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OnePlus’ latest flagship arrives May 22 for $529

OnePlus has never been the flashiest or most cutting edge — the Chinese company has mostly left that stuff to the Apples and Samsungs of the world. But in spite of some stumbles along the way, the upstart smartphone manufacturer has consistently delivered one of the best deals in mobile, a trend it most definitely maintains with the OnePlus 6. Due out on May 22, with a starting price of $529, the new handset continues the companys trend of definitely being ever-so-slightly behind the flagship smartphone curve, for the sake of keeping costs down. The handset does borrow a few cues from recent handsets, including, notably, the embrace of the top notch. The company concedes that the cutout is an inevitability on handsets these days, particularly with Googles newfound embrace through Android P. Though here it also arrives alongside the companys largest-ever display, measuring 6.28 inches, at a 19:9 aspect ratio. Of course, OnePlus decision to focus on a single handset at a time means a single size option. For some longtime fans, that might fly in the face of the companys never settle mantra, but at this point in the smartphone game, it probably makes the most sense for a company of OnePlus size to focus on a single model. Besides, the company has managed to fit a fair amount of screen into a relatively small form factor, keeping it roughly the same footprint as the OnePlus 5T. The design language has also been adjusted a bit, this moving to Gorilla Glass 5 on the back (same as the front), which looks nice and also makes it better for those radio waves to pass through. That backing comes in three different colors, including Mirror Black, Midnight Black and a snazzy Pearl White, which have limited availability, depending on the specific SKU. This being a 2018 flagship, the OnePlus 6 sports dual rear-facing cameras, though the orientation has shifted to vertical. The sensors measure 16- and 20-megapixels, with improved optical image stabilization and improved shooting in the low-light settings — not quite as low-light as offered up on the latest Huawei and Samsung devices, however; ditto for the slow-motion feature, which doesnt match the super-slow-motion offerings recently rolled out by Sony and Samsung. The front-facing camera is getting a software upgrade, as well, bringing the faux bokeh portrait mode to selfies, courtesy of some on-board AI. The phone maintains the super-fast fake unlock youll find on other recent OnePluses — as ever, the caveat there is not to make that the primary unlock method. Its not nearly as secure as handsets that use depth sensing to face unlock. Sure is fast, though. OxygenOS is still the heart of the software experience here. As ever, the key is keeping the companys proprietary Android skin as much in the background as possible, and using OnePlus actively online community as a sounding board for new features through the beta program. Theres not really a lot new to announce on the software front this time out, however, though the companys done a good job rolling out updates to handsets after release. Inside is a Snapdragon 845 — the latest flagship chip from Qualcomm. The base system is loaded with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Another $50 will get you 8GB of RAM and double the storage. Bumping things up to 256GB of storage, meanwhile, will cost another $50.

Hands-on: This is the OnePlus 6, starting at $529

After months of rumors, leaks, and teasing the OnePlus 6 is finally a real thing. It starts at $529 and will go on sale May 22. As usual, it looks like a compelling flagship at an affordable price. But this time around, OnePlus is looking to make the gap between itself and the $1000 flagships smaller than ever. CNBC liked TNW Conference that muchLets start with the specs. They shouldnt come as much of a surprise, but there are a few interesting highlights: As everyone interested in this phone knows by now, the OnePlus 6 has an iPhone-X like notch. While it doesnt include any fancy face-detection sensors, it does allow for a larger screen in a body thats virtually the same size as its predecessor. You can replace Androids navigation bar with gestures to maximize real estate too. And dont worry – if you dont like the notch, you can hide it in the software. Given the OLED panels pure blacks, thatll make the display cutout virtually invisible. More polarizing will be the glass back, which OnePlus CEO Pete Lau previously justified in a blog post. Having seen the phone now, my opinion remains largely the same as back then: without wireless charging, a glass back just doesnt make much sense. At least, thats true of the cheapest Mirror Black finish, which just looks nice enough… but also very generic. The Midnight Black, on the other hand, has a cool frosted look thats far more unique and feels great in hand. My favorite by far is the Silk White, a limited edition color which wont be available right at launch. It has a gorgeous matte pearl finish, accentuated with a rose gold trim. That colorway is beautiful, and I wish OnePlus used its bolder designs on the base model. I mean, just look at Huaweis take with the P20. I would still take a metal back or high quality plastic over glass for durability, though. Heck, Id love more adventurous materials like leather or wood on the Moto X of old. But at least OnePlus includes a thin case in the box to help protect against drops somewhat. Speaking of durability, OnePlus is also officially claiming the device is water-resistant enough to survive rain or a drop in the sink, though it isnt providing an IP-rating. As for the lack of wireless charging, OnePlus said it opted out because the technology is still too slow, while the companys Dash charging tech is the fastest on the market. Fair enough, I guess. Some design caveats aside , theres no question whether OnePlus phones present a good value. Since the original OnePlus One, the company has straddled the line between midrange prices and flagship specs carefully. Its always provided state-of-the-art performance – Oxygen OS is one of the best custom Android builds out there – but has sometimes lacked the finesse of more expensive competition, particularly in the camera. Hopefully the addition of a larger sensor, OIS and a refined HDR algorithm will help OnePlus catch up in that area. Plus being one of the few phones capable of running the Android P beta will be a nice selling point among Android die-hards. Early rumors suggested the OnePlus 6 would be significantly more expensive than its predecessor, but those didnt pan out. With flagship specs starting at $529 – and just $629 for the 256 GB model – its hard to imagine the OnePlus 6 will disappoint. Well need more time with the device before our final verdict, but so far, so good.