Battery Life

The OnePlus 2 had many problems, but something you could generally count on was that it provided good battery life. Unfortunately, the caveat was that the phone usually ran on four Cortex A53 cores so it performed only a bit better at CPU tasks than a $100 Moto E LTE, but that's another story. With the OnePlus 3 you no longer have to deal with exceptionally poor performance, and with the battery being made smaller at the same time as OnePlus moves from an LCD to an AMOLED display it's difficult to say what happens to battery life in the process. To evaluate the OnePlus 3's battery life under various scenarios I've run our 2016 WiFi web browsing battery test, PCMark's battery test, and GFXBench's Manhattan 3.1 battery test.

Web Browsing Battery Life 2016 (WiFi)

The OnePlus 3 regresses slightly from the OnePlus 2 in our web browsing battery test. However, it's also worth noting that the OnePlus 2 had crippled web performance by only enabling the SoC's A53 cores, and with the OnePlus 3 being over twice as fast with JavaScript performance it's worth the tiny hit to battery life. Looking at the broader market you can see that the OnePlus lasts slightly longer than the Nexus 6P, but trails the Galaxy Note5 by about the same amount.

In my own usage I haven't noticed any problems with web battery life on the OnePlus 3. OnePlus definitely could have put in a larger battery, but it would have made the phone thicker and heavier which would have a negative impact on its ergonomics and usability. The OnePlus 2 basically feels like a brick in the hand, and all you get for it is an extra 300mAh over the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 3 much nicer to hold in the hand, and the idea that you should compromise that by making it 3mm thicker and 30g heavier just to boost the battery capacity by 10-15% is ridiculous.

For those who are interested, I measured 6.47 hours when running this test over LTE. I've decided not to compare this result directly to our past reviews because I'm still unable to achieve a strong enough signal over LTE to get results that are comparable to those run by Josh and Matt, but the drop in battery life when running over LTE was only about thirty minutes which is a great result for -97dBm on LTE.

PCMark - Work Battery Life

In PCMark's battery test the OnePlus 3 continues to do quite well. As I showed in the performance section, the OnePlus 3 improved over the OnePlus 2 a great deal in PCMark's tests, and yet it also lasts longer in a battery benchmark running those same tests. PCMark's battery test is a good indicator of what battery life you can expect when performing a variety of different tasks that stress different parts of the system, and the fact that the OnePlus 3 only loses to the larger Galaxy Note5 and Huawei Mate 8 speaks very well of its battery life.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 / Metal Battery Life

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 / Metal Final Frame Rate

The OnePlus 3 does exceptionally well in our GFXBench Manhattan battery test. While it's by no means a leader in terms of absolute battery life, the performance it achieves is impressive to say the least. It's important to note that this is an on screen test, and so while the OnePlus 3 is a bit behind the iPhone 6s for sustained performance, it's also pushing a much higher resolution. The fact that the phone maintains its frame rate for over two hours is also an improvement over pretty much every other Android device, with the LG G5 coming close but exhibiting small oscillations that the OnePlus 3 doesn't have. Suffice to say, the OnePlus 3 provides a substantial improvement over the OnePlus 2 here, and I think anyone would agree that it's more fun to play a game at 30fps for two hours than to play it at 7fps for three.

In the end, the OnePlus 3 generally does as well or better than its predecessor in our battery life tests when you consider their context. In our 2016 web test battery life has dropped a bit, but it's not a significant decrease even though performance has improved immensely. PCMark battery life improves, and that's a test that reflects real world usage quite well. In GFXBench it doesn't last as long, but sustained performance is three times as high, and the frame rate the phone can maintain is high enough that a game with the visual fidelity of the Manhattan benchmark would actually be playable at 1080p on the OnePlus 3.

Charge Time

One of the biggest controversies regarding the OnePlus 2 was the lack of support for quick charging. OnePlus actually included a 10W charger so it wasn't as though you were limited to 5W speeds, but nonetheless you weren't able to take advantage of chargers that supported Qualcomm's Quick Charge protocol. The OnePlus 2 and the OnePlus 3 both use USB Type-C connectors, but there's no support for USB Power Delivery. With the OnePlus 3 there's now support for quick charging, but in an unconventional way.

The OnePlus 3 introduces a new standard for quick charging that was created by OnePlus, which they call Dash Charge. According to OnePlus, Dash Charge moves much of the power management processes to the charger itself rather than the phone, which reduces the heat generated by a device as it charges. There isn't much technical information about what exactly is going on, but a reasonable guess is that the DC/DC voltage conversion is now going on at the charger instead of the device, which means the phone only has to handle the current limiting. Dash Charge also operates at 5 volts, and the included charger is a 5V 4A block for 20W of output power. It's worth noting that the USB Power Delivery implementations that we've seen operating at 15W also use 5 volts, so this isn't necessarily something unique to Dash Charge.

Of course, there is a caveat with OnePlus making their own protocol is that you're limited to their charging blocks.  On top of that, you're limited to using OnePlus's cords, with the charger not providing quick charging using other USB Type-C cables such as the Google-branded ones that I have. This is a significant drawback compared to Qualcomm Quick Charge and USB Power Delivery, although I would imagine most users will use the included charger and cable so it may not pose much of a problem in practice.

Charge Time

As a OnePlus-specific charging implementation, Dash Charge may not be as convenient as USB Power Delivery or Qualcomm Quick Charge, but it certainly charges the phone quickly. At 1.44 hours to go from 0 to 100% there's not really anything to complain about with the actual time to charge. 

While Dash Charge is interesting in how it charges quickly and actually does manage to keep the phone cool while doing so, I'm not really sure if it's worth the trade-offs. If you lose your OnePlus cable you have to buy a new one from OnePlus, and you can't quick charge with the large number of Qualcomm Quick Charge accessories available on the market. If nothing else, Quick Charging is here on a OnePlus device, but it has more restrictions than one might have hoped, and it's not clear if the benefits are worth it.

Camera Architecture and Performance Final Words
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  • pcpoweruser - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    You are simply not getting something - display accuracy has very little to do with sRGB color space itself. sRGB is a relatively dull, limited colorspace that defines collors far bellow what human eyes can see and it only exists because wider gamut was problematic to achieve on pre-OLED displays. AdobeRGB (that OLEDs can reach) is far richer, vibrant closer to life color space.

    Personally, I would never use modern, wide-gamut OLED display in crippled sRGB mode that essentially limit panel ability do render deep, saturated colours, it is just not 'fun'. Many of these colors are just UI elements, icons, etc - they look much nicer with wide gamut. Yes, I cannot believe that Android still does not have any form of color management built in and think it is a total disgrace. As a result, the cost of using full abilities of wide gamut displays is that photos (typically designed to be shown on sRGB display) will look oversaturated, even if they are embedded with proper sRGB/AdobeRGB profile, as Android simply have no way to process it. However, to be fair, I a can live with this - I am not a photographer and do not need accurate saturation in photos on my mobile.

    But to the point: AdobeRGB (that many OLEDs target) is essentially extension of sRGB, so on OS that does not understand color management, photos with sRGB profile would simply look more saturated - but the colors would be still accurate (i.e certain share of red would be still the same shade, just more intense). NTSC that Oneplus 3 panel seems to target is a different gamut, that is 'shifted' in space (look at CIE graphs), so for instance orange might become red - and this is a problem.

    Additionally, there is another aspect of accuracy: balance of individual primary colours at various intensity steps (so called 'greyscale') - and this is quite broken in Oneplus 3 too (yes, I have got one) - blue is dominating heavily pretty much all the intensity steps.

    Combined with a very high color temperature ('balance' option in the UI does not help much, it just adds hideous pink hue) and low ~800p real resolution thanks to pentile pattern (with all the artifacts like diamond-shaped fill and color fringing at hight contrast edged) the result is simple - the display is objectively very bad.

    My point of reference is to N6P panel, which is absolutely gorgeous, accurate and ultra sharp in comparison.
    It is a shame, as otherwise phone is great (build quality, SoC, fast storage), but looking at the screen is just too painful for me - so I am sending it back.

    I understand that possibly less than 1% really care about quality of the display, but I am one of those people and totally agree with the reviewer here.
    Reply
  • grayson_carr - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    You've missed my point entirely, which was to request that Anandtech provide measurements for displays as they are calibrated out of the box. By default, the Galaxy S7 and Nexus 6P are just as bad, calibration wise, as the OnePlus 3. They are not calibrated to any standard. Not sRGB, not Adobe RGB. Yes there are sRGB modes on both the S7 and 6P, which are what Anandtech tests and publishes results for, and there is also an Adobe RGB mode for the S7, but when you take those phones out of the box, the calibration of each is truly awful, just like the OnePlus 3. Uhg, and you're acting like the 6P has some great panel. God, the 6P screen is sharp and accurately calibrated (in sRGB mode), sure, but it has a horrible grainy look to it and has awful sunlight visibility in sRGB mode (sunlight visibility in the default inaccurate mode is fine, but it's truly terrible in sRGB mode). I own an S7 Edge, OnePlus 3, and Nexus 6P because I'm an Android app developer, so I can compare them all side by side here. Reply
  • pcpoweruser - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    You are missing my point too: 6P in default mode is fine - it targets colour space similar to AdobeRGB, so colors are just more saturated, but they are still the same colors. There is no reason to use sRGB mode on 6P (as you mentioned it impacts maximum brightness badly - like any color curve adjustment) unless you are a photographer and work with sRGB photos on your workstation - by using sRGB mode you are simply crippling display capability to show wide gamut.

    Oneplus 3 is different, by default it targets odd gamut that actually shitfs colors and make them very different colors - this does not happen 6P. Not to mention terrible white balance and greyscale, which is just fine on 6P in non-sRGB mode. Grainy look on 6P display: is this a joke? Maybe with some dodgy screen protector. It is one of the sharpest, cleanest displays and makes Oneplus 3 look absolutely terrible in comparison.
    Reply
  • grayson_carr - Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - link

    "colors are just more saturated, but they are still the same colors"

    What? Not to me. If you take a color and make it way more saturated, it is not the same color. I guess you're saying green will still be green, etc, but just more saturated. I get that. But it still makes photos look untrue to life if the colors are all oversaturated. And even if I accept your explanation for the 6P, what about the S7 and Note 5? The default adaptive mode on those phones is NOT sRGB nor Adobe RGB. It's Samsung's made up colors that they think look good and it's no better than what we see on the OnePlus 3. If Anandtech would test these modes we would see that, which is why I want Anandtech to start testing and discussing them.
    Reply
  • Buk Lau - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    maybe because other so called "reviews" don't even have a colorimeter to properly test displays? subjectively saying "oh it looks good to me" doesn't mean much to everyone Reply
  • grayson_carr - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    The display is only 'bad' from a color accuracy standpoint. I actually have the phone, and also own a Galaxy S7 Edge and Nexus 5X. Subjectively, if you hand a random person on the street all three of these phones, they would probably say the OnePlus 3 display looks the best. The Nexus 5X is technically the most accurate, but looks washed out next to the other two to your average person who doesn't deal with color accurate displays for a living. The S7 Edge (mine anyways) has whites that lean too much towards green, so it looks kind of unnatural. I thought the lower resolution of OnePlus 3 would bother me because the display is pentile, but honestly, the screen density it set such that I never bring the phone close enough to my face to notice. Also, while I don't have a measurement device, I think the white balance of my OnePlus 3 is not as cool as the one Anandtech received. Comparing it to other phones, I would guess my sample is more in the 7500K range. Brandon also seems to have missed the color temperature slider in the display settings. I wonder if he had adjust the color temperature a bit warmer if the color measurements would have been a little better. Reply
  • grayson_carr - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    Oh, I forgot to mention, if you like how the Galaxy S6, S7 and Note 5 displays look in their default adaptive display mode, you will probably like how the OnePlus 3 display looks because it looks very similar to that. Unfortunately, Anandtech and everyone else only test the color accuracy of Samsung displays after changing the display mode to basic / sRGB, which almost no one uses in reality. So you will hear the Galaxy S7 display is suuuupppppeeeerrrr accurate, blah, blah, blah!!! But if you go out and survey actual Galaxy S7 owners on the street, 99.9% of them will be using the default display setting that is not accurate at all and probably no more accurate than the OnePlus 3 display, yet people still say it looks great. So bottom line, don't write of the OnePlus 3 because Anandtech hates the display. Reply
  • Buk Lau - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    it's ok, we get it, you are trying to defend your purchase. Idk if you have read any of those reviews you mentioned so far (probably not as you are still saying these), but in N6P review they clearly gave out results for both profiles. also what you are forgetting is that this is not simply a color profile issue, 1+ just straight up didn't calibrate these panels out of the box. what people like is different from what something objectively is. you can like the 1+3 and its poorly calibrated panels, but that doesn't change the fact that the panel is inaccurate. there's a reason why these standards exist, and just because you don't like the standard doesn't mean it's important. Reply
  • grayson_carr - Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - link

    Why would I need to defend my purchase? I own a Galaxy S7 edge and will be keeping it as my main phone and returning the OnePlus 3. I only bought a OnePlus 3 because I am an Android app developer and phone enthusiast and just like trying all of the new phones. That's great that they gave out results of both profiles for the 6P, but if I remember correctly, it's only because they tested the default profile before they discovered the sRGB mode. They never test the default profile of Samsung phones. I want them to call Samsung out for shipping phones with displays that are so inaccurate out of the box. Yeah, it's great that Samsung gives you an accurate profile setting, but when you just test that and don't even mention the default profile, it confuses people and makes most people think Samsung displays are accurate right out of the box. Even many reviewers at other popular sites obviously don't know that Samsung displays are onky accurate in basic mode. Reply
  • grayson_carr - Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - link

    there's a reason why these standards exist, and just because you don't like the standard doesn't mean it's important.

    Wtf dude? You've got me all wrong. I'm a proponent of sRGB. I like it and wish all phones were calibrated to that standard out of the box. That said, if you're going to completely trash a phone for not being calibrated to sRGB out of the box, you need to trash every phone that isn't calibrated to that out of the box to some extent, but Samsung just throws in an sRGB profile that no real world users even know about and gets away with shipping displays that aren't calibrated to any standard at all by default (cough... adaptive mode)???
    Reply

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