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Hardware Overview and System Performance
There's a lot of high-end hardware in the OnePlus 3. The headlining feature is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, which combines four Kryo CPU cores with an Adreno 530 GPU in a 14nm package. The CPU cores are split into two two-core clusters, one clocked at 2.15 GHz, and the other at 1.59 GHz. The Adreno 530 is clocked at 624 MHz.
The OnePlus 3 comes with a whopping 6 GB of LPDDR4 memory. Most current flagships include just 4 GB of RAM, so it's interesting to see OnePlus upping this to 6 GB in their flagship. Does it have a significant impact on multi-tasking performance? Not really, at least at this stage. But I'm not going to complain about having more RAM.
Storage is capped at 64 GB with no microSD expansion slot. This is similar to the OnePlus 2, although OnePlus has canned the 16 GB model which clearly did not feature enough storage. The 64 GB model should be fine for most users, as it offers plenty of space for apps, music, and other items.
OnePlus has included NFC in this smartphone, avoiding the mistakes of the past. There's also the usual array of other connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, A-GNSS, BeiDou, and up to LTE Category 6. There's three models of the OnePlus 3 that each contain seven or eight region-specific LTE bands, so make sure you get the right model for your area. I was sent a North American model, and it didn't work well in Australia; the European model would be more appropriate here.
Qualitatively, the performance of the OnePlus 3 around the operating system and in apps is just as good as any other flagship smartphone I've used this year. App loading is very fast, switching between apps is very fast, and using the apps themselves is fast. No complaints here.
Compared to other Snapdragon 820 devices, particularly the Sony Xperia X Performance which uses a similar 1080p display, the OnePlus 3 is marginally faster in system benchmarks. Relative to the older OnePlus 2, which uses a Snapdragon 810 SoC, the OnePlus 3 is around 44% faster across the board. And we're still seeing around double the performance of Snapdragon 801 handsets.