OnePlus 6: Everything you need to know

The OnePlus 6's Nightscape mode will make low-light photos a whole lot better

Oneplus 6 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The OnePlus 6 is finally here. If you’ve never heard of the brand, it’s a Chinese company that’s known to sell phones with high-end specifications for affordable prices. That includes good design, impressive build quality, clean Android software with no bloatware, and specs rivaling and sometimes surpassing those from rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S9.

OnePlus has established a cycle of releasing a new phone every six or so months, but it always only sells one phone at a given time. So with the OnePlus 6 announced, last fall’s OnePlus 5T is now discontinued. Here’s everything you need to know.

Updates

OnePlus will get Nightscape mode

Your low-light photos on the OnePlus 6 are about to get a whole lot better. Nightscape, a software feature announced at the OnePlus 6T launch, is similar to other low-light modes that have come to flagships this year and combines multiple exposures to achieve an image with less noise, better color accuracy, and more accurate dynamic range. The feature will come in a software update For OnePlus 6 owners in the coming months.

OnePlus surpasses Samsung in Indian premium phone sales

According to a new report from Counterpoint Research, OnePlus has surpassed Samsung in premium smartphone sales in India for a full quarter — largely due to strong sales of the OnePlus 6. The report notes that Samsung, OnePlus, and Apple contributed to a hefty 88 percent of the Indian smartphone market — down from 95 percent only one quarter ago. The shift is largely due to strong sales from companies like Huawei and Nokia.

OnePlus was also the fastest growing brand during the quarter, with a massive 446 percent increase in phone sales in India. The OnePlus 6 is to thank for the increase, with the phone itself snapping up a 30 percent share of the Indian premium phone market. The OnePlus 5T also contributed, coming in as the third highest-selling premium smartphone with 10 percent of the market.

Behind OnePlus are Samsung and Apple. Samsung captured a still strong 34 percent, while Apple reached a new low of 14 percent — a figure that’s likely to dramatically change as we head into a new iPhone update cycle.

New colors

OnePlus announced a new color option for the OnePlus 6 on July 1. The OnePlus 6 Red, a stunning addition to the existing lineup of black and silk white, uses special coatings to increase gloss, clarity, and depth. In the images and video, it looks fantastic. The new version will only be available in the 8GB/128GB configuration, but will still cost $580/520 British pounds, and will be available to buy from July 10. The OnePlus 6 Red will be sold everywhere the phone is already available, according to OnePlus CEO Pete Lau.

In a statement to Business Insider published June 14, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed that the OnePlus 6 sold more than a million units in less than a single month. According to that same statement, this makes the OnePlus 6 a much faster seller than the previous OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5, which also managed to hit a million units each — but only three months after release for each.

So what’s different about the OnePlus 6 to prompt these sales figures? Aside from the updates to the internals, it’s highly likely that the updated design and low price-tag is a principal driver behind this success. As much as we may hate to admit it, the notch is a popular addition to modern smartphones.

Earlier in June, XDA Developers reported that Jason Donenfeld, president of Edge Security, had discovered a major flaw within the OnePlus 6 that allowed him to boot an arbitrary modified image, bypassing the device’s security measures. This exploit makes it easy for someone with physical access to the phone to easily take control. Of course, they would need to be in physical possession of the phone to do so, but it’s still a concern for many owners. OnePlus has issued a statement acknowledging the bug and says that a fix is on the way.

On June 5 the long-awaited OnePlus 6 in Silk White was released, coming in a limited run with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage for $580.

On May 24, OnePlus released the first software update for the OnePlus 6. While the update brought some good features and bug fixes, it also removed the phone’s always-on ambient display. The news made its rounds on the OnePlus subreddit and the XDA Developers forums before being officially confirmed in a statement reported by Piunika Web. OnePlus said the feature had been removed due to concerns over battery life.

As if the OnePlus 6 wasn’t already stylish enough, OnePlus announced on May 17 that it would be running a limited edition of Avengers-themed OnePlus 6 variants in China, to coincide with the launch of Avengers: Infinity War.

Design: Slimmer bezels and a notch

Perhaps the most important difference between the OnePlus 6 and its predecessor — the OnePlus 5T — is design. As expected, OnePlus has adopted some 2018 design trends — including a bigger edge-to-edge display. Unlike some other phones on the market, there are still bezels — but they’ve been seriously slimmed down.

OnePlus 6 Main

What helps trim those bezels down is the notch, a cutout at the top of the phone housing the camera and the earpiece. The notch became a trend after Apple used it in the iPhone X, but Apple wasn’t the first company to employ this design style. It’s now a common sight on many Android phones, such as the Huawei P20 Pro and the LG G7 ThinQ. If you’re not a fan of the notch, you will be able to hide it through the software in a later update.

You can use the front-facing camera to unlock the phone, or you can opt for the fingerprint sensor on the back. Face Unlock isn’t as secure as Apple’s Face ID, unfortunately, and it’s meant purely for convenience over security.

The phone, unfortunately, doesn’t offer an official IP rating for water-resistance — but OnePlus says that it has a “special type of foam” under the screen and battery cover that prevents water from getting into the guts of the device. It also has waterproof materials in the headphone jack and fingerprint sensor. In other words, the company says the phone should survive a drop in the sink or similar mishap — but you should avoid contact with water if you can.

The AMOLED screen on the phone comes in at 6.28 inches, with a resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels. It’s a solid resolution for a phone in this price range, but most flagship phones step things up to at least a 1440 pixel display.

One the back of the phone, you’ll find a dual rear-facing camera, along with a flash and fingerprint sensor, and the OnePlus logo. Despite the tech crammed in, it looks very minimalistic and stylish, which is good news for those who appreciate a streamlined design. On the bottom, there’s a USB-C port and a headphone jack, along with a bottom-firing speaker. The phone supports OnePlus’ Dash Charge fast-charging technology.

Special editions

Following on from the limited edition silk white, and from the OnePlus 5T in lava red; you can now by the OnePlus 6 in a stunning red color. Take a good look at the deep red hue, the depth and clarity of which has been made possible by using special coatings — a first in the industry, apparently — to get the shade and brightness exactly right. The OnePlus 6 Red only comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space, but costs the same as the black models already available.

oneplus 6 news red

OnePlus doesn’t only make special colors, it also loves big-name movie tie-ins. The first special edition OnePlus 6 to be officially announced was the Avengers: Infinity War Edition made to celebrate the blockbuster movie of the same name. OnePlus collaborated with its partners in the right way, and this phone is way more than just a few wallpapers and a special box. However, it was only announced for China.

What do you get? The OnePlus 6 Avengers: Infinity War Edition has a special carbon fiber-like rear panel, complete with a gold OnePlus and Avengers logos, and a gold Alert Slider on the side. Inside a commemorative box is an elaborate case for the phone, made in the image of Iron Man’s iconic face mask. One of six randomly inserted Avengers medals will be inside the box. A competition prize awaits the person that collects all six, with the Black Panther medal likely to be the most sought-after, as only six will be made.

The OnePlus 6 Avengers: Infinity War Edition costs around $30 more than the regular edition, and only comes in the 8GB/128GB version.

Specs

Under the hood, like previous OnePlus phones, the phone boasts some flagship specs.

With a Snapdragon 845 and up to 8GB of RAM, the phone should be able to go head-to-head with any new flagship smartphone in the performance department. In fact, it may do even better considering the slightly lower-resolution display. The 3,300mAh battery isn’t huge, but it should get you through at least a day of medium usage.

Like previous OnePlus phones, the OnePlus 6 features the latest version of OxygenOS, which is currently based on Android 8.1 Oreo. Generally speaking, OxygenOS is similar to stock Android, with far more customization options and a few more visual tweaks.

Camera

Smartphone cameras are getting better and better, and the OnePlus 6 is no exception. The device, like the OnePlus 5T before it, offers dual rear-facing cameras with a primary 16-megapixel sensor, optical image stabilization, and an aperture of f/1.7. The secondary sensor sits at 20 megapixels with an aperture of f/1.7.

According to OnePlus, the camera uses artificial intelligence to create a better Portrait Mode — though we’ll have to wait and see just how good it really is. The camera is capable of recording video at up to 4K at up to 60 frames per second, and features a super-slow-motion mode that can record both 720p video at 240 frames per second, and at 480fps. The difference is, it can do so for up to a minute in time, and allows you to select the parts you want in slow motion. The camera app also has a new video editing feature.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless

oneplus 6 availability bullets wireless

What’s even better than the OnePlus 6? How about the OnePlus 6 with a pair of Bluetooth earbuds that react smartly? You’ll want the OnePlus Bullets Wireless, an excellent pair of great value wireless in-ear headphones. The Bullets Wireless are milled from aluminum to create a design that’s lightweight and comfortable, while also being stylish. When not in use, the two earphones can be magnetically clipped together to prevent tangles — and when used with a OnePlus 6 or 5T, clipping them together will intelligently pause your music.

Battery is always a worry with Bluetooth earphones, but OnePlus has been working on that, building its celebrated Dash Charge into the earphones. Ten minutes on any USB-C cable (no need for a OnePlus branded cable or charger) will give the earphones enough juice for five hours — it gets eight hours of battery life from a full charge. All that battery life is coupled with OnePlus’ energy-saving mode that switches the Bullets Wireless off after five minutes of inactivity.

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless cost $70, but supply has been limited since launch, so if you haven’t managed to get a pair yet, keep checking the OnePlus website. Not sure you want a pair? We think you will.

Price and availability

OnePlus 6 Colors

Like previous OnePlus phones, the OnePlus 6 features flagship specs at a relatively inexpensive price — though that relatively inexpensive price has been crawling up a little. The OnePlus 6 comes in several color schemes. Mirror black and midnight black are standard, along with a limited-edition version named silk white. These were subsequently joined by the OnePlus 6 Red, which comes in a beautiful red color. Here’s a rundown of the prices:

  • Mirror Black, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage: $530/470 British pounds
  • Mirror Black, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage: $580/520 pounds
  • Midnight Black, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage: $580/520 pounds
  • Midnight Black, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage: $630/570 pounds
  • Silk White, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage: $580/520 pounds
  • OnePlus 6 Red, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage: $580/520 pounds

The phones will be available from the OnePlus website starting on May 22, the limited-edition silk white version launched on June 5, and the OnePlus 6 Red on July 10. Keep in mind, the phones will not work with Verizon or Sprint — if you’re in the U.S., you’ll need T-Mobile or AT&T to use the phone.

Updated on October 29, 2018: OnePlus will get Nightscape mode.

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