The truth? It’s become my daily driver. This is a stand-out phone, it really is. A proper “package” – a high-end phone and an OS that is silky smooth on that 90Hz screen. It’s a tremendous device, and I find myself really struggling to find anything bad to say. Indeed, after writing about phones for some 15 years it can be difficult at times – especially now that a lot of phones are reached a similar quality level – but this OnePlus phone really stands out.
There’s a refined finish, a stylish appearance, excellent camera quality and … I can feel the love and attention they’ve given the thing. Loads of RAM, loads of storage – all in all, a fantastic phone.
Inside, the OS delivers an equally smooth and easy-to-control navigation system. As is usual, I switched across from my previous phone easily thanks to the Google account shift, but you can also use the “OnePlus Switch” app to migrate all your data, contacts, messages and more in no time all.
Likewise, I quickly became familiar with the gesture control system. This, if you choose to enable it, does away with the bar at the bottom of the screen – you then swoosh back or into your recent apps by simply moving your finger across the screen in a gesture-style. The one (very minor) niggle I had with this was that Gboard – the on-board keyboard I tend to use – didn’t seem to like that bar not being there, and sticks it back in (albeit blank) when I was using the keyboard.
Minor thing. Very minor, but this – and the fact that sometimes the screen goes a smidge too dark in low-light (you can, of course, adjust it back up) – were literally my only problems with the phone in over a month of use.
I was impressed with the face recognition / face unlock system – even in the dark, on these cold and gloomy afternoons and evenings in the middle of winter – the phone somehow detected my face and unlocked itself. This is great if you’re relying on the in-screen fingerprint sensor (which is great by the way) and you have your gloves on. It really works and, when added to clever Android tech that lets the phone remain unlocked when you’re attached to certain Bluetooth kit of WiFi hotspots, it makes the phone much easier to use.
The level of customization is pretty extensive – you can change the colour warmth and change to night or reading mode. There’s also a video enhancer and… oh, what’s perhaps easier is if I do you a demonstration video…
Let me chuck some tools at you – a scheduled power off / power on system, an app locker to hide apps and Parallel Apps to run a cloned version of apps already installed into the phone with different accounts and credentials. Then there’s a Quick Launch system (which works off the fingerprint sensor and displays regularly used apps but isn’t much use if your face unlocks it sadly).
Other extras I was impressed with included the RAM Boost system for giving your phone an extra “kick” when needed, the endless system customization options (Accent colours, tones, icons, shapes, fonts and more) plus the sound. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the sound when you’re listening in landscape is especially good. There’s also a number of Dolby Atmos settings to play around with which will make it even better, but I really enjoyed the speaker tech. Not only that, but there’s a lot of earphone settings too, so you can have the caller ID spoken to you, you can have smart answer on Bluetooth headphones and you can auto-play music when you add some headphones.
I know that some of these things might seem a little unimportant, but they all add up to a massive package and a phone that you can setup in just the right way.
Overall, for the money, this is one helluva phone. Fast, dependable, great styling and a real stand-out product from the buys at OnePlus. Trust me, you will not be disappointed with this phone. Buy it here for £549 or grab it on networks like Three for £38 per month with £29 up-front. It’s a proper bargain. Leading-edge specs, an excellent camera, a sumptuous screen, great user interface and brilliant design for almost half the money you’d spend on heavily-advertised flagships from other makers.
Go, get one of these. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
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