If you like stock (or mostly stock) Android combined with high-end specs and great value, OnePlus phones are competing with Google's Nexus line as the cream of the crop. Comparing a 2015 phone like the Nexus 6P to a 2016 one like the OnePlus 3 is never a completely fair fight, but in case you're eyeing the two (before the next Nexuses are released later this year), let's see how the two phones' features and specs compare.
The Nexus 6P is the bigger phone: it's 3 percent taller and 4 percent wider than the OnePlus 3.
The smaller OnePlus 3 comes out 11 percent lighter than the Nexus.
Apple started a trend that started the whole world copying: after the iPhone 6 and 6s, nearly every high-end flagship now employs an aluminum unibody design (the OnePlus 3 looks like the love child of the iPhone 6s and HTC 10).
At least the Nexus 6P deviates a bit from the copycat game, with its back-facing fingerprint sensor and horizontal glass bar that houses the rear camera and other sensors.
In an unusual move for a modern flagship, the OnePlus 3 is only sold in one (dark gray, or "graphite") color option.
Both phones have pretty large displays, but the Nexus 6P's is 7 percent bigger.
The OnePlus 3 is jam-packed with high-end specs, but this is one area where the company skimped. For a couple years now, the best high-end Android flagships have had QHD screens, like the Nexus 6P's, but the OnePlus 3 is stuck in (still sharp, but not insanely sharp) 1080p.
Both handsets have AMOLED panels.
The OnePlus 3 has an option for an always-on display (its version is called "ambient display"), similar to the Galaxy S7.
One of the most unique things about OnePlus' flagships is that they give you capacitive keys below the screen (back, recent apps and the fingerprint sensor/home button), but you also have the option of using virtual/onscreen equivalents. The Nexus only has the latter.
The OnePlus 3's is on its front and the Nexus' is on its back, but both phones have fingerprint sensors.
This may be the biggest area where the OnePlus 3 has a leg up, as it uses Qualcomm's early 2016 beast, the Snapdragon 820. The Nexus runs Qualcomm's late 2015 chip, which isn't quite as fast.
Most 2016 Android flagships have stuck with 4 GB of RAM, but OnePlus decided to forge new ground with an absurd 6 GB RAM, doubling the Nexus 6P's total.
OnePlus went with just one storage tier, but with a plentiful 64 GB, there's little to complain about there.
Keep this in mind when we compare pricing, as the 64 GB Nexus costs an extra $50 over the base model.
MicroSD card slots have seen a resurgence of late, with Samsung, HTC and LG all throwing them into their 2016 flagships. But no such luck with either of these phones.
The Nexus 6P has the bigger battery, but real-world battery tests and benchmarks are the best ways to measure this. Stay tuned.
Both phones use fast charging tech: OnePlus' own "Dash Charge" in the 3, and Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 in the Nexus. OnePlus' tech should make it juice up a little faster than the 6P, but the differences are relatively minor (and both charge much faster than iPhones).
Neither of these handsets has wireless charging built-in.
Both phones use the reversible USB Type C standard.
The Nexus 6P has a good camera, but it wasn't the best on market even when it launched – much less nine months later. We'll have impressions of the OnePlus 3's camera soon.
Camera aperture (rear)
Both have ƒ/2.0 aperture – that isn't particularly wide for a 2016 flagship like the OnePlus 3, suggesting its low-lit photography may struggle to match the excellent Galaxy S7 and HTC 10 (though other factors can affect those results too).
Unlike Samsung's 2016 flagships, neither of these phones are water resistant.
Both run Android Marshmallow today, but the Nexus 6P should get the update to Android Nougat on Day One. The OnePlus, with its "Oxygen OS" customizations, will likely take a little longer to roll that (and other future updates) out.
The OnePlus has clear advantages in processor, RAM and storage, but it's also standing on the shoulders of nine extra months of forward progress. A fairer fight would be vs. Google's 2016 Nexus phone(s), which we probably won't hear about for at least another couple of months.
Starting price (full retail)
If you're okay with its lower-res display, the OnePlus 3 looks like one hell of a bargain: premium build, cutting-edge processor and RAM, and plenty of storage for just US$399. And the company even ditched its annoying invite system from its first two flagships: you can order it now and get it in your hands after a few business days.
The Nexus 6P still holds up well today – and it too is priced lower than similarly-specced rivals – but this isn't a great time to buy it, at least not at full price. Expect a new model around October.
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