The OnePlus camera app can be brought up by double tapping on the power button, which is a very handy shortcut that is enabled from Settings. What's more, you can even set it so that gesture not only launches the camera, but also quickly snaps a shot. We chose to leave this off because framing on the spot would be difficult, but you may find it useful.
The app is fast and easy to use, but it might take you a bit of time to locate the Settings icon. This isn't available on the default screen, nor can you get to it by swiping to the right from the left edge of the screen to reveal a 'drawer' - there's no such thing here. Instead, you need to do what the little arrow above the shooting modes implies and swipe up from the bottom of the UI (in portrait orientation). In landscape, you swipe from right to left. Once you do this you'll get additional options, such as Slow motion, Pro mode, Time-lapse, Panorama, and even Google Lens. Oh, and in the top right (in portrait) or top left (in landscape) corner you'll finally see a Settings cog icon.
That still won't let you alter too many options. There are a few in there but you can't change the resolution for example. For more personalized shooting settings, you need to head to the Pro Mode, which also supports capturing in the RAW format. As usual for a long-term review, we've used the auto mode, because that's going to be what most people stick with, and we wanted to give you an accurate impression of the quality that the OnePlus 6's cameras are able to provide without endlessly needing to tweak specific settings manually.
In daylight conditions, the OnePlus 6's rear camera system delivers pleasing results. This is definitely the best camera we've ever seen on a OnePlus smartphone. Detail levels are good, color reproduction strikes a good balance between the very trendy vivid look and actual accuracy in what's depicted. But most importantly, the dynamic range is simply amazing. OnePlus achieves this with software (image stacking we're guessing) even when the HDR mode is not turned on.
Here's an assortment of samples.
Usually, when you see a handy 1x/2x selector in a camera app, it's there because the phone in question has a secondary zoom lens on the back. That's not the case for the OnePlus 6, but it still offers that quick switching mode at your fingertips - you can go from 1x to 2x zoom with just one tap. Don't be fooled by the button - this is digital zoom through and through. Pictures snapped in this mode aren't very bad, but the quality obviously can't match what would be produced by an actual zoom sensor.
When ambient light levels drop, the OnePlus 6's main camera array is still capable of producing some very nice shots, as you can see below. Saturation of the colors remains surprisingly good, and the dynamic range continues to be stellar. The optical image stabilization clearly helps a lot in such conditions and almost all photos we took after dark were nice and sharp.
Selfies turn out very good in decent lighting conditions, they're sharp, with accurate skin tones, and plenty of detail. When you try and shoot them in the evening, results will be mixed, based on the light sources around you and whether the screen-based 'flash' can actually help light your face up enough.
Portrait mode for selfies is an option too, and it works reasonably well, though as usual with most phones even the smallest of stray hairs could get blurred.
All in all, the OnePlus 6 has definitely upped the Chinese company's camera game significantly compared to any of its predecessors. Its snappers are still not on par with the best the mobile world has to offer if you are examining photos on the computer screen, but they surely are punching above their weight and look gorgeous on that AMOLED screen.
The OnePlus 6 isn't perfect, and that's okay because no smartphone has ever been. Here's a quick list of things that frustrated us while we were using it as our one and only mobile device.
First off, the small notch seems to have impacted the reliability of the proximity sensor. This is the one in charge of turning the screen off when the handset is close to your ear, while you're talking on the phone. Countless times we found the screen turning itself back on. Not only that but the notification area was already swiped down in many such instances. We assume we were able to do that unwittingly with our ear.
There's a really narrow sweet spot for the proximity sensor, where it doesn't do this, and it's been a hassle to figure it out every single time we've been on the phone. We're not sure whether the sensor is simply too small or if it's just its position that is to blame, but keep in mind that you may have to do a constant phone repositioning dance while you're engaged in conversations, if you don't want your ear tapping and swiping things on the screen.
To answer an incoming call, by default you swipe down, which is a bit counterintuitive for two reasons. First, this is not how most companies do this, and second, there's less room for a downward swipe than there is for an upward motion. Thankfully though, this behavior can be altered from the Phone app's settings.
Android Oreo has dots that show up on top of an app's icon when you have a notification created by that app, but for some reason, OnePlus takes dots even further. Every time you install a new app it will have a blue dot to the left of its name. This goes away when you first start that app from the home screen (note: you have to tap on the icon on the home screen, other methods of going into the app have no effect). Alternatively, the dots go away on their own after a few long days.
Let's just say that if you're suffering from even a mild form of OCD this has the potential of really messing with you. We honestly don't get why this exists, or why it's not possible to turn off this behavior. After all, OxygenOS gives you plenty of customization options, but this just isn't one of them. You're stuck with the blue dots unless you decide to use a third party launcher.
While we're on the subject of OnePlus' built-in launcher, another odd thing is how it handles folders. Usually, when you tap to enter a folder that's on your home screen, its contents would open up right there where it is positioned. Not so in this case, the apps in each folder will always show up in the lower part of the screen. This is one of those decisions that we can't really wrap our heads around.
Bluetooth sometimes needs two tries to reconnect to previously paired devices, but this is something we've encountered with most Android phones that have gone through the long-term review process, so the problems may be buried deep within the OS itself. Car Bluetooth systems are the ones we've mostly encountered this with, but even with Bluetooth speakers, there's sometimes a lag of about a minute from the time you turn the accessory on to when the connection finally happens.
Finally, we would have appreciated an option for Wi-Fi to turn itself off after a specific amount of time passes with no networks connected. Conversely, turning itself back on when you're near the location of a saved network would be very handy as well. Some of OnePlus' competitors have some variation of one or both of these functions, so maybe the next iteration of OxygenOS might include them.