OnePlus 3 - Two Year Review!


Since early June I have been using the OnePlus Three as my daily driver, replacing my old OnePlus One. I currently reside in the eastern US and in a metropolitan area so coverage and usage might be different than others.

What a typical day’s use for me is:

  • Usually about 3 - 6 hours of bluetooth connectivity
  • About 2 - 5 hours of screen on time
  • Many unlocks to check chats, internet, etc.

To add some perspective, I did very similar things with my OnePlus One, though I heavily tweaked settings and ran an updated version of Cyanogenmod 12.1 with a super small install of Google Apps. With the OnePlus 3, I ran their OxygenOS 3.0.1 (I think that’s what was on it before) and upgraded to 3.2.1 a week ago, which means keeping all of the stock Google Apps as well.


When it comes to build quality, this device is solid.

The metal unibody design gives to a sleek and smooth surface, but not slippery like glass backing, that feels fantastic in the hand. The side buttons all around feel solid and have a responsive, tactile click when pressed. The notification slider is also textured and takes a bit more force to move so accidentally changing your alert priority doesn’t ever happen.

On the face of the phone is the single ceramic home button which is smooth to touch though does not actually depress, which has a rather nice, smooth feeling and the fingerprint sensor itself is accurate and super quick to use. On the bottom is the single grilled speaker that gets relatively loud and does not distort much at the highest volume, but can easily block sound with just a finger. There is also the USB-C connector and the audio jack down there, which is where I prefer it!

The screen is a 5.5in 1080p AMOLED display, which is lovely to look at and gets bright enough to read outside, though other phones I have seen read much better outdoors.

The only real complaint I have is that the camera on the back does stick out noticeably and makes me hesitant to set it down sometimes even though the Gorilla glass and metal edges around the lens will likely keep it from being damaged.


The camera is 16MP with optical image stabilization as well as electronic image stabilization, an HDR mode, dynamic de-noise, and RAW image support.

As to how well that performs, I’ve found it to be a steady improvement over my OnePlus One with more detail, shooting faster, and it works better in low light, though still not that great in such cases. While shooting, I’ve found that the EIS actually does help quite a bit in keeping my shots in focus. It really only has a problem with motion in the scene so the subject often looks great but some moving things elsewhere can get blurred.

As for video, it tends to look alright. I am not too great at critiquing video quality so I’ll leave it at that.


I tend to keep the screen at 35% screen brightness, auto-brightness on, gestures on, fingerprint scanner on, data on about half the time, wi-fi almost always on, location off most times, bluetooth on about 3-6 hours a day, email sync off until I refresh, keeping apps open while leaving only one chat app up all day with those notifications on.

All that said, I get around 6 hours of screen on time, which is enough to last me more than a full day with about 20-30% left most days. I’ve found that the Dash charging feature actually does what it claims, usually netting me about 63% in 30 minutes, so when I wake up to 20% charge I can just plug it in while I shower or get breakfast for about fifteen minutes and can trust it to last me the rest of the day just fine. The super speedy charging times make the slightly smaller battery more palatable and I actually love that, though still would like more battery to at least fill out the rest of the phone so the camera wouldn’t stick out so much.

Operating System and Customizations

OxygenOS is almost like stock Android with some nifty features specific to Oxygen, such as the dark mode, swiping left of the home screen to access the shelf, (a place for your most used apps and to take quick notes), and button mapping for the capacitive buttons. All around the system feels super clean and polished, though I still added Nova Launcher instead because I had customized so much on my last phone that it felt wrong to do without xP


Probably fixable with an update, but there have been two issues I’ve dealt with. The first being a minor issue with bluetooth audio having a small hiccup every eight minutes or so. Not sure what that’s about.
Update: This issue is still present, though not in the same manner as before. Now when playing in my car, the audio seems to cut out at somewhat random intervals like a minute after I begin audio playback or six minutes in, with varying intervals of six to eighteen minutes until the next hiccup. I have not noticed this issue on other devices so it might be specific to older versions of Bluetooth than 4.0.

The second being the pocket problem others have reported in which the screen/fingerprint sensor is still active while being in a pocket and drains battery because it is still taking inputs. I’ve found placing the phone with the screen away from your leg helps but I hope that’s fixed so because it isn’t something that has been an issue with their previous phones of which I am aware.
Update: The pocket problems was solved back in July.

Lastly, 1080p 60fps videos only play at 480p 30fps on YouTube for some reason. I think it might be due to YouTube not recognizing it as a device that is capable of playing 1080p 60fps but time will tell if that will be fixed.
Update: Video playback has successfully been able to play 720p 60fps videos since about July. No idea if 1080p 60fps will ever come.
Update: 1080p 60fps has been added and looks great!

Overall Opinions

Since owning the phone, I have purchased and currently use one of their covers to add a little bulk to help the camera bump and another dash charger + cable, which for some reason is flat unlike the round cable that came with the phone itself. Odd and seemingly of lesser quality than the round cable but it’s too soon to tell if there is any difference.

I love this phone. Haven’t really used other phones so can’t compare it to things like the Galaxy S7 or anything other than the original OnePlus One, but compared to that, the Three does everything much faster, smoother, and adds a ton of nice features that I think I’d be remiss to lose going back. For $400, you really can’t beat the value offered here unless the lack of microSD or lack of removable battery is a deal breaker for you.

Edit: Another couple of things that I forgot to mention are that the vibration is not adjustable in settings and that the capacitive buttons are locked to “back” and “recent apps.” I would have liked to change vibration sensitivity like on the OnePlus One because it seems a little weak a times, though not when unlocking or getting messages/calls, and I really liked having a “context menu” capacitive button instead of the “recent apps” one because double tapping home is much quicker than the dedicated one which has a delay.

Lastly, I have enabled sRGB mode so the colors are more accurate now and have been really enjoying it this way. The saturated colors look neat for a while on the AMOLED display but it got tiring to look at. Everything looks great now :3

Oct Edit: Fixed some sentences and added updated information to properly reflect the current status of the phone according to the criteria of the review.


My goodness has this phone aged really, really well. The OnePlus 5 and 5T released last year, the 6 this year and I still feel no reason to replace my 3 yet. I have dropped the phone many more times over the past couple years and that tempered glass screen protector I applied so long ago has developed its own scratches and smaller cracks but still is very usable and comfortable feeling and does not really affect video playback for me. Overall, it has been a fantastically solid and responsive phone the entire time I’ve owned it.

In the time I’ve had the device, I have noticed that OnePlus does still provide updates to the phone; about 5-6 big updates a year, I think, with which I have been pretty pleased. If it had been Samsung or Motorola, expectations would be far lower. This actually is even better support than they provided for the OnePlus One after the first couple years past that release.

Perhaps the biggest question you all might have is about battery life. Well, I am happy to report that the Three still provides 5-6 hours of screen on time during normal use after 2 years of continuous usage. There are some days when I drain battery faster but I have increased usage of certain applications like YouTube for downloading and video playback, more podcast listening on bluetooth, increased messenger app usage, etc. I still get so much use out of this phone and it rarely ever has any issues other than specific apps with their own issues.

For being the $400 phone at launch I purchased years ago, I could not be happier with the long lasting performance it has offered. At this point, I might still get a 6 or if they release a 6T later this year if only to have a change of pace and see if anything truly is worth upgrading over the Three but given that this phone had 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, NFC, bluetooth, great camera, and build quality. yet the only major changes have been with design in the newer OnePlus phones. I will update next whenever I actually replace this phone and hope this was a fun read for those who got this far xP


Just wanted to point out, I'm pretty sure no phone has gotten better than usb gen 3.0 type c, at least that I have seen while keeping an eye on phones lately.

I currently have a OnePlus One, would you say the upgrade is worth it? I'm very interested in the OP3 but I was hoping for Waterproofing, so I'm on the fence if I should grab a OP3 when the price falls a bit more, or wait and see if the OP4 has water proofing. I enjoy the OPO and COS 13.1 or whatever I'm on is working great, but I feel the upgrade itch coming on slowly lol

Yeah, that's fair. I suppose I should edit that part.

As for upgrading, I say now is a good time because you can still get a good price for selling your One. I'm actually selling mine for$250 with some accessories because I kept mine in good condition and it still has another year or two of life left in the battery.

But if you like your One enough, I see no problem with keeping it. It's still a great phone. But if you are a power user on it, I'd sell it sooner rather than later.

My upgrade definitely would not come with my selling my phone, since my Dad basically gets relegated my phone when I upgrade, because he is too cheap to buy a new phone for himself xD

I think I'll hold off for now, although I will definitely keep your advice in mind if the itch to upgrade gets too strong XD

Good review btw, really good information :D

lol There's nothing wrong with that. You do you xP

If you want to see some pics from the camera, I can post them later; even side by side with the OnePlus One camera

It would be interesting to see :)

How is the Bluetooth on the battery? I've been hesitant to us any Bluetooth on mine because I've heard that it really drains the battery hard on some other phones. Also, which screen protector is best? They are sold out of them on the official website so I guess I'll have to order one of the other ones.

For battery usage on bluetooth, I have noticed it normally using about 2-3% battery per hour with screen off, which isn't too bad. This is comparable to what I was getting on the OnePlus One. I tend to spend an hour to and from work connected to my car stereo and between 1-3 hours at work which hasn't really been a noticeable drain.

For screen protectors, I have not used any other than the one that came pre-applied to it. That screen protector was applied well with no bubbles but did not entirely cover the screen and felt awful to touch compared to the screen itself, so I removed it after a few days of use.

That thing that comes on it is definitely NOT a screen protector. I think it's just a part of the packaging, all it is, is just a piece of plastic stuck on with adhesive; I certainly don't think it was designed to resist scratches, I left it on a for a few days until I got tired of looking at it. I work jobs that risk it getting dirty or scratched so I really want to get a protector for it as soon as possible. I'm thinking I'll order the Orzly one, anyone else get that one? Or any other one? I'd also love to have some kind of belt holster or armband or something of that nature for it, just so I don't have to take it in and out of my pocket constantly.

lol That makes more sense. Most phones have information printed on that plastic and my One had a real one when I got it so they fooled me this time xP

Wish I knew about screen protectors but sadly I haven't used any. Also unsure of armbands or holsters other than universal ones that might work :/

So the latest patch for OxygenOS fixed the pocket problem I mentioned before!

Haven't tested out the newer camera fixes but I did notice a week ago that the audio recorded in video sounded rather atrocious, which is kind of disappointing considering how good the microphones on the OnePlus One were; that was even good enough that I felt alright uploading some footage from a live concert to YouTube. Again, I need to check out if the latest patch managed to use the microphones on the Three any better for recording.

Also ordered their dash car charger and plan to test that out when it arrives. Those things are super hard to get in the US because of the low stock they have had thus far

Now, on to the third month of usage I have only a couple of updates.

I did receive the car charger and it does indeed work well with Dash charging on both the normal round cable and the flat cable. It's actually been quite handy for a couple of instances where I needed a charge while away from home.

The other news is that I did manage to crack the screen a few weeks back. Most of the damage is at two points near the top closer to the sides and a visible crack along the top of the display curving down to the power button. The drop itself was about a foot from my lap to the pavement whilst getting out of my car one night. The rest of the screen is fine but the cracks themselves look almost like shattering which is a bit disappointing considering Gorilla Glass 4 should be stronger and more durable than the previous version which I believe the One had.

There is an alternative to replacing the screen with an after market one for $100+ or an extended warranty, which mine did not cover. I could apply one of their new curved tempered glass screen protectors to cover up the shattered bits and deal with the single line crack which isn't even all that obtrusive to begin with. Honestly, there were only two small glass bit I had to remove when it did crack and the rest of the display is perfectly visible; even the line crack doesn't feel any different so I guess it is a best case scenario for such damage done.

All in all, I would recommend more protection on the screen ;P

CyanogenMod has an official build for it as of last month I believe just FYI. Been looking into this phone and the Zenfone 3 Delux which is more of a phablet.

Thanks for the review!

I'm getting absolutely awful internet reception in my house. I don't think the phone is to blame, could it be the ceiling? I don't have any problems at work. Are there certain types of ceilings that are known to block signals?

Not much has really change since the last month. Only thing that has happened is that I dropped it again from a different height and on a different surface without a case and no new damage happened whatsoever. This time was from five feet up and bounced off a metal shelf and onto a ceramic floor face up. Guess it hit only the edges and back so it looks and operates exactly the same as if nothing happened.

Unfortunately, the screen protector I want still has not come back in stock so it might be a while before I can actually get on to try on and cover up that shattered top, but I'm so used to it by now that I don't even see it anymore xP

thats impressive

Finally added the 2 year update! Check bottom of original post for all new info


I bought it on release directly from Oneplus. No carrier, cash upfront and I care for this thing. Have now flashed Resurrection Remix 6.0 (android 8.1) previously used older version of the ROM.
There are some ROM specific issues but what’s universal is the slow response of the fingerprint sensors on 8.1 . Compared to the first release and what we have now is complete crap.

Other wise great phone. Everyone around me still think this is a magical phone. Beautiful, fast, unknown to the mainstream.

I’m really not sure what issues people are having the fingerprint sensor because it is still just as fast as day 1 for me o.O

Yep. Mine as gravy as well.

That said, I am running freedomos instead of stock, so it might have something to do with that. I heard a lot of lineage people complaining about problems, but that’s just lineage.