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Look forward to OnePlus 5, because OnePlus 3 and 3T have been brilliant

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 8 June 2017, 11:30 IST

It's official. Chinese company OnePlus' next 'flagship-killing' smartphone OnePlus 5, will be unveiled on 20 June at 12 PM EDT (9:30 PM IST), with popup events being held across the world.

The launch event will also be streamed live on YouTube. Indians will be able to get their hands on the much awaited phone two days later, specifically in Mumbai.

OnePlus has done a great job of hyping the smartphone without sharing a lot of actual information.

OnePlus family

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With the launch being just under two weeks away, it is to be seen as to whether the company can deliver upon the massive hype surrounding the smartphone. A hype heightened by the fact that the two phones it follows – OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T – were game-changers.

Reasonably priced, 3 and 3T will live on long beyond their shelf life, which is about to get much shorter, post the launch of the OnePlus 5. The phone has been criminally underrated for what it does.

I've been using the 3 and 3T for about a year now and I find them to be excellent in each and every department.

Even though heavyweights like the Samsung Galaxy S8, HTC U11, LG G6, iPhone 7, Google Pixel, and many more launched after the 3 and some even after the 3T, none of them could hold a candle to their Chinese competitor.

India Habitat Centre on one of Delhi's good weather days. #NoFilter #Delhi #Photography #OnePlus3T

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The OnePlus 3 and 3T don't get much attention these days between the edge-to-edge displays (read Samsung Galaxy S8), a phone that can be squeezed (read HTC U11) and modular devices (read Motorola's Moto Z).

There is also homegrown competition from the likes of Xiaomi (constantly breaking and reducing price barriers), Vivo (spending millions on advertising that include the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup) and others.

Finally, there is the constant rumour mill trying to get a first glimpse at the OnePlus 5 (which, coincidentally was released by Android Police yesterday.

Getting noticed

Lest we forget, in the excitement for the upcoming OnePlus 5, the past OnePlus 3 & OnePlus 3T came with groundbreaking specifications with a price tag too low to believe. It came with the then latest Snapdragon 821 processor (now superceeded by the 835), class leading 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage space and a great design to back them up.

OnePlus even announced that both these phones will be getting a software update to Android O. Phones with one great feature get all the press. Phones with the marketing budget of a company like Samsung behind them get a large share of coverage in the press.

OnePlus, especially in the run-up to the 3 and 3T, got close to zero press. The company took whatever they got, which usually was in the form of leaks.

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All of that muscle was available for a reasonable Rs 27,999 here in India. That is about half the cost of what a Galaxy S8, iPhone 7 and similar phones cost.

For the first time in the history of the smartphone industry in India, the landscape changed. It was the first time a phone of such calibre was able to make each and every competitor wake up and take notice.

Manufacturers only reinvent the smartphone once every few years. Till then, it's just them adding the same sort of features - fingerprint sensors, dual camera, higher resolution displays - to smartphones and selling them as something brand new.

The thing is, and most people will agree here, that smartphones should last at least two years, if not more. For that to happen, one must look at the phone as a whole and not just the specifications written down on a paper.

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Overall package

From processing power to RAM and from regular Android upgrades to price points, the overall package has to deliver for one to be willing to spend the money. That is what both the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T accomplish.

While traveling with the smartphone to USA, Europe and within India, a few things matter most. These factors being battery life & charging time, connectivity (cellular and Wi-Fi), and camera performance (because what's a trip without making your friends on social media jealous).

Battery life on both the phones are truly magnificent, delivering up to 36 hours and sometimes even more, depending on the usage. Connectivity is pretty solid, barring a call drop here or there and 4G going down to 3G at times.

Wi-Fi connectivity is absolutely fantastic, with not a lag in the speed at any point. And finally, there's the camera quality.

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I've used a great number of phones in the past few months and nothing comes close to my OnePlus' back-camera, except Samsung's Galaxy C7 Pro. Whilst I carried my DSLR with me, I ended up leaving it in the hotel/friends house while I ventured out.

The smartphone is much more a portable option than a DSLR. Both cameras are superb. They have detail and accurate colour reproduction.

Better battery

In my time with the OnePlus devices, I've never had a better experience with charging the phone.

Being a heavy user, I took more than my fair share of time to stand up and appreciate OnePlus and their Dash Charging capabilities.

Battery life became something I began to not worry about at all. Even just 15-30 minutes with a power outlet transformed the phone into one with hours of usage ahead of it.

The other day in office, I tested the capabilities one last time. From 0% to 100% in 90-minutes flat, with the first 50% charging in just 35 odd minutes.. Now that's impressive.

To conclude, the OnePlus 3 and 3T are absolute dream phones. They are easy to grip and use in one-hand and provide an experience equivalent to the likes of Samsung, LG and HTC's flagship phones mentioned above.

Raw performance aside, the OnePlus is a near-flawless experience, no matter where you take it with you. The highly competitive pricing coupled with near minimalist Android software experience, and the company's promise of timely updates, makes this a phone one could never forget.

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I've lost count of the number of friends I've recommended one.

With the OnePlus 5 fast approaching, one might caution their friends to wait and see what improvements it brings.

With a rumoured higher price, and a design akin to iPhone 7 and Oppo R11, and the fact that every flagship's alternate launch is the one to look out for, you will not be regretting a OnePlus 3T purchase if you choose to pick up one today.

To sum up in one line: OnePlus would have to double the price of the OnePlus 3T to negate its massive appeal that it's managed to build up.

First published: 8 June 2017, 11:27 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.