OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3: What’s new in the OnePlus 3?

OnePlus has just announced its third ‘flagship killer’, and the OnePlus 3 is quite possibly the closest thing yet to serious competition for the Samsungs and Apples of this world. With a high-end specification and mid-range price, the OnePlus 3 represents incredible value. Here we look at how the OnePlus 3 differs from the £60 cheaper OnePlus 2, and which OnePlus you should buy - OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3.

Also see: Best Black Friday Phone Deals

Also read our full in-depth OnePlus 2 review and OnePlus 3 review.

OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3: Price and UK availability

When it first hit the headlines with its OnePlus One flagship killer, OnePlus was the company whose phones everyone wanted but no-one could get hold of. A frustrating invitation-only system that saw consumers instead purchasing their handset from unofficial grey-market sites such as Geekbuying and GearBest. Also see: OnePlus 3 UK release date, price, new features and specification.

Recently OnePlus announced that as well as on its own site it would sell its phones over on Amazon (where the OnePlus 2 costs £249), and at the OnePlus 3 launch the company confirmed that for the first time this new smartphone would be available invite-free from day one. The OnePlus 3 costs £309 direct from OnePlus, putting a difference of just £60 between the two.

As we’ll note below, that £60 gets you some serious improvements in build, performance and photography, but if your budget is lower the OnePlus 2 is still a magnificent Android phone.

OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3: Design and build

Here we come to perhaps the most instantly obvious difference between new and old: OnePlus has really worked on the design of the OnePlus 3, producing a phone with a truly premium look. Whereas the plastic OnePlus 2 had that instantly recognisable sandpaper-like flimsy rear cover and was something of a slab at 151.8x74.9x9.85mm and 175g, the new OnePlus 3 has a much more svelte metal unibody design with chamfered edges, and is just 7.35mm thick and 158g in weight. (Also see the smaller OnePlus X.)

Attention to detail is seen everywhere you look in the OnePlus 3, from the flush 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4 screen to the grippy, textured surface of the Alert Slider.

The screen, still 5.5in and full-HD (1920x1080) in resolution, might sound the same as that of the OnePlus 2 on paper, but OnePlus has moved up to an Optic AMOLED technology. Comparable to Samsung’s SuperAMOLED, this screen tech offers vibrant colours and very good contrast. Also see: Best smartphones 2016.

OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3: Core hardware and performance

As you would expect, OnePlus has beefed up its flagship’s core specs. Where the OnePlus 2 had the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with Adreno 430 graphics the OnePlus 3 has the Snapdragon 820 with an Adreno 530 GPU. The company has ditched the 16GB model and opted for 64GB of storage as standard (still with no microSD support), and boosted the RAM complement from 4- to an enormous 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM.

We thought performance from the OnePlus 2 was brilliant, but the OnePlus 3 leaves it firmly in the shade. As you’ll see from our benchmark results below, in our standard Geekbench 3 test it outperforms all 2016 flagships bar the Samsung Galaxy S7, and in our GFXBench graphics tests its lower screen resolution gives it the edge. Also see: Best Android phones 2016.

The battery in the OnePlus 3 has been reduced slightly, from 3300mAh in the OnePlus 2 to 3000mAh in the newer model. Both are non-removable and charge over USB-C, but the OnePlus 3 charges much faster thanks to a new Dash Charge (5V/4A/20W) adaptor. The company says you can achieve more than 60 percent in 30 minutes.

In our Geekbench battery test the OP3 actually performed better, with 3735 points against the OP2’s 3390. Also see: OnePlus Power Bank review.

OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3: Other features

While the OnePlus 3 still features the same fast fingerprint scanner as the OnePlus 2, built into the home button, and dual-SIM (both Nano-) functionality, it’s done fans a favour by returning the NFC connectivity it removed from the OnePlus One.

Both phones support 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.1 in the OP2 and 4.2 in the OP3), 4G LTE and GPS. Also see: Best dual-SIM phones 2016.

OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3: Cameras

The rear camera has been upgraded on the OnePlus 3 from a 13Mp sensor in the OnePlus 2 to a 16Mp Sony IMX298 camera with the addition of phase-detection autofocus and a new manual mode. Both feature an f/2.0 aperture and optical image stabilisation but, interestingly, while the OnePlus 2 has a dual-LED flash, the OnePlus 3 has merely a single-LED flash.

The 5Mp camera at the front of the OnePlus 2 has also been upped to 8Mp in the OnePlus 3.

OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3: Software

OnePlus phones run a custom version of Android known as OxygenOS. Whereas OxygenOS 3.0.2 is now rolling out to the OnePlus 2, the OnePlus 3 comes preinstalled with OxygenOS 3.1 based on Android Marshmallow. Both offer a slick software experience with plenty of customisation options, as well as gesture support.

 

OnePlus 2

OnePlus 3

Operating system

OxygenOS 3.0.2

OxygenOS 3.1

Build

Plastic, Sandstone Black

Metal, Graphite/Soft Gold

Screen

5.5in full-HD IPS

5.5in full-HD Optic AMOLED

Processor

1.8GHz Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64-bit

2.2-/1.6GHz Snapdragon 820 quad-core 64-bit

GPU

Adreno 430

Adreno 530

RAM

4GB LPDDR4

6GB LPDDR4

Storage

16GB/64GB

64GB

Rear camera

13Mp, 1.3um, f/2.0, OIS, Laser AF, 4K/slow-mo video, dual-LED flash

16Mp, 1.12um, f/2.0, OIS, EIS, PDAF, 4K/slow-mo video, single-LED flash

Front camera

5Mp

8Mp

Fingerprint scanner

Yes

Yes

Alert Slider

Yes

Yes

Wi-Fi

802.11ac

802.11ac

Bluetooth

4.1

4.2

GPS

Yes, GLONASS

Yes, GLONASS

4G LTE

Yes, dual-SIM

Yes, dual-SIM

NFC

No

Yes

Battery

3300mAh

3000mAh, Dash Charge

USB

Type-C USB 2.0

Type-C USB 2.0

Dimensions

151.8x74.9x9.85mm

152.7x74.7x7.35mm

Weight

175g

158g

OnePlus 2 in pictures

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OnePlus 3 in pictures

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Read next: Best new phones coming in 2016.

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OnePlus 3: Specs

  • OxygenOS based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • Adreno 530
  • 6GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • 5.5in full-HD Optic AMOLED screen (1920x1080, 401ppi), Gorilla Glass 4
  • 16Mp rear camera, f/2.0 aperture, 4K video/120fps slo-mo at 720p
  • 8Mp front camera
  • proximity sensor
  • USB Type-C charging port
  • 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • GPS with GLONASS
  • NFC
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • bottom-facing speaker
  • dual-mics with noise cancellation
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 4G LTE Cat 6
  • Dual Nano-SIM
  • 3000mAh non-removable lithium-polymer battery
  • 153x75x7.35mm
  • 158g
  • OxygenOS based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • Adreno 530
  • 6GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • 5.5in full-HD Optic AMOLED screen (1920x1080, 401ppi), Gorilla Glass 4
  • 16Mp rear camera, f/2.0 aperture, 4K video/120fps slo-mo at 720p
  • 8Mp front camera
  • proximity sensor
  • USB Type-C charging port
  • 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • GPS with GLONASS
  • NFC
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • bottom-facing speaker
  • dual-mics with noise cancellation
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 4G LTE Cat 6
  • Dual Nano-SIM
  • 3000mAh non-removable lithium-polymer battery
  • 153x75x7.35mm
  • 158g

OUR VERDICT

The OnePlus 3 is a significantly better buy than the OnePlus 2, with a nicer metal design, superb performance and an improved camera, but the OnePlus 2 continues to offer excellent value at £249 if your budget is lower.

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