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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  • fanofanand - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    Not to mention I call BS on his entire statement. You really sit around the water cooler with your colleagues discussing the screen quality of your phone? You discuss how great the colors are? Unless you work for a mobile phone manufacturer, you are either lying or the most boring guy in the office. Reply
  • shktr - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    I work at an IT company. Talking about new tech on a daily basis. So why would it be BS? Who wouldn't discuss their brand new phone and its performance? That aside, I'm curious why most of the people that review the phone are positive about the display? They are all lying? I agree its not the best out there. Yet saying its a poor display is just wrong. Reply
  • UtilityMax - Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - link

    I am not a big display quality nut, but the two things I really care about is max brightness and black levels, which basically means that I expect the screen to look good to an untrained eye, either outdoors or in the dark. So it is disappointing to see that Oneplus 3 has max brightness about on the level of Asus Zenfone 2. A lot of people thought this was not even acceptable on a 200-300 dollar device which Zenfone 2 was, but for a 400USD 2016 "flagship killer" it's ridiculous. Reply
  • Eden-K121D - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    Yep.People should stop whining and accept the fact that oneplus 3 has a POOR display Reply
  • grayson_carr - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    If you call the OnePlus 3 display poor, then I think you have to call the Galaxy S7 display poor as well because by default its display is no more accurate than the OnePlus 3 display. You have to change the display mode from adaptive to basic to make the S7 display accurate, which let's be honest, only about 0.1% of people who buy the S7 do that. I think Anandtech needs to start publishing display measurements using the default display settings as they come out of the box, because that's what 99.9% of people will use and see when they buy the phone. I'm fine with including measurements of the basic mode as well, but I don't think it should be the only measurements shown. The default settings should be measured and discussed considering that's how most people, even enthusiasts who read this site, will use it. Reply
  • Eden-K121D - Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - link

    At Least they give an option to change the mode. Oneplus doesn't even do that Reply
  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - link

    You have the option and if you care about accuracy you will use it.

    Avrg people like colors to poop but once you show them how the colors should look (specially when white/black/greyscale are involved) they dont look back after switching to "basic".
    Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    The screen is not better than the OnePlus One at all. There's no subjectivity here, these are purely objective measurements. If someone enjoys that a display shows completely inaccurate gaudy colors and has a severely blue-shifted white point, there's nobody trying to stop them from enjoying it.

    An analogy: I enjoy The Room, but I would never try to argue that it's an objectively high quality film on the basis that I enjoy it. You can enjoy a display with poor image rendition, but that doesn't make it good.
    Reply
  • grayson_carr - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    While we're complaining about gaudy colors and shifted white points, I would like to request that Anandtech start publishing display measurements for the default display modes of phones. For example, the Galaxy S and Note lines and the Nexus 6P both ship with displays with gaudy colors and shift white points but default, but we never see those measurements, but just the measurements after you have set them to sRGB mode. The problem with that is that 99.9% of people who buy those phones leave the display settings at the default. I would bet you cold hard cash that even the majority of Anandtech readers leave the display settings at default. And so now we have a bunch of people running around claiming "Anandtech said my phone has like the most accurate display, dude", but then I look at their phone, and uhhh, no. They are using the default display mode and have been mislead into thinking those colors are accurate. I realize that most Anandtech readers aren't dumb enough to pull that, but the problem is, when Anandtech publishes its findings, a bunch of other news outlets come along and say "Anandtech and DisplayMate say this phone displays the most accurate colors ever", but conveniently leave off the part about have to change settings for that to be true. I'm not saying you should test and publish the results in the sRGB modes. You should. I'm just saying you should ALSO publish the results for the default display settings for a device. And if the accuracy sucks at the default settings, you should call it out and complain about it a bit, even if there is an sRGB setting buried in developer options somewhere. You can tell me the Galaxy S7 has a more accurate display than the iPhone 6S all you want, but if I run meet two people when I'm out and one has an S7 and one has a 6S, guess which one is going to be more accurate 99.9% of the time?

    /rant
    Reply
  • grayson_carr - Monday, June 20, 2016 - link

    Err, should have proofread before posting. Autocorrect killed me and there's no edit button.

    "I'm not saying you *shouldn't test and publish the results in the sRGB modes."
    Reply

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