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OnePlus 6 announced with a glass back and a notched 6.3-inch display


A little earlier than its usual June refresh window, OnePlus has revealed its new flagship Android device today, the OnePlus 6. The most controversial aspect of the new design, the notch at the top of the 6.3-inch 19:9 OLED display, has already been the subject of a preemptive rationalization from the company, and fan demands have been answered with the added option to conceal the notch by putting a black bar on the screen around it. Though beloved by few, the notched design does have a significant upside in helping OnePlus fit a lot more screen into basically the same dimensions as its previous OnePlus 5T and 5 models. The OnePlus 6 is a little smaller than my 6-inch Google Pixel 2 XL, but it offers more vertical screen space and makes the Pixels bezels feel crude and chunky by comparison. Its not that the 6 lacks bezels; they just happen to be minimal and nicely designed. OnePlus interface is well-tailored to the notch, and the company has tested the top 1,000 Play Store apps to ensure they play nicely with it. Whether or not the notch is to your liking, you cant accuse OnePlus of moving to it without sufficient forethought. The other big change with the OnePlus 6 is the introduction of a new glass back, replacing the unibody aluminum case thats been the norm for OnePlus for a number of years. The companys press release says that this is the first in OnePlus line of flagships to feature an all-glass design, suggesting that the metal backs of the past are going to stay in the past. With this alteration, OnePlus joins the vast majority of smartphone manufacturers — companies like Apple, Samsung, Sony, Nokia, LG, and Huawei — in having glass on both the front and the back of its flagship device. Ive been told by a number of these companies that the general trend has been driven by the requirements of faster and more advanced LTE, making it increasingly difficult to produce a phone with a metal back. Although the OnePlus 6, replete with a notch and a glass back, now blends into the mass of Android phones out there, it does stand out with a number of its own unique strengths. Firstly, the software is clean, thoughtfully designed, and unfailingly fast. The OnePlus 6 was among the first Android phones to support the Android P beta, even before it was officially announced. OnePlus says that its committed to heeding and responding to its fans wishes, and its eagerness to deliver updates as soon as possible is a testament to that. The other thing, the one that matters a great deal more than its discussed on pages like these, is the price. Starting at $529 with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, the OnePlus 6 is once again a little more expensive than its predecessor, but also a lot less pricey than the typical Android flagship. Itll be compared to phones like the Galaxy S9 and Huawei P20 Pro, both of which cost hundreds of dollars more, but its priced right in line with the Honor 10. I think the OnePlus 6 has the quality of design, materials, and display to be held right up alongside the best Android phones on the market. Where I remain dubious with OnePlus is on the camera front, though the companys made positive strides by increasing the main sensor size of its dual-camera system by 19 percent (for a pixel size of 1.22μm). Optical image stabilization has been added to both rear cameras, and you can now shoot faux-bokeh portrait mode pictures with the front as well as the rear cameras. OnePlus is getting into the algorithmically reprocessed photo game by offering the option to turn the bokeh in a photo into various shapes like hearts and stars. Ive seen a demo of that, and, well, I guess Im too old to appreciate its value. Not many other things are different about the OnePlus 6. The signature OnePlus alert slider moves from one side of the phone to the other, which the company tells me was a simple matter of space considerations with the new phones layout. The headphone jack remains in place, though, and OnePlus says it has no plans to remove it anytime soon. I would have liked to see OnePlus add wireless charging with its shift to a glass back, but that hasnt happened, and neither has the addition of waterproof certification. OnePlus argues that the 6 has comparable water resistance to most modern flagships, and it was tested extensively for that, but Id still feel more reassured by having it adhere to the same universal standard as everyone else. Marketed under the slogan of the speed you need, the OnePlus 6 comes with a Snapdragon 845 processor, Adreno 630 graphics, and up to 8GB of RAM and a maximum of 256GB of UFS 2.1 storage. On one hand, its great that OnePlus can cram the latest and best specs inside a phone that retains a distinct midrange price (by 2018 standards). On the other hand, Im not convinced that OnePlus can actually use that fact to make its device stand out. The comparably priced Honor 10 also has a flagship processor inside, Huaweis Kirin 970, and it also offers a smooth and responsive experience. The rest of the OnePlus 6 specs are fairly predictable: 2280 x 1080 resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 up front, 3,300mAh battery, Bluetooth 5, support for two nano-SIM cards, and Dash Charge fast charging. The one trend that OnePlus isnt entertaining with its new flagship (at least not yet) is offering a diversity of color options. Youll be able to buy the OnePlus 6 in either a glossy or matte black or a shimmery white variant. These colors correspond to particular specs: the mirror (i.e., glossy) black covers the $529 6GB / 64GB and $579 8GB / 128GB OnePlus 6, the silk white and the so-called midnight black will be at the $579 price point and spec, and therell be a $629 8GB / 256GB midnight black model as well. All variants of the OnePlus 6 go on sale May 22nd directly from OnePlus online store in North America, India, and across Europe. The European and UK pricing is less attractive than the USs, with prices starting at €519 / £469 for 64GB of storage, going through €569 / £519 for 128GB, and maxing out at €619 / £569 for 256GB.

OnePlus 6 hands-on: Slick looks come at a higher price


A gorgeous new design coupled with powerful specs. It's been only six months since the launch of the OnePlus 5T, but today the company is pushing out a new device that both packs the latest top specs and manages to one-up its earlier design. As you probably saw a little earlier, the new OnePlus 6 is yet another flagship that stuffs plenty of processing power into an elegant package, with its slogan promising to deliver "the speed you need. " It also happens to be OnePlus' most expensive phone to date, with a base price starting at $529 to make up for the extra work put into its gorgeous glass design. From afar, this new device is unmistakably OnePlus. Save for the dual cameras that are now sensibly centered on its back, the OnePlus 6 feels almost identical to the 5T. The rounded edges and subtle curvatures are further highlighted on the Mirror Black edition, with its surprisingly convincing ceramic look, courtesy of a five-layer coating on the Gorilla Glass 5 panel plus some extra polishing on the metallic frame. In fact, when I place it side by side with my actually ceramic Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, the OnePlus 6 makes that phone look dull. And its curves ensure that the material finish really shines. That said, if you can't stand fingerprint smudges, then you may want to consider the other two flavors of the OnePlus 6. Both Midnight Black and Silk White feature a matte finish, which apparently is achieved with a corrosion process similar to the one applied to Apple's glass trackpads. The result is a silky smooth finish -- almost like the "baby skin" feel on the legendary OnePlus One. The company then took it a step further by adding some visual tricks. By embedding a thin textured film below the glass, the Midnight Black shows off an S-shaped line along the back when viewed from a certain angle. The Silk White is even more bonkers, with pearl powder -- yes, pearl powder -- sprinkled underneath the glass, which gives off a subtle shimmering effect when you play around with the device. I probably wouldn't even mind the rose gold frame on the white option. OnePlus continues to deliver a stunning AMOLED display, now stretched to a 19:9 ratio (at 6.28 inches) as it goes all the way to the top. The trade-off here is the small notch, but that's been growing on me -- it's just nice to have that extra screen real estate inside a phone that's the same size as the 5T. I can expand the screen even further by replacing the Android navigation bar with gesture controls. They may sound familiar: Swipe up from the center of the chin to go home, swipe up and hold to see recent apps, and swipe up from either the left or the right side to go back. iPhone X users will already be familiar with some of these gestures, and likewise for those who have already been trying out the Android P beta. While the screen's 2,280 x 1,080 resolution isn't the Quad HD+ (2,880 x 1,440) upgrade that I was hoping for, this is still plenty, given the overall display quality. Besides, this also gives OnePlus some leeway to keep its OxygenOS (based on Android 8.1) super snappy, and so far the phone certainly runs incredibly smoothly in general. Another notable -- but less obvious -- upgrade is the 16-megapixel f/1.7 main camera, which now sports slightly larger pixels for better low-light performance, along with optical image stabilization (at last!) to reduce blur. The challenge will be whether these spec bumps transfer to better photos -- a weak point for previous OnePlus phones. I'll be taking a closer look when I review the new flagship. For video, the OnePlus 6 can shoot 4K at up to 60fps -- doubling the frame rates on the two earlier models -- while still supporting electronic image stabilization, along with super slow motion at 480fps in 720p or at 240fps in 1080p. OnePlus' unique tri-state alert slider has moved to the right side -- although I'm not sure why. It now toggles between Ring, Vibrate (instead of Do Not Disturb) and Silent. You'll also find the same built-in 3,300mAh battery, which is backed by OnePlus' Dash Charge technology, although, oddly enough, the company decided not to add wireless charging under the glass back, so that's one feature you'll find only on pricier flagship phones. Oh, and about those new OnePlus earbuds: The Bullets Wireless' magnetic trick did a good job of keeping the wires from tangling up during my brief hands-on time with it. I wish there were a way to adjust the length of the cables so I could put the remote control in a more accessible spot, though. It hangs right by my jaw, and when reaching up for it I almost always knock the earbud out of my ear. I enjoyed wearing it as a faux necklace for a bit, and it's certainly not a bad-looking accessory. Having said all that, gorgeous design aside, the rest of the phone is a relatively standard affair. On top of the Snapdragon 845 processor, which has proven to be quite the beast in other recent smartphones, you get to choose a combination of 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage ($529/£469/€519, Mirror Black only), 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage ($579/£519/€569, all three editions) or 8GB of RAM with 256GB of storage ($629/£569/€619, Midnight Black only). The OnePlus 6 may not be the same bargain that the series used to offer, but very few competitors carry such features and specs at these prices. This is the most premium smartphone OnePlus has made, by a big margin. You'll be able to grab a unit starting May 22nd, with the limited-edition Silk White to follow on June 5th. I'm completely in love with the OnePlus 6's design. New features on the software side are a little light, but at least OnePlus chose not to waste effort on AI gimmicks. Instead it's focused on making a phone that can realistically go toe-to-toe with devices that are hundreds of dollars more expensive.