By Sourabh Kules
As you read this, the mid-segment (Rs 8,000-Rs 15,000) smartphone market in India is going through a real churning. A little beyond this price band, another phenomenon is building up to bring the high-end specifications at much lower price into the devices.
After a success of OnePlus 2, the Chinese smartphone maker has taken a step forward with its Rs 27,999 flagship OnePlus 3 -- setting a challenge for other players to decide on their future offerings.
OnePlus 3 is in direct competition with the Rs 24,999 Xiaomi's Mi5 and LeEco's LeMax 2 variant (6GB RAM and 64GB) which comes for Rs 29,999.
Let us see what works for the device.
The company has offered a metal unibody design. But don't just get impressed by a thin feel as some of the best hardware are hidden beneath the sheet.
The device has 6GB RAM and a unique dash charge feature that gave 100 per cent of battery in 49 minutes. Unlike other fast-charging technology smartphones, OnePlus 3 does not heat up while charging.
To test the company's claim that dash charge feature charges the smartphone even when a user is gaming or working, I slid the device in Loop virtual reality set (also a OnePlus device but does not come bundled with the smartphone) and charged it while running a few games. The feature works well but do not expect too much from it.
The device has Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor clocked at 2.2 Ghz for heavy gaming and multitasking (a thumbs up from my side), a 16MP rear camera with optical stabilisation and a smart capture feature -- better than its predecessor.
One of the noticeable features in the phone is the fingerprint scanner that unlocks the device faster than blink of an eye. Touch any part of your thumb and it unlocks the device in a jiffy.
Double tap the fingerprint scanner and it locks the phone so that you may or may not use the power button for this. If you are left handed, you can change the functions of navigation buttons according to your finger movements.
The Dual SIM device (Nano SIM) has 64GB of storage and 3,000mAh battery that last for almost 27 hours. In my loop video test, it lasted for nearly 7.5 hours.
Running 4K videos was not a problem on its 5.5-inch full HD optic AMOLED display. Not as good as Samsung's S7 but nearly close to it. The smartphone runs on OxygenOS-based on Android Marshmallow.
What doesn't work.
As far as the device is concerned, nothing major apart from heating while using it with the VR headset. Camera could have been better, especially in low-light condition. The 8MP "selfie" camera works average.
The VR device is as good as a complimentary device but I would recommend users to buy it separately. Design-wise, the VR headset looks beautiful and has proper cushioning, somewhat similar to Samsung Gear VR, but it lacks the quality.
You cannot use the VR set with a phone thicker than OnePlus 3. Every time you slide in the device, you have to adjust it for clarity.
Conclusion: Not in direct contest with Samsung S7 but it surely is one of the best flagship devices I would recommend for people looking for high-end smartphones.
(Sourabh Kulesh can be contacted at email@example.com)