Why OnePlus 6 is more than just a flagship killer

Starting at Rs 34,999, and going all the way up to Rs 44,999, this is the most expensive OnePlus smartphone yet.

 |  6-minute read |   18-05-2018
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It's finally here. One of the most eagerly awaited smartphones of the year, the OnePlus 6, has transitioned from being just an idea to nuts and bolts reality. The phone, which was announced at a glittering event in London late on May 16, will go up for sale on May 22. 

Starting at Rs 34,999, and going all the way up to Rs 44,999, the device will be available in 6GB+64GB and 8GB+128GB RAM and storage variants, and the company has also promised to bring to India the special, Avengers: Infinity War edition of the phone which will sport an 8GB+256 GB configuration. 

For anyone who has followed the company's meteoric rise, the fact that this is the most expensive device to have come out of its stables will stand out.

However, you will find they are least perturbed by this. The reason: there is a gulf that now exists between the OnePlus 6 and everything OnePlus that came before it. 

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Impresses with design

A major factor behind the creation of this gulf is the design of the new phone. Over the years, the Chinese smartphone maker has created devices that pack within their frames the fastest and the most powerful hardware available. Though, when it comes to the design and aesthetics of the frame itself, OnePlus hasn't really impressed much.

With the 5T, however, OnePlus tried to change the perception by slapping on its new phone an edge-to-edge display that greatly improved the device's looks. With the OnePlus 6, it has gone one step ahead by further amping up the design. 

The 6 in a stark departure from the previous generation OnePlus phones, comes with a new design scheme that brings with it an iPhone-style notch at the top with minimal bezel at the bottom making it looks very different from the OnePlus phones of the past.

For what it's worth, the device comes with a 6.28-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel — offering 90 per cent screen-to-body-ratio making it the biggest screen on a OnePlus phone yet, but without increasing the phone's footprint. But the biggest change of them all is that unlike the metal unibody frames of the previous phones, the OnePlus 6 sports an all-glass design, affording it the looks and curves of an ultra-premium device such as the iPhone X. 

The phone is available in three colours, Mirror Black Midnight Black and Silk White. Though all three look absolutely premium, it's the latter two which elevate the phone to the truly premium bracket. The Midnight Black with a sheet of textured glass gives the phone a ceramic look, while the special Silk White variant with crushed pearls and an aluminum frame is a device that anyone would want to covet. 

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Flagship specs and camera

Unsurprisingly, the OnePlus 6 is packed with the fastest hardware that 2018 has to offer. As such, performance wise, this is the fastest OnePlus smartphone yet, and if the phone maker is to be believed, arguably the fastest in the industry too.

Powered by 2.7GHz Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor paired with 6/8GB of RAM, the SoC built using four Kryo 385 Gold cores helps the phone achieve for 10-20 per cent bump in performance and up to 30 per cent boost in efficiency over the OnePlus 5T. The SoC also houses the Adreno 630 GPU, which again provides an almost 30 per cent jump in performance during graphics-intensive tasks.

But it is the upgrade in optics that truly makes the OnePlus 6 worthy of being called a flagship. The picture taking prowess of OnePlus devices has always been used as a stick to beat it with when compared to the Galaxy, Pixel and iPhones. With the OnePlus 6 that could change. 

Though, we don't expect it to beat the best in business hands down, but the inclusion of OIS to both – 16 Megapixel+20 Megapixel — sensors in the dual camera setup at the back, as well as the image sensors being enlarged 19 per cent from the ones used in the 5T should see the OnePlus 6 shoot better low light photos with less noise. 

The back camera now also records slow-motion videos at up to 480 fps at up to a minute in length.

The 16-Megapixel camera at the front has also been announced to click portrait photos after a software update in the coming days.

Performance to match

While RAM and a fast processor can make promises of speed and smooth performance, they can't guarantee it. A phone that performs well is more than just the sum of its internals but is rather the product of the marriage between great internals and an optimised operating system. 

Over the years, the OnePlus' Oxygen OS has performed well on that front. The OnePlus 6, because of a lack of bloatware, and features like the upgraded gaming mode, as well as other nifty tricks that the Oxygen OS brings it, should perform as fast — if not faster — than most phones out there.

There's also the addition of gestures to navigate through the OS that makes the OnePlus 6 a great phone to own. Though the phone will by default use Android's traditional three-button layout, but users can turn gesture navigation to control the phone in an all new way. 

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From flagship killer to a flagship

So is the phone worth being called a flagship? Most definitely.

There is no denying that the OnePlus 6 builds on the DNA of the previous OnePlus devices, and even borrows from the very first device from the lineup that came almost four years back. Yet, what we have today, is nothing like the OnePlus devices from the past. 

While the devices that came in the past were at best flagship killers, the OnePlus 6 is more than just that. It's a flagship to the core, one that can take on the might of the Pixel and Galaxy phones not just as a value for money proposition, but as a true flagbearer of the Android community by impressing with a mix of design, internals and overall performance. 

Because of the price that it retails at, the phone no doubt will get compared to the likes of Huawei Honor 10. However, the phones that it will truly compete against are of a more premium kind. Ones that our true flagships, just like it is. 

Also read: With general elections less than a year away, Karnataka 2018 polls yields some interesting insights

Writer

Sushant Talwar Sushant Talwar @sushanttalwar

Tech journalist, DailyO

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