OnePlus finally announced the highly teased OnePlus 3 in virtual reality, and, boy, was it trippy. Anyone can download The Loop Android app to walk around the company’s Loop space station and explore different “decks” such as Design, Dash Charge, and more. Each deck explores features of the OnePlus 3, and, of course, the experience is amplified if you have a VR headset.
Rather than distributing Cardboard VR headsets like it did for the OnePlus 2 launch, the Chinese smartphone startup sent out well-built “Loop VR” headsets to 30,000 loyal supporters so they could watch the live VR unveiling of the OnePlus 3. You can also just check it out on your Android phone, of course. You can even buy the OnePlus 3 within the Loop app in virtual reality, but before you click the buy button, read all about the phone’s specs here.
Release date and price
The OnePlus 3 is available for purchase in VR (or in the 360-degree experience if you don’t have a VR headset) via the Loop Android app — that’s right, the invite system is no more. The device costs $400 — putting it in the “flagship killer” range, but it’s still pricier than previous OnePlus devices. The phone comes in “graphite.” A two-toned gold version — dubbed the OnePlus 3 “Soft Gold,” officially — will be go on sale starting at 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 26, in the U.S. on OnePlus.net, and on August 1 in the U.K. (12 p.m. CEST), Hong Kong (6 a.m. HKT), and Canada (6 a.m. EST). If you don’t want to deal with the theatrics, you can also buy the device from the company’s website.
OnePlus has held pop-up events across seven major cities, including New York, Berlin, London, Paris, and several locations in India, to promote the launch of the OnePlus 3. Notably, co-founder Carl Pei attended the New York pop-up event on June 15.
Where’s the sandstone?
With the OnePlus 3, the Chinese company implemented an all-metal design, moving away from the classic sandstone finish that was beloved on the OnePlus 2 and One. The company did have a device with a glass back — the OnePlus X — and it also offered ceramic backs for 10,000 devices in Europe. An all-metal design is completely different, and the device doesn’t look like its predecessors. In fact, the back closely resembles the design of the HTC 10.
But that’s not a bad thing — the OnePlus 3 certainly looks good, even if it looks a little more familiar. The camera sits on the center-top, with a small LED flash below it and OnePlus’ logo in the center. The device has antenna rings close to the top and bottom edges, and the corners are a little more rounded than before.
There are several stylish cases you can get from OnePlus to make your OnePlus 3 to stand out — whether you want classic sandstone, wood, or different colored backs.
The front of the phone resembles the OnePlus 2 a lot more, and you’ll find the same fingerprint sensor placed on the bottom center, which also doubles as the home button. There are capacitive hardware buttons, but you can add on-screen buttons if you like. OnePlus says the fingerprint sensor on the front is made of ceramic, which “improves accuracy with increased use.” It can reportedly unlock your phone in a sleeping state in under 0.3 seconds.
The bezels are thinner than ever, and OnePlus says the device itself is one of its “thinnest flagships” at 7.3mm. For reference, the iPhone 6S Plus is 7.1mm. The flagship device retains a 5.5-inch screen with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels like the OnePlus 2, but it uses an AMOLED screen like the OnePlus X.
The volume rocker and power button are on the right side of the phone as usual, and the Alert Slider is in the same place as it was on the OnePlus 2. The Slider on the left side lets you toggle your notification settings between “all notifications, priority interruptions, and no interruptions.”
Powering the 5.5-inch display is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, which seems to be running most Android flagships today like Samsung’s Galaxy S7, the HTC 10, and LG’s G5. Along with the boost in power, the rumors are correct in that the OnePlus 3 has 6GB of RAM. That should prove useful when handling multiple tasks, and it also future-proofs the phone.
The new smartphone runs OxygenOS on top of Android Marshmallow, just like its predecessors, and you’ll get a whopping 64GB of storage space. It also has a downgraded 3,000mAh battery — the OnePlus 2 had a 3,300mAh, but co-founder Carl Pei says in a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything that Dash Charge technology replaces the need for a bigger battery. The claim is that Dash Charge uses the USB Type-C port to let you charge the OnePlus 3 up to 60 percent in 30 minutes.
The rear camera is packed with 16-megapixels, and the front camera has 8-megapixels. The OnePlus 3 supports RAW image files and has a “robust” manual mode if you’re looking for more control over the camera. Thankfully, the camera also features optical-image stabilization as well as electronic image stabilization to reduce blur. The selfie cam has a Smile Capture feature, which will snap a picture when you smile.
If you’re hoping for fast Android updates, a OnePlus employee says in the Reddit AMA that the company is working on releasing updates as fast as possible.
Article originally published June 2016. Updated on 07-25-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added news of gold model’s global availability.