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[The Lab] FlusteredMustard's OnePlus 6 Review

  1. flusteredmustard
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer May 22, 2018

    flusteredmustard , May 22, 2018 :
    FlusteredMustard_Review_01.jpg

    Hello folks! It’s time to kick off this week with my first review of the OnePlus 6. Each day I will be covering the following topics:

    Unboxing

    Design

    Speed

    Camera

    Oxygen OS

    Conclusion: Is it worth the upgrade?

    Before I get started, just a quick disclaimer that OnePlus was generous enough to provide me with a OnePlus 6 unit to review, but everything that I post will be 100% my own observations, feelings and critiques of this device. I will also do my best not to edit the images I post too heavily as to give you folks the realest possible view of the device.

    Episode IV: A New Phone
    (Day 01: Unboxing)


    So we’re gonna start off talking about the unboxing experience as well as some initial thoughts. My unit came in a bright red OnePlus branded sleeve that made the package stand out from all the other boring brown packages. Beneath the red sleeve was a big black box with the OnePlus logo on top. Upon opening the box, I was greeted with the Reviewer’s Guide, which is essentially a pretty booklet with lots of pretty product photos and covers all the features and specs that OnePlus wants to highlight. Moving further into the box, OnePlus provided 3 cases as well as the OnePlus 6 itself.

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    The unboxing experience is nothing super out of this world if you have purchased a OnePlus device before. I personally wished that they would bring back the OG OnePlus 1 packaging because of its unique shape and just the cool factor of sliding the phone out of the box like a drawer, but that’s not the case here. I found the packaging to be really similar to that of the packaging of my OnePlus 3. The shape of the box is similar in shape and size to the packaging of a certain fruit company (you know what I mean) but OnePlus ensures that they stand out by keeping the white and red color scheme that I personally enjoy. Sliding the top part of the box is as satisfying as always and you are presented right away with the glass beast. Included in the box besides the phone is a pretty nice translucent TPU case, the classic ignorables (warranty and safety instructions), some stickers, sim eject tool ( which is still not as cool as the OG OnePlus 1’s sim eject tool that came in a neat little keychain holder that I still carry to this day) as well as the super speedy OnePlus Fast Charger.

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    OnePlus also included 3 cases for me to play with. These just came in pretty generic plastic+cardboard packaging. The cases they included were the new super red silicone case, nylon bumper case as well as the classic Karbon bumper case. After a quick rip and tear session, I spent the rest of the day playing goldilocks with the cases until I settled on the Karbon case. Since I’m not a case kind of guy and more of a dbrand guy, I wanted to use the slimmest case and the Karbon bumper case was the best balance between being slim and feeling premium in the hand (the included TPU case was the slimmest but it felt like sweaty plastic after a couple minutes of use).

    [​IMG]

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    That’s about it as far as unboxing! Let me know if you folks have any questions below or if you have anything you would like me to pay extra attention to regarding the design of the phone so I can cover it in Episode V: The Designers Strike Back (Day 02: Design)

    Mini Unboxing Update: Since you folks seem to be interested in the cases, Here's a much clearer description of each cases that I have:

    Karbon Bumper Case - This case is relatively slim and is my personal favorite. It has an even soft touch texture that is both smooth and pretty grippy. While it is slim, it is thick enough to keep the screen or the camera modules from touching the table when laying flat. My only complaint with this (and this applies to the other two cases too since they're even chunkier than this case) is that it gets a bit too chunky on the sides of the phone, making the phone feel wider and also making the alert slider a little bit hard to get to since it is recessed into the case.

    Silicone Protective Case (Red) - When compared to the other cases that I have, this definitely takes the cake for being the grippiest. It feels like you're holding a solid chink of rubber when it's on the phone and while I haven't had it for very long, the material doesn't seem to be something that would get stained. It has a nice suede layer on the inside to keep the phone cozy and scratch free. The cons that I have with this case is that it is considerably more chunky and bright red just doesn't match with any of my outfits.

    Nylon Bumper Case (Black) - This is one of the newer case designs and I was really excited to see it while I was unboxing. Similar to the Silicone Red, there's a suede interior lining to protect the phone from getting too uncomfortable. The back of the case is covered by woven nylon with the 1+ logo embossed in white. The logo looked a bit raised and seems to be made of a different material which got me into poking at it to see how well attached it was to the nylon back and it wouldn't budge, so I don't think you have to worry about the logo falling off the case. This case is somewhere in between the relatively slim Karbon case and the thicker Silicone Red in thickness and I was actually torn between this case and the Karbon one since it didn't feel that much more thicker. The woven nylon gives it a really rough and tough texture, but the sides of the case is simply this flexible plastic material that wasn't as grippy as the soft touch texture on the Karbon, which is why I personally didn't pick it.

    Free Slim TPU Case - This was the slimmest of the bunch, but I just couldn't rock that sticky glossy rubber feel in my hand after holding all these other premium cases. What I can say is that they do not look half bad, but just know that it will make your phone feel less premium. It's a great solution for when you're waiting on a better case but don't want to risk hurting your phone. Good on OP for including it.

    Pictured above from left to right: Naked OP6, Karbon Case, Red Silicone Case, Nylon Bumper Case. Not pictured is the TPU case because I forgot to photograph it with the other ones
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018

    #1
  2. flusteredmustard
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer May 23, 2018

    Stickied Post
    flusteredmustard , May 23, 2018 :
    Episode V: The Designer’s Strike Back
    (Day 02: Design)



    And we’re back for day 02 where I will be covering my impressions and feelings about the overall design of the OnePlus 6. To put it simply, this device is probably one of the most refined OnePlus device I have ever held. Ever since my OnePlus 1, I have been impressed with the great build quality as well as the general look and feel in the hand. When they unveiled the OnePlus 3, I was super excited and was immediately sold on a metal unibody OnePlus phone. For the past couple years I’ve been rocking the OnePlus 3 waiting for them to come out with a new design using new materials and the OnePlus 6 is that phone.

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    The glass build is something that I was looking forward to when they announced the phone and now that it’s here, I can say that it’s a lot better feeling in the hand when compared to the sharp angles of my OnePlus 3. All around the device I can see places where OnePlus made adjustments in order to make the feel in the hand better than their previous phones. For example the rounded corners of the phone have a significantly larger radius when compared to the rounded corners of the OnePlus 3 which is crucial for such a large device because after holding the 3 for a prolonged amount of time, the harsher corner digs into the palm of my hands and forces me to constantly adjust my grip. The 6 on the other hand has a much gentler rounded corner that feels more like it’s conforming to my palm instead of stabbing it. The “Horizon Line” that is present in all OnePlus devices has also gotten a little more rounded thanks to the curvature of the glass in the back of the phone transitioning really well into the metal frame. I feel that these changes have made for an overall nice feel in the hand.

    [​IMG]

    Around back, one cannot help but admire the pretty shiny Mirror Black Material, that is until you have to pick up the phone and use it. The Mirror Black is definitely a fingerprint magnet, and a beautiful one at that. This isn’t really much of a problem since I’ve been keeping the phone in a case except when I want to sit back and appreciate my distorted reflections. OnePlus has also (finally) stopped putting the camera module on the left side of the phone like some fruit company knockoff and have gone back to their original design with the camera modules in the center of the device. In my personal opinion this is the best looking place to put the camera modules as the symmetry is much more pleasing to look at than the lopsided look.

    The placement and shape of the fingerprint sensor is on point. I’ve never had a phone with a rear fingerprint sensor, but this is the most comfortable way of inputting fingerprints. There have been situations when I needed to input my fingerprint, but before I could even think about sticking my thumb on the bottom of the phone out of habit, I already accidentally touched the sensor on the back because that's where my fingers were already resting.

    And yes OnePlus, we know you designed this phone. We can tell by looking at the logo on the back, no need to give us a “Designed by OnePlus” tramp stamp on the bottom. I expected this kind of overbranding from Sammy-sung with their history of logo on the front and back shenanigans, but I didn’t expect this from OnePlus. At least you folks were decent enough to make the text subtle and not too boisterous.

    Now let’s get to what y'all want to talk about anyways. The Notch. I haven’t been on the side of the notch before the phone was announced and I can’t say that I am 100% about it now. On the one hand, I really like the immersion of having the screen stretch out to the very top of the device, but on the other hand, it’s not the most elegant solution. Hiding the notch area is an option to minimize the intrusion, but then It feels like you’re losing a big chunk of the screen. While I struggle with the idea of notches, I can still confidently say that the overall experience has not been negative on the OnePlus 6. It’s not as wide as the iFruit X notch and I would say is closer in size to the Essential(ly dead) PH-1’s teeny tiny camera notch (but don’t quote me on that because I’ve literally never seen this phone in the wild, my opinion is based off of photos and they look proportionally more similar). This gives it more room to actually display more notifications and indicator icons. Overall, I would say the notch on the OnePlus 6 is small enough to be forgotten as you use the phone more. It hasn't gotten in the way of any apps that I have used and I’ve started to get to the point where I would rather have the OnePlus 6’s notch than go back to the Beavis and Butthead looking forehead bezels of my Oneplus 3.

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    Besides the infamous notch, there is also that chin that we need to address. I like that oneplus did their best to minimize the chin as much as they can without compromising thickness to the point where I pretty much forget about it when I’m just using the phone. My only real complaint about it is that the radii of the bottom corners don’t match up with the radii of the upper corners. To make matters worse, the bottom corners don’t match the top corners when you opt into hiding the notch, or when you’re watching videos in 18:9 aspect ratio. While I appreciate all the work that OnePlus went to make this device look and feel premium, it’s a bummer to see little details like that get forgotten. Here’s to hoping they fix this with an update sometime soon.

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    So here’s the TL;DR of this whole thing

    1. Build Quality - Awesome, Glass and metal is a killer combo. Camera module and fingerprint sensor are in the right spots imho and the Black Mirror finish is pretty lookin.
    2. Feel in the hand - Feels like it was actually designed to be held by human beings despite looking out of this world.
    3. Flamethrower Attachment - Not included with the reviewer’s kit. Am I disappointed? Very.
    4. Notch - It’s there. It’s small. It’s not detrimental to the experience. It’s not as bad as you think.
    5. Chin - It’s also there, but smaller than I expected. Corner radii doesn’t quite match up when the notch is hidden in software. If we complain about it enough, I’m fairly certain we’ll get an update to fix that.
    6. Overall - OnePlus really seemed to have taken their time designing this. They’ve made some clear refinements from previous devices and put together a rather beautiful device.
    Thank you for reading through that rant. If you folks have any further questions or anything that needs clarification, just let me know. Feel free to drop some comments about what you would like me to cover for Episode VI: Return of the Jet Guy (Day 03: Speed) as well as some apps that you would like me to test out (I can only do free apps from the Google Play Store, and I’ve already been testing out Snapchat).
     

    #22
    Cheetosdust, Alvie, aenews and 11 others like this.
  3. flusteredmustard
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer May 27, 2018

    Stickied Post
    flusteredmustard , May 27, 2018 :
    Episode VI: Return of the Jet Guy
    (Day 03: Speed)



    Alrighty folks! I just finished up all my final exams and I'm now ready to talk about whether or not the OnePlus 6 lives up to the hype! For the past couple of days, I have been trying to figure out how to properly test speed on this phone. While I know that there are plenty of benchmarks and app opening speed videos out there, I know for a fact that these mean absolutely nothing to the average person. As someone who identifies as an average human being, I did not want to answer the question “Is it fast?” with arbitrary numbers or grading systems. Those things are for robots and companies thumping their chests. Instead I am reframing the question to “Is it noticeably fast?”.

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    OnePlus seems to really be hyping up the raw computing capabilities of the OnePlus 6 by marketing it as having “The Speed You Need”. When I was setting up how I am going to test the speed of this device, I wanted to see if OnePlus really did give this device the speed that I was needing. This meant that I had to test this device based on how I personally use phones. So I made this list of what I most often use a phone for (listed from most often to less often):

    Social Media

    Media Consumption

    Search / Internet Browsing

    Navigation

    Online Shopping

    Very occasional gaming

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    To really see if the OnePlus 6 has the speed I need, I have to create a test around how quickly it can carry out all of these tasks. I didn’t want my test to simply be an app opening speed test, but instead actually take into consideration the time it takes to navigate around the UI and take usage of the app into account. In order to do this, I ended up creating far too many variables in my test for it to actually be scientific in any way, but I thought that the human error as a part of the test is the best way to simulate real life usage.

    My test will consist of a simulated routine of me using 12 different apps that are based off of my list above. The routine is as follows:

    Start Timer

    Snapchat > Add filter > Take Photo > Type “Test” > Send > Open Discover > View Story > Exit

    Instagram > Like Photo > Open Story > Exit

    Discord > Connect to Voice Chat > Disconnect > Add Reaction in chat > Exit

    Twitter > Go to Search Tab > View Highlights > Go to Home Tab > Like Tweet > Exit

    Spotify > Open Playlist > Play a Song for 4 seconds > Exit

    Google > search “Unsplash NASA” > Select result > Download wallpaper > Open Wallpaper > Exit

    Maps > search “Salem” > Select Result > Start Navigation > Stop Navigation > Exit

    Amazon > search “OnePlus 6 Case” > Select Result > Add to wishlist > Exit

    True Skate > Attempt a big spin and crash the board on purpose > Exit

    Stop Timer

    I then repeated this process 3 times, recorded the time and averaged out the results.

    I also did the same exact process with the same exact apps on my trusty OnePlus 3 to act as my control. This phone has been my reliable daily driver for the past couple years and I thought that it would be great to see if the OnePlus 6 can actually have a speed advantage over its older sibling. Here are my results:

    OnePlus 3:

    03:12

    02:59

    02:58
    Avg. Time: 03:03

    OnePlus 6:

    02:47

    02:18

    02:37
    Avg. Time: 02:41

    [​IMG]

    So as you can see from these results, the OnePlus 6 definitely has a speed advantage over the OnePlus 3. While I was doing the test, I frankly didn’t execute it perfectly and I feel that it was okay. I have the recordings linked so you folks can see for yourself that between pressing the wrong buttons, the UI sometimes acting weird and apps not loading quite right (On both phones Spotify seemed to have choked up a bit), there was a lot of variability in the tests. I thought that this was great because this really simulated how I actually use a device.

    This test was also nice in showing off OnePlus’ new gesture based navigation. I really noticed that swiping up was a much more fluid motion than pressing the home button on my OP3 and I think that it added to how quickly the OP6 went through my test. When swiping up, my thumb naturally ends up in the middle of the screen, hovering like a fleshy eagle ready to swoop in and attack the next application. I got so used to this gesture that I started trying to swipe on my OP3 and accidentally opened an endless barrage of sketchy websites that spawned from pressing the ads on the bottom portion of the screen. Bottom banner ads seem to not be much of a problem for the OP6 because the home gesture does a pretty good job of registering whether or not you're swiping from the bottom bezel or if you're trying to scroll/interact with a button on the bottom of the screen. I've only had a couple of times where I was aggressively scrolling like a madman and my thumb reached too low and exited the app. Thankfully since the phone comes with an absurd amount of RAM, exiting the app by accident rarely ever means losing your place, unless the app itself doesn't like cooperating like Instagram who finds it appropriate to flash your last location in the feed a couple seconds and then refreshing itself back to the top of the feed everytime you leave the app. This of course is not OnePlus’ fault and is completely the fault of developers in Facebook HQ having absolutely no respect for my RAM.

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    My overall experience with the OP6 has been very fluid and quick. I can confidently say that this phone is noticeably fast when compared to my OP3. While I don't play graphically intensive games on my phone (because it's an inferior platform to the PC Master Race), I still notice the speed of the phone just using my daily apps. Load times are great and the UI is very responsive on this phone and allows me to just use my apps without too many hiccups.

    So that's about all I could say about the speed of the device. Basing it off of the numbers that I got, the OP6 is definitely a faster device when compared to the OP3. I am currently driving through BC, Canada hoping to get some photos for EP I: The Photographic Menace (Day 04: Camera). The weather hasn't been as cooperative as I had hoped but I'm hoping to have it posted soon. I know for a fact that I didn't cover everything on this post with regards to speed so feel free to unleash your curiosity in the comments and I'll do my best to clarify and expand on it.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2018

    #47
  4. flusteredmustard
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer May 29, 2018

    Stickied Post
    flusteredmustard , May 29, 2018 :
    Episode I: The Photographic Menace
    (Day 04: Camera)



    I think that’s it’s super great that whenever a new phone comes out, the thing that makes or breaks it is the least phone-like function of the device. No one ever wants to talk about call quality, connectivity tech or even just the cool pre-installed ringtones. Instead, the real deal breaker these days is the camera, so today we’re gonna talk about whether or not the OnePlus 6 is a camera trapped inside a phone’s body.

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    (My OnePlus 3 showing its low light skills)

    Since we’re talking about the phone's cameras here, it felt wrong to bring in pics from an external camera, so for the sake of keeping things consistent, all images in this post will be #shotononeplus .

    Since receiving my review unit, I have been laying around with the newly revamped camera app and trying to figure out all the features that OnePlus put into it. Swiping up from the bottom area of the camera app takes you to a page with all different modes of the camera like Portrait, Slow Motion, Pro, Time Lapse and Panorama as well as the main functions like Photo and Video. Since I am not really a photographer and have no knowledge of what an F-Stop even means (all previous photos I’ve posted were taken on my Nikon Coolpix point and shoot with everything set to auto), I thought that I should shy away from the Pro-mode and instead focus more on looking at the general experience of taking photos and videos on auto as an average person illiterate in pro photography. So far, I can say that taking photos on the OnePlus 6 has been a very good experience with some issues that I’ll address in their respective categories.

    Auto Mode
    I’m going to start by talking about just the first thing that comes up when you double press on the power button, the main camera. From poking at the back lenses like a Neanderthal, I figured out that the lens closest to the fingerprint sensor is the main one it uses and the other one is used for depth perception and low light, at least I’m pretty sure that’s how they work. I’m the type of person to poke at camera lenses so that should clue you in on my technical knowledge. This setup has its issues since I’ve definitely gotten a couple pics where my pointer snuck up on the corner of the pic. You’d think the main one would’ve been the one furthest from the fingerprint sensor, but it is what it is. The point and shoot experience on this phone has been pretty good. Photos focus relatively fast and the auto HDR does a pretty good job of getting details in the dark and light areas.

    [​IMG]

    All these photos took me around 5 seconds each to take. I tried to keep them snapshots to really put the auto mode to the test. I’m pretty impressed at how well focused they all came out given that all that I did was double clicked the power button, tapped on the subject and clicked the shutter button. These are most evident in the images of my friend Shamus. She kept looking around and flicking her tail impatiently as I tried to take a photo of her, but the photos still came out pretty good. The phone was able to freeze her in time without too much blur, which is only present on her tail, and even then you can still make out individual hairs on her tail. It’s safe to say I’m pretty impressed at how the phone is able to take quick snapshots that are detailed and clear.

    [​IMG]



    Low Light
    So many of my phones in the past have been so garbage at taking night pictures that I almost forgot to test it on this phone. I took these images the same way I captured the auto photos. I didn’t mess with any sliders and just went with whatever the phone gave me and the results are pretty darn great. There’s very minimal grain and they did a pretty good job of being true to life.

    [​IMG]

    2X “Zoom”
    There is a button front and center on the camera app that allows you to toggle between 1x and 2x zoom, just like on the latest dual camera iPhones. This is great in theory, but unlike the iPhone, OP6 doesn’t actually have a dedicated telephoto lens to zoom in with. Instead, the phone takes the image from the 20mp sensor and crops it to make it look like it’s zoomed in. The resulting image is something that doesn’t look too bad on the phone screen, but once you double-tap-to-zoom on it, or view it on a larger display, you’ll immediately be aware of the disadvantages of cropping in. The details are gone, it’s got grainy artifacts like a farming archeologist and overall I would say that it’s not worth using this mode. Unfortunately, I don’t have a way of comparing it to what an actual 2x optical zoom should look like, but I know that they should look better on larger screens than the bootleg zoom that comes with the OnePlus 6. I just wish that OnePlus would make the button for it smaller and less tempting to press.

    [​IMG]


    Portrait Mode
    I’m coming from my OnePlus 3 which only had a single camera lens and found the whole idea of dual cameras to be pretty gimmicky. I saw the first wave of portrait shots from iPhone 7 users on Instagram and was always put off by the unrealistic gaussian blur and the sloppy looking edges. Then the Pixel 2 came in and wiped out the competition with only a single camera, further making me doubt the actual viability of dual cameras. The OnePlus 6 has a dual camera system that hasn’t really changed how I feel about them, but it has also not disappointed me in it’s capabilities. It’s not enough to blow my mind, but it does a pretty decent job of cropping around shapes a lot better than first-gen dual cameras. While I am pretty impressed that it was able to cut around weird non-human shapes as well as holding its own when faced with curly hair, it still felt fake and doesn’t even imitate my dinky little Nikon Coolpix, let alone a DSLR. The edges are muddy and hairs get cut off creating a halo of feathered mud around my subjects. I’m not saying that it looks bad, because it’s definitely good enough to impress people on my Instagram feed, but I still feel like with two lenses, there should be better depth perception on the phone’s part. The OP6’s camera isn’t doing anything better than the Pixel 2 with it’s single lens, so what’s the point of having 2 lenses? Overall I would say it’s good enough, but I feel like to truly compete with what’s already out there, I think OnePlus needs to blow my mind to truly make me believe in dual cameras and portrait mode.

    [​IMG]



    Panorama
    I love taking landscape photos so this has always been my favorite feature on any smartphone and I can confidently say that this still my favorite part of the camera app. I have nothing negative to report except for the couple times that I panned the camera too slowly and my arms got tired and so the image got all jagged on the right side, but that was mostly my fault. Otherwise, as long as you pan smoothly, you’ll get a nicely stitched image.

    [​IMG]



    Front Camera
    This phone has a front camera. It makes my nose look big just like every other front camera. Nothing really mind blowing. Here’s a low light selfie that my Graphic Design Prof took on my phone. (Nop, not gonna post an actual selfie of me, mostly because I’m self conscious)

    [​IMG]

    Video
    The OnePlus 6 can now take 4K 60 fps, which I can’t show you folks because I’m travelling through Canada at the moment and it took an entire overnight stay for me to be able to just upload 3 short clips on the sluggish hotel WiFi. What I was able to upload is one walking clip at 1080p 60fps as well as1080p 240 fps and 720 480 fps Slow Motion videos.

    I’m not sure what I did wrong here, but I feel that the stabilization was not present at all on the 1080p 60fps clip. I was just walking at a pretty slow pace and I got this gittery mess of a video. Perhaps I was supposed to film it at the standard frame rate for the stabilization to kick in? I don’t know. See for yourself. I’d say the stabilization from this video is not good at all.



    The Slow Motion videos were my favorite. I really like the way that the 720p 480fps video came out. It’s not a very high resolution, but I think it’s super cool that OnePlus was able to get this camera to capture that quickly and create such a fluid slow motion.





    Some Issues
    Alright. Now that I’ve described my experience taking photos with this phone, it’s time to talk about the times when I wasn’t taking photos with this phone. There have been several times when I called up the camera and it would display the app, but there’s nothing in the viewfinder. Switching the front to the rear and vice versa doesn’t do anything. It happens almost once a day and the only thing I can do is close the app, open it, close it again, and open it again and again until the camera finally realizes that it’s a camera app and not a brick simulator. If I’m feeling extra patient, I even restart the phone, but most of the time I just put the phone away with the frustration of missing what could’ve been a cool shot. This glitch is not just present in the camera app either. Any app that utilizes the camera (like Snapchat) can end up not having anything on the screen. I’ve even had the black screen come up after I’ve taken the shot. I took a really hilarious Snapchat once and I could see the image right there, put the caption on it and sent it to everyone, but all it sent out to everyone is a black screen with the caption. Even the Face Unlock feature is not safe from whatever is causing this because I’ve gotten this screen:

    [​IMG]
    This isn’t acceptable.

    I’m trying to take photos and share them, and it would be nice if the phone didn’t keep me from using the camera.

    That’s about all I can say about the camera. Let me know if there is anything you would like me to clarify or test out specifically. I’m sorry that I couldn’t cover Time Lapse and Pro Mode, but I felt that I should only cover things that I can confidently use. The camera on this phone is good enough to impress your Instagram followers even if you’re as illiterate in photography as I am. Let me know if I can clarify anything about the camera and prepare yourself for Episode II: Attack of the Ozones (Day 05: Oxygen OS) where I’m gonna talk about my love-hate relationship with this phone’s software.
     

    #55
  5. flusteredmustard
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 1, 2018

    Stickied Post
    flusteredmustard , Jun 1, 2018 :
    Episode II: Attack of the Ozones
    (Day 05: Oxygen OS)


    I’ve got to say that I’ve been a big fan of Oxygen OS since it first came out. The idea of a nearly stock, but with a few customization tweaks to enhance the experience really made a lot of sense to me. I remember installing it on my OnePlus 1 when the whole thing with CyanogenMod went to crap and I wanted to check it out. Ever since then, I’ve been using stock Oxygen OS on my devices even though there are so many other much more feature packed ROMs out there. This is because it has always offered the best balance between stability and customizability. OnePlus has been incrementally improving it and making it stand out more from just being stock android.

    While I find a lot of things that OnePlus has added and done to oxygen OS, there are still some things that bug me. For an otherwise polished ROM, Oxygen OS still has a few things that are a little rough around the edges and I would like to take this time to point them out.

    The Good
    I’m going to start this off by talking about the things that I really like about Oxygen OS. The stand out features that differentiate it from stock Android is what make this OS shine above other iterations of Android. The features that are added on top of Android feel as if someone was actually thinking about what people need instead of stuffing features that bloat and boggle user experience (Looking at you Sammy). So here are some of the things I really like about Oxygen OS.

    My all time favorite feature in Oxygen OS is the Shelf. I thought this was a gimmicky feature at first, but it has quickly become something that I’ve got to have. This is what has kept me from using third party launchers like Nova or Lean. I like being able to dump all my useful widgets into one scrollable place. I don’t like having pages and pages of widgets since it defeats the purpose of a widget when I have to swipe through 5 other pages before I can get to it. On the Shelf, my widgets are all just a swipe from the left of the homescreen and there they are. I found it particularly handy for my placing my Kasa scenes, letting me toggle different scenes quickly and conveniently without having to open the app. Being able to quickly see recent contacts as well as having informational widgets like Discover Mobile Quick View or WebMD’s allergy alerts conveniently stored in one place, instead of having pages and pages widgets is a great feature that I can’t live without. I feel that this feature beats out Google Feed in that it is customizable by the user and not decided by some AI bot that only ever gives you what you actually like every once in a while.

    [​IMG]

    The other feature that I know has been around since before Oxygen OS, but thankfully not been removed are the screen off gestures. On the OnePlus 6, this feature has actually been even improved because OnePlus has added more gestures and even made it so that you can now change what each gesture does or what app it opens. This has made is so that I can get to Google Assistant without having to turn on my screen or press any buttons. Allowing users to change what app the gestures open has made the screen off gestures one of my favorite features.

    If there is a theme here, it’s the fact that Oxygen OS is built on choices. You are not just limited to customizing your wallpaper and ringtone. I like being able to change notification LED colors. It’s great that you can change the color of system accents. OnePlus even lets you change the font from the standard Roboto to their own typeface called OnePlus Slate which I find very pleasing to the eye as it wider set and much more legible than Roboto at a glance. You can change the icon theme of on your homescreen, change the icons that show up on the status bar, change the layout of the navigation bar or even get rid of it altogether. All these different choices on how to use the device makes the user experience just that much more personal and I applaud OnePlus for making their OS so customizable.

    The Bad
    In my previous post, I did say that this was a love-hate relationship and so let me tell you folks some of the problems I have with Oxygen OS.

    While I applaud the OS for it’s customizability, there are some questionable choices that OnePlus is making that I don’t understand or agree with. The most aggravating of all of these is the fact that the default messaging app on the OnePlus 6 to this day does not have support for group messaging. I feel that if you’re going to make a messaging app in the 21st century, one of the first things you should definitely have is basic group mms support. Instead OnePlus confidently makes it your default messaging app without telling you that group messaging doesn’t work. I had so many embarrassing moments when I used their app and I ended up sending a gazillion individual messages to all the people in the group. It isn’t okay to set an app as the default app if it’s missing a standard feature that’s been around for ages. What was wrong with just shipping the phone with Android Messages? Was it just that much more difficult to just not invest time, money and resources to make an app that replaces the default Android Messages app? I can understand doing something like this if they had actually created an app that was objectively better than what Google was offering, but their app isn’t even as good, so why was it even made?

    Speaking of seemingly pointless apps, here’s a few more that boggle my mind as to why they exist. Why does the Notes app exist? Google Keep already exists. Why do OP phones ship with a tricked out Clock app? The icons and animations are only slightly different looking and is in every function the same as Google’s default Android Clock app. Why is the Phone Dialer app tricked out too? Why not default Android Dialer? The Calculator App is even funkyfied, even though no one has ever said “Gosh, Google’s Calculator app is meh, I wish someone made a clone of it and rearranged the buttons, cus I definitely could use that!”. For a company that prides themselves in driving the prices down by only focusing on the parts of a smartphone that consumers care about, they sure are throwing a loads of sweaty cash down the drain by making these seemingly pointless editions of apps that already ships with stock Android.

    [​IMG]

    Out of all of these app clones, the only one that gets a pass is the Gallery app, but only because Google Photos is a garbage heap of a user experience to operate. OnePlus Gallery app is straightforward and I can get to my pics a lot faster than digging through Google’s AI driven mess.

    The Ugly
    I was going to initially add this section into The Bad section, but found it appropriate to add it as a separate section because I’m a wannabe graphic designer with a lot of opinions.

    Oxygen OS has a certain aesthetic that I honestly find very clean and nice to navigate through. The problem is that there seems to be a lot of discrepancy between the appearance of UI elements. The biggest culprit is Dark Mode. I understand that OnePlus has no control over how 3rd party apps look, but they can’t even get dark mode figured out for their own apps. If I’m someone that uses dark mode, I’m gonna want dark mode as much as possible. It’s nice of OnePlus to make most of the apps like the dialer, settings and calculator dark, but why is the Notes app and OnePlus Community app in bright white still? How do you also justify having a File Explorer app that is dark, but the downloads app is bright? These kinds of discrepancies all add up for a very inconsistent user experience and I really wish OnePlus would step it up. If you’re going to mindlessly clone default app, at least do it for the reason of adding features like Dark Mode.

    [​IMG]

    Another gripe I have with the UI design in Oxygen OS are the accent colors. For one, they’re not as present as I want them to be in OnePlus’ own apps. The Dialer app keeps its blue accents regardless what color you have picked, Messages app and the Shelf maintain the teal accents and the Calculator has an orange accent no matter what you do. What’s the point of changing accent colors when the only place you see it is in the settings app? Also let’s talk about color choices because OnePlus doesn’t seem to understand the colors that most people like on electronic devices. Why is BROWN an accent color choice, but RED is not? OnePlus went out of their way to make Brown and two shades of purple as an accent color but they won’t even let users use the primary color of their brand. One of my favorite things about OnePlus is the fact red is their primary brand color, which is awesome for me since red is one of my favorite colors. It makes absolutely no sense why Oxygen OS has absolutely no way for me to use that color as an accent color.

    [​IMG]

    While accent colors bug me greatly, another issue that bugs me daily is the fact that the navigation bar has absolutely atrocious detection of what color the app is. In theory, the nav bar is supposed to change from black to white depending on the background color of the app. In practice, what you end up with a white nav bar for a dark colored app which is really gross to look at. I want this to work really bad too because while I enjoy the gesture nav, I need to have the nav bar to use Google Assistant and take advantage of the mappable buttons. As it is, I can’t stand using Spotify and seeing a white bar at the bottom, forcing me to either hide it or use the gesture navigation and live without Google Assistant.

    [​IMG]

    This also happens when you enable anything in the status bar area that isn't Cellular, Wifi, or Bluetooth.

    [​IMG]

    My final critique of Oxygen OS is the fact that the launcher is missing some features that are no brainers for any launcher that are considered customizable. While I appreciate that OnePlus is kind enough to give us more than just wallpapers to customize, it just doesn’t make sense why certain features that are found even in the worst 3rd party launchers can’t be found on OnePlus Launcher. For example, the OnePlus 6 has a tall display, but you can’t have more than 5 rows of icons in the homescreen. This awkwardly creates big gaps between the icons and there’s no way to change it. OnePlus has also had the ability to use icon pack on the homescreen, but for some reason there isn’t a “Reset all icons” button, so if you happen to have gone on a theming-spree, you have to go through and find all the icons you manually edited and reset them one by one should you want to change icons. This is especially frustrating since there is already a reset button, so how hard is it to add a reset all button? For a company that is touting “The Speed You Need”, it sure is a slow process to edit icons. Also, why hasn’t the OnePlus 6 gotten the ability to theme live icons yet? It’s been on my OP3’s beta for a while now and I’m still waiting on it for the 6. Speaking of speed and waiting, the icon shortcuts are great, but OnePlus has edited it from Google’s original design which is all fine and dandy, except they made the shortcuts awfully huge and the animation is soooooo sloooooow. Google’s approach was a small shortcut with a quick animation. It’s a shortcut after all, it’s supposed to help keep me from having to wait to open the app to start using it, but when the animation to have the shortcut show up takes just as long to open the app, why bother? And here I was thinking OnePlus was the king of speedy animations, and yet they have the slowest most bogged down icon shortcuts.

    OnePlus Launcher Shortcuts:
    [​IMG]

    Stock Android Shorcuts:
    [​IMG]

    Oxygen OS is a relatively speedy and very customizable OS, but there are some things that are still very unpolished and some choices that make no sense to me as a user. The best part about this Love-Hate relationship though is the fact Oxygen OS is an ever evolving ROM and is continuously being tested and improved on by OnePlus. I know that by listing out my problems as a user, OnePlus will do the right thing and take note of the parts of their software that isn’t quite as good as it should be. I also know that most of my problems with the software is something that can be fixed and will eventually get better and perhaps they’ll even have a solution that I didn’t think of. While some people may talk of OnePlus settling in the design department of their hardware, and while I might even agree on some of those things (5/5T = iPhone 7 clone, the infamous notch, etc.), This is the one department where I can really see them not settling for the easiest route. They are constantly experimenting and tweaking the software to make it both a unique and personal experience for all users.

    That’s my Oxygen OS review folks! I really kind of ranted because I’ve been sticking to Oxygen OS since its first iterations on the OnePlus 1, and I’ve seen it change overtime and wanted to really get my ideas out there because I really like this ROM and would really like to see it keep on improving over time. I’d like to hear if you folks agree or disagree with me and if you also have your own ideas for how Oxygen OS can be improved in the future. Let me know and stay tuned for Episode VI: Revenge of the Sixth (Day 06: Conclusion)!
     

    #62
  6. flusteredmustard
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 2, 2018

    Stickied Post
    flusteredmustard , Jun 2, 2018 :
    Episode VI: Revenge of the Sixth
    (Day 06: Conclusion)


    After using this phone for the past week, I honestly can say that it has been an overall positive experience. I ran into some bumps along the way, but none of them have been bad enough to destroy my overall impression of the phone. I’m still impressed that OnePlus went from saying that they weren’t able to cram a larger screen on the OnePlus 5 to then making such a polished, almost bezel-less device in a span of one year. This jump in tech also didn’t come at the cost of the overall design because I would say this is my second favorite feel in the hand for a phone (OP1 Sandstone is still the peak imho) and the prettiest looking OnePlus device I’ve seen. There’s something about holding a solid brick that’s 83.81% screen to body ratio that, despite the asymmetric design and notch at the top, I can’t get myself to go back to my OnePlus 3’s screen.

    [​IMG]

    The OnePlus 6 is an upgrade in almost every way from my OnePlus 3 and I initially almost don’t like it because I didn’t want to be one of those people who are okay with a phone with a notch, yet here we are. It feels faster, looks better, takes better photos and all these combine for an experience where I forget that there’s a notch. This part of the design has quickly become a non issue for me since OnePlus did such a good job of making it something that you forget.

    [​IMG]

    With all these things that OnePlus got right, it’s not enough for the user to not notice the things they didn’t quite get right. There’s a glass sandwich build that feels solid and fits in the hand nicely, but there is always the constant fear hovering over having twice as much glass to break. OnePlus did a lot of hyping up for the strength of the glass in the back but you’re still not going to be as robust as the metal builds of previous phones. I’ve pretty much kept a case on my OP6 for this very reason because I’m not willing to risk it. With this glass back, you are also not getting the usual benefits of glass which is its capacity for wireless charging. I can understand not having this feature in the phone for the sake of cost, but this totally negates the whole point of glass in the back of the device.

    [​IMG]

    Overall though, I still hold my initial feeling of being impressed with what OnePlus has done. They made a device that goes toe to toe with the latest flagships that much bigger and much more prominent manufacturers are making. It has pretty much everything that you’d want and some more. It’s only really lacking a few features here and there but these missing features are really just extra icing on a cake that those willing to pay for it can have. OnePlus just made a similar tasting cake but with a little less icing for a significantly lower price.

    [​IMG]

    And this pretty much concludes my thoughts and feelings about the device! If you folks have any further questions or if there is anything else I can clarify for you folks, I am willing to create some more sequels and perhaps even some spinoff reviews!

    Thanks for reading through my rant. If you want the the full vid of that gif above, click here. I apologize in advance for the potato quality, I don't have a very good video camera and just made do with what I had :)

    ~Flustered Mustard
     

    #65
  7. Drasm19
    Ice Cream Sandwich May 22, 2018


    #2
  8. cdnfarmer
    Moderator, Photography Expert Moderator May 22, 2018

    cdnfarmer , May 22, 2018 :
    Thank you! I like how you actually described the cases and how they felt. When I look at the website, it's difficult to truly know which one that would match my needs. Now I have a better idea. I really like how you described the transparent case and how it feels. It confirms that I really should get another one. Here is a suggestions for you reviewers, could you please label the cases (or any other products that have multiple variants) when you have a picture of them? It is easier to see at a glance. It also helps ensure that we are not misunderstanding anything or confusing two cases. Thanks.
     

    #3
  9. JelleZon
    OnePlus Accessory Tester May 22, 2018


    #4
    dcmcc24 and flusteredmustard like this.
  10. lakshaykapoor99
    Honeycomb May 22, 2018


    #5
    dcmcc24 and flusteredmustard like this.
  11. pa5t1s
    User of the Year 2014 May 22, 2018


    #6
    meatandy, malidan, gubro and 3 others like this.
  12. dcmcc24
    KitKat May 22, 2018

    dcmcc24 , May 22, 2018 :
    Really good job so far! Can't wait to read the upcoming days
     

    #7
    pa5t1s and flusteredmustard like this.
  13. Alvie
    The Lab - OnePlus 5T Reviewer May 22, 2018


    #8
    flusteredmustard likes this.
  14. honour
    Honeycomb May 22, 2018


    #9
    flusteredmustard likes this.
  15. MiszterSoul
    Ice Cream Sandwich May 22, 2018


    #10
    flusteredmustard likes this.
  16. G_Diego_Htoe
    Eclair May 22, 2018


    #11
    flusteredmustard likes this.
  17. BeingIncog
    Nougat May 22, 2018


    #12
    flusteredmustard, GopalB. and RJBoss like this.
  18. GopalB.
    Nougat May 22, 2018

    GopalB. , May 22, 2018 :
    Looks that way!!!
    You guys received normal box last time... :oops:
     

    #13
    flusteredmustard and Alvie like this.
  19. GopalB.
    Nougat May 22, 2018


    #14
    flusteredmustard and RJBoss like this.
  20. Alvie
    The Lab - OnePlus 5T Reviewer May 22, 2018

    Alvie , May 22, 2018 :
    Yeah :(
     

    #15
    flusteredmustard and GopalB. like this.
  21. GopalB.
    Nougat May 22, 2018

    GopalB. , May 22, 2018 :
    I remember people asking you guys about this very thing... :p
     

    #16
    flusteredmustard and Alvie like this.
  22. marinobiagio
    KitKat May 22, 2018


    #17
    flusteredmustard and BeingIncog like this.
  23. RJBoss
    The Showcase Reviewer May 22, 2018

    RJBoss , May 22, 2018 :
    I'm not a pro, y'know. Maybe I'll edit it in days to come :)
     

    #18
    flusteredmustard and GopalB. like this.
  24. GopalB.
    Nougat May 22, 2018

    GopalB. , May 22, 2018 :
    Your camera has to be in the same place... That's the only trick...;)
     

    #19
    flusteredmustard and RJBoss like this.
  25. Søren Ravn Lund
    Gingerbread May 22, 2018


    #20
    flusteredmustard likes this.