We attended the global launch of the OnePlus 6, the company’s brand new flagship smartphone. Ahead of our full review, here are our detailed first impressions of using the latest OnePlus premium device…
OnePlus is well known for producing affordable smartphones that compete with the likes of the iPhone and Samsung end of the market, but at a much cheaper price.
The tagline of the OnePlus 6 is “the speed you need”, and has been designed to be quite different from the last few OnePlus phones that have come to market. There has been upgrades to the screen, the design of the phone, the camera and battery.
In terms of the camera, it uses a dual-camera setup, with 20 megapixel and 16 megapixel sensors, both equipped with f/1.7 aperture lenses. The second camera (the 20 megapixel device) is used for detail, and for the portrait mode – it’s not used as a telephoto lens, like you might find on devices such as the Huawei P20 Pro, the iPhone X or the Samsung S9+ (but the OnePlus device is much cheaper, too).
A re-addition for the OnePlus 6 is optical image stabilisation, something which was missing from the OnePlus 5 and the OnePlus 5T. This should make the OnePlus 6 better equipped to take good shots in low light. There’s also 4K video recording at up to 60fps, and super slow motion video which can be recorded for up to a minute.
The pixel size has been increased to 1.22 microns, which represents a 19% increase and has been designed to capture mode detail, without introducing too much noise.
Pricing for the OnePlus 6 starts at £469 – making it significantly cheaper than many of the high-end smartphones currently on the market.
Ease of Use
The OnePlus 6 is almost the same size as its previous devices, the OnePlus 5T and the OnePlus 5, but it has a bigger screen thanks to a much slimmer bezel. The 6.28-inch screen is the largest OnePlus display to date – and also incorporates a notch at the top of the screen, just like you’d find with an iPhone X or a Huawei P20 Pro. The navigation bar previously found at the bottom of the screen has been removed, to make way for gesture control.
Constructed from glass, the OnePlus 6 marks a departure from the metal bodies of the previous devices. OnePlus says that it wanted to emulate the look and feel of ceramic phones, but without the fragility and weight. While you may think glass would also be fragile, this is Corning Gorilla Glass 5, with the company’s own tests show that the OnePlus 6 is just as resilient against being dropped as any previous phones.
There will be three colours available – “Mirror Black”, “Midnight Black” and “Silk White”. The latter of the three is a limited edition, so may be more difficult to get hold of. Mirror Black features a shiny surface, which is very prone to fingerprints – Midnight Black uses a matte finish and is much more resilient to smudges.
The native camera app can be accessed from the bottom right hand corner of the home screen. It is a simple and clean layout, which is refreshingly simple to use. Along the bottom of the screen, you’ve got three choices – Video, Photo and Portrait. The Portrait Mode is a shallow depth of field effect mode, which can be used for photos of people, as well as creating shallow depth of field effects with other subjects, such as animals, plants and so on.
Along the top of the screen you’ve got a few options which you can toggle between, including switching HDR on and off, switching the aspect ratio, turning the flash and the timer on/off.
Portrait Mode is something which is becoming very popular among smartphone manufacturers. In essence, it recreates the look of using a DSLR or CSC to create a shallow depth of field effect. A fun addition for the OnePlus 6 is “Light Bokeh”, which gives you the option to choose differently shaped bokeh, such as orbs, stars and hearts.
If you want to get a little more complicated, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal a couple of extra modes. Most intriguing of all of these is the “Pro” mode, which means you can adjust a variety of parameters, including white balance, ISO, shutter speed, focus type and exposure compensation. Interestingly, you can also shoot in raw format – something which is relatively rare, especially at this segment of the market. In the Pro mode, a couple of extra features which could prove useful are a histogram and a horizontal reference line (a level for helping when shooting landscapes).
We haven’t yet had chance to use the OnePlus 6 outside of the confines of the press conference, but it seemed to be very responsive, locking onto subjects fairly quickly and easily – we’ll be keen to see how well it does when a full sample becomes available.
The OnePlus 6 has some extremely promising camera functions, and would suit those who are looking for a high-performing cameraphone, but doesn’t have the budget to spend on one of the bigger players in this market.
Although we haven’t had a chance to properly test out the camera, some early sample imagery shared by OnePlus looks promising – hopefully we’ll be able to replicate these when testing it ourselves. It’s a shame not to have a telephoto lens available to use here, but again, this is something which tends to only be found on more expensive models.
Being able to shoot in raw format, along with a range of options in the “Pro” mode is great for enthusiasts, but remains hidden away so as not to intrude on the average user – a good way to keep the design simple and clean.
We’ll bring you a full review of the OnePlus 6 camera as soon as a sample becomes available.
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