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OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2: Can the new phone kill the flagship killer?

After a ton of leaks and speculation, the OnePlus 3 is official, and boy is it a beautiful device. It offers a great design, top specs, and a price tag that’s bound to entice anyone in the market for a new phone. But how does it stack up against last year’s device, the OnePlus 2? The OnePlus 3’s predecessor was certainly no slouch, either. In fact, OnePlus once hailed it as “the flagship killer,” a device that boasted a sleek look and some of the best specs around for a 2015 device. It’s 2016, however. How does the OnePlus 3 compare in terms of both hardware and software? Check out the spec comparison below to find out.

Related: You can buy the OnePlus 3 in virtual reality right now for $400

OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3

OnePlus 2

OnePlus 2

Size 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4mm (6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29-inches)  151.8 x 74.9 x 9.9mm (5.98 x 2.95 x 0.39-inches)
Weight 5.57oz  6.17oz
Screen Size 5.5-inch AMOLED  5.5-inch LCD
Resolution 1,080 x 1,920 pixels  1,080 x 1,920 pixels
OS Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow w/ Oxygen OS  Android 5.1 Lollipop w/Oxygen OS
Storage 64GB  16/64GB
SD Card Slot No  No
NFC support Yes  No
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820  Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
RAM  6GB  3/4GB
Connectivity  GSM/CDMA/HSPA/EVDO/LTE  GSM/HSPA/LTE
Camera  16MP Rear / 8MP Front  13MP Rear / 5MP Front
Video  4K  2,160p
Bluetooth  4.2  4.1
Fingerprint sensor  Yes  Yes
Water Resistant No  No
Battery  3,000mAh  3,300mAh
Ports  USB-C, Headphone  USB-C, Headphone
Quick Charging  Yes, Dash Charge  No
Wireless Charging  No  No
Color options  Graphite  Sandstone Black
Availability  Unlocked  Unlocked
DT Review  Coming Soon 3.5/5 Stars

Specs

OnePlus_2

Let’s make something abundantly clear — we’re not figuring out which phone is better here. It’s the OnePlus 3. The question is just how much better it is.

First up is the processor. As a flagship device, last year’s OnePlus 2 had last year’s flagship processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. This year, the OnePlus 3 ram

ps things up a bit with the Snapdragon 820. So how much better is the 820 than the 810? Quite a bit actually — AnTuTu’s benchmark puts the Snapdragon 810 at 81,049 points, while the Snapdragon 820 seriously dominates at 136,383. In other words, it’s a whole lot better.It doesn’t suffer from overheating, either.

Related: OnePlus execs take to Reddit to answer some of your burning questions

The processor alone isn’t what determines how quick a phone is, though it does play a big part. The amount of RAM in a device also has an impact, and boy does the OnePlus 3 deliver on RAM. The OnePlus 2 already had 3GB or 4GB depending on your variant, but the OnePlus 3 joins an elite group of phones with a whopping 6GB of RAM. Only a few other phones, including the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 and the LeEco Le Max 2, have that much, and while more phones will surely follow with 6GB, the OnePlus 3 really leads the pack. More Ram should equal betetr processing for intense gaming and other tasks.

When it comes to storage, though, the two phones are on par with one another. The OnePlus 2 came with either 16GB or 64GB of storage, but only the 64GB version is now available. The OnePlus 3 is only available with 64GB of storage, which is plenty for most people and helpful when you consider the fact that OnePlus has never been one to include a MicroSD card slot.

The battery life on the two devices will also likely be the same. The OnePlus 3 has a smaller battery, but it also has an OLED screen, which is better for battery life.

Winner: OnePlus 3

Design

oneplus-3-news-1

OnePlus has never been one for flashy design, and while neither device is what you might call “flashy,” both are very sleek. The new phone is even better looking than the OnePlus 2 with its all-metal build. It looks more or less like a cross between the HTC 10 and the iPhone 6, which is to say, it’s beautiful. The OnePlus 2, in contrast, offered a variety of different back plates, including a sandpapery finish, wood, and more. You can still get those backs as cases for the OnePlus 3, if you miss that iconic look, but underneath it all, you’ll have the durability of metal.

The OnePlus 3 is also 2.5 millimeters thinner than the 2, however, nearly all other dimensions are the same — presumably to keep to adhere to the 5.5-inch display. Symmetry has always played a big part in OnePlus designs, and that continues with the OnePlus 3. Only the front-facing camera is off-center on the device.

Related: OnePlus draws hundreds at New York City pop-up event

You can’t go wrong with either of these phones when it comes to design, although if you’re looking for something a little slimmer, lighter, and tougher, then the OnePlus 3 is the better choice.

Winner: OnePlus 3

Display

OnePlus-2-0032

When it comes to display size and resolution, there’s not much to talk about. The OnePlus 3 includes a 5.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display, just like the OnePlus 2. Where there is change, however, is in display type — whereas the OnePlus 2 had an LCD display, the OnePlus 3 features an OLED. What this basically means is that the OnePlus 3 should have brighter colors and deeper blacks, and it shouldn’t be as big of a strain on your battery life.

Winner: OnePlus 3

Camera

oneplus-3-news-2

The camera on the OnePlus 3 is better than the OnePlus 2, but not by much. That’s because the camera on the OnePlus 2 was already excellent. Both devices have an f/2.0 aperture, optical image stabilization, and an LED flash. Last year’s phone had laser autofocus, while the OnePlus 3 has phase detection autofocus — two different methods of achieving the same thing. Where the new phone really deviates is in megapixels, in that it offers a 16-megapixel camera instead of the 13-megapixel sensor found on the OnePlus 2. It also supports RAW photos, something that should appeal to photographers.

Related: 100 awesome Android apps that will turn your phone into a jack of all trades

The OnePlus 3 also features an 8-megapixel selfie taker, which is better than the 5-megapixel camera that’s equipped to the front of the OnePlus 2. In other words, both cameras are better on the OnePlus 3.

Winner: OnePlus 3

Software

oneplus 3 display

There’s not that much to talk about here. The OnePlus 2 shipped with Android 5, but is upgradeable to Android 6, while the OnePlus 3 has Android 6 out of the box. Both devices also feature OnePlus’ Oxygen OS overlay, which functions as a lightweight version of Android that lacks much in the way of bloatware and extra services. These two are more or less equal in terms of software.

Winner: Tie

Conclusions

There’s no question that the OnePlus 3 is a better device — and not by a little bit, either. Sure, some of the specs are very similar, but under the hood, the OnePlus 3 is an absolute powerhouse, one that outperforms the OnePlus 2 in nearly every way. The OnePlus 2 is cheaper given its $300 price tag, but if you can afford it, you should shell out the extra $100 for the OnePlus 3. The latter lands you better specs and will last longer, meaning that it could actually save you money in the long run.