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Hands-on with the OnePlus 6: An all-glass, notched smartphone for $529

OnePlus' excellent metal phone design is dead, but it's still cheap, at least. OnePlus is back with its new flagship smartphone for 2018, the OnePlus 6. OnePlus has big changes in store this year, not all of which I would call positive. OnePlus' stand-out metal phone design—which has existed in the company's last four flagship smartphones—is dead. The company is switching to an all-glass design and a notched display. As a result, the OnePlus 6 looks and feels like a million other Android smartphones released this year. Like the iPhone X and several other new Android phones, the display has a cutout at the top housing the front-facing camera, earpiece, and other sensors.  This at least seems to be a well-executed version of a notched phone. The bottom bezel isn't nonexistent, but it is pretty small. The notch is small enough to fit inside a normal-height status bar, which means you don't have a tall, stretched-out status bar like the Essential Phone. The display is a 6.28-inch 2280×1080 Samsung AMOLED with a 19:9 aspect ratio. Thanks to the notched design, the OnePlus 6 fits more screen in a body about the same size as the OnePlus 5T. I was a huge fan of OnePlus' metal back over the years, and along with the Pixel line, it was the only flagship smartphone that hadn't given in to the glass smartphone trend. Glass backs are fragile fingerprint magnets, with the only benefit being wireless charging. The OnePlus 6 doesn't support wireless charging, though, so this is just a straight downgrade over last year's metal back. If you're looking for more RAM or storage, you can upgrade to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for $579 (€569, £519). There's also a phone with 8GB RAM/256GB storage for $629 (€619, £569).  There are three colors—white, black, and black—and each color is limited to certain spec combinations and price points. I photographed the "Mirror black" version, which comes in the 6GB/64GB and 8GB/128GB loadouts. " Midnight Black" is supposedly a matte black (but still glass) version and comes in 8GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB versions, and a "Silk white" (white and gold) version only comes in 8GB/128GB. As much as I feel like the OnePlus 6 could be better with a metal back, for $529 it is still a hard phone to beat. It's the cheapest Snapdragon 845 device you can buy, and that will always make it worth considering. Another great OnePlus feature is the software package. While I wouldn't call it "Stock Android," it's a version that doesn't go out of its way to reskin every little piece of Android so it looks like a completely different operating system. OnePlus adds extra features, but overall, the UI follows Google's Material Design language and fits in well with Google's apps and the third-party app ecosystem. The bad part of the software package is still here, too: OnePlus doesn't have a concrete update commitment, only pointing to its past behavior as evidence of what kind of support the OnePlus 6 can expect. In the past, the company has been good about delivering monthly security updates for supported devices, but the length of support is a total crap shoot. If the OnePlus phone you buy ends up being unpopular with the masses, OnePlus could drop support early. This happened with the OnePlus 2, which got less than one year of major update support from OnePlus. The rest of the phone is much like past OnePlus devices. There's still a USB-C port on the bottom with 5V, 4A "Dash" quick charging. There's still a headphone jack and rear fingerprint sensor. There's still a three-position physical volume switch. OnePlus says the phone is "water resistant for everyday occasions, such as rain or an accidental drop in a puddle," but there's still no official ingress protection rating. As usual, a low price does a great job of muting any complaints we might have about the OnePlus 6. You could probably do better than the OnePlus 6, but not at this price point. We might not like the switch to all-glass, and we wish OnePlus would put a concrete update system in place, but as always, it's hard to argue with this much power for $529. The OnePlus 6 launches May 22.

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.