Price: £469 inc VAT from fave.co/2x12Z4Z
t’s four years since OnePlus released its first phone, and the firm is already on its eighth handset. The OnePlus 6 arrives a point where notches are all the rage and while it might not have every feature a phone can have, it’s still an amazing deal. If you’re familiar with the OnePlus 6’s predecessor, the 5T, then this isn’t a huge departure in terms of design and build. It’s largely that phone with a collection of tweaks and improvements.
The headline news is that the phone is made from Gorilla Glass 5, but has a metal border with glass on the front and back. Three different finishes are available: Midnight Black, which has the classic OnePlus look; Mirror Black is heavily polished and has that quintessential glass look and feel; while Silk White, has both white and pink tones thanks to crushed pearl along with a soft powder finish to the touch similar to the original OnePlus.
Despite rumours of wireless charging – which requires glass to work – this is not a feature of the OnePlus 6. The glass is there for a premium look and feel only, and there’s a silicone case in the box to help protect it.
The phone certainly looks and feels like a premium device (and the antennas are more hidden now), but there are downsides. The device is, for example, more slippery in the hand and, particularly with the Mirror Black model, the glass shows up fingerprints.
We were hoping that this would be the first waterproof OnePlus phone, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. It does offer improved water resistance, so no IP rating, but it will cope better in the rain or an accidental drop into a puddle.
Some smaller things to note before we move on include the fact there’s still a headphone jack and that the camera array, which still sticks out, has moved to the middle of the phone above the fingerprint scanner – which is a slightly different shape.
Finally, the Alert Slider has moved to the right side of the phone above the power button, so you can use it with your thumb – sorry left handers.
The OnePlus 6 is the same size as the 5T (156.1x75mm), but slightly thicker and heavier – 7.75mm and 177g aren’t bad, though.
Despite having the same footprint as the 5T, the OnePlus 6 offers a larger screen thanks to much smaller bezels – it’s now 6.28in rather than 6.01in. The phone uses with the same Optic AMOLED technology, so the main difference is the notch at the top.
The resolution is slightly higher at 2,280x1,080 due to that extra bit of screen and the new 19:9 aspect ratio. That might be lower than the Quad HD resolutions on more expensive phones, but for most people this is plenty good enough.
Opinions on phones with notches are split, but we’ve found that you do get used to it and OnePlus
gives you the option to hide it if you prefer. This makes the background black, while still displaying icons that are dimmed, so it provides a different style.
The main goal here is to offer as much screen as possible and an 84 percent screen-to-body ratio is a decent effort. It just means that such a large screen can be tricky to use one-handed seeing as our hands aren’t getting bigger to match the trend.
Luckily, you can do things like pull the notification pane down by swiping down in the middle of the display rather than having to reach right to the top.
Processor, memory and storage
The OnePlus 6 comes with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 flagship processor. The firm is known for packing in a serious amount of memory and this
handset is no different as you get either 6- or 8GB. There’s no microSD card slot, but you get at least 64GB of storage as standard. There are also models offering 128- or 256GB.
OnePlus’s tag line for the phone “The Speed You Need”, and there’s no denying how fast it is. It’s noticeably quicker in operation than many other phones and benchmark results are up there with (in some cases better) phones a lot more expensive.
Connectivity, audio and biometrics
The OnePlus 6 comes with dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD, GPS and NFC. It’s still a dual-SIM phone and the only change is that it’s now 4G Cat 16, which means it’s the first OnePlus
to get Gigabit speeds – you won’t see that in real life, though. Once again there’s a USB-C port, a headphone jack and a single down-facing speaker.
The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner has a slightly different shape to that found on the 5T, but it’s basically the same and works quickly. Most of the time, though, you’ll probably end up using Face Unlock, which is extremely quick, and even works well in low light.
The cameras might have moved position on the back of the phone, but they’re not hugely different to the ones on the 5T. The OnePlus 6 still has dual cameras, one at 16Mp and the other at 20Mp. They are both Sony sensors and have an impressive aperture of f/1.7. The biggest addition this year is that the main 16Mp sensor now has optical image stabilization (OIS) and the sensor is slightly larger to take in more light.
There’s a telephoto option in the camera app for 2x zoom, though this doesn’t switch to the higher resolution sensor, it just crops the image. Instead, the 20Mp lens is mainly used for the depth effect of portrait mode. You can take photos in 4:3, 1:1 or even 19:9 to fill the screen, but it’s worth noting that aspect ratio will look odd elsewhere.
The front camera is still 16Mp with an f/2.0 aperture and is able to record video at up to 1080p at 30fps.
We like how simple and easy the app is to use, including changing modes and settings.
As you can see in our samples opposite, the OnePlus 6 performs very well. The camera offers
excellent detail, colour, exposure and white balance – in a range of conditions, even low light. It’s not the best phone camera but at the price, you’re getting much better quality than you would normally expect.
In terms of video, you can shoot at up to 4K at 60fps and results are impressive with the OIS doing a decent job of smoothing things out. We would recommend shooting in
1080p at 60fps for the best combination of quality and file size, though.
Slow motion is all the rage right now and although the OnePlus 6 offers 720p at 480fps or 1080p at 240fps, which is half the frame rate of rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Sony Xperia XZ2, you can shoot for up to a minute in one go making it easier to capture the moment you’re after.
Like the 5T, the OnePlus 6 has a 3,300mAh battery. We’ve been fans of Dash Charge since it was first introduced and it makes an appearance here. In our tests, it enabled our test unit to reach whopping 55 percent from a 30-minute charge from a dead phone. That’s seriously impressive and for some users that could be a whole day of usage as promised, if you’re not a heavy user that is.
The phone comes with the firm’s own OxygenOS, which is a stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo. OnePlus hasn’t messed around with the interface and importantly you don’t get loads of bloatware. It does, however, come with lots of little tweaks and additions that have been around for a while, namely the Shelf which is a swipe away from the home screen. This provides quick access to recent contacts and apps, as well as providing useful information such as data usage and available storage.
Customization is good, so you can really use the phone how you like. This means you can, for example,
hide the notch, or change the font. The OnePlus 6 also gives you the option to hide or even switch off the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. The latter means you’ll use gestures that are available already on the 5T via a software update. They’re similar to those used on the iPhone X and the ones coming in Android P, so you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go home, swipe and hold to open recent apps and swipe from the right side to go back.
The OnePlus 6 might not have everything on the ultimate phone tick list, but that doesn’t really matter. There are more expensive phones on the market with additional features like waterproofing and wireless charging, but those are luxury items which a lot of people won’t actually use very often. What OnePlus
has done is nailed all the most important stuff and made a phone that offers excellent design, specs and performance at a frankly ridiculous price. So for most people, the 6 is an absolute bargain. Chris Martin
• 6.28in Full HD+ (2,280x1,080, 402ppi) AMOLED display • Android 8.1 Oreo with OxygenOS • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor • Adreno 630 graphics • 6/8GB RAM • 64/128/256GB storage • 16- and 20Mp rear cameras, f/1.7, support for 4K
video at 60fps • 16Mp front camera, f/2.0 • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 5.0 • 4G LTE (Cat 16) • Dual nano-SIM • NFC • Headphone jack • Fingerprint sensor (rear) • USB-C • 3,300mAh non-removable battery with Dash Charge • 156.1x75x7.75mm • 177g
OnePlus gives you the option to hide the display’s notch
Low light shot
The OnePlus 6’s OS is a stock version of Android Oreo