Mobile Technology

OnePlus 3 vs. iPhone 6s Plus

OnePlus 3 vs. iPhone 6s Plus
OnePlus challenges the concept of the $750 smartphone, as we compare the OnePlus 3 (left) to the iPhone 6s Plus
OnePlus challenges the concept of the $750 smartphone, as we compare the OnePlus 3 (left) to the iPhone 6s Plus
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Always-on display
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Always-on display
Camera aperture (rear)
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Camera aperture (rear)
Battery
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Battery
Build
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Build
Camera megapixels
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Camera megapixels
Color options
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Color options
Processor
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Processor
Dimensions
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Dimensions
Display resolution
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Display resolution
Display size
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Display size
Display type
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Display type
Fast charging
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Fast charging
Fingerprint sensor
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Fingerprint sensor
OnePlus challenges the concept of the $750 smartphone, as we compare the OnePlus 3 (left) to the iPhone 6s Plus
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OnePlus challenges the concept of the $750 smartphone, as we compare the OnePlus 3 (left) to the iPhone 6s Plus
MicroSD
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MicroSD
Optical Image Stabilization
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Optical Image Stabilization
Charging/data port
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Charging/data port
Pressure-sensitive display (3D Touch)
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Pressure-sensitive display (3D Touch)
Starting price (full retail)
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Starting price (full retail)
RAM
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RAM
Release
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Release
Software
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Software
Weight
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Weight
Storage
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Storage

In terms of quality relative to cost, the OnePlus 3 and iPhone 6s Plus are about as different as two flagship smartphones can be. One crams a surprisingly high-end spec sheet into an aggressively low price tag; the other relies on worldwide brand trust and recognition to build sky-high profit margins into its (usually excellent) phones' prices. Read on, as we compare their features and specs.

Size

Dimensions
Dimensions

Remember this in a moment when we get to screen size: the OnePlus 3 is 3 percent shorter and 4 percent narrower than the iPhone 6s Plus.

Weight

Weight
Weight

A few years ago, Apple was known for putting light and thin above all else, but that's tapered off a bit in the last year or so, as the OnePlus 3 comes out 18 percent lighter.

Build

Build
Build

We think the OnePlus 3 looks like a cross between the iPhone 6s series and the HTC 10. Whatever you think of its originality, though, the OnePlus has an aluminum unibody construction – just like the iPhone.

Colors

Color options
Color options

OnePlus is only offering one color option for the 3; Apple sells the latest iPhones in four different hues.

Display size

Display size
Display size

With the OnePlus 3, you get a smaller and much lighter phone with just as much screen real estate. The iPhone's "chin" and "forehead" could afford to take a trip to the smartphone nip/tuck clinic.

Display resolution

Display resolution
Display resolution

You not only get identical screen sizes, but also the same screen resolution – as neither OnePlus nor Apple has moved to ultra-sharp QHD screens like you'll see on most Android flagships. These two opt for still sharp, just not the sharpest 1080p.

Display type

Display type
Display type

In terms of display panels, it's AMOLED vs. IPS.

Pressure-sensitive display

Pressure-sensitive display (3D Touch)
Pressure-sensitive display (3D Touch)

The iPhone has 3D Touch, which lets you press on its screen with more force to pop up previews and shortcuts that you wouldn't get on a regular display.

Always-on display

Always-on display
Always-on display

The OnePlus 3 gives you the option of turning on an always-on display feature, which shows pertinent info like time, date and notifications on an otherwise black screen. This is one of the perks of going with OLED/AMOLED screen tech.

Processor

Processor
Processor

The OnePlus' Snapdragon 820 benchmarks a little higher, but the iPhone 6s Plus' A9 chip is still quite the beast – still one of the fastest phones you can buy. That's especially impressive, considering it's going on 10 months old.

RAM

RAM
RAM

The OnePlus 3 triples the iPhone 6s Plus' RAM, but this isn't a concern on the iPhone, as iOS' built-in memory management is superb.

Storage

Storage
Storage

You get three internal storage options with the iPhone, while OnePlus just gives you one – very spacious – 64 GB tier.

MicroSD

MicroSD
MicroSD

Unfortunately neither has any expandable storage, so in the case of the iPhone, you'll want to think twice before going with that cramped 16 GB entry-level model.

Charging/data port

Charging/data port
Charging/data port

Both have reversible ports: the new(ish) USB Type C on the OnePlus 3 and the nearly four-year-old Lightning standard on the iPhone.

Battery

Battery
Battery

The OnePlus 3 has a slightly bigger battery, and we'll have our review up soon with benchmark results (and will mention how they compare to the iPhone's).

Fast charging

Fast charging
Fast charging

Apple would be wise to add some sort of quick-charging tech to its 2016 flagships; this has been a huge advantage for Android phones like the OnePlus 3 for several years now.

Camera megapixels

Camera megapixels
Camera megapixels

The iPhone still has a great camera (for a smartphone), even though it's been recently passed up by the HTC 10 and Galaxy S7. Similar to battery benchmarks, we'll have photography impressions of the OnePlus 3 very soon.

Camera aperture (rear)

Camera aperture (rear)
Camera aperture (rear)

The OnePlus 3 has the wider aperture, which could bode well for its low-lit photography skills.

OIS

Optical Image Stabilization
Optical Image Stabilization

Apple's smaller iPhone 6s doesn't have Optical Image Stabilization, but this larger 6s Plus does – as does the OnePlus 3.

Fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensor
Fingerprint sensor

This is now standard across every high-end flagship we're aware of.

Software

Software
Software

The OnePlus 3 runs a nearly-stock version of Android Marshmallow, with a few extra OnePlus-made customizations (collectively known as OxygenOS) thrown in for good measure. It should get an update to Android Nougat sometime after it launches later this year.

The iPhone still runs iOS 9, with the iOS 10 update coming (likely) this September.

Release

Release
Release

Unless you really need one right now, this is a bad time to buy a new iPhone. And even then, we'd recommend shopping around for a sale or maybe even a used one. We're likely just a little over two months away from new iPhones.

The OnePlus 3 launched a few weeks ago, and – praise all that's good in the world – you no longer have to mess with the company's invite system. You can (get this!) go to the website, order the phone and get it a few days later. Congratulations, OnePlus: after three generations, you've figured out a way to ship phones without cheap, constraint- and social media-based marketing gimmicks.

Starting price (full retail)

Starting price (full retail)
Starting price (full retail)

Did you notice any huge advantages for the iPhone in this comparison? 3D Touch is kinda neat, there are more color options, and some people will prefer iOS and the way it integrates with other Apple products they own. But is any of that worth an extra $350 or more? Especially when you consider that, at those prices, the OnePlus 3 gives you four times the storage, three times the RAM, and other perks like fast charging?

The iPhone is a great product – for the first few generations of multitouch smartphones, it stood alone as a pillar of innovation. And the current models are absolutely nothing to sneeze at. But when there are quality rivals like the OnePlus 3 that cost hundreds less, it's a lot harder to justify spending $749 or more (ranging all the way up to $949) on the iPhone 6s Plus. It's one thing if you're getting a better spec list, feature list or experience, but we don't think that's the case – at least not by a very wide margin.

At least when you're weighing other Android flagships against the OnePlus 3, you get things like a sharper display, and often goodies like wireless charging, water resistance, modular add-ons, a stylus or HiFi audio. It's not that the iPhone doesn't have its own (often hard-to-define) advantages, but as far as these we just rattled off, it has none.

If you want to pay for brand awareness, brand trust or social status, that's your call. Or maybe you just prefer iOS over Android – many people do, and that's a great call. But all we ask is that you take a moment and be honest with yourself about why you're choosing something like a $749-949 iPhone over something like the $399 OnePlus 3, before you do. The latter might give you more than you're expecting, for a lot less.

For more, you can check out our full reviews of the OnePlus 3 and iPhones 6s and 6s Plus.

2 comments
Sethos
This is a great comparison of features, thorough and thoughtful. I think there's one thing that is missing (and it's almost always missing from reviews/comparisons): quality of build and support. I owned a one plus one after 2 months it was dead. One device isn't enough to draw real conclusion on the one plus one, what happened after though is troubling. I literally couldn't talk to anyone about getting it repaired, they'd take a week to respond to each email. In the end, I had to diapute the charge on my card, this was an extra phone, if it was my daily phone, it would have been a real issue. I'm just saying it's important to consider all aspects of ownership, this article is suggesting that people are buying iPhones only because of cache, that's probably true for many people, but devices that don't break and are well supported are part of the pricing too. It's all about priorities and knowing what you're getting into, I've found Apple support to be excellent, I found far less lovely support from Htc, Samsung and One Plus had literally no support.
RichardU
The previous comment says it all, Apple charge a lot of money for there phone but if the competition are not there for support its a done deal, I would take the risk of a cheaper phone.