OnePlus 6 Review: Small design downgrade, big camera upgrade

OnePlus has always tried to deliver flagship features and performance at mid-range prices, but it always seems to fall just a little bit shy of the top. Despite regularly sporting class-leading performance, some aspects lacked that last bit of polish that makes a Google Pixel or Samsung so popular. (You know, besides the giant companies backing them).

The OnePlus 6 is, for me, the phone that crosses the threshold into unqualified flagship territory. Of course that may have happened with prior models to some of OnePlus’ loyal fans. But as someone lucky enough to test nearly every flagship under the sun, a significantly improved camera experience and gorgeous screen make the OnePlus 6 the first of the company’s devices I’ve really considered using as a daily driver. Rather than just recommending it as a great value (which it still is, by the way) the OnePlus 6 is well worth your consideration even if the price difference means nothing to you.

“75% of European digital ecosystem is present at #TNW2018”

Are you doing business in Amsterdam in May?

Onto the requisite specs:

  • 6.28-inch AMOLED Display
  • 2280 x 1080 resolution (19:9 aspect ratio)
  • Snapdragon 845
  • 6/8 GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • 64/128/256 GB Storage
  • 19 percent larger primery camera sensor (1.22μm pixels)
  • 16 MP, f1.7 aperture, OIS
  • 4K Capture at 60fps, 480fps slow mo
  • Portrait mode on front and rear camera
  • 3,300 mAh battery with Dash charging
  • Water-resistent (but no IP-rating)
  • 4×4 MIMO for Gigabit LTE
  • Android P beta available
  • Mirror black, Midnight black, and silk white colors
  • $529 (64 GB), $579 (128 GB), $629 (256 GB)
  • A headphone jack

With that out of the way, first thing you notice about the OnePlus 6 is how different it’s design is from previous models – namely the glass back and bezel-less, notched screen.

I went into a lot more detail in my hands-on, but the move to a glass back just makes no sense to me. Without wireless charging, the move to a glass back just seems very bandwagon-y and a poor choice for durability. Yes, I know most people put their phones in a case – and OnePlus is nice enough to include a soft silicone case and screen protector – but it still strikes me as an like an unreasonable change.

Don’t get me wrong; the Mirror Black finish on my model looks good; it’s just not particularly interesting. It’s not going to stand out the way Huawei’s P20 Pro does.

If you can afford the upgrade price, I’d suggest opting for the frosted black or waiting for the white-and-rose gold colorway; the latter is particularly stunning. I’d still much rather have a metal or plastic back – or a more interesting, durable material like sandstone or wood – but at least the other two colors seem aesthetically justified.