We’ve said it over and over again here at Aptgadget: a lot of smartphones like the OnePlus 3 have excellent hardware, but few software features are ever mentioned or deemed significant in the smartphone experience. One thing that, for me, sets Samsung’s Galaxy Note announcements apart from all other smartphone announcements is that the company takes time to introduce new software features to its audience. I took a trip through VR to see OnePlus announce the new OnePlus 3 this week, and it was disappointing to see.
Granted, the VR didn’t even look that good (I think it was worse in appearance than any VR content I’ve ever seen), and it didn’t hold a candle to Gear VR content whatsoever. While the VR-viewing experience wasn’t commendable, I wanted to see how the company would announce its OnePlus 3. To my surprise, the company unveiled its latest phone by sheer hardware alone (the colors, textures, and the crystal-clear “Optic AMOLED” display that’s marketing speak for “AMOLED”).
And yet, the OnePlus 3 does have three tricks that just may impress you. Granted, these are not mind-boggling features, as they’ve already made their entrances onto the market in other devices, but keep in mind that you are getting these “tricks” from high-end phones into a $400 handset. I’m not saying that the OP3 is better than these high-end handsets (I’d never assert that), but OnePlus has tried to give the best overall experience in a more budget-friendly fashion.
First, there’s something akin to active notifications, where you can wave your hand above the front sensor on the OnePlus 3 and have your notifications appear. Should, hand gestures can be pretty awesome (ask anyone who has used and loved Air Gesture on Samsung Galaxy smartphones), but Samsung’s Always On Display here is better because you don’t need to wave your hand or perform any gestures to have notifications appear: set the toggle to bring up your AOD when the phone is off, and that’s it. Still, this feature has a following among Motorola fans, so maybe it’s this crowd that OnePlus is selling to.
Next, there’s the double-tap-to-launch camera feature that lets you activate the camera with a quick tap of the home button. Samsung has made this a staple function in the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 Active, and Galaxy Note 5, and has brought these features back in the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, and the newly announced Galaxy S7 Active.
Last but not least is the OnePlus 3’s Night Mode that lets you have a much easier presentation on the eyes with the device. Night Mode is a feature that OnePlus has had in its devices for quite some time, and Google should implement this feature within Android. It just seems to be a better way to handle color preferences than downloading apps and hoping that you can enable Night Mode within those.
These are three features that make the OnePlus 3 stand out, but whether or not they’re as convincing as the source believes them to be is up to you. These features are nothing we’ve not seen before, though, so, at the surface, the OnePlus 3 is just like all the rest.