Many Oppos know me as the person who gets a new phone every month because no phone seems perfect enough. Well, if you haven’t noticed yet I haven’t been buying any phones for a very long time. And that’s because I found the closest thing to perfection for me.
Previous entries all let me down.
— The Nexus 6P was awesome, but its metal was weak and its internals even more shoddy.
— The Nexus 5X was glorious, but let down by a battery that couldn’t even get through a day without giving me “range anxiety”.
— My previous favourite Galaxy S7 wasn’t as awesome as I remember. The phone was packed with bloatware and its screen too small. It also was locked to AT&T.
— The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 was very very close to perfection, but let down by its display that could have been better, fragile paint, and rear camera that was kinda a joke for the price.
— The Honor 5X wasn’t going to win anything with me, but it was a fun stop-gap phone.
— The Honor 8 remains the most beautiful phone I’ve ever seen, but otherwise not a phone I want to use daily.
— The iPhone 8 Plus was also one of my favourite phones ever, but Android has turned me against Apple’s walled garden.
— The iPhone 6S Plus is one of my favourite iPhones because...rose gold! :D But again, walled garden and performance that isn’t going to get better as the years roll on.
— The Nextbit Robin remains one of my favourite plastic phone designs, though the phone had so many problems that it was best as a display piece than a practical device.
A lot of these problems were actually resolved in later iterations. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S has dual rear cameras and presumably a better paint finish. The Galaxy S8 is a beautiful enough phone to make me forgive Samsung for the bloatware and the tiny screen of the S7. Newer Honor phones are seriously appealing. The Razer phone is basically a Nextbit Robin with proper funding and development.
In early October I bought a OnePlus 3T. I was still on my search for the ultimate smartphone for Miss Mercedes.
The 3T came so close. It had the sharp AMOLED display I craved, it was free of bloatware, it had a mostly uncluttered Android skin. Seriously, I LOVE the display on this phone. It doesn’t have a bazillion resolution like a top spec Samsung, but the panel is so good I really can’t even tell. The features OnePlus brought to the table actually improved the experience unlike a lot of the crap Samsung tries to build into their software. While not really water resistant, the phone can take a small dunking and has no problem getting caught in a heavy downpour with me. It was the first phone in a long while where I didn’t want to root it and didn’t want to get a new rom because the phone itself was just. that. good.
I can see why OnePlus is a force to be reckoned with.
My biggest complaint about the OnePlus 3T was its weak rear shooter. To get anything resembling flagship phone quality photos you have to use OpenCamera and fiddle with settings. And even then, things don’t always look so hot..
OnePlus is allegedly slowing these phones down because people keep buying them instead of newer models. I didn’t believe these accusations because my phone was always lightning fast. And to OnePlus’ credit these phones always had the latest version of Android not long after their release. That’s dedication to supporting older devices that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I can see why these phones still command a high-ish price new despite their old age. They are seriously SOLID phones.
That changed with the latest update. The phone started hanging on processes and there were weird glitches. Worst yet, battery life got significantly worse literally overnight. Where I was able to get through a whole day of commenting on Oppo and still having battery to spare, I now basically had to turn on battery saver from the second I unplugged it at 100%. A couple factory restores made no difference. Something about these latest updates are killing the poor phone. I thought I’d stick it out hoping for bug fixes, but another update rolled out that didn’t fix anything. Having to be in low power mode all day was a major drag and I even ran the phone with basically no apps...no change. By my guess, it just seems like my particular phone isn’t taking the update well, so I’m not going to blame OnePlus for it.
So, I decided to sell it and move on. My experience with OnePlus was so awesome that my next phone will likely be a OnePlus, albeit a newer one with more up to date features like a dual rear camera. Clearly, the 3T was so awesome that I held onto the thing for nearly a year. That’s unheard of for me! Currently I’m thinking about a OnePlus 5, 5T, or 6.
In the meantime, I’ve picked up my next “stop-gap” phone. My stop-gap phones are temporary devices I use as my main while I research the next actual phone I want. These phones are always budget devices and like to try out oddballs.
This transition phase’s stop gap phone is the Samsung Galaxy A20 (the 205G model with much better US LTE band coverage).
First impressions are that I’m both disappointed and amazed by the screen. It’s Samsung’s trademark AMOLED, but it’s only HD+ so it’s not as sharp as you’d expect from a Galaxy device. Despite that, it’s still vibrant, the viewing angles are insanely good, and so long as you aren’t looking at the screen from an inch away, you really won’t notice the lack of sharpness all that much.
The quality of this phone also betrays its $150 price tag. It has some heft to it and the design is what you’d expect from a midrange phone rather than something out of the bargain bin. It has standard International phone features like a dual SIM, but it also carries a MicroSD slot and a surprising lack of bloatware. Sure, you get Samsung’s apps, but they aren’t nearly as aggressive as the ones you’d find on a US spec phone. You don’t want to game on this thing, but for the tasks I need out of a phone it works really well. I’m not sure how long I’ll hold onto this thing, but for now I do like it a lot.
This phone was definitely made for a Spanish-speaking market as the primary language on the box is Spanish and the default language for the phone was also Spanish. It’s not the first time I bought a phone made for another market and used it in the US. Seems to hold LTE just fine but we will see...
In the end, I highly recommend the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus in general. Assuming you can get one that is still snappy fast (I assume my issues are rare) and don’t need the best camera in the world, I think you’ll love it. Yeah, I know there’s some talk out there about the Chinese government spying on Chinese phones but honestly I don’t care. The most they’ll get on me is that I have an unhealthy appreciation for their motorcycle industry. ;) At any rate, OnePlus’ slogan of “Never Settle” fits very well to me.