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OnePlus 6 Review: Bigger, but is it better?

The Good

  • Unbeatable performance
  • Impressive camera tech
  • Awesome battery life

The Bad

  • No IP rating
  • No expandable storage
  • Massive frame
4.5

One of the most anticipated handsets of the year is the OnePlus 6. Exactly half of the Recombu community voted for this 6.3-inch beast as their most wanted mobile tech of 2018, and it’s easy to see why. OnePlus phones are crafted with real heart, serving up premium specs and carefully considered features. And all at a price that won’t beat the living crap out of your savings account.

Read next: OnePlus 6 unboxing and full tour

OnePlus 6 review: Design

Of course, if you’re not a fan of massive mobiles, then the OnePlus 6 isn’t going to impress you. At 6.28-inches, this is one of the biggest blowers around. It’s certainly a hand-filler, although stick it side-by-side with the old OnePlus 5T and surprisingly there’s not much difference in dimensions. That’s mostly down to the almost non-existent bezels. The display really does fill the front of the phone, barring the ever-popular screen notch.

One-handed use is of course a wee bit tricky. Thankfully OnePlus has helped out a bit by allowing you to drag down the notifications tab from anywhere on the screen, but we’d have liked a proper one-handed mode which shrinks apps on demand.

Gone is the full metal jacket of last year, replaced with a fashionable bit of glass action. Don’t worry if you hate glossy surfaces though, because you can grab the OnePlus 6 with a funky matte finish as well as this mirrored model. You will notice smears on this shiny version, but the Midnight Black design does a reasonable job of hiding the smudges.

Don’t fret about the durability either. This monster is constructed from Gorilla Glass 5 and it’s one tough mother. You can generally treat it with total disrespect and it shouldn’t scratch or chip – so far we haven’t spotted any marks at all. And if you’re super paranoid, OnePlus has even bunged a transparent cover in the box.

If you really want a slice of luxury however, you might want to hold out for the limited edition Silk White model. This thing has crushed pearl integrated into the glass, how boss is that? Plus the texture feels similar to the funky ceramic version of the OnePlus X, with none of the fragility concerns.

Sadly the OnePlus 6 isn’t IP certified like many rival flagships. However, the manufacturer assures us that it’s taken steps to make the phone resistant to water damage. Apparently it can take a proper soaking, although submerging in liquid is still not recommended.

OnePlus 6 review: Screen and media

That 6.28-inch display is one of the biggest we’ve ever seen on a smartphone, so movie lovers and gamers will be in hog’s heaven. The AMOLED panel throws out punchy visuals, with colours that really pop, while the Full HD+ resolution keeps everything crisp. If you’re watching movies, the stretched aspect ratio means you won’t get any pesky letterboxing either. And thankfully that notch doesn’t poke its way into your Netflix session. This really is a full-screen experience.

Dive into the display settings and you can configure the screen to just your liking. There’s an sRGB setting for any mobile photo editors for instance, while you can also activate the Night Mode for an easy-on-the-eye experience in low light. And notch haters will find some redemption here too, as the wee bugger can be hidden from view with just a quick tap.

The base OnePlus 6 comes packing 64GB of storage for your media and other bits, which isn’t quite as generous as the Honor 10. However, fifty quid more bags you the 128GB model, and we’d recommend that upgrade if you shoot a lot of video or download loads of Netflix. After all, there’s once again no microSD support.

OnePlus 6 review: Features

Android Oreo has been appropriately touched up with a smattering of OnePlus’ own OxygenOS overlay, giving a unique look and feel to the system software.

OnePlus fans will already pretty much know what to expect. Favourites such as the nifty gaming mode, which prevents you from being disturbed during thumb-mashing sessions, are present and correct. You can remove that navigation bar and replace it with some nifty gestures, while customisation options are plentiful.

Best of all however are the excellent security features. That rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, now rocking a funky rounded rectangular design, is faster than an acid-fuelled gazelle with its arse on fire. And if you can’t reach it for whatever reason, the excellent facial recognition tech from the OnePlus 5T is back in action. This is impressively accurate, even when you’re skulking about in the dark, helped along by a screen boost feature to light up your mug. And it’s so insanely fast that you won’t even see the lock screen.

For more on OxygenOS and the OnePlus 6’s best features, check out our in-depth tips and tricks guide below.

OnePlus 6 review: Performance and battery life

The OnePlus 6 is one of very few phones to rock the new Snapdragon 845 chipset, which means it’s an absolute powerhouse. Especially when you consider that the base model comes with a rather generous 6GB of memory stuffed inside.

Everyday use is silky smooth, no matter what you get up to. Apps pop into life the moment you tap their icons, and we’d be surprised to see a single stutter at any time. And as you’d expect, the latest games play perfectly.

One of our only complaints with previous OnePlus phones is the less-than-stellar battery life, but the OnePlus 6 has made a serious stride forward in that area – helped along by the energy-efficient Qualcomm platform.

Once the phone had settled, we found that a full day of quite intensive use was no problem whatsoever. We often made it well past lunchtime on a second day too, unless we absolutely battered the thing by shooting non-stop 4K video and gaming on the go. And as usual, Dash Charge is absolutely stunning. You can power back up to near full capacity in just an hour, while five to ten minutes at the plug will happily get you through a lengthy commute. And all while the phone remains reassuringly cool.

OnePlus 6 review: Cameras

That new centrally-positioned camera tech sports the same megapixel count as the OnePlus 5T, with a primary 16-megapixel lens backed by a secondary 20-megapixel shooter.

However, that 16-megapixel lens now boasts a wider f/1.7 aperture, to suck up more light in darker conditions. The Sony sensor is larger too, while you also get OIS built in to reduce blurring from shaky hand syndrome. As for that second snapper, you once again have an f/1.7 aperture and a Sony sensor on board.

Want to know if the OnePlus 6’s shooter is any good? Go have a squint at our full camera review for samples and all you need to know.

OnePlus 6 review: Verdict

Now, we have to get this out of the way right now – the OnePlus 6 is not our favourite phone of 2018 so far. That trophy is still clutched tight in the clammy grasp of Huawei’s super-sexy P20 Pro. However, the OnePlus 6 does offer stronger value for money, and even though it’s not a significant evolution, that revamped design, killer performance and sterling battery life make for a seriously satisfying all-round experience.

As long as you aren’t put off by massive mobiles, this thing will definitely get the old juices flowing.

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