OnePlus 3 Reviewed

The OnePlus 3 is now available in South Africa. We take a look at its features and compare it to other flagships on the market.
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2016-10-10
OnePlus is a relatively unknown brand in South Africa. Globally, however, the company has been making waves in the mobile industry thanks to its low-cost phones with high-end specs. The company was founded in 2013 as a global mobile technology startup, and thrives on the mantra "Never Settle" which they say applies to all that they do. 4

The Launch of the OnePlus 3

Earlier this year, the company released the OnePlus 3, its long-awaited flagship smartphone. The device was not available in South Africa, however...until now. is the official supplier of the OnePlus 3 in South Africa. Unlike the unofficial "grey" imports found in the country, they are also the only people who who will be able to assist you locally should anything happen to your phone. They graciously gave us the exclusive review of the handset. Watch our video review of the OnePlus 3 below:

The new phone features Dash Charge fast charging technology, which adds a day of power in only half an hour. It comes completely unlocked and has an unlocked boot-loader to give you maximum flexibility. It is also the first OnePlus smartphone to be available for purchase at launch without an invite on OnePlus’ e-commerce site.
“We know that the best smartphone is the one that works exactly how you want it to,” said OnePlus Founder and CEO Pete Lau. “The OnePlus 3 delivers that experience. It combines what our customers already love about our products with what they want and expect next. For example, Dash Charge sets a new standard for fast charging technology. It’s a flagship smartphone inspired by – and made for – our fans.”

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Dash Charge – A Day’s Power in Half an Hour

The OnePlus 3 utilizes Dash Charge technology, a faster, cooler and safer way to charge a smartphone. Unlike other quick-charging technologies, Dash Charge replenishes more than 60% of the 3,000 mAh battery in 30 minutes. It continues fast-charging even when streaming video or playing energy-intensive games. This is made possible by leveraging a large electric current for stable, consistent charging speeds. In addition, Dash Charge carries more current than other charging solutions, and at lower temperatures. It does this by shifting the power management process from the phone itself to the Dash Charge adapter. So a vast majority of the heat generated while charging never reaches the device. OnePlus 3 also has five custom safety measures in place to safeguard the adaptor, cable and phone itself. This means that you can charge their OnePlus 3 as fast as possible without worrying that it might overheat or explode. Dash Charge only works while using the in-box cable and the approved Dash Charger. We found that the phone would go from 0% to 100% in just under 45 minutes, which is pretty much unheard of in a smartphone.

Smart Capture – High-Quality Photos and Easy Selfies

OnePlus says that the 16 MP rear camera on the OnePlus 3 provides better imaging with incredible detail and clarity. In our testing we found that it held up well under lowlight conditions. It does not beat the current king of smartphone cameras, however, the Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge. The rear camera on the OnePlus 3 has Smart Capture functionalities. These include HD Mode, Auto HDR and Dynamic De-noise, which compares several frames of the same photo and blends them together in post-processing to reduce noise. The OnePlus 3 also includes the company's new Smile Capture feature. This allows you to take a photo using the front-facing 8 MP camera simply by smiling. Dual-stabilisation technologies – Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS) – are included to help reduce blur. The rear camera can also take pictures in RAW mode which allows better editing after the image has been captured. Overall the camera was good, definitely above-average in the current high-end smartphone market. When taking a video, however, the video itself was not as stable as we'd hoped. It was surpassed, in terms of stability and colour reproduction, by Huawei's Nova Plus.

Premium Design – Elegantly Curved Aluminum Unibody

2 If there's one thing that can be said about the OnePlus 3, it's that it is a good-looking phone. We received the new soft gold colour and it looked exactly the way one would expect a premium smartphone to look. Especially when placed alongside an iPhone 6S, Huawei P9 and Samsung Galaxy S7. The OnePlus 3 features an all-metal unibody, carved from a single slab of space-grade aluminium alloy. It comes in at a rather slim 7.3 mm, making the OnePlus 3 one of the thinnest flagships on the market. The front of the handset is dominated by the 5.5-inch 1080p Optic AMOLED display and produces the type of colours that we have come to expect from an AMOLED display. It's worth noting that the display is bright. And we rarely cranked it up above 50% brightness, even in bright sunlight.

Fast, Powerful, Customisable

6 The onePlus 3 might look like just another flagship smartphone, but it's definitely a case of beauty and brawn. It packs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor (up to 2.2 GHz). This means that the OnePlus 3 performs tasks 35% faster than the OnePlus 2 and features a 40% boost in graphical power. All at a fraction of the power consumption. The device also sets a new standard in smartphone memory. The OnePlus 3 boasts 6 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, allowing for next-level multitasking without delay or lag and ensuring it can handle the most demanding apps. The OnePlus 3 also features an improved, more durable ceramic fingerprint sensor. One of the best we've ever used on any device. OnePlus 3 runs on a customised version of Android called OxygenOS. It looks and feels like the pure Android experience that's found on a Nexus device, but with a few subtle tweaks which actually improves the experience. The fingerprint scanner can be used as a screen lock switch. By double tapping it, you can lock or wake up your phone. You can also check your notifications on the lock screen by waving your hand over the sensor above the display. The best part of the OnePlus 3? It's dual-SIM, which means that you can have 2 SIM cards in the phone at the same time. The downside? No expandable storage, which means that the 64GB onboard storage is all you get.
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  Our final verdict? The OnePlus 3 is a great phone and despite the R10 999 cost, it holds up well against other flagships, such as the LG G5, in the same price range.