What we want to see from the next flagship killer, OnePlus 6

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OnePlus, love them or hate them, is slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Each generation of the “flagship killer” improves on the last, and it’s earning the company both respect among tech fans and earning new customers. Clearly, the manufacturer’s pinpoint focus on releasing and selling just one phone model at a time is paying dividends.

A big part of the appeal is that the phone rarely has any major compromises in a mobile that costs significantly less than the likes of the and flagships. This, of course, is helped by those companies making their latest phones harder and more costly to attain.

With the OnePlus 6 due to come out, and we’re keen to see a handful of improvements.

Design

  • Full metal body
  • Attractive finish

Something has shown over the past couple of generations of device, is that it knows how to consistently improve the design and build. We’ve gone from a thin, plastic OnePlus One to a OnePlus 5T built from a solid block of beautifully finished aluminum within four years. The Midnight Black and Sandstone White finishes are among the finest you’ll see on a solid metal device.

With the OnePlus 6, that’s something we’d like to see continue. There aren’t many rumors about the specifics of the OnePlus 6’s design, but there is perhaps one area that could improve to increase the visual appeal.

This lies on the front, in form of a bezel. While the OnePlus 5T’s long 18:9 screen is beautiful, it’s not as striking as the ‘s, primarily because there is still some bezel on the top and bottom. A true edge-to-edge screen is hard to achieve, especially in the mid-range price bracket, but we’d love to see the frame made even slimmer on the next flagship.

On a less aesthetic-based opinion – let’s finally get some proper water and dust resistance shall we? It’s one of those features added to many of the high-end flagships and is almost becoming standard.

Display

  • 18:9 ratio AMOLED

Given the OnePlus 5T’s recent launch with its new 18:9 ratio display, it’s hard to imagine OnePlus moving to something completely different for the OnePlus 6. We expect the size and shape of the panel to stay the same.

What we’d love to see, is something we’ve wanted for a couple of years now, and that’s a QuadHD resolution panel. While OnePlus’ AMOLED screens are bright, vivid and have impressive contrast levels, it could do with a little more sharpness.

In the Android market, virtually all legitimate flagship phones have a QuadHD resolution display. The Galaxy Note 8,,,  Huawei P10 Plus and HTC U11+ – all with similar sized screens to the flagship OnePlus – have either 1440 x 2880 or 1440 x 2560 resolutions. That means finer details like text and app icons appear sharper and crisper. You may not see the individual pixels in a 1080p display, but you can certainly tell the difference when it’s side-by-side with QuadHD.

A display with the usual vibrancy and “pop” of a Samsung-made OnePlus AMOLED screen, but with higher resolution would certainly be an unbeatable display.

Hardware

  • Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Dash Charge fast-charging
  • 6/8GB RAM

One thing we know about OnePlus phones is that they use whatever is Qualcomm’s latest high-end processor. This year, that’s the Snapdragon 845, and it’s going to be in the OnePlus 6. The company’s founder Pete Lau confirmed as much in an during CES 2018 in Las Vegas. He stated, “Of course, there’s no other choice.” So that’s one thing settled.

We could dream of bigger batteries, and more RAM, and more storage, but OnePlus is already very generous in that regard. Its highest spec phone – which still only costs £499 – has 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, and that’s more than enough for a smartphone.

Likewise, although bigger batteries than the 3,300mAh cell in the OnePlus 5T exist, the way OnePlus has optimised it means you comfortably get through a full day on a single charge, even with a smartwatch connected. It’s surprisingly good. Of course, if OnePlus does go with a higher resolution display, a higher capacity battery should come with it, to make up for the more power-intensive screen.

We expect Dash Charge, super fast-charging technology to remain. It’s one of the company’s biggest advantages over most competitors. Even if you do drain the battery, you can plug it in for 30 minutes and have it 3/4 full again.

Perhaps one essential improvement is the Face Unlock feature. Currently, the technology only uses the front camera, which isn’t the most secure method of facial recognition.

Adding depth sensors/IR would help make it harder to fool, and enable OnePlus to use it for more features, like unlocking private apps or authorizing payments and downloads from the Play Store. As much has been, so we’re hoping that speculation pans out.

To help the phone feel that bit more like a quality, refined device, we’d also like to see a haptic engine added, similar to the new Pixel 2 and the last couple of iPhone generations. The feedback from tapping keys on the Pixel is super, and the haptic vibration alerts feel far less jarring than a whirring vibrator motor.

Cameras

  • Dual camera system
  • Improved HDR and low light performance
  • Sharper images from selfie cam

Of all the features that, arguably, need more attention than others, it’s the camera. While the OnePlus 5T‘s dual camera system is great in daylight, its HDR system does need improvement, as does a low light performance if it’s going to compete with the likes of the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S8, which seem to take great photos without any effort at all.

We’d also like to see front camera selfies produced with less softness, and better able to deal with bright backlighting.

Software

  • Android Oreo-based system
  • Oxygen OS with customisability

What’s not to like about Oxygen OS already? On the surface, it’s a very minimal, clean Android experience, except OnePlus gives you the ability to control a number of design elements. It’s fairly certain we’re going to see a very similar software experience on the OnePlus 6, but built on Android Oreo.

Price and release date

OnePlus has already said that the next phone will, which means we’re likely looking at another June launch. It’s a good time of year for OnePlus. It’s a good month or two before the madness of September/October announcements, and it’s a couple of months after all the phone’s announced at MWC in February are launched.

As for price, we hope OnePlus keeps things where they are. A starting price of £449 may not be as cheap as older generations, but it’s still considerably cheaper than the competition, and it enables OnePlus to continue growing.