Is the iPhone 6s Really the Best Smartphone On the Market? Meet the OnePlus 3

Apple has for nearly 10 years, essentially since the first iPhone came out in 2007, dominated the smartphone industry. They’ve been launching new phones year after year, each getting more powerful. Recently, Apple launched its new flagship phone: the iPhone 6s. This thing is a beast. A powerful processor, great screen, aesthetic design, and phenomenal camera and video capabilities combine to make the ultimate smartphone. Or do they? Meet the OnePlus 3.

Image of OnePlus 3

In this post we’ll be systematically comparing the phones, through each category of capability and hardware features. So now, let’s jump right in and see if the big brand name really means the best product on the market.

Footprint and Appearance

In comparing these two phones, you’ll notice that they both have trim lines and are very appealing to the eye. Both sport aluminum backs and GorillaGlass screens. The OnePlus 3 comes in at 152mm x 74.7mm x 7.35mm, so it is comparable in size to the iPhone 6s Plus. Therefore, that is what this comparison will focus on: the 6s Plus vs the OnePlus 3. The 6s Plus comes in at 158mm x 77.9mm x 7.3mm. The OnePlus wins this battle, primarily for two reasons:

  1. Both phones sport 5.5″ screens (measured on the diagonal), but the OnePlus has nearly a 20-square-millimeter smaller footprint.
  2. The OnePlus weighs 34 grams less than the iPhone (that’s more than an ounce for you folks that aren’t into math), at 158g vs 192g for the iPhone 6s Plus. This, combined with the smaller footprint, results in a phone with the same screen size as the iPhone, but in a much more comfortable and ergonomic package.

View of OnePlus 3 Dimensions

Battery

For most people, the battery on their phone is one of the most important pieces. Nearly everyone carries a charger around with them everywhere they go. For many of us, our phone is our lifeline to work, family, and contacts, so we need our phones to stay charged throughout the day. The OnePlus also wins this battle, carrying a 3000 mAh battery vs a 2750 mAh battery in the 6s Plus. In a recent review by GizMag, a battery test was conducted that shows that not only is the OnePlus’ battery larger, it’s also better-performing with the phone. A one hour video was streamed while the phones were on full brightness. The OnePlus drained 11% while the iPhone (one of the phones in the test) drained 13%. Although that might not sound like a huge difference, GizMag reports that after a day of normal use, the OnePlus has 20-30% battery left. Speaking from experience, the iPhone 6s models tend to chew through battery.

In addition to having a powerful battery, OnePlus has created a charging unit called the Dash Charging System, which can charge the OnePlus 3 to over 60% in just 30 minutes. The Lightning connector system is fast, but not nearly this fast. Score 2-0, in favor of OnePlus.

Processing Hardware and Performance

Once again, the OnePlus trumps the iPhone in this category as well (the iPhone does come out on top in some categories, I promise). In this section, we’ll be going through the processing components of both phones and comparing them step by step.

  1. Central Processing Unit (CPU): The iPhone 6s Plus carries its trendy A9 chipset (widely marketed due to its 64-bit nature), which includes a dual-core 1.84 GHz Twister CPU. Not bad, right? I mean that’s as good as some older laptops/low end laptops of today! Sorry Apple. OnePlus wins again. The OnePlus has a Snapdragon 820, a monster 64-bit chipset which pairs two 2.2 GHz cores with two 1.6 GHz cores. This is comparable to many laptops today. It’s an extremely powerful processor — I can guarantee you this phone will not lag.
  2. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): The iPhone performs very well here, sporting six-core graphics thanks to a PowerVR GT7600. Games and other graphics-heavy activities perform flawlessly on the iPhone 6s Plus. The OnePlus is essentially comparable, carrying the Adreno 530, one of the latest superpower GPUs from Adreno. The image below shows how the Adreno 530 in the Snapdragon 820 increases performance while simultaneously decreasing power drain.
  3. In the final stage of the processing hardware comparison, the OnePlus 3 pulls ahead once again. RAM, or Random Access Memory, is essentially the cache for your phone or computer. It’s temporary storage that allows the device to run processes in the background and store information temporarily for lighting-fast access. The more RAM you have, the more information can be put into temporary storage for fast access, and the more information can be cached at once. Let’s just cut to the chase. The iPhone 6s has the industry standard 2 GB of RAM. The OnePlus has 6 GB. That’s more than a lot of laptops (4 is quite common for notebook laptops such as Chromebooks)! Bottom line, the OnePlus 3 is a processing beast which will never, ever lag, seamlessly transition and display graphics, and compute anything you could ever imagine.

Adreno 530 Performance

Ports

Since this is an in-depth review, let’s take a quick look at the ports on both phones before moving on. As usual, the iPhone 6s Plus does not have a microSD slot, so that Apple can charge ridiculous amounts of money for extra storage. Interestingly for an Android based phone, the OnePlus also lacks a slot. However, this is less of an issue because the OnePlus comes only in one size, 64 GB, which is plenty of space for most people. In addition, the price/storage ratio is much more appealing as we’ll discuss a little later. Both phones have their respective charging ports, and in the case of the OnePlus, the charging port is also a microUSB 2.0 port, as is common on Android phones. Both phones have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack as well. The OnePlus has a SIM card tray, as does the iPhone depending for which carrier you purchase it (Verizon does not use a SIM card because of their use of the CDMA networking system).

Buttons and Switches

The two phones are roughly comparable when it comes to this section. Both have round or rounded home buttons, each with an integrated fingerprint scanner. GizMag wrote in their review that the scanner in the OnePlus is “very fast.” Both phones have standard volume buttons. OnePlus did something a little out of the ordinary for an Android phone, taking a hint from Apple and including a physical notification mute switch next to the volume slider. All in all, the phones are about the same in this category; the speed of the fingerprint scanner is unlikely to make much of an impact. The iPhone scanner is already quite fast.

Screen

Here is where the iPhone really excels. Now obviously the Retina display has been one of the most marketed features of Apple products since it was created for the iPad 3. Apple has continued to refine the technology, and the iPhone 6s Plus does not disappoint. Now the main pro of the Retina display has less to do with the pixel density and more to do with dual domain pixels for better viewing across a wide range of angles. However, what might surprise you is that the OnePlus 3 matches Apple’s flagship phone and their widely marketed display. The 6s Plus has a full HD screen, at 1920 x 1080 pixels across a 5.5″ display. That comes to 401 ppi, which is pretty darn good. The OnePlus has a full HD screen, at 1920 x 1080 pixels across a 5.5″ display. That comes to 401 ppi. Sound familiar? So to wrap this section up, yes, the iPhone does win here. But it does so just barely.

Camera Function: Still Pictures

In its latest iPhone models, Apple made huge upgrades to the cameras. Unfortunately for Apple, however, 12 MP is not the industry standard anymore. As cameras have gotten smaller and smaller, phone cameras have gotten better and better. As a result, we’ve seen some windows phones with ridiculously high megapixel counts. That being said, let’s go over the cameras of these phones, with regard to still photography. The iPhone 6s Plus has a 12 MP rear camera (the main camera) which can also record video, as we’ll discuss momentarily. It can take a variety of photos, such as high dynamic range (HDR) photos, panoramas at up to a stunning 63 MP, or pictures with non-standard aspect ratios (such as square). The front, AKA “selfie” camera is 5 MP and can perform essentially basic pictures and video recording. The iPhone also has an integrated self timer and smile detection.

The OnePlus 3 matches all of this and does more. It carries a 16 MP rear camera, which takes very high quality photos, even in low light situations. Not only are the pictures themselves high quality, but the control is as well. The OnePlus has a lot of manual functions, giving it an SLR-esque feel. In addition, the OnePlus allows for RAW image exports in addition to JPEG, just like a high quality SLR camera. The selfie camera on the OnePlus is also high quality than that of the iPhone, at 8 MP with the same smile detection and other fancy features of the iPhone. Bottom line: the OnePlus 3 shares all of the same features of the iPhone, and then some. Plus, the cameras themselves are better quality.

Camera Function: Video Recording

Here’s where the iPhone actually pulls a bit ahead of the OnePlus. For the most part, the OnePlus has a better camera; however, the iPhone has slightly better video capabilities. The iPhone records several different sizes and frame rates of video out of its main camera. It will record 30, 60, and 120 fps in full 1080p HD, 30 fps in 4K(!!!), and 120 and 240 fps in 720p. The selfie camera will record 30 fps in 720p. In addition to these features, with the release of iOS 8 many Apple devices received time lapse recording capability, and this has been carried over into newer devices and more recent OS updates.

The video capabilities of the OnePlus are mostly the same. It records 30 fps in 1080p HD and 30 fps in 4K. The main difference is found in the slow motion capabilities. It does record slow motion, but it is 120 fps in 720p. It does not have a 240 fps feature. Personally, since the camera is on the whole much better (taking into account the still photo specs), this is a price I’m willing to pay.

The Final Comparison – Pricing

Up until now, it’s been easy to see we are comparing two very excellent phones. Granted, the OnePlus has amazing processing capabilities that are better than the iPhone 6s models. However, they are both excellent phones. So, here’s where the rubber really meets the road: how much these phones cost. Buying an unlocked iPhone 6s Plus, in its base 16 GB (not much storage, trust me) model will cost you a gut-wrenching $749. The next model up (and really the first one worth buying) will get you 64 GB for $849. So far we’ve seen that the OnePlus 3 is comparable to, and in several areas surpasses the iPhone 6s Plus. That probably leaves you wondering how the prices match up. As already mentioned, the OnePlus 3 comes in one size, of 64 GB. But it’s not $849. Try $399. Yup. A comparable, even arguably inferior iPhone will cost you 225% of what the OnePlus 3 costs. For me at least, that seals the deal. The phone itself is fantastic, but with the price OnePlus offers, they have truly created their own “flagship killer” at last.

Folks, we have a winner:

OnePlus Logo

Thanks so much for reading! If you enjoyed this in-depth comparison, be sure to hit that like button before you leave. Please share us with your friends, family, and others you believe would enjoy our content. Feel free to make use of our share buttons below.

– The Editor

Links for further reading:
https://oneplus.net/3/overview

http://www.apple.com/iphone-6s/specs/

http://wccftech.com/snapdragon-820-official-folks/

http://www.gizmag.com/oneplus-3-review/44306/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=840e81bc8e-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-840e81bc8e-91209505

A Couple of Updates on Previous Posts

Hello,
This is a follow-up to two previous posts of ours:

  1. NOOKcolor Hack
  2. IR Camera Hack

Let’s start off with the NOOK.

  1. NOOKcolor Hack:
    We mentioned in that post that we didn’t know of a way to “unroot” the NOOK; now we do. Recently we successfully reset the NOOK to factory defaults. To accomplish this, make sure the NOOK is powered off. Then power it on — wait until the “CyanogenMod” screen with the rotating icon pops up. As soon as that screen pops up, hold down the power button until the NOOK turns off, then wait a few seconds. Repeat 7x (for a total of eight boot interruptions). After the eighth one your NOOK will do one of two things: it will either A) start up as a NOOK by reinstalling the default boot image, or B) you will have to reset it by turning it on again while holding down the volume up (+) button at the same time. After that, you should be good to go.
  2. IR Camera Hack:
    We announced in that post that we didn’t know if you could replace the IR filter, making it a risky hack. About two weeks ago we were in need of another camera for a production, and so decided to try to replace the filter, and we were able to do so successfully, and the camera is now functioning normally. If you are going to do this, just make sure you have the filter and the rubber seals that go around it.

We hope you enjoyed this update and found it helpful. Be sure to check around soon — we’ll be releasing a review of Fitbit’s new ChargeHR sometime soon! Please subscribe to the site (over in the menu bar), and check us out on Google+. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Official Handz Studioz Review — The Best Apps of 2014

logos

You’re probably aware that there are a lot of apps out there. But do you know how many there really are? The facts are pretty stunning — Android users have access to 1.3 million apps via Google Play, and Apple users have access to 1.2 million via the App Store (data from July 2014)! That’s a lot of apps, so we thought we’d simplify things for you a bit. As the year draws to a close, Handz Studioz presents you with our list of the best apps of 2014. We’ve broken them down into the top three for each category (such as games, note taking, education, etc). Enjoy! (Please note that this is mainly geared towards Apple users, but most of these apps are available on the other platforms)

We all like to play, but sadly, work comes before play — so let’s get right into Category 1: Productivity.

First place: Pages, by Apple, Inc. It’s essentially Microsoft Word for Apple products, and despite many other word processors, Pages is still the cream of the crop when it comes to word processing.

Pages

Second place: iA Writer, by Information Architects Inc. This app replaces the default iOS 8 keyboard and adds a new row of keys that let you skip lines and individual letters, parenthesize and quote without switching keyboards, and more. All in all a very good application, although perhaps not quite as good a deal — it’s $4.99; Apple users with newer devices can get Pages for free.

iA Writer

Third place: Evernote, by Evernote. This app is great. It syncs with your Mac or PC, keeps checklists, notes, pictures (they have a neat feature that lets you search the text in an image), and can use your calendar to help you plan. As always, Evernote continues to impress, whether on the computer or the tablet.

Evernote

Now that we’ve done some work, let’s play a little in Category 2: Games. This category is a bit tricky since there are so many different genres of games to choose from, but we’ve decided to rank these based on aspects they all share, such as graphics, performance, etc. Plus fun factor — personally we find Trial Xtreme 3 more interesting and fun than Candy Crush Saga, but that’s open to debate I suppose…

First place: Temple Run 2, by Imangi Studios. The second installment in the Temple Run saga, Temple Run 2 is loads of fun — and that’s not all. Good graphics, high frame rates (we videoed gameplay with a slow motion camera [which we reviewed here], and found it to go up to 60 fps), and a nearly spotless performance record round this app out at #1 on our list. Users around the world enjoy these apps — the first version, Temple Run, is the ninth-most-downloaded app on the App Store!

Temole Run 2

Second place: any of the Angry Birds versions, by Rovio Entertainment, Ltd. Angry Birds comes very close to Temple Run 2 for first place. Ultimately the thing that decided it for us was the challenges that Temple Run 2 does, such as the Daily Challenge and the Weekly Challenges. Maybe we’re just goal-oriented or something, but that little bit of “zip” that a challenge provides tipped a nearly level scale. Either way, you’ll want to have both of these on your phone or tablet.

Third place: Deer Hunter 2014, by Glu Games Inc. Third on our list, Deer Hunter 2014 is king of the castle when it comes to graphics. Let’s back up a little and say that Glu Games is king of the castle when it comes to graphics — every game of theirs that we looked at has stunning visuals, and DH 2014 is no exception. Looking at performance, the app can be slightly frustrating. Occasionally there can be a timer error that means your energy (which you need to go hunting) doesn’t replenish itself over time like it is supposed to do. Luckily, this problem is easy to fix — just connect to a network and start the app. DH 2014 also can take a while to load, sometimes up to two or three minutes; it’s usually faster when connected to a network. As for fun factor, it depends on your taste. Our nearly all-male staff finds playing with guns and shooting animals in Africa to be quite enthralling, although this may not appeal to all audiences.

Deer Hunter 2014

Honorable mention: Clash of Clans, by Supercell. There are so many good games out there that we just had to do one more. Clash of Clans isn’t the most engaging game, and that’s one of the reasons it’s on our list — it’s still fun without requiring all of a user’s brain function in order to operate it. Graphics are good and performance is stable. The only problem we have had is server maintenance, which results in temporary inability to play…which brings us to another point: you have to be connected to the internet in order to play Clash of Clans.

Bonus! Hardest game: Geometry Dash, by RobTop Games AB. Download it (or the Lite version). Try it. Fail. Try again. ‘Nuff said.

Let’s move on to Category 3: Document Management. So much of our lives now revolves around our documents — resumes, essays, letters, and or just plain grocery lists all have to be stored and managed. Here are Handz Studioz’ top three picks for document management from 2014.

First place: Documents, by Readdle. This app handles everything — it’s pretty incredible! If you can name it, Documents can handle it. .pdf’s, .zip’s, pictures, audio, .doc’s — they all work with this app — you should definitely get this app going into 2015.

Documents

Second place: Google Drive, by Google, Inc. We’re talking about Google Drive here, folks. What can you expect other than seamless integration and performance? The app doesn’t dissappoint — it’s every bit as functional and useful as the online drive — we highly recommend it.

Google Drive

Third place: iBooks, by Apple, Inc. iBooks isn’t particularly impressive as document managers go, but it’s still our favorite for managing .pdf’s. The sleek new look introduced in iOS 7 and the bug fixes in iOS 8 make handling .pdf’s a pleasure in iBooks — it now comes standard when upgrading to iOS 8, so if you haven’t upgraded yet, it’s something to consider. We reviewed iOS 8 in two installments this summer. Check out the first one here.

iBooks

We’ve arrived at our last category. With all the new camera abilities on recent Apple products, we feel that we should mention Category 4: Photo Editing.

First place: Autodesk Pixlr, by Autodesk Inc. This app is pretty nice, especially for the price ($free). While it’s certainly not Photoshop or Gimp, it gets the job done quite nicely on your devices. The UI is simple to use and powerful, with a wide range of effects, overlays, text, collages, and more. We highly recommend this to just about anyone, and it certainly suffices for the needs of the average consumer.

Autodesk Pixlr

Second place: Sketchbook Pro, by Autodesk Inc. This app might not be on the App Store anymore, unless it has been replaced with another name. Regardless, it’s pretty powerful, and we highly recommend it. Why is it second place? The UI is not helpful at all…there are no labels with the buttons, so you kind of have to guess at what they do until you learn them all. Other than that, it’s great.

There is no third place for this category. If you have a suggestion, please comment below. One app that we have not looked at is Apple’s App of the Year, Pixelmator. It’s a highly rated photo editor that we may look into eventually. If anyone has looked at this in depth and has any feedback on it, please let us know in the comments.

That concludes Handz Studioz’ Best Apps of 2014 Review! We hope you enjoyed this post; please share Handz Studioz with others in your community (online or physical). Disagree with any of our choices? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for visiting Handz Studioz! If you find our content interesting, consider following us and we’ll let you know via email every time we release a new post!

-The Editor

Hack Your Nook Color to Run Android 4.2 (Overwrite OS, No SD Card!)

A while we did a post showing a Nook Color that I hacked to run Android 4.2 Jellybean, and today you get the knowledge; I’m going to tell you how to do it. The title of this post is a little misleading, but not completely. It says, “No SD Card,” but you do need one in order to perform the root. However, once the root is done, you can remove the SD card and use the Nook without it.

PLEASE NOTE: This root is not the kind where you pop out the SD card and reboot and it’s a Nook again. To my knowledge, this is irreversible. The MicroSD card I used was 16GB, but I believed you can go as low as 4GB for this. Some people used 2GB, but using at least 4GB will speed up the process (and make sure you have space for all the files that you will use).

That aside,
Today I’m going to tell you how to make you Nook Color into an Android 4.2 Jellybean tablet. Here’s what you’re going to need:

OK. Now that you’ve downloaded from the provided links (use the links that I provide, because they all work with each other. If you try to use the wrong version of gapps for CM 10.1.3 it won’t work. These are the files that I used when I rooted my Nook and they should work.), this is what you need to do:

  1. Insert your MicroSD card into your computer using an adapter (or a cable or whatever you need).
  2. On a Windows PC:
    • Launch Win32 DiskImager
    • Make sure the drive letter selected is the location of your MicroSD card (in other words, choose to burn the file to the MicroSD card).
    • Select the ClockwordMod Recovery IMG file that you downloaded and unzipped.
    • Click “Write” and wait. As I recall, this took a while.
  3. On a Mac:
    • Use Disk Utility to erase the MicroSD card and format it to FAT32. Then unmount the MicroSD card from a terminal prompt and use the command line to burn the image to the card. (Detailed instructions here)
  4. Once you have completed the instructions for whichever machine you are using, copy all the other downloaded .zip files files (CyanogenMod 10.1.3, gapps, repartition, and reformat .zips) onto the MicroSD card. DO NOT unzip these files, and DO NOT put them in a subfolder.
  5. Safely remove (unmount, eject, whatever your system calls it) the MicroSD card.

OK, now it’s time to actually hack the Nook. Once you have done this, YOU CANNOT REVERSE IT TO MY KNOWLEDGE. So if you want to use the Nook as a Nook in the future, STOP NOW. If you want an Android 4.2 tablet, continue.

Your Nook should be shut down (turned off completely) to start the hack.

  1. Get into ClockworkMod.
    • Insert the MicroSD card and turn on the Nook Color
    • I believe you will see a loading message in the middle of the screen with skulls on either side (I can’t remember for sure; I did this in February).
    • Then you will come to a menu in amber colored text (I think that it might be blue, actually; once again, I can’t remember).
    • You use the volume buttons to go up and down the menu, Nook button to select an option, one click of the power button to go up a menu
  2. Repartition and reformat Nook’s internal storage (you can skip this if you have done it previously, but I would recommend doing it anyway).
    • Navigate to “Install .zip from SD card.”
    • Select the repartition package (repartition2GBdata-v1.zip).
    • Go back to the main menu (press the power button) and select reboot. (Note on this: I believe that when you do this it reboots as a Nook. If it DOES reboot as a Nook, shut own the Nook [by holding down power] and continue with the next steps.)
    • Navigate back to “Install .zip from SD card.” This time select the reformat package (reformatData-v1.zip).
    • Go back to the main menu (press the power button) and select reboot. (Note on this: I cannot remember whether or not it will reboot as a Nook at this stage. I believe it DOES. If it DOES reboot as a Nook, just shut down the Nook [by holding down power] and continue with the next steps.)
  3. Install CyanogenMod 10.1.3
    • Navigate to “Wipe data/factory reset” and follow the steps to convince the machine that you actually want to factory reset.
    • Navigate to “Install .zip from SD card.”
    • Select the CyanogenMod 10.1.3 file.
    • Select the Google Apps (gapps) file (this is optional, but if you want to download apps from the Play Store, you must select Google Apps).
    • Navigate back to the main menu (press the power button).
    • Remove the MicroSD card from the Nook Color.
    • Select reboot.

When the Nook reboots, it will not run CyanogenMod the first time (It might, but usually it will boot as a Nook from my experience and everything I read online). Just power off the Nook and power it back on and it should start up running CyanogenMod 10.1.3 (which is Android 4.2 Jellybean).

After its first boot up, CyanogenMod will prompt you to configure the Nook (which is an Android tablet at this point) and provide Google credentials.

Well, that’s it! Congratulations, you now have your own Android tablet! You can put the MicroSD card back into your computer and remove the files, and after setting up the tablet, put it in as extra storage.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and follow! Please share it with others in your community (online, or physical) you think would enjoy it or find it helpful!

Thanks for checking out Handz Studioz!

-The Editor

External Links:
This is the tutorial that I originally used when I hacked my Nook Color this February (I didn’t follow the steps exactly, because I used a different [newer] version of CyanogenMod and Google Apps). Unfortunately, some of the links to his files don’t work anymore, so it is a bit obsolete.

http://www.jamesrigg.com/2012/11/android-4-1-jelly-bean-on-the-nook-color/