Techio

How to buy the OnePlus 6: Options include online, pop-up events

oneplus 6 hands on chrome
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The new OnePlus 6 has high-end specifications, a beautiful and modern design, and a lower price tag than other flagship smartphones. It’s safe to say that the OnePlus 6 lives up to the company’s “flagship killer” moniker.

Want to check out our impressions? See our OnePlus review for an in-depth look. How do you nab one for yourself? We break it down in our handy OnePlus 6 buying guide.

Does my carrier support the OnePlus 6?

The most important fact to know before buying the OnePlus 6 is that it does not work on Verizon or Sprint networks. The phone, like all of its predecessors, also doesn’t work with many crucial CDMA frequencies. That also means that Sprint and Verizon mobile virtual network operators, like Boost Mobile and Straight Talk, are incompatible as well.

Thankfully, the device does work on GSM networks, like T-Mobile and AT&T. If you’re already on one of those networks, you should be good to go. If not, you’ll have to think about switching carriers if you really want one.

Get it unlocked

In the U.S., OnePlus sells its phones unlocked directly from its website, and the OnePlus 6 will be no different. The phone is officially available on May 22 on the site, but the company has also announced a few pop-up events in Europe, India, and the U.S. on May 21.

oneplus smartwatch sketches carl pei
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

In the U.S., the pop-up event will take place in New York City at The Flat NYC from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Popular YouTubers MKBHD and Linus Tech Tips will be present as special guests, but perhaps more importantly, you will be able to buy the phone at the event. We recommend arriving early, as the line can tend to get quite long. You can check the OnePlus website for a full list of all the other pop-up events in other countries.

There are a few models of the phone, and they don’t all come at the same price. Here’s a quick rundown of the pricing of the OnePlus 6.

  • Mirror Black with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage: $530
  • Mirror Black with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage: $580
  • Midnight Black with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage: $580
  • Midnight Black with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage: $630
  • Silk White with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage: $580

Other than the OnePlus website, the OnePlus 6 will also be sold through Amazon and various other partner retailers.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless headphones

oneplus 6 availability bullets wireless

Along with the phone, OnePlus is also selling a pair of wireless headphones called the Bullets Wireless headphones. The headphones connect through Bluetooth, offer magnets that can pause your music when activated, and more.

The headphones come at $70, and will be available from OnePlus’ website. Unfortunately, they won’t be available until the end of June, and there’s no specific date just yet. They may also be available from retailers like Amazon, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Editors’ Recommendations

Fire! Gadgets thrown in the trash are causing battery blazes at waste centers

We’ve read countless stories over the years of unstable lithium-ion batteries suddenly exploding, including in smartphones, hoverboards, and vape pens — sometimes with tragic consequences — so it’s kind of surprising we’re not more careful about how we dispose of them.

Left inside trashed electronics that can include anything from those listed above to laptops, cameras, and power tools, the batteries are causing fires at garbage and recycling centers across the country, according to a USA Today report.

Take California. The state blamed exploding batteries for 65 percent of fires at its waste facilities in 2017. The issue has become so serious that it’s launched an awareness campaign to highlight the dangers and to ask consumers to stop throwing their old battery-powered gadgets into the trash.

New York, too, is facing similar challenges. USA Today’s report points out that in March a battery caused a fire at a recycling facility in Queens that burned for two days and caused disruption to nearby train services.

Garbage truck workers are also at risk. An incident in New York City last year saw a lithium-ion battery explode as the truck compacted the trash, setting fire to the burnables inside.

The problem is that if the battery’s exposed metal parts touch something metallic, sparks can fly, resulting in a blaze. Damaged batteries can also malfunction with similar results.

George Kerchner, executive director of the Rechargeable Battery Association, told the news outlet that some consumers get rid of the batteries without too much thought, “hoping that somebody at the end of the line will recycle them eventually.”

But he cautioned that “these are high-energy batteries, no question about it. If they’re not properly handled, they can catch on fire.”

With demand for the technology continuing to rise, it’s all the more important that consumers understand the possible consequences of tossing used batteries into the garbage.

For ways to recycle them, try doing an online search to find local services willing to handle them. Call2recycle, for example, is a useful source of information.

Alternatively, save them up for your next visit to a Home Depot, Best Buy, or Lowe’s, all of which recycle lithium-ion batteries for free.

To be on the safe side, when you’re done with a removable lithium-ion battery, be sure to place it by itself inside a closed plastic bag to isolate the terminals, or simply put tape over them. That way you’ll reduce the chances of your battery ending up in the news for reducing a garbage truck to a burned-out shell, or worse.

Editors’ Recommendations

New Samsung ad compares Galaxy S9 to iPhone 6, for some reason

[embedded content]

Samsung may be ordered by a U.S. court this week to pay Apple anything between $28 million and $1 billion at the culmination of a lengthy case that found the Korean company to have infringed various Apple patents linked to the iPhone.

Whether the misdemeanors ever caused any red faces at Samsung isn’t clear, but it certainly hasn’t stopped the company from ripping into its rival periodically over the years, targeting the iPhone in a series of ads that aim to promote its own Galaxy handsets.

The most recent effort landed on YouTube a couple of days ago, though the content of the ad is bound to leave some scratching their head in confusion.

The latest in its “Moving On” series, where Samsung hopes to persuade iPhone users to ditch their handset in favor of one of its own, shows a woman becoming frustrated with her Apple-made handset while traveling.

Samsung features its flagship Galaxy S9 phone in the ad, but, rather oddly, puts it alongside the iPhone 6, a phone that Apple launched in 2014. Yes, that’s four years ago.

OK, it soon becomes clear that Samsung wants to highlight the frustrations of battery throttling, a system Apple secretly built into many of  its phones that slows performance when the battery ages, in order to prevent sudden crashes. Apple apologized to its customers after the system was uncovered at the end of last year, and offered to replace iPhone batteries at less than half the usual price. On top of that, a recent iOS update included a performance management feature that lets iPhone owners turn off battery throttling.

In Samsung’s ad, the woman’s slow iPhone 6 keeps letting her down, prompting her to visit an Apple Store. The helpful assistant tells her she can turn off the performance management feature to speed things up, but that it may lead to unexpected shutdowns. “Or you can just upgrade it,” he adds, though a new $29 battery for her current phone would also help.

Remembering a guy she saw earlier on the plane with a smug look on his face as he played on his shiny new Galaxy S9, she opts for, you guessed it, the Galaxy S9. And in the ad’s final shot, she looks really happy for it.

We get that Samsung wanted to target the hassle caused by battery throttling rather attack the iPhone 6, but a different kind of ad would’ve compared the Galaxy S9 to its more obvious rival, the iPhone X. If you’re currently trying to decide between the two, then be sure to check out Digital Trends’ informative comparison guide to help you make the right choice.

Editors’ Recommendations

TeenSafe phone-monitoring app leaks ‘tens of thousands’ of accounts

teensafe server leaks account information uk london teenage girls on their smartphones
Richard Baker/Getty Images

Account information belonging to “tens of thousands” of TeenSafe accounts has reportedly been exposed online.

The cross-platform service allows parents to track the smartphone usage of their children, including their social media interactions, web history, call logs, installed apps, and real-time location. The Los Angeles-based company behind the service says more than a million parents currently use the service.

But a U.K.-based security researcher recently discovered that at least one of its servers has leaked numerous accounts belonging to parents and their children, ZDNet reported on Sunday.

The server in question had been left unprotected, meaning anyone with the know-how could access it. After informing TeenSafe of the issue, the company acted swiftly to fix it.

“We have taken action to close one of our servers to the public and begun alerting customers that could potentially be impacted,” a TeenSafe spokesperson told ZDNet. The company promised to offer further information as its investigation progresses.

Data in plaintext form

Particularly concerning, however, is the claim that the exposed data had been stored in plaintext form. This includes parents’ email addresses, as well as children’s Apple ID email addresses — some associated with their high schools — and associated passwords.

As noted by the news outlet, TeenSafe requires that two-factor authentication be turned off, so a hacker with the relevant data would have little trouble accessing an exposed Apple ID account.

It may offer little comfort to those affected, but none of the records on the leaky server included any location data linked to parents or children.

To confirm the authenticity of the data obtained by the security researcher, ZDNet used iMessage to contact 12 parents whose details showed up on the server. While not everyone responded, those who did confirmed that the emails and passwords shown on the database were in fact genuine.

If you use the service and are yet to hear from TeenSafe, you’ll be wise to change any associated passwords as a precautionary measure.

While services like TeenSafe may provide comfort for parents anxious about their children’s online behavior, they also face criticism from privacy advocates.

TeenSafe suggests that a child doesn’t even need to know that they’re bing monitored by a parent. “Every parent’s situation is unique and only a parent can decide whether to inform their teen of their intent to use the [service]” the company says on its website.

In light of this recent leak, parents who use the service secretly will now have to either tell their child, or find another way to get them to change their Apple ID password.

Editors’ Recommendations

OnePlus 6 review

How does OnePlus keep coming up with a desirable smartphone that people will still want to buy, every six months or less? There are companies out there that struggle to do it on an annual basis, after all. OnePlus has a release schedule that would terrify big-name brands bogged down by focus groups, middle managers, and multiple checklists. Its latest phone — the OnePlus 6 — arrives only a few months after the OnePlus 5T, which also came a few months after the OnePlus 5.

It’s a lot of pressure. Can OnePlus continue its winning streak with another swiftly-launched smartphone?

Editor’s note: We’ll be continuing to use the OnePlus 6 for the next few weeks to further test the camera and battery. We’ll update this review soon with more final thoughts.

Glassy and classy

The OnePlus 6 showcases how OnePlus is able to attract new buyers and upgraders even with such a rapid update schedule — it taps into the latest trends, integrates them quickly into a new phone, and gets it out the door before any fads pass. That means the OnePlus 6 has a glass body, which is the definition of premium this year, a notch at the top of the screen, and a vertically-mounted, dual-lens camera.

OnePlus has outdone itself with the all-glass body — the second time it has used glass since the OnePlus X. It looks and feels superb: It’s soft and smooth, with a cool touch. It’s very reflective too, mostly on the mirror black model you see here, and we’d say it’s closer to the water-like finish on the Porsche Design Mate 10 RS than phones like the Honor 10 and the Moto G6. Even the Galaxy S9 looks a bit muddy next to the OnePlus 6. To commemorate its 4th anniversary, the OnePlus 6 brings back the “Designed by OnePlus” branding on the back panel, which is the only other mark aside from the OnePlus logo. It’s minimal, like we have come to expect, and it looks great on the mirror black model.

OnePlus has outdone itself with the all-glass body.

The glass body hasn’t made the phone overly slippery, and it’s easy to hold with one hand. Using it is a harder task due to the size of the screen. It’s a stretch to get to the opposite corner with your thumb.

The notch (the cutout at the top of the screen housing the front camera and earpiece) is the subject of much (now rather boring) controversy. OnePlus told Digital Trends that its inclusion is the most effective way of getting a far larger screen on the phone than usual, while maintaining a similar size to previous OnePlus phones. If you hate it, a software setting hides it away.

oneplus 6 screen
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The screen’s big alright, measuring 6.28-inches with a 2,280 x 1,080 pixel resolution, another first for the OnePlus family. There aren’t too many phones close to this screen size other than the Galaxy Note 8. Surprisingly, the phone is very compact, with minimal side bezels and chin. We like the shape of the screen corners too, which have a flowing curve before running down the sides.

The fingerprint sensor is on the back, and we’re pleased to see it has been given a stadium shape and a chamfered edge: A big improvement over the OnePlus 5T. Little things like this, along with the curved screen edges, make the OnePlus 6 look and feel fantastic.

If you hate the notch, you will be able to hide it away through a software update in the future.

Another ergonomic improvement is the iconic OnePlus Alert slider, which controls device notifications and silent mode. It has been shifted to the top right edge. While lefties won’t like the change, right-handed folks will find it more comfortable. It’s a bit stiff, and requires a firm grip on the phone to slide, even with the textured edge on the slider itself.

Along the bottom edge of the phone is a USB Type-C port for fast charging, using OnePlus’ Dash Charge system, along with a 3.5mm headphone socket for those still attached to wires. Sadly, there’s no support for wireless charging.

New camera effects, super slow-motion video

On the back is a dual-lens rear camera, this time centrally- and vertically-mounted inside a slight camera bump. The main f/1.7 aperture, 16-megapixel lens is joined by a second 20-megapixel camera, complete with a portrait mode. New bokeh effects have been added to the portrait mode, adding stars, hearts, and bubbles to the background. It’s controlled by OnePlus’ own camera app, which is simple and easy to use. OnePlus has added a slow-mo video mode, which has a maximum of 480fps at 720p, meaning it can’t slow the world down as effectively as the Galaxy S9, Huawei P20 Pro, or Sony Xperia XZ2. A 1080p resolution mode is available at 240fps. As you’d expect, this means it’s not quite so dramatic, and shooting at 240fps in 1080p doesn’t make much of a difference. Use the 480fps setting for a better feeling of slow-motion.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

You can edit videos in the app, trimming the clip down, adding music, or a filter. It’s not as wide-ranging as the modes provided by the LG V30, but it’s more than many other phones provide. What’s more is it’s very simple to use. This is key for editing video or stills, and it’s great to see OnePlus implement an edit mode that not only works for video, but for stills too. Yes, you can use apps like Snapseed; but not having to leave the gallery app is a time-saver. The features are also comprehensive.

We’re still testing the camera for still performance. Taking photos on a sunny London day produced some great shots, with bright blue skies and detail in the shadows.  We didn’t see much over-the-top HDR-style glow which has become more common on many devices today. However, a degree of grain is evident in some scenes, which is why we need to spend more time with it before passing judgement. The return of optical image stabilization, and the f/1.7 aperture bodes well for low-light photography, and some pictures we took at the phone’s launch — which was in a very dark event space — returned great black levels, and still coping well with the spotlight on OnePlus’s Carl Pei on stage.

The bokeh mode, which doesn’t use a telephoto lens like many other phones resulting in a picture that isn’t cropped, works relatively well. But, bizarrely the preview image in the viewfinder looks very poor, making it look like the camera cannot effectively recognize the edges around a subject. Snap the photo and check in the gallery, and the photo itself comes out far better than the preview suggests. We did find it has trouble focusing in Portrait mode, but we’d expect software updates to improve the camera over time.

Performance

A Snapdragon 845 processor with a whopping 8GB of RAM keeps our test model running, and the OnePlus 6 has been lightning fast in our continued experience. It all feels very refined. OnePlus uses the tagline, “The speed you need,” for the 6, and we cannot imagine anyone thinking the phone may not have the guts to cope with a task. We ran some benchmark tests:

The OnePlus 6 has been lightning fast in our brief time using it.

  • AnTuTu: 269,191
  • Geekbench 4: Single-core: 2,402; multi-core: 8,951
  • 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme: 4,586

These scores are very impressive, easily surpassing the OnePlus 5T from last year, plus the Galaxy S9 Plus and LG G7 ThinQ from 2018, which have the same Snapdragon 845 processor. It also exceeds the Huawei P20 Pro, which has the Kirin 970 chip inside. It should be noted the OnePlus 6 may have specially-tuned software to perform well in these tests. This doesn’t detract from its monstrous results.

OnePlus 6 Compared To

Software and security

Android 8.1 with version 5.1.2 of OnePlus’s OxygenOS over the top is smooth and fuss-free, with only a handful of pre-installed apps, and the slide-in Shelf — which contains recently used apps, contacts, and other information — making it look any different to standard Android found on a Pixel 2.

Any alterations and special features are all options. A new gesture control system replaces the familiar Android Home, Back, and Menu keys with an iPhone X-like swipe system. It’s not great, and we found swiping on either side of the screen to go back a step frustrating and unreliable. The traditional Android keys may not be pretty, but they work, and that’s what matters.

The fingerprint sensor is under the camera lenses on the back of the phone and is super fast. We’ve had the OnePlus 6 in a case — one of the new official OnePlus cases — and did find it harder to locate accurately due to the amount of recess, so it may be worth checking this for comfort before deciding on a case for the phone. OnePlus’s successful face unlock feature returns, and is reliable and ultra-fast. However, it’s not secure, and isn’t a substitute for a fingerprint sensor in certain apps.

Battery and charging

oneplus 6 hands on bottom profile
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The OnePlus 6 has a 3,300mAh battery, which we’ve had at least a day’s use out of during our testing, but we haven’t used the phone long enough yet to establish whether this can be stretched to two days. What’s certain is that even if you do find yourself short of battery life, the Dash Charge fast charge system tops it up quickly. OnePlus promises a day’s worth of power after 30 minutes on charge.

Price, warranty, and availability

Has the OnePlus 6 been subject to a price rise that takes it out of the realms of affordability? The price has gone up, but not so drastically you’ll have to think twice. The 8GB/128GB model you see here, in mirror black, is $580, or 520 British pounds. The mirror black model with 6GB/64GB storage is $530 or 470 pounds. Finally, the 256GB version is $630 and also has 8GB of RAM.

In the U.S. OnePlus has a one-year warranty on its devices. In the U.K. this is extended to two-years. Phones with any manufacturing defects will be repaired or replaced free of charge, with shipping and handling costs included. If you damage the phone through mistreatment, or general wear-and-tear, it won’t be covered.

Our Take

The fact OnePlus puts out such a polished product so often is exciting to see. This lightning speed doesn’t affect its quality, or commitment to delivering a satisfying, desirable smartphone.

Is there a better alternative?

An alternative? If you’re set on not spending more than $530 and want something comparable, then no. Price is where OnePlus wins. It’s almost impossible to find the same level of power, style, and ability for the same amount of money. We’re inundated with phones that cost at the minimum $700 ($950-plus isn’t uncommon either), yet the OnePlus 6 manages to squeeze in the key features for several hundred dollars less. It’s closest competitor remains the Honor View 10.

However, if price is no object, and you just want the best phone for you, then the OnePlus 6 faces tremendous competition, because the standard of smartphones released recently is so high. The Galaxy S9 Plus wins points for its design and camera, the Pixel 2XL for its software and camera, the Huawei P20 Pro for its best-in-class camera, and the new and relatively reasonably-priced LG G7 ThinQ are all strong alternatives you’ll enjoy owning.

How long will it last?

There is an excellent chance of the OnePlus 6 remaining powerful enough to last for considerably more than two years. OnePlus does support its phones with regular software updates too, plus it’s one of the phones on Google’s Android P beta list, so you can even try out the very latest version of Android when you buy it.

Inside the box is a basic case, so you can protect the beautiful finish and keep it safe in the event of a short drop, plus the body has basic splash proofing. It won’t survive a bath, but it can be used in the rain and won’t wince at the hint of a wet table.

Should you buy it?

Yes, of course you should buy the OnePlus 6, it’s a no-brainer. The price has risen again, but it’s still cheaper than any other high-end phone out there. It doesn’t sacrifice what matters — speed, build quality, design, and features you want to use. If that’s not a reason to hand over your cash, we don’t know what is.