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OnePlus 6 is a good phone, but here’s what should worry Apple and Samsung

A success story unlike any other.

 |  5-minute read |   17-05-2018
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When it comes to the smartphone market, it is very difficult to succeed. Ask Microsoft. Or may be look at Google, which is struggling to sell a brilliant phone like Pixel 2. Or, consider HTC, a company that is now a shadow of what it was when it created — but couldn’t sell — iconic phones likes the HTC One.

Although it will be a while before you can truly call OnePlus a success story that is in the league of Samsung or Apple, what the company has done in the last four odd years is an achievement that it can rightly celebrate. On Wednesday, the company launched the OnePlus 6 — the phone launches in India today — and yet again, showed how its strategy to stick to basics is bringing it big rewards.

I have been using OnePlus for the last several days and while in a few days you can read its full review, I do want to share this much: the OnePlus 6, with its expected India price of around Rs 35,000, is a brilliant phone. It’s not a perfect phone. No phone is. But it is good enough to be one of the top choices for most consumers in the market.

one-s-690_051718034536.jpg

one-690_051718034249.jpgOnePlus has let its users down. And he vowed on stage not to repeat this mistake.

Its merits in the market, however, are not the big story with the OnePlus 6. A key takeaway I believe is that OnePlus has finally found a formula that lets it create good products consistently. This started with OnePlus 3 in 2016 and continues to date. While there are several reasons for this, the trigger was possibly the failure of the OnePlus 2 and the OnePlus X. These two phones were created after the OnePlus’ success in its first year by a company that became arrogant. OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei admitted as much last year in probably one of the most frank admissions of product mistakes in corporate history. Pei minced no words. He said OnePlus failed with the second and X phones because it acted with hubris that came from the “newly gained cockiness from successes in the first year”. He agreed that with those phones

OnePlus has let its users down. And he vowed on stage not to repeat this mistake.

It’s a tough promise to keep, but with OnePlus 6, the company is working towards it. In fact, at the OnePlus 6 launch event, it talked of its journey so far and how it made the big mistakes with the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X. May be this way, the OnePlus wants to keep reminding itself to stay true to its roots. Perhaps it’s just a way for the company to portray an image that comes across as more genuine, more intimate to its fans.

Till it continues to work, we — the phone users — shouldn’t complain. After the OnePlus 2 debacle, the company decided to focus only on creating one phone every year. While there are two models every year — one the regular version and another a T-series phone — essentially both of them are the same because the “T” variant is an iteration of the first. May be this focus is the reason why the OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 5 and the OnePlus 5T have been so good.

And now the OnePlus 6 joins the ranks. The phone, in typical OnePlus style, is a device that hits almost all the right notes, despite being relatively affordable. It comes with high-end hardware, including a fast Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB RAM and up to 256GB internal storage. It even looks great because OnePlus, in the words of Carl Pei, has taken its “boldest” design leap with the OnePlus 6. This is something CEO Pete Lau too told me a few days before the launch. He says that OnePlus engineers and designers have worked so hard and are so proud of it that for the first time, the company is writing “Designed By OnePlus” on the device, in a style similar to what Apple does for the iPhone.

Overall, I find the OnePlus 6 a practical, clean and good looking phone. It doesn’t come packed with any one component that is “best”, such as Google Pixel 2 which has the best camera but falls somewhat short on other aspects. But it offers enough to match what others provide at a higher cost. That should, yet again, help it win over the likes of the Galaxy S9, or the Huawei P20 Pro or even the upcoming Pixel 3.

In the last two years, I have never met unhappy OnePlus 5, OnePlus 5T, OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T users. All of them seemingly love their devices. And that I believe is going to be the case with the OnePlus 6. It is this consistency — I repeat — from OnePlus in delivering a quality phone year after year that should worry the likes of Apple and Samsung.

OnePlus charges almost half, in some cases less than half, of what companies like Apple and Samsung demand for their top-end phones. And yet it delivers the smartphone experience that can for all practical purposes match whatever you get with even the best in the market.

If OnePlus can keep at it for another year or two — and it seems it can — it could be the biggest phone company in the premium phone market by volume even if not by profit.

Also read: OnePlus 6 launch: What to expect from the phone

Writer

Javed Anwer Javed Anwer @brijwaasi

Tech editor at http://www.indiatoday.in . I review stuff. and occasionally write at http://www.dailyo.in . can speak intelese. usual disclaimers apply.

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