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

Reflections on the Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Last fall, after the announcement of the Apple Watch, we did a post with our speculations regarding the product. How the sales would go, the features, so on and so forth, were covered. Let’s be honest: the Galaxy Gear (Samsung) didn’t work out well; and really, who has any of the Android Wear lineup? But our conclusion was this: the Apple Watch isn’t going to be a flop — and that still holds true. However, there are some pros and some cons to this new device.

Apple announced the release of the three Watch models (Sport, Watch, Edition) on April 6th, and opened the store for pre-ordering on April 10th at 3:01 AM Eastern Time. Since then, as reported by the LA Times and USA Today, the Watch is back-ordered four months, putting shipping dates into the summer. Jeff Perkins, VP for PGi, a web conferencing company based in Atlanta, GA, counts himself one of the lucky few who were able to beat the rush by ordering at 7 AM. Despite this, his Watch doesn’t ship until some time in May.

Pros:

The features of the Apple Watch are, well, jaw-droppingly good. Heart rate monitoring, texting, fitness tracking, notifications, telecommunications, just to name a few. The usability of the Watch is also good. The “digital crown” (scroll wheel) is seamlessly integrated into the Watch’s interface. It serves as a home button, a scroll wheel, and more.

Another well-designed feature of the Watch is the display. Besides being a touch screen, it is also pressure sensitive, which allows for a much better level of user interaction with the device. Press firmly on the screen while inside of most apps for access to menus, such as the search and layers dialogue when in Google Maps. You can even send your heart rate to a friend if you like! (Although the usefulness of this feature is beyond me) Despite all the great things about the Watch, there are a few issues.

Cons:

The main problem with the Watch is obvious: the price. We all know that Apple products are expensive, but thankfully, iPhones can be subsidized with the purchase of a contract with the phone; not the case with the Watch. The Sport edition is the only one I would consider buying, at $349 for the 38mm case model and $399 for the 42mm model. Prices continue to go up from there: the Watch model ranges from $549 to $1,099, which is pretty expensive for a watch! But it doesn’t stop there. The Edition model ranges from $10,000 to $17,000; yes, that’s still less than a Breguet Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, but that’s more than a pre-owned Rolex Men’s President Yellow Gold Fluted Custom Champagne Diamond Dial from Luxury of Watches!

Interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for most customers. LA Times reports that, “Pre-orders for Apple’s smartwatch began at 12:01 a.m. PDT Friday…By 12:40 a.m., the Apple Watch Edition — the most high-end of the three models — in rose gold showed a ship date of July. For the yellow-gold version, which ranges in price from $10,000 to $17,000 depending on the strap, it was even longer: August. By 8:30 a.m., the yellow-gold with a red strap and the rose-gold case with a matching strap no longer had an option to buy.”

There is one final con: the compatibility of the Apple Watch. Apple notification emails had a small blurb at the bottom of the message to inform users of some sad news: “Apple Watch requires iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus and iOS 8.2 or later.” So if you were planning to use this with your iPad mini (whether with cellular or not), sorry. If you have an iPhone 4S, too bad. And if you’ve been resisting the update to iOS 8 but you want the Watch — well, you have a decision to make.


All in all, the Apple Watch doesn’t have the appearances of a flop. The Watch isn’t officially available for purchase until the 24th, but the volume of pre-orders has sent the delivery dates skyrocketing into August. Perhaps we’ll be able to get one to review; keep your fingers crossed!

Until then, be sure to subscribe to Handz Studioz via email so you can be notified about all of our new posts! Please share us with your community, and keep on the lookout for our next post, which will most likely be an in-depth review of the Fitbit Charge HR.

-The Editor

External Links:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/personal/2015/04/09/apple-watch-pre-orders/25522489/
http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-apple-watch-20150410-story.html
http://www.apple.com/watch/

#Bendgate — Fact or Fiction?

iPhone 6 Plus Bend
Ever since Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the internet has been riddled with the “Bendgate” phenomenon. Basically, the iPhone 6 models are quite thin (6.9 mm for the 6, 7.1 mm for the 6 Plus), and people have been saying that the 6 Plus has been bending in their pockets. Now let’s think about this. The iPhones are made of aluminum and glass; aluminum, unless it is a highly refined alloy, is fairly pliable. That’s why knives are made of steel, not copper or gold, or particularly aluminum. So we know that aluminum isn’t the strongest material, but is Bendgate really something to be worried about?

A lot of the complaints on the internet talked about the iPhone 6 Plus bending in their front pockets. We’re inclined to think that this is a little ridiculous (that was tactful, wasn’t it?). In all seriousness though, it’s silly to say that a phone made of metal (yes, it is aluminum, but it’s still metal) will bend in a front pocket. I mentioned earlier that the internet is full of these rumors; Apple finally came out and said something about this the other day. Apple says that (despite all the reports online) they have only received nine (9!) complaints. That’s nine complaints out of over 10 million combined sales of the 6 and 6 Plus.

TechRadar did a post on this recently, and did a “bend test” on the new iPhone 6 Plus.


As you saw in the video, it takes quite a bit of force to bend the 6 Plus. So will it bend? Yes, he says; but that depends on the tightness of your pants. Notice also that the iPhone had no case, yet it still took a lot of force.

So in conclusion, is Bendgate real? Well, sort of. It is real, but certainly not on the scale that it’s made up to be. Would I worry about it? No. The 6 Plus is in danger of bending, but certainly not in your front pocket, and probably not in the back pocket. You saw the force it took to bend the iPhone, and a case will certainly solve that problem. Remember, Apple only received nine complaints about this, and out of 10 million combined sales, that’s not awful.

Is this a show stopper for the 6 Plus? I don’t think so. Bendgate is something to be careful of, but a case will protect your iPhone 6 Plus, and it’s unlikely that you’ll have to deal with this problem.

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-The Editor