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!

iOS 8 Review — Handz Studioz Goes in Depth (Part 1)

Update Screen
My first reaction to iOS 8: “Holy *beep*” OK, not really, but speaking of sound effects, one of the updates added the ability to send short audio messages through iMessage. That’s just one of many added updates, so in order to save time and keep posts shorter, the iOS 8 review will be split into two parts. In Part 1, we’ll look at all the features that were added in iOS 8, and then I’ll review the Messages (iMessage), Camera, Photos, and Mail apps, which were, of course, part of the update. In Part 2, I’ll review the remaining features and apps in iOS 8.

What’s new in iOS 8? A LOT:

  • The ability to edit .rtf (Rich Text Format) files in Notes
  • Tips App
  • Time lapse in camera, burst mode patches for front facing camera in iPhone 5s, panorama mode for iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display
  • A “Recently Deleted” folder in Photos (it’s like the Recycle Bin on Windows machines)
  • Safari updates such as different tab layouts
  • A much improved Control Center
  • A new keyboard, QuickType, which is basically just the Android keyboard, because now they added suggestions to a bar above the keys.
  • iCloud Drive
  • Believe it or not, improved battery life!
  • And more

So as you can see, iOS 8 was a big update, but you’re now probably wondering, “Can I get this on my iDevice?” Here’s a complete list of compatible devices from Evad3rs:

  • People had said the iPhone 4s would be dropped, but it is supported.
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
  • iPad 4
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad Mini 2 (w/Retina Display)
  • iPod 5th Generation

Before you go to update, double check how much space left you have on your iDevice (Settings>>General>>Usage) because this is a big update. The download is 1.1 GB, and with the way Apple has it set up, it took me about 15 minutes to download at fairly good internet speed. The unpacking of it takes about another 30-45 minutes, and then the install takes about 45 minutes as well; this update takes a long time. I wouldn’t recommend starting it before bed, however, because you have to manually start the install after the downloading and unpacking is complete.

Now let’s get on with the review!
Messages
I really like the new iMessage App. The biggest hype about this has been the ability to send audio messages through iMessage. Personally, this isn’t the biggest deal to me, but it is pretty cool. Now the part that I really like is the integration with notifications. Now, when a notification of a message pops up at the top of the screen, you can just swipe down on the message to reply right there! This makes things SO much faster, and is definitely a pro from this update.

Mail
The Mail app didn’t change much, other than to add more features when you swipe a message to the left or right in your inbox. Swiping from right to left brings this up:
Swipe Right
and swiping from left to right brings this up:
Swipe Left
A bug that I’ve noticed in the app is with displaying unread messages. You know how it will say at the top, “Inbox (X number of messages),” right? Let’s say that you got two new messages. It would say “Inbox (2),” and then it would change to “Inbox (1)” after you read one message. However, in the iOS 8 Mail app, the number does not change until you open a different email. For instance, it would not say “Inbox (1)” until you open the second message. Likewise, it won’t just say “Inbox” until you open a message that you’ve already read. It’s not really a big deal, but it is annoying, at least to me.

Camera
The changes to the Camera app were diverse, depending on which model of iDevice they were applied to. The whole Apple lineup received a time lapse function that allows you to take those cool videos of clouds moving and things like that; they also received a self timer (3 and 10 secs) so that you can take family photos and the like. Beyond that, things are different for different devices. The iPad Air and iPad Mini w/Retina Display got the panorama feature added to their cameras, and the iPhone 5s apparently had a glitch that disabled burst mode for the front facing camera, which was fixed (I don’t have a 5s so I don’t know much about this glitch).

Photos
On to the last part of the review today: the Photos app. Photos got a major overhaul in the iOS update. Two new albums were automatically added the the Photos app: Recently Added and Recently Deleted. Recently Added holds all of your photos that were, well, added recently (imagine that!). Recently Deleted holds all of the photos that you recently deleted (that’s a deep thought!). It’s basically like the Recycle bin on Windows machines, except that it only holds pictures. The photos are kept for 30 days or until you delete them permanently. I think the same applies to the Recently Added album, but I’m not completely sure because I didn’t take any pictures from August 30 to September 5. iOS 8 also added better editing features to Photos, like light retouching, color balance, and degree of saturation (color VS black and whiteness of the photo).

So there’s Part 1 of the Handz Studioz iOS 8 review! If you enjoyed this post and/or found it helpful, leave a like, and please share this post! If you enjoyed this post, please follow Handz Studioz; it’s free and your information will never be shared.

Be looking for Part 2, coming out soon!

-The Editor

External links:
https://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/
http://www.evad3rs.net/2014/04/ios-8-supported-devices-complete-list.html

Tutorial: Make your camera infrared sensitive.

OK,
I haven’t been very active so far this year, but I found something last week that was really interesting.  I found out that you can modify your camera so that it picks up infrared light. (NOTE: this will not work on film cameras. A similar modification can be made, but you need to use IR sensitive film for it to work.)

DISCLAIMER: this tutorial was designed for a point-and-shoot camera. If you have a DSLR that you wish to do this on, look in the external links section at the end. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE if you destroy your camera because you don’t know how things work and break something. ALWAYS remove the battery and SD card. The only way to make your camera normal again is to put the IR filter back into the camera. If you lose the filter, this modification is irrevocable. Even as is, it is extremely difficult to reinstall the filter so if you don’t want to take the chance of permanently modifying your camera, you can buy an IR lens filter.

You probably know that humans can only see light waves between roughly 350nm and 720nm. That means we can’t see ultraviolet (UV) light, or infrared (IR) light. Cameras can see both of those, plus our visual range. On a camera, as you probably know, there is a lens, and then behind the lens there is an image sensor, either of CMOS type or CCD. What you probably don’t know, is that over the image sensor (which looks similar to a mirror) there is a red tinted piece of plastic or glass that filters infrared light so that the images look like what we see with our eyes. Let’s look at an illustration so this makes more sense:
camera internals

Now, looking at that, in order to make your camera see IR, do this!

I recommend using a magnetic tipped screwdriver because the screws are really tiny.

Remove the back of your camera. Then you should see the LCD display sitting in some sort of tray. Lift the screen out of the tray. Undo the screws that hold the tray. Now you should see a little metal plate with a couple of screws holding down down a gold colored (most likely) piece of foil material. That is the connector which transfers the image information to the display and SD card. After undoing the screws, carefully lift up one side of the connector. In the middle you should see something that looks like a small mirror with a piece of red polarized glass over it. Remove the red glass, and be sure to get all of the rubber seals that hold it on (on most cameras there are one or two). SAVE THE GLASS because if you ever want to make it normal again you have to have that. Put your camera back together, and you should have IR or near IR photography.

IR photos require a longer exposure, so if your camera normally takes a 1/60 second exposure, it will probably do about 1/20. In good lighting there will not be a noticeable difference, however.

In order to use it as night vision, you will need an IR flashlight or other IR emitter. You will not be able to see the light, but the camera can. DO NOT look into the light for more than a second or two. While you cannot see it, it is still very bright and can damage your eyes just like a bright LED flashlight can.

Thanks for visiting my site and be sure to follow! Look for infrared photographs coming later today or tomorrow!

-The Editor.

External Links:
Original instructions I found online:
http://www.ehow.com/how_5569758_build-own-night-vision-camera.html

DSLR version:
http://www.ehow.com/how_7645833_remove-ir-filter-camera.html