The metal chassis signals the evolution of OnePlus brand from a slightly shaky Chinese startup to a brand that knows what it's doing, and knows what people want. It doesn't break any new ground in terms of looks, with flashes of iPhone, HTC and Samsung, but it's great to eyeball and hold in the hand.
You've got the choice of two colors. Graphite basically Space Grey was available at launch, but Soft Gold has only recently come into stock - and soft is certainly the right word.
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In some light the gold finish looks almost silver, but it's pleasing understated and is a lot more tasteful than the slightly garish Rose Gold attempts of late. Round the front you get a while panel instead of black on the graphite, giving the Soft Gold OnePlus 3 a brighter, lighter appearance. It's a shame that OnePlus hasn't taken smartphone design in a new direction, but a quick look at the top phones across all the major manufacturers shows that there's a fair amount of — how shall I put this — 'borrowing' when it comes to styling.
Front-on the OnePlus 3 isn't anything special — it's a relatively standard black or white, if you opt for soft gold slab coated in Gorilla Glass 4, with the main feature being the indented fingerprint scanner-come-home-button oval below the display. The fingerprint scanner is much quicker at recognizing your digits and unlocking the OnePlus 3 than it was on the OnePlus 2, with a quoted time of just 0. While I can't vouch for the exact speed I can see that it's impressively quick, and I didn't have any issues when using it.
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Either side of the scanner you'll find touch-sensitive navigation keys which are only visible when tapped, with a single white LED illuminating for a couple of seconds before disappearing into the bezel. These are responsive and easy to hit, and you can program them in the settings menu, enabling you to perform extra functions with a hold action rather than a tap.
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You can also swap them round — so if you prefer your back key to be on the right rather than the left you can do just that. As well as the toughened Gorilla Glass on the front of the phone, OnePlus has also included a factory-fitted screen protector to prevent scratches, but it's a little annoying. It doesn't cover the whole screen, and at times I could see the edge of the protector running down each side of the display, which distracts from the on-screen action. Fortunately you can remove it pretty easily, and it doesn't leave any nasty residue on the glass — but you're unlikely to get the bubble-free finish if you try to re-apply it, so make sure you really want it gone before peeling it off.
Along the left side of the 7. The latter has three positions: all notifications, priority notifications and silent, enabling you to quickly adjust the setting without waking the screen. It's a hat-tip to Apple's mute switch on the iPhone, and it's something I found very useful during my time with the OnePlus 3 — especially when it came to quickly muting the phone during meetings and cinema trips.
On some other devices, such as the Huawei P9 , the second SIM slot also doubles as a microSD slot, but that's not the case here — as mentioned, there's no expandable storage option. The explanation given to me by OnePlus's Pei for why the company continues to shun expandable storage comes down to user experience. It's not a good user experience". You may not agree, but that's the thinking over at OnePlus. The buttons are well positioned, and as long as your hands are big enough to grapple the OnePlus 3 you'll be able to hit them without issue when using the phone one-handed.
There's nothing on the top edge, while the base is packed with a speaker grille, USB-C port and headphone jack — OnePlus certainly isn't ready to ditch the 3. Moving round the back, the gently curving rear and the antenna bands at the top and bottom of the handset are reminiscent of the HTC One M9 , while the square camera bulge has something of the Samsung Galaxy S6 about it.
It's a pleasing premium look, if a little understated, and its arched backed means the OnePlus 3 sits nicely in the palm, enabling you to get a decent grip around what is a large handset. The OnePlus 3 is a phone I really do enjoy holding, flipping it over repeatedly in my hand and gazing at it as it resides on my desk. There's nothing complex going on here, but it's that simplicity that I find alluring. Leave it powered off and continue on to the final step. Open up the Flash OnePlus 7 Pro folder on your desktop. You want to untick this checkbox. Those three steps need to be done very quickly.
Simply shut down your phone and repeat the three steps above until you get it right. Once your phone has rebooted, you can safely unplug it and close out of the desktop program.
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If after doing this you decide you want to go back to the T-Mobile version of Oxygen OS, that is easily done. There is an XDA thread with instructions on what you need to do. Stay tuned as we will soon have an article detailing instructions on how to flash that device to the unlocked version of Oxygen OS. How To. More posts about OnePlus.
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