Pros / The OnePlus 6 has flagship features at a much lower price point.
Cons / It is splash-proof, but not fully waterproof.
Verdict / The OnePlus 6 is an excellent device with top-notch performance, design and features, and its price makes it the best value smartphone on the market.
OnePlus produces high-end phones with less expensive prices than other flagship devices. The OnePlus 6 follows this trend and compares well with the iPhones and Galaxy phones in our review, but its starting price is much less expensive.
The OnePlus 6’s design is similar to the Samsung Galaxy S9+. Both phones are large, tall and slender, with two stacked cameras and a fingerprint scanner on the back. It’s a sleek device, but it is on the larger side. Fans of more petite phones might find it a bit unwieldy for single-handed use, and there isn’t a smaller option. The body is Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which looks great but isn’t very durable. However, an included screen protector and case help protect your device. There are three available finishes: mirror black, midnight black and silk white. We tested the mirror black version which retains the sleek look of the device and presents fewer opportunities for fingerprint smudges.
The volume rocker is on the left side of the device, the alert slider and power button are on the right. The alert slider, lets you easily switch between ring, vibrate and silent modes. The bottom of the device features a down-firing speaker, USB-C port and a headphone jack. Unfortunately, the device is splash-proof and won’t survive submersion.
Compared to other recent flagship smartphone releases, the OnePlus 6 puts less focus on its camera. It’s fine, but it doesn’t compete with the Google Pixel 2. The OnePlus 6 has higher-resolution shooters than other phones on our lineup. The two rear cameras have 16 and 20 megapixels each, f/1.7 aperture and wide-angle lenses. Neither lens allows for optical zoom, but the main shooter does have optical image stabilization. Generally, photos taken with the OnePlus 6 are good, though not quite as detailed or color-balanced as with the Galaxy S9+ or Pixel 2.
One perk of the OnePlus 6 is the ability to customize settings and create camera shortcuts, by double-clicking the power button to open your preferred camera app and long-pressing the fingerprint scanner or screen to take a photo.
The OnePlus 6 is fast. It uses the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, same as the Galaxy S9. The basic 6 comes with 6GB of RAM, but the other versions come with 8GB. You can purchase 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage, but not every storage level is available with every finish. The Silk White version of the phone is only available at the 128GB tier, and the 256GB storage version only comes in Midnight Black.
The 3,300 mAh battery in the OnePlus 6 is pretty much the same as the battery in the OnePlus 5 and 5T. In tests performed by Tom’s Guide, our sister site, the OnePlus 6 lasted for 10 hours and 33 minutes of continuous web streaming on LTE. Though this is almost an hour shorter battery life than its predecessor, it’s still adequate to get you through the day. Plus, topping off your batter takes very little time, thanks to dash charging. Using the stock accessories, you can charge your phone about 60% in half an hour.
One of the best things about the OnePlus 6 is the intuitive OS. It uses the Android Oreo-based OxygenOS, which is clean and easy to use. It’s very similar to the stock Android experience of using a Pixel 2. It comes preloaded with all the Google apps and by default has Google Assistant set to show up when you long press the central button on the navigation bar. You can also choose to forego the navigation bar in favor of navigational gestures, which take a bit of getting used to but end up feeling more natural than the on-screen buttons.
Gaming mode prevents popup notifications and streamlines data prioritization to the game you’re playing and away from anything running in the background, for less latency. There is also a reading mode, which shifts your screen into a warm greyscale.
One of the OnePlus 6’s biggest limitations is that it’s only compatible with GSM networks. In the U.S., this excludes two of the Big Four cell phone providers: Verizon Wireless and Sprint, which both use CDMA technology. Any MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) that use the Sprint or Verizon network, such as – light Straight Talk, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, are incompatible as well. You can purchase the North American unlocked OnePlus 6 through the OnePlus website.
The OnePlus 6 follows the latest trends, has high-end features and doesn’t cost a thousand dollars. It’s an inexpensive flagship that doesn’t compromise on speed, OS, battery life, design or function. There are a few places where the OnePlus falls short, namely the lack of true water resistance, limited compatibility and average image quality, but it’s still a great device. We recommend purchasing the OnePlus sooner rather than later, as OnePlus has historically driven up demand for its phones by limiting supply, and the last OnePlus, the 5T, sold out in North America after just four months.