This is my criticism towards the self-claimed “flagship-killer”.
If you have any questions about the phone, I’ll be happy to present my view in this thread.
I promised our community to write a review of my OP3 when I had the time. Now that the chinese are on a holiday, I do. Additionally I feel its much better to write a review after you have fully used the device, because first impressions never reveal the full truth.
I got the OP3 after my Xiaomi started to deteriorate. For your information: this “age effect” in consumer hardware is caused by sub-par components, mainly transistors, sensors and so on. The PCB quality simply cannot handle time as well as the other marketed specs (like the display, CPU and so on). Typical tablet or a phone has 2000-3000 components, so when cents are cut on each part, the manufacturers can save up to tens of dollars per unit. You on the other hand, have to purchase a new device after a couple of years.
Let’s start with the good.
OP3 is quick. 6GB of RAM and a snappy CPU make sure everything happens in a blink. Even when doing video conversion, I could not feel a noticeable difference in speed. Later I disabled the animations to make it look quicker. It seemed so quick we laughed at it. Having a lot of RAM the phone seemingly never hibernates tabs in browsers: GREAT.
Battery life is good. I have been able to get a real full day of semi-heavy using most of the time. What’s even better is the quick charge. From 5% to 80% takes 20-30mins. Full capacity is reached roughly in an hour. I don’t need a power bank with me, I only need the charger which is pretty small and light. GREAT.
Camera is good. Auto-focus doesn’t work as well as in the highest end phones, but the quality of pictures is great in well lit conditions. What’s also nice is that 64GB of storage doesn’t dry out your wallet totally, but is instead available for a reasonable price.
Fingerprint reader is super fast but either I configured it incorrectly (tried really hard) or the sensor’s software is not able to ask or learn the shape of the finger good enough. Apple and Samsung win here (except for speed). With OP3 users have to configure the fingeprint really carefully, unless they want the phone to accept the fingerprint only in a certain position.
Speaker of the phone is very loud compared to many phones and this is great. That’s only though if you look at the speaker in “speaker” sandbox. You can’t use it as speaker in voice calls because the mics noise cancel is not configured and the mics don’t record any voice from more than 20cm away. Ridiculous.
Display. The resolution is standard FullHD, which is good enough for the large display. To my personal taste, the phone / display is too big. A smaller display would have done just fine. Display is not characterized here as good or great because of a couple of things.
Maximum brightness available is not quite enough for bright outdoors use. Sometimes it has been a challenge to enjoy content indoors, under bright lighting. On the other hand the minimum brightness is also too bright. One is just simply not able to achieve the right brightness in edge-scenarios (night / bright day). What helps a bit with the night scenarios, is the “night mode” that balances colors to reduce the amount of blue light. The colors of this display are decent, but I’ve seen better. Not seeing much difference here vs. a 200 usd cheaper chinese phone. Of course this display has nothing vs. Meizu Pro 5 or Samsung sAMOLED.
Not the highest end aluminum, but good for a phone of this price. Finish on top of the metal drops points here, as it scratches way too easily. The finish and paint is also very slippery. Meizu Pro 6 offers more friction, but still feels premium. OP3 scores points of heat dissipation design, even under the most demanding uses like video conversion, the phone didn’t heat overly much.
Good antennas, signal strength, call quality and all the other normal phone stuff is decent or good. (except what is bad, and there is a lot of it).
Overall non-functional design
The phone is too big and too heavy. The design doesn’t make sense as a hole. Its pretty thick too; our Pyramid Flipper will only be 1,5mm thicker than this, and its a friggin computer.
Because of the thickness and weight, using the phone one handed makes my wrists tire after a while. Fitting a case around it would make it even thicker and bigger = no way.
What worse, is that the paint finish is slippery. So now we have a big, thick, heavy and slippery object that you are supposed to use in one hand?
OMG. Why. Where is stock android? OP has spent huge amount of money to create a custom ROM that doesn’t bring any advantages versus stock android. This money is not well spent. The software sucks long and hard.
Incompatibility issues with apps, check.
Microphones noise cancellation configured so you can’t have voice calls in speaker mode, check.
Entering to speaker-mode in Skype, Wechat, Whatsapp or in a regular phone call randomly mutes the mics completely, check.
I mean seriously. It should be a phone. People should be able to talk in phones, right? Well with OP3 you sometimes can, sometimes you don’t.
Light sensor. Its bad. It works so slow that I have disabled it. Its also poorly factory configured and offers stupid brightness in different environments. What’s worse is that the display doesn’t adjust the brightness smoothly, but with big leaps. Combine that to the poor range of brightness adjustability, and you have a looser combo.
The real death blow to this “nice try” object is the glass. You’re already an elephant in a porcelain store with the big slippery block, so as a designer you’d think putting in gorilla glass 5 would make customers happy. OnePlus designers don’t agree. When I’ve had the phone for less than a week, I noticed the first scratch. I never kept the phone in the same pocket as the keys, so I was WTF. Then I realized and almost wet myself: it doesn’t have gorilla glass.
I knew the glass was shitty from the moment I noticed the first scratches deriving from the phone being only in my pocket. More and more scratches kept coming no matter what clothing the phone was in.
The shitty glass gave up yesterday, after dropping to SOFT WOOD floor. No other gadget has ever broken of that. Eve the 159 usd T1 had much higher end glass 2 years ago.
OFC it was me who dropped the phone but when your handing over a 400 eur phone with CNC aluminum housing to customers, you just don’t put some IKEA kitchen item grade glass on top of the display.
I am going to repair this phone but right after I will sell it. I pity the one who buys it from me.
After two tryouts of Chinese brands, I’ll stick with the premium ones in the future, until we make a phone ourselves.
Nice effort and nice try. Good base for a great phone ruined by software and few fatal errors in design and neglected testing. Not worth the 400 eur asking price because of that.