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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  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    >> So you'll test if it's an Apple product using a standard created for projectors, OK. The Galaxy Tab S was touted as supporting the Adobe RGB standard- you didn't test that(either generation).

    iOS supports colour profiles. Android doesn't. Simple as that.
    Reply
  • Matt Humrick - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    sRGB is NOT our personal preference. We would love to see proper wide gamut support, and when a device supports a different gamut, we test it like we did for the iPad Pro 9.7". But until Android supports color management, testing against sRGB is the only thing that makes sense. A few other points:
    1) Most of the content you're going to view on a mobile device uses the sRGB color space, including web pages, games, and even the pictures and video taken with mobile devices.

    2) Viewing a file intended for DCI on an iPad Pro 9.7" results in properly rendered colors, because iOS supports color management. Viewing the same file on an Android device with a wide-gamut panel results in innaccurate, oversaturated colors, because Android does not support color management and assumes everything is sRGB. Color space support requires both hardware and software support. The OP3, like almost every mobile device, lacks the software component.

    3) Some people prefer these more vivid colors even if they do not match the content creator's intent. That's fine. We even help quantify how vivid the colors will look with our saturation test (each square represents a 20% increase in saturation up to 100% sRGB target), and a visual example with the color swatch.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    Thanks to all Anandtech writers. I appreciate your replies in the comments. Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    But until Android supports color management, testing against sRGB is the only thing that makes sense.


    I guess you just have a very unique perspective. From a professional perspective this doesn't make sense at all- ICC color profiles are simply one way to handle forced color accuracy, and not a terribly good one at that as GPU overrides of color balance are fairly normal anyway on most devices. From a consumer perspective wanting the least amount of colors possible doesn't make sense in any rational way that I can come up with. Apple's way of handling things gives you two calibration targets- one is the narrowest in use, the other designed for movie projectors. Force decode True Color is a pretty useful option when trying to maximize the range covered.

    1)Most content isn't calibrated. Period. Content that has calibration as a very high priority, isn't calibrated using sRGB.

    2)When moving from a wider gamut space to a narrower one you deal with truncation, where are you getting that it is going to go through multiple up and down scaled balances? That isn't how it works.

    3)You say that's fine, and we see articles spending hundreds of words bashing displays if they don't do it under the most narrowly defined set of parameters imaginable.
    Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    The gamut defined in the NTSC standard is over sixty years old, it was never even reproduced properly on the CRT displays of the time because they couldn’t do so with an adequate brightness level, and it was replaced as a “standard” gamut decades ago, having never even been used outside the Americas at all.


    Side note- looking at your reported numbers, it appears they were shooting for Japan's NTSC standard as their white point is far closer to that then the US NTSC. I'm not sure where Japan is on your world map, mine obviously looks a little different :)
    Reply
  • Oyeve - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    Would be nice if you guys actually did a real S7 review so we could see a real comparison against this OP3. But no, we have skewed data that really is not relevant at all. Way to go guys! Reply
  • leopard_jumps - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    Good job ! Yet something is missing : photos and videos in incandescent bulb light , are they yellowish . Reply
  • zodiacfml - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    One question with camera testing. How come you still don't have a studio lab for camera testing? It can help uncover some design compromises. It may not have the value for a consumer purchase decision but it has entertainment value, at least for me. Reply
  • ElecDroid - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    Thank you for the unbiased review💯 I was really thinking about buying this phone. The display is of the utmost importance to me. My 3 needs,wants or what have you when I'm shopping for a new smartphone follows. Display,chip performance,OS updates. If the display isn't top notch. I'm already turning the page. Which is why I have a Note 5. Just about all other sites are praising this phone. I can always trust Anandtech to do very thorough reviews! Thank You! Reply
  • aryonoco - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    It would be really, really good if Anandtech could start listing the LTE bands that a device supports.

    The OnePlus 3 for example, has no SKUs which support all of Australian LTE bands, meaning that if you live in Australia, it will give you a very sub-optimal experience, irrespective of which carrier you use.

    This is vital information for a smartphone user. It would be great if AT paid a little attention to this.
    Reply

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