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.
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.
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.
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.
OnePlus is only offering one color option for the 3; Apple sells the latest iPhones in four different hues.
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.
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.
In terms of display panels, it's AMOLED vs. IPS.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You get three internal storage options with the iPhone, while OnePlus just gives you one – very spacious – 64 GB tier.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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)
The OnePlus 3 has the wider aperture, which could bode well for its low-lit photography skills.
Apple's smaller iPhone 6s doesn't have Optical Image Stabilization, but this larger 6s Plus does – as does the OnePlus 3.
This is now standard across every high-end flagship we're aware of.
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.
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)
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.
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