta versions are a significant improvement over that.

WATCH: OnePlus 6 Red First Look

Each version has brought changes and improvements, and at the time of writing, I have the phone on Open Beta 3, which just brought parallel app compatibility to Ola, Uber and Telegram, among other changes. Considering the level of stability, it’s safe to say that a stable release based on Android Pie isn’t far away for the OnePlus 6, complete with gesture controls and the new OxygenOS UI that have already been previewed on the Open Beta program.

Performance champ

A smartphone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC and up to 8GB of DDR4X RAM was never going to be a slouch, and four months later it continues to perform at the same levels. The phone continues to perform well on AnTuTu, and performance remains top-notch in all aspects. Whether it’s multi-tasking, video editing or heavy gaming, I’ve put the OnePlus 6 through a lot, and it hasn’t let me down.

During my time with the OnePlus 6, I’ve gotten hooked onto PUBG Mobile, and also gotten into the hobby of creating and editing videos on my phone. Both of these intensive tasks run smoothly on the OnePlus 6, with the popular Battle Royale game performing without any lag or performance issues even at the highest performance settings. OnePlus has always touted performance as being its strong point, and the OnePlus 6 sticks to the brief.

Using it without a case

As a perpetual clumsy person, I’ve always needed protective cases with the smartphones I’ve used. However, with the OnePlus 6, I decided to take unheard-of risks, and got a lot of raised eyebrows for it. While I haven’t done any lasting damage to the phone yet, I have managed to get some scratches and air bubbles on the screen protector. The back of the phone is, at any given point, a treasure trove of my fingerprints that can easily be used to frame me in crimes I didn’t commit.

That is indeed an annoying aspect of having a phone with a glossy glass back, and I need to give it a wipe down every few hours. That aside, the phone has turned out to be surprisingly sturdy for a something that is two slabs of glass sandwiching a bit of metal and many fragile electronic components.

3.5mm jack will be missed

OnePlus has already confirmed that the 6T won’t have the 3.5mm jack, so if you have a nice pair of wired headphones that you want to keep using with your phone, the OnePlus 6 will remain your best choice from the company going forward. Indeed, it’s something I often find myself using purely for the convenience of it. As nice as Bluetooth is, there are times when it’s just quicker and easier to plug in a pair of earphones and get on with whatever you need to listen to.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Dash Charge is fantastic. Despite being the same technology for the last two years (even the chargers are entirely the same), it’s still among the fastest charging devices in the market today. It’s possible that OnePlus could introduce wireless charging with the 6T, but Dash Charge remains a practical and genuinely useful feature on the devices.

Camera – slightly better

While the camera on the OnePlus 6 has been decent enough from the start, it’s gotten a bit better thanks to software updates. Low-light performance is marginally better, while sharpness and color tones have been maintained. There’s also a marked improvement in video quality over the last four months. Camera performance isn’t on par with high-end phones, but it’s certainly capable enough for the price of the phone. Unfortunately though, the improvements aren’t as significant as they have been with the OnePlus 5 and 5T; OnePlus seems to have plateaued with its camera development.

In low-light, there’s still a bit of washing out. But you can see detail in the sky and water somewhat clearly in this shot.

The colors, dynamic range and general composure of pictures taken with the OnePlus 6 are good on the whole, but you’d definitely see better results on a Pixel 2 or Samsung Galaxy S9.

Hot competition

Although the OnePlus 5 and 5T didn’t see too much similarly-priced competition, things have been considerably tougher for the OnePlus 6. Apart from expected competition from Huawei and Honor, there are also new similarly-specified phones that cost less from Asus and Xiaomi, thereby entirely taking away the price advantage that OnePlus once had. The Xiaomi Poco F1, with its starting price of Rs 20,999, has a Rs 14,000 price advantage over the OnePlus 6, with largely the same specifications and features under the hood.

However, while those other options are more affordable and theoretically equally capable on paper, the OnePlus 6 has a couple of key advantages to call its own. We’ve already spoken about software, and OnePlus has a better track record of pushing out updates and improvements, as well as what I consider a superior UI in the form of OxygenOS. And secondly, the OnePlus 6 is available on open sale in all of its variants, along with being available offline in select locations as well.

Final thoughts

It’s safe to say that the OnePlus 6 is a commercial success, and with good reason. I reviewed the OnePlus 6 around the time when it launched, and was all praises for it. Four months later, it’s even better than it was back in May, thanks to significantly software improvements that have since rolled out. While many phones tend to show their weaknesses over time, the OnePlus 6 is surprisingly consistent in the way it works even today.

If you’re planning to buy a OnePlus 6 right now and can’t wait for another month or so, do so without much concern. While that will be a better phone in some ways, for the most part the OnePlus 6 will be as good. It will even hold much of its value in the used smartphone market, if you’re considering that kind of purchase. It’s an excellent long-term option to consider, and one I have no qualms in recommending after four months of regular use.

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  • Published Date: September 22, 2018 11:47 AM IST